Future for drug dogs questioned as Virginia mulls decriminalizing marijuana possession

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The qualities of today’s drug-sniffing K-9s will be hindered if Virginia decriminalizes possession of marijuana, suggests the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.

“You cannot swear a canine in and have the canine testify as to what he smelled,” Govt Director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Dana Schrad mentioned.

Virginia Democrats have outlined a motivation to decriminalize basic possession of marijuana all through the 2020 legislative session.

Schrad mentioned issues could arise simply because most drug dogs employed for on-road detection can scent a selection of substances, not just one.

“If one of all those substances he was properly trained to detect is no longer viewed as a felony offense, then his detection of a quantity of marijuana–when there may be other medication involved–then that makes that dogs’ form of detection unusable in court.”


Individuals pushing for adjustments to the way Virginia handles marijuana possession involve Jenn Michelle Pedini, growth director of the National Corporation for the Reform of Cannabis Legislation.

“Any marijuana demand in Virginia, misdemeanor or a felony, will adhere to a particular person for a life time. It is not an expunge-equipped criminal offense, and it definitely does have collateral effects,” Pedini mentioned.

Schrad mentioned there are destinations in which several of today’s drug dogs could be reassigned if marijuana possession is decriminalized, these as jails and educational facilities.

But the shakeup to the four-legged drive could posture police departments with owning to carry in new dogs, costing up to $50,000 to $60,000 every, Schrad mentioned.

“In some scenarios, they (police departments) get dogs donated. But, if you are seeking for a specific kind of canine that you want a pure-bread canine that is definitely adept at detecting substances, and then you want to go by way of the professional training–you go by way of the FBI or by way of one of the education centers–it will get pretty expensive,” Schrad mentioned.

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