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Drug K9 After State Legalizes Weed

Here is our next question:  Can you use a marijuana trained dog after your state legalizes marijuana?

This question came from an officer in Kansas.  The officer said, “Hey, I got a question here. You know, our department is implementing a brand new canine program. And apparently the dog is going to be proofed on marijuana.  Now currently, marijuana is illegal in Kansas. So far, so good.  But what happens if the state legalizes recreational marijuana?  Are we still good with the pooch? What if it alerts on a car? Can we still search it and make sure that they are under the legalized limit?”

All right, let me just tell you what’s going on here.  So your dog is proofed on marijuana today, and imagine in January 1 of next year, your state legalizes marijuana.  Are you going to be able to do a free air sniff of a car?  And with that dog, the answer is most likely no, because the problem is, it’s going to alert to a legal substance.

And that is not in line with Illinois versus Kabbalists.  In Illinois vs Kabbalists, the Supreme Court said that a dog sniff is not a search under the Fourth Amendment because it invades no legitimate expectation of privacy, because it’s alerting on a substance that is not legal to possess.

So a person possessing cocaine, for example, does not have a legitimate expectation of privacy.  There is legitimate privacy inside the car, and so forth.  But that’s not what’s going on here.  It’s just the dog sniffing the air around the car.

But if the state now legalized marijuana, they now do have a legitimate expectation of privacy in that item that is their property.  They are allowed to own it.

You might think to yourself, “Anthony, it’s still illegal under the federal law.”  Well, I have to tell you, for most cops reading this, that’s not your problem.  You are not deputized as federal law enforcement officers.  You cannot just go out there and start enforcing federal law, unless you are deputized or unless you are on a task force and you have some creds from the FBI.

There are other exceptions, but generally speaking, you cannot just go out there and enforce federal law.  So it doesn’t matter if it’s illegal at the federal level.  What matters is, what are you enforcing?  You’re enforcing state law.

Now another question comes up.  If the dog alerts, why can’t we just make sure that they have less than an ounce?  Let’s say that’s what your state has authorized. Well, there is no reason  to search a car just to make sure that something’s not violating the law. There is no exception that exists like that.

Give me any other scenario, where you can just make sure that people are not violating a certain law.  Let’s say you see prescription pills.  Are you allowed to search the car now just to make sure that they’re not violating any prescription pill law, that they don’t have more than they’re supposed to, or that they don’t have a fraudulent prescription?

The point is, it doesn’t exist, right?  So generally, it’s not going to work.  Now in some situations, maybe it will work. Maybe if the vehicle is occupied by people who are under 21.  All of them are under 21.  Well, they’re probably not supposed to have marijuana in the car.  Your state’s going to make 21 the legal age for marijuana, but if there’s an adult in there, that adult can have it.  So that may not work.

But the point is, is you had better be able to point to something that’s illegal, not just the fact that you want to make sure.   That’s the problem here.  Other states have confronted the same issue, you know; California and Colorado.  They have all come to the same conclusion that you cannot run these dogs around cars as a matter of routine if they’re marijuana approved.

I also recommend to other agencies that are considering getting canines to not proof those dogs on marijuana because, legalized marijuana, unfortunately, (it depends how you look at it), is coming to a town near you.

There it is.  I hope it helps .  If you have any follow up questions let me know in the chat.  If you like what I’m doing here subscribe to the channel and share with your friends.  I really do appreciate.  See you next time!


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