Colorado Doesn’t Know What To Do With Their Pot-Sniffing Dogs

These very good boys might be headed for retirement.

pot-sniffing dog
Sage joined the department last December specifically because she does not alert to marijuana, which is a new non-skill needed by Colorado law enforcement agencies. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Denver Post via Getty Images

As weed legalization increases across the nation, new issues have been raised surrounding pot-sniffing dogs and their ability to locate potentially illegal substances in cars, dwellings, and so on.

For the six years since pot was legalized by voters in Colorado, numerous K-9 units have been retired and replaced by new dogs who underwent training that was different than their predecessor: the news dogs have not been trained to detect marijuana.

The Colorado Supreme Court will soon hear arguments about K-9 units sniffing out a drug that was legalized by Colorado citizens, and if the dog detecting what could or could not be an illegal substance is enough evidence to warrant a search, The Colorado Sun reports.

In 2015, a man named Kevin McKnight was pulled over. A drug dog was brought to vehicle where it then alerted the officer that an illegal substance was present. Found in the trunk of McKnight’s car was a pipe with meth residue. McKnight was sentenced to 30 days in jail and probation for two years.

However, McKnight appealed and three judges in the Colorado Court of Appeals threw out the conviction.

As of now, the Colorado Supreme Court has yet to make a decision about the K-9 units or their training, or if the dog’s alert can be the only thing that could suggest an illegal substance is present.

McKnight’s lawyers are concerned what the court’s decision could mean for Colorado citizens and her visitors: “If this Court adopts the prosecution’s position, it will result in innumerable invasions of privacy of law-abiding Coloradans and visitors to Colorado.”

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.