More police K9s forced into retirement following legalization of recreational marijuana

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Dec 1, 2020
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Following the legalization of marijuana in New Mexico, more law enforcement agencies across the state are retiring their drug-sniffing dogs.
The Tucumcari Police Department announced on Facebook it's retiring its dog, Aries.
"With the legalization of recreational marijuana, K9 Aries is unable to continue his function as a narcotics detection dog," the department stated in the post.

Here's the problem – a dog will indicate "a drug" is present, but can't communicate "which drug." A handler can't determine if the dog found meth, heroin or a legal amount of marijuana.

"Now marijuana is legal -- if the dog alerts on it, and we got a search warrant, we'd be violating somebody's rights. So that meant the easiest, simplest thing was to just stop using those dogs for that purpose," said Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe.