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K9s In Virginia Will No Longer Look For Weed

It’s the changing of the guard. Police dogs trained to alert for Cannabis will no longer be used in Virginia.


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed off on new legislation accelerating the legalization of Cannabis. That means changes in law enforcement procedures are kicking into high gear. K9s are no exception.

Northam’s signature makes Virginia the 16th state to approve adult-use Cannabis. It also earned Virginia the distinction of becoming first southern state to give the green light to adult-use marijuana.

The change doesn’t just affect how cops will deal with pot possession. It impacts departmental procedures, often in unexpected ways. Now, cops across the Dominion must adjust to that reality ahead of the law taking effect on July 1.

A number of departments across the state have already started making changes. Relocating current dogs is at the top of the list. Ranking just under that? New dogs not imprinted on marijuana.

Buying, training and certifying a dog can cost $25,000. Consequently, departments are reselling K9s rather than simply retiring them. Departments in southwest Virginia, for instance, sell lots of dogs to law enforcement across the Tennessee state line, reports ABC 8 News.

“We spend a lot of money on the dog, not only buying and certifying the dog but food and vet bills and all of that stuff,” said Deputy Sheriff Jerry Farley.

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