Legalisation Of Marijuana Is Forcing Police Dogs To Retire


Legalisation Of Marijuana Is Forcing Police Dogs To RetirePA Images

The legalisation of recreational marijuana is forcing police dogs into retirement.

Several states across the US have legalised the drug in a bid to free up the country’s police resources, but it may be having some unexpected consequences.


As it stands, 19 states have legalised marijuana including Colorado, Washington DC, Alaska and Michigan.

Drug-sniffing dogs in particular appear to have been hit hard by the legalisation, one being Tucumcari Police Department’s dog, Aries.


The New Mexico-based department announced the news on Facebook last month, writing:


We would like to take a moment to congratulate K9 Aries on his retirement effective today, June 29, 2021. With the legalization of recreational marijuana, K9 Aries is unable to continue his function as a narcotics detection dog.

K9 Aries started his career with the Tucumcari Police Department on February 12, 2015. His drug certifications include the detection of marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and MDMA (ecstasy). He also holds certifications in tracking and searching.

It further informed people that Aries will now be living with his handler, Lt. Shaun Slate, where he will ‘enjoy lots of play time, belly rubs, and as many ice cream cones his heart desires’.

It’s believed the issue with narcotics dogs and the legalisation of marijuana is that while the dogs are able to smell the drugs, they cannot communicate what type of drug it is. With this in mind, if police were to raid a person’s home for drugs that turned out to be marijuana, they would be violating that person’s rights.


Discussing this issue, Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said, as per KOB 4, ‘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.’

In addition to retiring Aries retiring from the Tucumcari Police Department, New Mexico State Police has announced that it plans on retiring all nine of its K9s that were trained to find marijuana.

Police dog (PA)PA Images

The department said in a statement:


Once the new canines are trained, the handlers will have the option of retiring their current assigned canine to their home, or we will look at other options to the likes of donating them to other law enforcement entities outside of the state of New Mexico who have yet to legalize marijuana.

While the legalisation of marijuana has left dozens of police dogs without work, it’s hoped that it will create thousands of jobs for people across the country. One report predicted that a million jobs could be made by 2025, Investopedia reports.

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Topics: Animals, Drugs, News, Now, US News, Weed


  1. KOB 4

    More police K9s forced into retirement following legalization of recreational marijuana

Niamh Shackleton
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