BARRE, Vt. — In an anticipatory move for the possible legalization of marijuana, Vermont police dogs are no longer trained to recognize the drug’s smell.
The Times Argus reports this year is the first that the Vermont Police Academy K-9 class had marijuana excluded from their training. Robert Ryan, the state’s head K-9 training coordinator, says officials first discussed the move last year. The Vermont Police Academy trains all state and local K-9s.
Ryan says the decision follows the assumption that Vermont will legalize marijuana, but police can easily train the dogs on the drug’s smell later if it isn’t ultimately decriminalized.
Montpelier Police Chief Anthony Facos says legalizing marijuana would have financial ramifications, with every law enforcement agency in the state needing new dogs that weren’t trained to detect marijuana.
In Colorado, K-9 dogs have sniffed out large amounts of marijuana during traffic stops since 2014, when recreational marijuana sales began. Drug-sniffing dogs in Douglas County have alerted deputies to more than 50 pounds of pot in two seizures since December. The sheriff’s office says the stashes were headed for distribution out of state.
Information from: The Times Argus