Why some drug-sniffing police dogs in Virginia are being forced into early retirement

Tyler Fridley
Posted at 4:25 PM, May 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-29 16:28:56-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Drug-sniffing police dogs from around Virginia are being forced into early retirement as the state prepares to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana on July 1.

Virginia is following a trend in other states where legalization has led to K-9s being put out to pasture earlier than planned.

Police dogs trained to detect the odor of marijuana will no longer be used to establish probable cause for a search.

Virginia state police are retiring 13 K-9s, while smaller police departments and sheriff’s offices are retiring one or two dogs.

Most are in the process of purchasing and training new dogs to detect only illicit drugs, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

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