There seems to be a never-ending list of absurd reasons police and other professions benefitting from the prohibition of marijuana have used to argue against legalization. The latest comes from a K-9 handler from Illinois, who claimed that dogs currently being used to detect controlled substances would most likely have to be killed. The fact that current dogs can’t be untrained from detecting the odor of cannabis, doesn’t mean they couldn’t be repurposed within the same department. Many of these same dogs have already been trained to track down fleeing suspects and could also be used as a threat to criminals hiding in an enclosed space. Those types of scenarios are routine and seem to happen in every episode of Cops. While the local police departments would have to procure and train new drug-sniffing dogs for roadside traffic stops, saying euthanization is the likely future for many pups is a desperate scare tactic. The center of drug investigations in states with prohibition including Illinois has always been marijuana. These departments have a ton to lose when it comes to funding, staffing, and most importantly, probable cause. Cannabis has a pungent odor that is the most recognizable among recreational drugs. This has been used as an excuse to search and arrest countless people for offenses including cannabis but often additional, more serious crimes.
I would like to believe that not all police officers are for the prohibition of cannabis and would enjoy not having to arrest people for simple possession. This individual officer ( Macon County Sherrif Buffett) was not part of this minority. He simply knows that the past few years have shown great legislative progress across the nation pertaining to legal cannabis. The public approval of recreational marijuana has been rising among polls steadily each year and is now said to lie slightly above the 60% mark nationwide. Desperate times call for desperate measures and in his eyes, this was the last resort speech he needed in order to support the growing problem of mass incarceration. K-9’s were put on the force to be trained and help fight the failed war on drugs. It’s not the community’s problem that there will be a surplus of dogs that shouldn’t have been used in the first place. If they can’t be reassigned as mentioned earlier, they could be adopted by gradually removing them from the working environment. Handlers already live with their dog outside of work hours, so there is no reason they couldn’t adjust to being there all day long.
The impact these type of nonsensical statements have on the public is often opposite from the original intent of the message. Many more people start to question the true purpose of the anti-pot stance and see right through the distraction and follow the money. Few still believe the illusion that the government is looking out for your health and the well-being of communities by outlawing plants, but they’re out there. Opponents like Buffett are simply putting themselves on the wrong side of history before it is written. Not many people have a positive outlook on Harry Anslinger from the 1930’s or anyone else that put profits over doing the right thing. The fact that the war on drugs got so out of control and drug squads grew into a local military force, isn’t a reason to keep unnecessary jobs employed. There are many professions that have been wiped out due to their inability to adapt to change(political or technological) and law enforcement should be expected to do the same.