Summit County K-9 Officers See Reduced Role With Legalization Of Medical Marijuana
Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright said the new medical marijuana law raises some big questions about how the regulation will shake out for them.
For one thing, it’s leading to a reduced, or different, role for their K-9 officers.
Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright said that for now, anyway, they’re taking their drug-sniffing dogs off traffic stops.
“With the legalization of medical marijuana if our dog indicates, our dogs are trained in marijuana detection, if they indicate on a vehicle and someone lawfully is in possession of marijuana it creates bad case law for us,” Wright explained. “We don't want to do that we want to respect you know the change in laws. So at this point it's a matter of waiting and seeing you know if there's going to be any kind of new court cases that come out that dictates how we can operate. At this point we would rather err on the side of caution and not put ourselves and other people in a situation that could create a lot of heartache for either side.”
He added that the canines will still be used for drug detection in the schools and in the jail.
We also asked what will change for them, in terms of stopping drugs on the Interstate.
“The Sheriff's Office has never really participated in that interdiction,” Wright continued. “Of course, we will if we are asked to participate in some sort of a big operation. In the past we have we do have a deputy that is assigned cross deputized with the Homeland Security, but he is helping with them usually down in the valley. Then of course, the Highway Patrol you know they are specific to the Interstate so we will help out on that kind of stuff. Of course, large amounts, when we're talking pounds and truckloads that is still illegal you still cannot possess that kind of amount of marijuana. Of course, you know the law dictates what kind of marijuana you can have whether it's edible or smoking marijuana or oil or whatnot.”