Canada's Legal Cannabis May Pose Challenges for Police Dogs
Friday, Oct 12, 2018

Legal cannabis in Canada may mean big changes for the country’s police canine units, according to a report from the CBC. Officer Jeff Rotinsky, a canine handler with the Winnipeg Police Service in the province of Manitoba, told local media that his police dog Mya will see less work once legalization goes into effect next week.

“What happens is, come Oct. 17, if I deploy my dog, she’s trained on the agenda of marijuana,”Rotinsky said. “It’s now a legal substance, that would now classify as an illegal search if she hit on that.”

Rotinsky said that Mya, a nine-year-old Belgian Malinois, has been trained to alert officers to many substances that are presently illegal.

“Those [substances] include methamphetamine, heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine,” Rotinsky said. “She’s marijuana trained with hash, hash oil, psilocybin—which is magic mushrooms—and she’s also trained on ecstasy as well, and imprinted on fentanyl.”

But Mya hasn’t been trained to indicate which substance she has found.

“She can’t lift one paw and say this is marijuana, lift the other paw and say this is cocaine,” Rotinsky said.