New York State Police dogs have stopped pot-sniffing training as the state prepares for proposed legislation to legalize marijuana in New York. Dogs working with county sheriff departments no longer have to be trained to sniff the drug.
State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, who was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, said the state agency will be releasing a report recommending the legalization of marijuana. The legislation session is coming to an end, and without Zucker’s report, Cuomo likely won’t push for legalization until next year.
Some sheriffs voiced opposition to this new dog training because once a dog has been trained to give an alert, it cannot be untrained. In addition to changing police dog behavior, New York City residents will now face summonses instead of arrest if caught smoking marijuanda under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new policy.
The relaxed city policy will go into effect by Sept. 1 and includes several exceptions for offers to use discretion when exercising enforcement. Some of the exceptions include facing arrest if someone is on parole or probation, has existing criminal warrants, doesn’t have identification, has recent documentation of violence or if smoking poses a public risk.
While New York continues to progress toward marijuana legalization, Canada recently became one of a few nations to legalize recreational marijuana.