marijuana dog

Are Colorado K9 Units Obsolete?

Colorado K9 Units Rendered Virtually Obsolete After Legalization of Marijuana

Marijuana Legalized in Colorado.

Marijuana: With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana use and possession in Colorado, the Colorado Court of Appeals has recently stated that law enforcement officials can no longer rely on K9 units for establishing probable cause to search a vehicle.

A three-judge panel decided on July 14 that officers would need more than a drug-sniffing dog to legally search a vehicle without the operator’s permission. In light of this, the state is considering putting the dogs through “extinction training.”  This means the drug dogs will learn that the presence of marijuana is no longer considered a criminal activity.

Judge Daniel Daily wrote “Because a dog sniff of a vehicle could infringe upon a legitimate expectation of privacy solely under state law, that dog sniff should now be considered a ‘search’ if the occupants are 21 years or older.”

This ruling stems from a case in 2015, where a Colorado resident was stopped by law enforcement for failing to use his turn signal. This was the driver’s second stop in the past two months that resulted in him being arrested for possession of illegal drugs. In the most recent stop, the officers found a pipe that they determined was used to smoke meth.

After pulling over the driver, the officers used a drug-sniffing dog to warrant a search on the driver’s vehicle. The dog immediately alerted the officers, due to the presence of drugs.

Although the driver’s attorney fought to get the evidence thrown out, the driver was convicted of both possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia

Upon appeal, the court sided with the driver. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the arresting officers could not have determined what type of drugs alerted the dog.  The drug dog could have been alerted to marijuana, which is legal in Colorado.  If the dog were only responding to the presence of marijuana, the officers would have no probably cause to search the vehicle.

After the ruling, the driver’s charges were dropped.  Moreover, Colorado’s K9 units were rendered virtually obsolete until they undergo further training.

New Orleans Criminal Lawyer | New Orleans Marijuana Crimes


If you were recently cited, fined or arrested for a marijuana use, marijuana possession, or marijuana paraphernalia in New Orleans, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Crescent City Law today. If you or a loved one is currently facing drug-related charges, the criminal defense lawyers at Crescent City Law in New Orleans will fight for you.  Regardless of the circumstances, we will always fight to have your charges dropped or reduced. Facing drug charges can be stressful, but it does not have to be. Call Crescent City Law at (504) 264-9492 or fill out a contact form for a FREE Consultation.