What Really
Happens to Drug
Dogs in
Legal Cannabis

What Really
Happens to Drug Dogs in
Legal Cannabis States?


5 min


July 31, 2018





A headline in The Week magazine recently spooked a lot of dog lovers. “Illinois police claim if marijuana is legalized, they’ll have to kill their police dogs,”

Wait, really?

No, not true!

Future of the K-9

But what really are the implications of legalization for K-9 units that have been trained to detect cannabis? Are the dogs really that useless after they are no longer needed to detect pot? And is euthanasia really the most likely outcome?


Illinois police did back up one part of the original article piece. It says, “If pot use becomes legal, the dogs would likely either have to be retrained”

But retraining seems to be a very hard or impossible task for units.

So what happens then.

Early Retirment

If the K-9 cannot be retrained or put back into service he or she would be put in early retirement.

which would mean the dogs would live out their days with their police officer.

It doesn’t mean “they would be killed!” They would go on to live the GOOD LIFE.

Happy every after

A Police dog sometimes has other functions within the department. K-9s can have a wide range of skills, including tracing suspects locations, recovering weapon and much more.

Which then they all also live with their handlers at home.

In short, the K-9 unit has many functions and isn’t going anywhere but an early retirement with all the dog treats and fun they can have.

Legalization of cannabis will not kill dogs but instead actually give them more fun or new jobs.