In a stunning display of misplaced priorities, some Minnesota politicians appear to be more concerned about the jobs of drug-sniffing dogs than the lives of humans impacted by cannabis prohibition. As the push for cannabis legalization in Minnesota gains momentum, it seems the well-being of these K-9s has somehow become a primary argument against it.
Minnesota’s House of Representatives recently passed a bill to legalize non-medical marijuana for individuals 21 and older, with a vote of 71-59. However, Republican state Rep. Brian Johnson voiced his concern over the costs associated with retiring police dogs trained to sniff out cannabis. Apparently, the default state of unemployment for dogs is a problem that should hold priority over human freedom and well-being.
“I did not see anything reading through the bill dealing with our K-9 units,” Johnson said. “Can you tell me how much money is in this bill to help defer the cost to our counties and police departments for the cost of the retirement of the dogs?”
This K-9-centric mindset isn’t new. Minnesota State Sen. John Jasinski, also a Republican, previously raised the “police dog discussion” during a committee hearing, lamenting the “thousands and thousands of dollars” spent on training these furry narcs, who will now have to retire due to cannabis legalization.
It’s worth noting that the legal cannabis industry has already created hundreds of thousands of jobs for humans. Yet, it seems the careers of drug-sniffing dogs are held in higher regard by some politicians.
Training a police dog can cost between $12,000 and $15,000, according to the police website Police1. This doesn’t include the salary of their human handler. But perhaps these politicians should focus on the bigger picture, such as the racist legacy and brutal attacks associated with police dogs. As reported by the Marshall Project, victims of police dog bites are disproportionately black men. One needs only search the word “maul” in our archives to see the utterly horrifying cases of K-9 attacks on men, women, and even children.
Not surprisingly, we have reported on similar fear-mongering over police dogs and the drug war. In 2018, police in Illinois claimed that legalizing cannabis would lead to the euthanization of all their police K-9s. They actually tried to convince the public that if weed was legal, they would have to kill all their dogs. Obviously, that never happened.
When K-9s retire, many are adopted by their handlers as pets. They don’t receive pensions, but some organizations offer funds for their medical bills. We can’t say for sure how these retired K-9s adjust to their new lives, but chances are they’re more than happy to sniff other dogs’ butts instead of drugs.
The absurdity of prioritizing drug-sniffing dogs’ careers over human lives and the potential benefits of cannabis legalization is beyond comprehension. With the countless jobs created, tax revenue generated, and the reduction of the harms caused by cannabis prohibition, anyone who still stands in its way is proving they want to be on the wrong side of history.
This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.