Police Dogs, Cannabis & Legalization


Police dogs get desensitized to cannabis in legal states

By Sharon Letts


As voters in Illinois’ Cook County overwhelmingly approved its legalization ballot measure this month, the scare tactic of euphonizing its police dogs lingers.

Cook County is the country’s second most populated county, after Los Angeles in California. More than 40 percent of all Illinois residents reside there, with the City of Chicago the county seat.

During the campaign to get cannabis legalized, the usual rhetoric was used, “what about the children,” et al, with a new concern leading to so much propaganda, of euthanizing police dogs if the law is passed.

This unfounded concern was brought up by son of billionaire Warren Buffett, Macon County Sheriff, Howard Buffett, in an interview with The Pantagraph, stating that entire units of K-9 officers would have be replaced if voters approved legalizing cannabis in the state.

“The biggest thing for law enforcement is, you’re going to have to replace all of your dogs,” Buffett said. “So, to me, it’s a giant step forward for drug dealers, and it’s a giant step backward for law enforcement and the residents of the community.”

On the campaign train questionable statements are often made, then fact checked later – with the damage done. Campaign leaders rely on the populace’s short attention spans. Say it today, and they will remember it tomorrow – even when proven untrue.

The thought of having to euthanize police dogs in lieu of the acceptance of cannabis, is a frightening visual to voters.

Correspondence with Evan Anderson of the National Police Dog Foundation, told another story.

“Rather than retraining, the dogs are just desensitized to the odor of marijuana,” he explained in an email. “Almost all of the police dogs in California have been taught to ‘not alert’ to the odor of marijuana since recreational use was legalized.”

Basically, he said, they are “proofed off” indicating the odor. When asked why Howard Buffett would use such a scare tactic, that’s clearly not true, he replied, “I wish I knew – gave up trying to figure out why.”

Prior to the Adult Usage Act being passed in California, propaganda included the “what about the children” remarks, were easily dispelled with myriad testimonials from parents of children helped.

Senior citizens have also been targeted with scare tactics that cannabis will cause them to be “disoriented,” “forgetful, and worse. This campaign strategy is used in light of solid statistics, pegging the older sect as the fastest rising demographic to use cannabis as medicine for aches and pains, and more.

With the children and senior citizens no longer a viable target for propaganda, and police dogs are then threatened in an effort to scare voters from safe access to cannabis, it’s an easy guess the powers that be are running out of ways to dissuade voters.

Thankfully, Cook County voters of Illinois ignored the ploy, with legalization on the horizon this November; and the police dogs’ living happily ever after in the Land of Lincoln.


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Writer and Producer Sharon Letts began her life's work at age of 24 as a flower gardener in Southern California. Gardening turned to media, when she was asked to produce and host a visiting gardening show, In and Out of the Garden, for local television. She then went on to executive produce, Off the Beaten Path, a travelogue in California for PBS. After working as a field and segment producer for documentary and magazine shows for television in Los Angeles, Sharon was brought up to Humboldt County to produce a news show. While working in media in the cannabis capitol of the world, Sharon presented with Lobular Carcinoma (breast cancer). Due to her location, she was given cannabis oil, successfully putting the cancer into remission, while simultaneously doing away with 10 prescription medications. To date, Sharon has covered six states and three countries on cannabis as medicine; writing internationally for many publications. Her many patient profiles include cover features on celebrities, Tommy Chong, Willie Nelson, and Melissa Etheridge. She has published two works of fiction, and is working on a screenplay inspired by her time in Humboldt County. She’s also come full circle, developing intelligent magazine and documentary shows for TV on the subject.

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