Ohio Bill Would Fund Replacing Drug Dogs After Legalization

Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation to provide funds for retiring hundreds of K9 officers in the state after voters passed a cannabis legalization initiative last year, the Associated Press reports.

The bill aims to address a common issue faced by states that decriminalize or legalize adult-use cannabis, as police dogs cannot be simply “un-trained” after being taught to detect and alert for a certain odor.

House Bill 396 is primarily sponsored by Reps. Sean P. Brennan (D) and Josh Williams (R) but also counts dozens of other lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives as co-sponsors. The bipartisan bill proposes offsetting the costs of replacing and retiring drug-detection K9s by using some of the state’s adult-use cannabis tax revenue; police departments would be able to apply for grants of up to $20,000 per K9 that needs replacing.

“The fact that we’re now going to need 300 canines, like overnight in Ohio, the demand for dogs and for training is going to be at a premium.” — Rep. Brennan, via the Associated Press

The cost of acquiring and training a new drug-detection dog can easily reach up to $20,000, former K9 handler for the North College Hill Police Jay Manning said

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