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No, the state wouldn't have to kill police dogs if Illinois legalizes pot, chief says

Here’s what some people in Illinois think about legalized marijuana

As more and more states legalize marijuana, the popular opinion in Southern Illinois is that the drug should be legal in the Land of Lincoln, too.
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As more and more states legalize marijuana, the popular opinion in Southern Illinois is that the drug should be legal in the Land of Lincoln, too.

The police dog trainer who said he believed drug-sniffing dogs would have to be euthanized has retracted his statement, according to his police chief.

Decatur Police Detective Chad Larner told the Bloomington Pantagraph earlier this week that if marijuana is made legal, the dogs trained to detect narcotics would have to be euthanized because they could not be retrained.

However, many experts have stated this is not the case, and Decatur Police Chief James Getz Jr. told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday that Larner wishes he hadn’t made the statement, calling it “a bad choice of words.”

“There are so many uses for these dogs. They are multipurpose dogs,” Getz said. “We anticipate those dogs are going to work with us for a long, long time.”

Larner himself declined to comment to the Tribune, deferring to Getz.

In other states where marijuana was legalized, the dogs were often reassigned or retired and adopted, often by their handlers. Cook County dogs definitely won’t be retired, according to the Tribune: They are also trained for tracking suspects, apprehension, missing-person searches and three explosives-detection dogs that are not cross-trained for narcotics.

Illinois is considering a vote making it the 10th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Consequences have been lightened recently: possession of up to 10 grams is now a civil offense punishable by a small fine, and medical marijuana is currently legal with a limited list of qualifying conditions set to expire in 2020.

A recent poll indicated that about 66 percent of Illinois residents support legalization.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald
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