Inside the Beltway: The nose knows no more marijuana

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Narcotics dogs have one less job to do in the state of Washington. Now that marijuana has become legal within the borders, many law-enforcement agencies, including the Seattle Police Department and Washington State Patrol, will no longer train their drug-sniffing canines to alert handlers to marijuana.

The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, in fact, advised police that their pooches were not required to smell out the once-illegal stuff; the task has been eliminated already from the doggy performance standards test. But it’s complicated.

Officers will no longer be able to rely solely on a sniffer dog’s alert when determining probable cause for a search warrant, according to the association. Police must now inform judges that a narcotics dog might be alerting for a “legal” amount of marijuana, Washington State Patrol spokesman Bob Caulkins, told KATU-TV, an ABC affiliate.

“Moving forward, it makes most sense not to train dogs to alert to marijuana as that would likely lead to unwarranted investigatory detentions of people who are not breaking any law,” said Alison Holcomb, drug policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The state of Washington, meanwhile, has hired a $300-per-hour “pot czar” to help communities and officials ease into a cannabis-friendly marketplace. Ironically, an out-of-state group won the job: Massachusetts-based Botec Analysis Corp. was chosen over 112 other groups.

BRACKETING A FEW VOTES

Yes, President Obama is following the NCAA tournament, for better or worse.

“The president has his priorities. His White House closes tours while he continues to play golf and host lavish parties. He’ll be two months late with his budget, but he got his NCAA basketball brackets in right on time,” observes Bryan Preston, a Pajamas Media opinion writer.

“The leader of the semifree world picks Indiana to win it all. Sadly, Obama’s bracketology will end up helping him connect with some voters,” Mr. Preston adds.

Mr. Obama chose Florida, Indiana, Louisville and Ohio State to reach the Final Four.

“I’m going with Louisville. I know it’s not a surprise pick,” the president told ESPN. “And I’m going with Indiana. These are the two best teams right now, and for the championship I’m going back to the Big Ten. I think this is Indiana’s year.”

SANFORD, PART TWO

Now that the onetime “disgraced governor of South Carolina” has won his chance to run for the U.S. Congress, the press is already framing Mark Sanford with some specific flair. Among the emerging headlines:

“The next comeback kid” (Slate), “Rising from disgrace” (ABC News), “Is redemption complete?” (Christian Science Monitor), “Jenny should run Sanford’s campaign — into the ground” (Columbia Free Times, referring to the candidate’s former wife).

STILL THE BANE OF BOEHNER

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