DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that police require probable cause before deploying dogs trained to detect marijuana.
The Denver Post reports the court ruled 4-3 Monday that under the state constitution, a dog trained to alert officers to marijuana cannot be used before police obtain evidence that a crime was committed.
Previously officers operated under the lower standard of only suspecting a crime.
Officials say K9 officers are now subject to the same standards used for other property searches.
Colorado's 2012 vote to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use has caused debate over dog searches because the animals can alert officers to legal amounts.
Officials say police have already begun phasing out marijuana-trained dogs in favor of animals that do not detect that drug.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com