Republicans, in their unending quest to quash the tide of marijuana legalization, have latched onto the peculiar notion of canine unemployment as a rallying cry.
The stage for this bizarre spectacle was Minnesota's House of Representatives, where a bill legalizing non-medical cannabis for those 21 and older recently passed by a vote of 71-59.
During the pre-vote debate, Republican state Rep. Brian Johnson, who stood firmly against the bill, raised the alarm over the cost of retiring K-9s.
"I did not see anything reading through the bill dealing with our K-9 units," Johnson declared. "Can you tell me how much money is in this bill to help defer the cost to our counties and police departments for the cost of the retirement of the dogs?"
In a February committee hearing, Minnesota State Sen. John Jasinski, another Republican, bemoaned the impending loss of drug-trained dogs: "What it's gonna cost our law enforcement agencies who've… spent thousands and thousands of dollars on these dogs to get these dogs drug trained, and now they're going to have to be retired. That's a big issue. That's a huge cost right there," he said.
Vice cuts through the pot smoke and gets to the real reason the GOP likes police dogs — they are frequently used to attack Black people:
[S]ome criminal justice experts have been calling for an end to using police dogs, given their racist legacy—dogs were used to chase slaves—and brutal attacks. According to the Marshall Project, victims of police dog bites are disproportionately Black men.
If you are ever unsure about the motivations behind GOP behavior, remember that 80% of the time it comes down to racism or appeasing the NRA.