Monday, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) in Orlando, Florida posted a photo on X, formerly known as Twitter, gloating over a large bust involving 18 pounds of what appears to be brick weed that was found at Orlando International Airport.
“Karma ruins Central Florida marijuana delivery,” Yahoo! News reports. Cannabis isn’t tolerated quite yet in Florida airports, especially not in amounts that large.
While Florida approved Amendment 2, allowing for medical cannabis, airport officials went out of their way to clarify no pot is allowed onsite. The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board promptly issued a policy that bans visitors from traveling with their prescription cannabis at the airport. The reason for the policy is to avoid potential conflicts with the Federal Aviation Authority board, which provides grants to the Orlando International Airport.
Police proudly posed Karma in front of the suitcase. “OCSO K9 Karma would like to meet the owner of this suitcase found at baggage claim with 18lbs of marijuana inside of it. Thanks to K9 Karma and her skilled detection, these drugs will never make it to the streets of Orlando.”
Eighteen pounds of pot is below the 25-pound threshold that normally enhances a possession charge to a trafficking charge, as defined under Florida Statute 893.1351(4). But at airports, federal law trumps state law.
Commenters were not having it. “Imagine liquor is legal where you live, which ruins far more lives than weed ever could, but you can’t relax with a joint & munchies to watch your favorite movie,” one commenter posted. “How ridiculous.”
“This was a waste of money, resources, and time,” another commenter wrote. “I know y’all have to be transparent, but sounding proud of it sounds, really bad.”
This comes at a time when police routinely get roasted for bragging about pot busts that are posted on social media. In one post, cops in Tenaha County in Texas fanned out one-dollar bills on a table after arresting three twenty-some-year-olds in a post that was supposed to impress people. Commenters roasted details in the photo, like an empty canister and empty baggies spread across the table.
Pot busts aren’t celebrated by all when dozens of states have legalized it in one form or another—even when it involves 18 pounds of the plant.
Drug-Sniffing Dogs and Pot
Karma’s days as a drug dog could be numbered, however. At least when it comes to common traffic stops on the road.
Cannabis legalization is putting police dogs out of work. The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota, for instance, recently told USA Today last July that their last few drug-sniffing dogs are headed for retirement.
According to USA Today, a 2005 Supreme Court decision essentially means that if a dog detects drugs during a traffic stop, the officer has probable cause to search your car without a warrant. He adds that when a dog smelled weed in his jurisdiction, it could often lead to the discovery of illegal firearms or other drugs. But that could fall apart fast in court in states that have legalized forms of cannabis.
In 2015, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that searching a vehicle involving drug-sniffing dogs was a clear violation of the shield that is supposed to protect Americans from unreasonable seizures.
“We hold that a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures,” the ruling states. “A seizure justified only by a police-observed traffic violation, therefore, ‘becomes unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete the mission’ of issuing a ticket for the violation.”