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  • Smell of Marijuana - Probable Cause Alone?

    I recently came across some sites pertaining to marijuana and the law, and upon further research, it seems that a number of sources seem to contradict one another when it comes to this topic.

    Say you pull over an automobile, as a typical traffic stop, and you recognize the simple odor of marijuana. No smoke, no joint, no baggies--just the odor. Is this enough to allow a search?

    According to this article, the smell of marijuana gave police officers (in multiple instances and states) probable cause to search a car. However, according to this source and this source, smell does not give probable cause.

    Thanks for your time.

    Edit: Additionally, Washington v. Grande (July 2008) ruled that the smell of marijuana in a general area is insufficient to support probable cause. Page 15
    Last edited by JohoTehAzn; 09-03-2008, 01:59 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by JohoTehAzn View Post
    Say you pull over an automobile, as a typical traffic stop, and you recognize the simple odor of marijuana. No smoke, no joint, no baggies--just the odor. Is this enough to allow a search?

    Yes.
    "Why is common sense so rare?" - Me

    By the way.. They aren't "Clients" or "Customers" they're CRIMINALS... sheesh

    Comment


    • #3
      4 things.

      1) In the first case, the odor of weed had nothing to do with the search. He had reason to believe that the person may have a weapon, and patted him down for officer safety. I found an illegally held weapon, and placed subject under arrest for said weapon. He then conducted a full search incident to arrest and found the drugs.

      2) Their little experiment had nothing to do with law. It was an experiment where they threw some weed in the trunk, and had who knows who (people who have probably never smelt cannabis) sniff the window. The reason we CAN search a vehicle, is because we recognize the odor through our training and experience. That article simply states that through their experiment they don't BELIEVE officer's should be able to search after they notice the odor (what else would you expect from NORML?). Again, nothing about law, just about what they think... which is irrelevant.

      3) and 4) Basically say the same thing. In the case they are talking about, the officer noticed the odor, placed both people UNDER ARREST, then searched their persons and found cannabis. That is simply one of those case laws where a cop did something he shouldn't have, for some reason or another a judge let it slide, and it turned into case law to make sure it didn't happen again. Again, this case has nothing to do with searching the vehicle. The 3rd link simply puts that case in there and makes it look like something it's not, so that when I smell the cannabis, and one of their subscriber's says "you can't do that because of so and so"... I just laugh at them and ask them if they actually read the whole case. Again, I want to point out that Washington v. Grande DOES NOT say that the odor of cannabis is not sufficient to search a vehicle. You have to read the whole case and actually understand what happened in THAT case, just reading the ruling is like just reading the last paragraph of a 200 page novel.

      On a side note, NORML really doesn't bother me. For the most part, they're just a bunch of guys that want to smoke a little weed at home. However, stopthedrugwar.org is a bunch of idiots. Spend a week on the streets of most any city in America, and tell me that most crime isn't drug related.
      Last edited by StudChris; 09-03-2008, 02:25 AM.

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      • #4
        I would be wary of legal advice dispense from web sites called "stopthedrugwar" or "norml"

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        • #5
          In Texas, yes the smell alone is Probable Cause!

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          • #6
            When in doubt call the dog.....

            Comment


            • #7
              Articulation is my P.C.
              Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you can:
                1) See it
                2) Hear it (ie: gunshots)
                3) Feel it (ie: a concealed handgun)
                4) Smell it (ie: the odor of marijuana)
                5) Taste it (I make it a point not use this sense.)
                You can detain or arrest based upon the totality of your observations, experience and training.

                One sense can be as good as another to recognize a violation being committed in your presence. Regarding marijuana: Recognizing the smell of burning marijuana can be better evidence of possession than just seeing someone with an unlit, handrolled, cigarette that you believe might be marijuana.
                "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JohoTehAzn View Post
                  Say you pull over an automobile, as a typical traffic stop, and you recognize the simple odor of marijuana. No smoke, no joint, no baggies--just the odor. Is this enough to allow a search?
                  We hold that the smell of marijuana in the general area where an individual is located is insufficient, without more, to support probable cause for arrest.
                  There is always more. Officers just need to articulate as if the smell wasn't enough in case it gets challenged. When you articulate 10 facts and one gets thrown out you still have PC.
                  "You don't want the truth because, deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall... I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JohoTehAzn View Post
                    I recently came across some sites pertaining to marijuana and the law, and upon further research, it seems that a number of sources seem to contradict one another when it comes to this topic.

                    Say you pull over an automobile, as a typical traffic stop, and you recognize the simple odor of marijuana. No smoke, no joint, no baggies--just the odor. Is this enough to allow a search?

                    According to this article, the smell of marijuana gave police officers (in multiple instances and states) probable cause to search a car. However, according to this source and this source, smell does not give probable cause.

                    Thanks for your time.

                    Edit: Additionally, Washington v. Grande (July 2008) ruled that the smell of marijuana in a general area is insufficient to support probable cause. Page 15
                    Yes, it is enough probable cause to search. I think you might want to read Washington vs. Grande, again. It doesn't say what you think it says.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      the problem i have with burnt mj giving only RAS is that if you call a dog it will hit thus giving you PC. you can smell that burnt mj just as well as the dog can. why would the dog give pc and not your smell? ive never had a problem articulating a smell of burnt mj and searching off that.
                      Perseverate In Pugna

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                      • #12
                        Yes, it's PC.
                        sigpic

                        I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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                        • #13
                          Smell alone is enough to search without a warrant. However, just because I smell it doesn't mean it is still in the car or on the person. So i'm not going to arrest someone until after I have evidence that they are in fact in possession of marijuana.

                          Smell alone, I search. Smell and possession, I arrest.
                          "When I close my eyes.....I'll see you on the other side....!!!"

                          Hate to put it this way skippy, buy every night I suit up and climb in the cruiser I'm at war. I'm always outnumbered, potentially out gunned and always behind enemy lines.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            PC is PC if I am searching for the odor of burning majr. you can arrest for it. If it's all smoked and you cant find any you can still legally arrest for it based off of your training, knowledge, and experiance. It's probaly going to get tossed in court but none the less.


                            There was a recent case that came down in MD. I forget the name of it. More or less Officers got an annonymous complaint of people using drugs in a house. Police arrived and smelled the odor of burning marji. Police knocked and stated "Police let us in". I do not THINK they forced entry. None the less the case got tossed saying they created the extigent circumstance by stating they were the police causing the people to dispose of evidence. I can only assume this was a poorly written police report brought to the court by a poorly educated states attorney. Sets an awful president. Vehicles are still good to go because of Carroll...house's get paper they are saying in MD unless you are there for an undrug related call.

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                            • #15
                              In the good old State of Az it does.
                              Why do people think they have the right not to listen when they are told to roll a window down or unlock a door?

                              Comment

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