Marijuana Smell Not Enough Cause For Police To Search
A new ruling states that just because police can smell it, doesn't mean they can search for it.
The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that the smell of marijuana is not just cause to search a vehicle search, even for a drug-sniffing dog.
According to reports, this new decree is based on the 2015 case in Moffat County involving the 48-year-old Kevin McKnight who was pulled over by Craig Police Cpl. Bryan Gonzales for apparently failing to use his turn signal. McKnight had just left a house that police searched two weeks prior for drugs. Therefore, Cpl. Gonzales called in one of their drug sniffing dogs named Kilo.
Kilo did pick up on something. He is trained to detect ecstasy, heroin, meth, and marijuana.
That gave police, at the time, reason to search the vehicle where they found a glass pipe that can be used to smoke meth.
However, the court ruled that since marijuana is now legal, police will need more cause in order to conduct a search. The main argument is that the dog cannot specifically tell police what it smells. Since marijuana is legal, it infringes of a person's privacy rights.
“Because Amendment 64 legalized possession for personal use of one ounce or less of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older in Colorado, it is no longer accurate to say, at least as a matter of state law, that an alert by a dog which can detect marijuana — but not specific amounts — can reveal only the presence of ‘contraband,
A dog sniff could result in an alert with respect to something for which, under Colorado law, a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy, because a dog sniff of a vehicle could infringe upon a legitimate expectation of privacy solely under state law, that dog sniff should now be considered a ‘search’ for purposes of (the amendment) where the occupants are 21 years or older.”