The smell of pot DOES NOT constitute probable cause for police to search your vehicle rules the Colorado Court of Appeals

Sunday, July 30, 2017
By Paul Martin

by: JD Heyes
Saturday, July 29, 2017

) Backers of marijuana use for recreational purposes won another court victory this week as a state court ruled that police cannot stop or arrest someone just because they smell pot in a suspect’s vehicle.

As reported by The Grand Junction Sentinel in Colorado, indications by drug-sniffing police dogs that there are controlled substances in a vehicle is in and of itself not sufficient probable cause for officers to then search the vehicle, the state Court of Appeals ruled on Thursdays.

The case, which observers said will set a precedent, perhaps beyond Colorado’s borders, involved a resident of Moffat County. The three-judge appeals panel agreed with the defendant that police need more of a cause to search a vehicle without the owner’s permission.

Why? Because, the court ruled, there could be legal marijuana in the car.

“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,’” said Judge Daniel Daily for the panel, a ruling joined by Judges Jerry Jones and Michael Berger.

“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,” the court noted further. “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.”

The Rest…HERE

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