The self-revealing nature of the cannabis plant – its pungent smell – has long been exploited by law enforcement & used as an excuse for them to destroy lives. Numerous times, this matter has been brought before the courts with the rulings being a mixed bag.
In Pennsylvania, Timothy Oliver Barr II was stopped by cops for “failing to stop at a solid white line”, those cops claimed to smell cannabis, they used that as pretext to search the car (despite Barr and his wife having & presenting their medical marijuana cards), and Barr was arrested. Eventually, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled, “The odor of marijuana alone does not amount to probable cause to conduct a non-warranted search of the vehicle, but rather, may be considered as a factor in examining the totality of the circumstances.”
On the other hand, in Kansas, a cannabis conviction was upheld in a case where Lawrence Hubbard was followed home by a cop – who had mistaken Hubbard for someone with an outstanding arrest warrant. While Hubbard was clearing up the matter with the cop on his front porch, the cop claimed to smell pot, and conducted a “security sweep” of Hubbard’s home based on that claim. Hubbard was subsequently arrested when 25 grams were found in a Tupperware container.
Then there was the case of Bob and Teresa Almond whose home was raided by the Randolph County Drug Task Force in January 2018 – supposedly on the basis of cannabis smell. Approximately $50 worth of cannabis was found during that raid, and all charges against the couple were eventually dropped, but their home was seized by the county.
That seems like cruel and unusual punishment – but many local governments make big money off “asset forfeiture” privileges that have grown up in the war on drugs.
So, if you’re ever in a situation like this, don’t consent to a search, and keep your mouth shut. When those jackboots ask you if they can search your car, take Nancy Reagan’s advice and “Just Say No”.
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This has been another edition of “420 Words”
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