Can cops search you for smelling like weed? What rights do you have against police search and seizures? In this article, you’ll learn your fourth amendment rights and find out if marijuana odor is enough probable cause for you to get searched by the cops.
We’re going over the fundamental rights of cannabis lovers today. Say NO to unlawful search and seizure! This topic’s a pretty big deal because it seems like forever that cops have been using the old “it smelled like marijuana” line to cross the line and conduct illegal searches.
Is marijuana enough probable cause for cops to search you now that it’s becoming increasingly legalized? Read on to learn everything you need to know about your 4th Amendment rights and not consenting to police searches.
The Fourth Amendment
The 4th amendment’s wording in the United States’ Constitution dictates that governmental searches and seizures can only be conducted upon issuance of a warrant.
The police need to present evidence to a judge that they have probable cause in order to get a judicially sanctioned warrant. Using drug dogs and subjective reports about marijuana odor has been the cop’s main way to get their way, but are these methods that violate your rights?
There are essentially three things that fourth amendment cases cover –
- What government activities constitute “search” and “seizure”;
- What constitutes probable cause for these actions
- How violations of Fourth Amendment rights should be addressed
What Does The Fourth Amendment Do?
The 4th amendment protects you from unlawful search and seizure and gives you the right to say no to the cops when they ask to search your car, person, home, or even paperwork. The ultimate goal of the provision is to protect your right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable intrusions by the government.
Cannabis & Cops
It’s no secret cops are hoping to bust you for whatever they can and if they have to lie to do it they will. Former DEA agent and legal consultant in drug-offense cases, Barry Cooper says he’s used the “I detected the odor of marijuana” lie his entire career.
“As a top law enforcement agent in the U.S., I knew a judge would believe me over the ‘bad guy’ every time, so I could get away with lying. I usually didn’t have to lie about it though, because I loved making my dog “false alert” instead, using commands to excite the dog in order to get them to communicate a response, even when narcotics hadn’t been detected.”
infuriating, huh? Taking it to court against the cops in a fourth amendment case usually always ends up going in favor of the prosecutors. Although there have been plenty of cases overturned in which police were determined to have violated the amendment, the vast majority of them don’t end so well.
Even though cannabis is becoming increasingly accepted and tolerated at state and federal levels, there’s still a lot of gray area in the laws. We expect to see continued debate and court cases challenging the smell of marijuana as probable cause for warrantless searches moving into 2019.
Morgan Fox, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, suggests she doesn’t see these kinds of fourth amendment violations ending any time soon.
“In places like Washington, D.C., the smell of marijuana is no longer probable cause for someone walking down the street or on the subway, but until we get an actual chemical test for impairment, we’re going to continue to see the smell of marijuana used for sobriety tests and searches regarding automobiles.”
Fourth Amendment Cases
If you really want to dive down the rabbit hole of lawyer speak and court talk, check out this great rundown of the United States vs. Perdoma case that was decided in 2010.
Here’s a great resource if you’re interested in reading exactly how a criminal defense lawyer argues against violations of the fourth amendment in regards to marijuana smell as probable cause.
Protect Your dime bags With A Dime Bag
The American justice system is supposed to be fair, but let’s face it, how many of us believe that to be true, even just 50% of the time? Here’re 5 tips to stay safe and avoid becoming the victim of 4th amendment violations.
- Do not consent to warrantless searches
- Don’t drive with weed smoke or smell
- Use inconspicuous, smell-proof cases, protective cases for your stash
The easiest way to get busted by the cops is if they can smell or see your stash. And the easiest way to prevent that from happening is by investing in some quality smell-proof, protective gear.
Check out our extensive catalog of 100% smell proof bags, cases, and accessories. We use a custom carbon filter technology to make sure no aroma escapes the case.
You can go to our shop to browse protective cases that are:
- 100% SMELL-PROOF
We think they’re absolutely necessary if you travel with cannabis, concentrates, dabs, bongs, paraphernalia, or anything else that cops might want to call contraband.