Why Do We Include a 4th Amendment Card?
With Congress voting on the legalization of marijuana on a federal level next month, and Montana, Arizona, and New Jersey legalizing recreational use, learning about the 4th Amendment is more important than ever. But marijuana use/smell and the 4th Amendment have led to some interesting legal questions and have in fact led to changes regarding your rights when dealing with the police. Here at Dime Bags, we believe that understanding your 4th Amendment right is a pretty big deal, that’s why each bag we sell comes with a card stating it. To put it simply the 4th Amendment states when the cops are allowed to search your home, your bags, or your vehicle, and when they have to come back with a warrant.
When Can They Search?
In general, any private space, including homes, your person, bags, wallet, car, tent, etc. are protected from unlawful search and seizure by the 4th Amendment. If the authorities cannot see any evidence of wrong-doing they have to have a warrant to investigate these spaces. What ‘evidence’ means has changed over the years. There was a time when anywhere in the US the smell of marijuana was sufficient cause for an officer to perform a search. While the legalization of marijuana has made these waters even murkier.
Can They Search My Bag or Car Because They Smell Of Marijuana?
As an old stand-by excuse of the fuzz, the smell of marijuana has long served as an excuse for cops to violate your personal space and skirt the 4th Amendment. With marijuana being legal in an increasing number of states, this is rarely a viable course of action for them. The details of your local laws do make a difference, but generally speaking, if marijuana is legal in any capacity you’ve got firmer footing.
When Am I Protected?
If marijuana is legal in your state then the smell of marijuana is no evidence of wrong-doing and cannot be used as a reason to search your vehicle, person, or bag. In states where medical marijuana is legal things are a little fuzzier. In these places, you want to make sure that you have a medical card on you to present to the authorities. Even if a search takes place you have some assurance that any findings will be rendered inadmissible in court due to the unfounded searching of your belongings.
A primary example of this comes from a case in Pennsylvania, where a couple was pulled over for a moving violation. The officer performing the traffic stop smelled marijuana in the vehicle, which led to the passenger presenting her medical card to show that she was using it legally. The officer opted to search the vehicle anyway, leading to a court case. The ultimate ruling by the judge was that all evidence of wrong-doing had to be suppressed since it was gathered illegally.
If you’re heading out on the road with your stash, be sure that you know your rights. Pay attention to the ordinances of every area you’ll be passing through, and always keep your 4th Amendment card on you. This card clearly indicates your rights as pertains to search and seizure and may be enough to deter the officer from pressing further if no other evidence of wrong-doing can be found. You may also want to consider grabbing a bag from Dime Bags. Our smell-proof, carbon-lined Omerta line can give you protection from nosey authorities.