Saturday, April 20, 2024

Just smelling like marijuana is enough to warrant a search in Wisconsin

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Weed is pungent. That’s the first thing everyone learns about the plant. This pugency has been used countless times for police action and in Wisconsin, where weed is illegal, it has now been sanctioned by the state supreme court.

In a case based on a search of Quaheem Moore’s car in 2019 (where a car that he claimed was his brothers smelled like marijuana. He had a CBD vaping cartridge on him), the state Supreme Court voted 4-3 that the smell was enough to warrant a full search of the car.

The argument for Moore seemed rather strong. First of all, the smell of marijuana is so strong that it lingers for hours, and sometimes days, after being administered, so there was no way for the police to know that it was coming from him. Also it’s difficult to distinguish the smell of marijuana (illegal in the state) to CBD (legal in Wisconsin).

After the search in 2019, the police did not find any marijuana. However, they charged Moore with possession of cocaine and fentanyl, which they found in his pocket. Moore has been trying to get these charges dropped based on an illegal search.

The majority opinion of the court stated that the police had grounds to search, because Moore was the only person in the car, and that he “was probably connected with the illegal substance the officers identified.”

The opposing opinion landed in a place of the unknowability of the smell’s source. “Officers who believe they smell marijuana coming from a vehicle may just as likely be smelling raw or smoked hemp, which is not criminal activity.”

It’s an interesting case, and seems that the minority opinion has much stronger legs to stand on.

Read the original article at NBC Chicago.

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