Scent of Marijuana is not Probable Cause in Arizona

A new Opinion by Chief Judge Eckerstrom of the the Arizona Court of Appeals was filed on Monday stating that “the scent of marijuana, standing alone, is insufficient evidence of criminal activity to supply probable cause for a search warrant.” This opinion is due to the fact that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act renders possession, cultivation, and use of marijuana lawful under some circumstances. Because of those limited circumstances the scent alone does not suggest criminal activity.

In the case State of Arizona vs. Sisco a search warrant was given for a warehouse in a complex of warehouses. When the officers entered the building which the warrant was issued for they found that it had contained no marijuana. After this, the same officer applied for a second search warrant for another unit in the same complex which was separated by a fence and locked gate, stating that with the original search warrant the officers had been able to “narrow down the source of the odor.” The officers were granted this new search warrant, because at that time the odor of marijuana was still sufficient evidence for a search.

While this ruling does strengthen your fourth amendment rights to unlawful search, it is a limited protection. Probable cause can still arise when the scent of marijuana is coupled with other common evidence which suggests a marijuana related offense.

It is important for you to know your rights if you are involved in any sort of police investigation. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has made possession of Marijuana legal in some cases, be sure to protect your Fourth Amendment rights! If you find yourself in need of legal help from possession of marijuana, call Chuck Today at 480-545-0700!

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