The Nose Does Not Always Know: Smelling Cannabis Is Not Probable Cause

As history is made and states across the nation set out to enact some form of marijuana legislation, the requirement for probable cause is bound to change as well. Currently, there is a very low threshold that needs to be met to allow a police officer to search a person, car or house. However, that is all about to change.

Police officers are known for their incredible sense of smell, or rather, their use of “the smell of marijuana” as probable cause to search cars and houses. Recent case law alters this practice by declaring “the smell of marijuana alone” insufficient probable cause for searching a home in Texas, according to 2013 appellate court case Turrubiate v. State.In this case, the police officers arrested the defendant based on a warrantless search of the defendant’s home stemming from a strong odor of marijuana and the presence of children. However the presence of the...

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