Smell of Marijuana no longer probable cause for Illinois car searches

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Now in Illinois the smell of marijuana does not give probable cause for officers to do a warrantless search during traffic stops.

On Friday Whiteside County court Judge Daniel P. Dalton made the ruling.

Local law enforcement officials say this could cause issues when officers try to stop people who have recently smoked the drug.

“In Illinois, you can transport legally cannabis as long as it's on odorless container well that right there on its face means that you shouldn’t be able to smell it,” said Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell.

He said this will only create more problems for law enforcement trying to stop those driving while impaired.

“If you can smell it that tells law enforcement that’s there’s either cannabis being consumed in the car and often times the smell of burnt or unburnt or raw cannabis is difficult to tell the difference in “

The Illinois Sheriffs Association said they see many people driving under the influence of cannabis and worried this could make matters worse.

“We don’t know how much is in a vehicle, "said Jim Kaitschuk, the Executive Director for ISA." I mean it can smell pretty strong regardless of the amount. I find it problematic. I think roads will become less safe because of action like this.“

The ruling was sparked by a case where a Whiteside County man was stopped by a state trooper for speeding.

The officer performed a search after smelling marijuana and arrested the man after finding over two grams.

“You may very well run into a situation where not only does the owner of the vehicle have raw cannabis, but they also have burnt so how are we supposed to make a distinction there, "said Kaitschuk.

Now the man who was arrested in Whiteside County did fight against his misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession and won.

When it comes to the ruling the state can appeal the decision.a

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