Illinois Judge: Marijuana Smell Not Enough For Vehicle Search
Maybe the scent of weed isn't enough to justify a vehicle search, but if a cloud pours out the windows like you've just finished a road trip with Cheech & Chong, that may be a different story.
Regardless, this new ruling means that the smell of cannabis alone does not give police officers the authority to perform a warrantless search of vehicles in Illinois.
This All Started With A Traffic Stop For Speeding In Whiteside County
It's also important to note how the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana here in Illinois has made the job of police who patrol our streets and highways even more difficult.
According to the Whiteside County Court order, Trooper Wagand stopped a gray Chevy Impala driven by Kayla Cervantes, with the defendant, Vincent Molina, riding as the passenger.
The trooper requested and received identification during when he said he smelled "raw cannabis", which prompted him to search the vehicle even after Molina showed his medical use card. Molina was arrested for a misdemeanor possession of 2.6 grams of cannabis.
Mr. Molina, the man who was arrested in Whiteside County, fought against his misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession and won.
The Illinois Sheriff's Association (ISA), As You Might Imagine, Is Not Happy With The Ruling
The ISA, in a statement, said that they see a lot of people driving under the influence of cannabis, and that the judge's decision could end up making a bad situation 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. 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?"