Odor of marijuana no longer provides Probable Cause

Posted by Neil P. Halttunen | Sep 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

For decades, police officers have used motor vehicle stops and searches, which relied on officers saying they could smell marijuana, as part of their drug interdiction efforts. Because marijuana was illegal, the smell of it gave officers the probable cause they needed to justify the search. But now that marijuana is legal in 16 states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in 36 states plus D.C., the odor of marijuana no longer provides ironclad probable cause, because smoking it in those states is not necessarily criminal. In California, the smell of marijuana alone coming from a car no longer provides probable cause for search of the car. United States v. Martinez, (9th Cir. Apr. 20, 2020) and in Oregon the Court of Appeals recognized that the odor of marijuana alone does not provide reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed in State v. T.T. (2021). These court opinions drastically change the legal landscape of search and seizure for many people involved in the use of marijuana.  


About the Author

Neil P. Halttunen

Mr. Halttunen's practice is focused on criminal law, but he also helps clients with family law matters including restraining and stalking order defense . Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Halttunen worked as a police officer where he had assignments including detectives, training officer, major crash investigator, and drug recognition expert. Mr. Halttunen uses his background to carefully analyze police reports and to find the flaws in the prosecutors case. Mr. Halttunen is exceptionally well versed in DUII cases; so much so that he teaches other attorneys how to prepare their case. See  Mr. Halttunen's varied background provides him insights into a variety of cases.​


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