Can’t you smell that smell? Arizona can. The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled that the cannabis smell is enough to obtain a search warrant.
It all began several years ago when Ron Sisco, from Tucson, decided that growing cannabis in a storage unit was a brilliant idea. In 2013, police officers were on a routine patrol when they noticed that smell.
A Search Warrant by Smell — Is the Cannabis Smell Really Enough?
It didn’t take long for the Counter Narcotics Alliance task force to obtain a search warrant for a warehouse and an attached residence. What they found was a cannabis grow operation that included over 300 plants and more than 50 pounds of cultivated hydroponic cannabis in both the home and warehouse.
Ronald Sisco was charged with unlawful possession of narcotic paraphernalia, possession of marijuana for sale, and unlawful cultivation of marijuana for sale.
And that’s where the story gets interesting…and a bit confusing.
Sisco voluntarily turned himself in once he realized the police were looking for him. His public defenders thought there was something not quite right with the search warrant.
Even though medical marijuana is legal, the Pima County Attorney’s Office said that a strong cannabis smell likely meant illegal activity.
The Supreme Court Overrules the Appellate Court
The appeals court sided with Sisco and sent his case to trial. But with none of the evidence allowed, because the search warrant couldn’t be used, it was likely there would not be a conviction.
As with many cases in the legal system, this was not over yet. The case was taken to the Arizona Supreme Court and they did not agree with the appellate court. They affirmed the right of police officers to perform searches based on the odor of cannabis only unless there are other circumstances and observations by the police officer that would have them believe that the smell is coming from a legal source.
If recreational cannabis is legalized in November this decision could change.
What do you think about Arizona’s decision? Should the cannabis smell be enough for a bust? Let us know in the comment section below.
Marijuana Politics, http://marijuanapolitics.com/quick-hits-pot-smell-alone-enough-warrant-arizona/ Retrieved July 15, 2016
Phoenix New Times, http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/scent-of-marijuana-alone-not-enough-for-search-warrant-appeals-court-rules-7508756 Retrieved July 15, 2016