Smell of Weed No Longer Justifies Cop Search in This State
Even with valid medical cards for marijuana usage, patients in Arizona still have to hide the smell from stash to reach the local cops. However, recent changes in law regarding marijuana usage in the state suggest that smell of the drug will not be the reason of obtaining the search warrant.
“The police are no longer going to be able to base a search just off of the odor of marijuana,” said Russ Richelsoph, lawyer from Davis and Miles Law firm. He further said that, “there are going to need something else to indicate a crime is occurring.”
Promoting Weed Rights
The Arizona court of Appeals is overseeing the rule and judges are referring to the 2010 Medical Marijuana act to support their argument. According to the ruling, police officials now need a secondary reason to acquire a search warrant against any evidence of the illegal use of marijuana. Patients are still not allowed to use the drug while driving a car or in the presence of public. Many people, including Steve White, board member at Harvest of Tempe, are celebrating the decision as a win for their community.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court, still have the right of any action against amendments in the ruling for the usage of marijuana. After the decision by the Supreme Court, the full implementation of the ruling would be possible. Official are divided on this issue, especially the Phoenix division of the state Court of Appeals that give rights to acquire the search warrant against the smell of the drug coming from a house or warehouse. So the smell of marijuana is still a possible reason in acquiring a search warrant against the patients or the practitioners, as implemented by the Phoenix division of the state court of Appeals. On the other side, Tucson division favors the ruling so the local cops need another reasoning, beside the odor of Marijuana, in requiring a search warrant from the court.
Judges of Tucson division favor the ruling, as the odor of marijuana is not a single reason in acquiring a search warrant. This reasoning comes from a controversial case that involved several searches by police officers and SWAT team in several warehouses located in South Tucson. After a couple of raids the suspect (possible culprit), Ronaldo James Sisco was found to be the individual involved in the cultivation of weed in his warehouse. Officials based their search on the 2010 Medical Marijuana act, which was later challenged by the accused. Even Sisco was not a marijuana patient, still court favored the suspect argument and pushed the case back to the trial court. At the trial court, the officials were unable to follow through the hearing based on invalid evidence from the search warrant.
“In the absence of such data, and given that hundreds of Arizonans and scores of dispensaries now have permission to lawfully cultivate or store marijuana, the magistrate had no basis to assume that most warehouses currently containing marijuana in Arizona do so illegally” as stated by Perter Eckerstrom, the chief judge of Arizona court of appeals division 2, and Michael Miller.