Minnesota Supreme Court: Marijuana Odor Alone Not Enough for Vehicle Search

Marijuana Odor Vehicle: The Scent That No Longer Spells Trouble

Hey there, fellow cannabis enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into a hot topic that’s been causing quite a buzz – the scent of marijuana lingering in your . Buckle up because we’re about to explore a recent ruling by the that’s shaking things up. So, what’s the deal with the Marijuana Vehicle, you ask? Well, let’s roll up our sleeves and find out together.

The Court’s Groundbreaking Decision

First things first, folks. You’ve probably heard the saying, “The nose knows,” but in this case, it might not be as accurate as you’d think. The Minnesota Supreme Court recently dropped a bombshell ruling that changes the game when it comes to probable cause for vehicle .

  • Picture this: It’s 2021, and a routine traffic stop in Meeker County unfolds. Adam Torgerson gets pulled over for having too many lights on his vehicle’s grill. Now, here’s the twist – the officer claimed to smell marijuana wafting from Torgerson’s car window. Suspicious, right? But the catch is that Torgerson, along with his wife and child, denied any cannabis presence in the car.
  • As the tension mounts, a second officer swoops in, claiming to catch a whiff of weed as well. Without wasting any time, the officers order everyone out of the vehicle and initiate a . Guess what they find? A small stash of methamphetamine and some paraphernalia.
  • Now, before we jump to conclusions, remember that Torgerson wasn’t driving erratically, and there was no apparent crime in sight. The officers based their probable cause solely on the smell of marijuana, and that’s where the plot thickens.

The Court’s Verdict

Fast forward to the courtroom – a district court deemed the evidence obtained from the search inadmissible. Why, you ask? Well, even in 2021, possession of marijuana wasn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to trouble. marijuana was legal, industrial hemp looked and smelled a lot like regular marijuana and was also lawful, and small quantities of pot had been decriminalized.

  • Minnesota didn’t take this lying down; they appealed the decision and even lost in the appeals court. So, they carried it to the big – the Supreme Court. And guess what? The Supreme Court stood its ground, backing the lower courts’ decisions.

The Legal Nitty-Gritty

Now, let’s break down the legal jargon for a second. Justice Anne McKeig, writing for the majority, pointed out that the court had previously ruled that the smell of alone wasn’t a sufficient reason for a vehicle search.

  • Here’s the kicker: Because marijuana was legal in some circumstances in 2021, McKeig emphasized that the “odor of marijuana should be considered along with the totality of any other circumstances to determine whether there is a fair probability that a search will yield contraband or other evidence.” In other words, the smell alone doesn’t cut it anymore.

Dissenting Voices

But, wait, there’s more! Outgoing Chief Justice Laurie Gildea had a different take. She dissented from the majority, arguing that because marijuana is contraband in Minnesota, the smell of it in a car should reasonably lead to the conclusion that there might be marijuana present.

A Glimpse into Colorado

This Minnesota ruling isn’t the first of its kind. If we hop over to Colorado, we find a similar situation. Since 2016, the odor of marijuana alone hasn’t been sufficient to establish probable cause for a vehicle search.

  • However, it’s essential to note that the Minnesota ruling doesn’t mention any changes following the statewide legalization of low-dose THC edibles in 2022 and personal use marijuana this year.

A Win for Civil Liberties

Now, let’s take a step back and consider what this ruling means. It’s a victory for civil libertarians and racial justice who’ve long argued that the scent of marijuana has been used to justify unconstitutional searches, violating the Fourth Amendment.

In conclusion, folks, the scent of marijuana alone won’t cut it anymore for a vehicle search in Minnesota. It’s a game-changer that aligns the state with Colorado’s stance. As the cannabis landscape evolves, so do the legalities surrounding it. We’ll keep you updated on all things Marijuana Odor Vehicle.

And that’s a wrap for today, my fellow cannabis enthusiasts! Remember, stay informed, stay safe, and keep enjoying the journey of cannabis legalization.


Original Article by Christopher Ingraham, Minnesota Reformer.

Malvin Felix
I'm Malvin, a cannabis news enthusiast who finds joy in staying updated about the latest industry trends. My passion led me to become a dedicated writer, entrepreneur, and investor in the cannabis space. Through my writing, I aim to educate and spark discussions, while my entrepreneurial ventures and strategic investments reflect my commitment to driving positive change in the industry.

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