Pot smell not enough to search car, Colorado court rules
July 15, 2017
Drug-sniffing police dogs in Colorado may need new training if they can detect marijuana.
A ruling last week by the Colorado Court of Appeals sets a precedent for drug cases.
A three-judge panel ruled that if a drug-sniffing dog is trained to alert officers to marijuana and other drugs, cops need more cause to search a vehicle without permission. That's because marijuana is legal in Colorado, so residents' "legitimate expectation of privacy" is not trumped by the possibility that a drug dog alerted to a legal substance.
The (Grand Junction) Sentinel reports that because a drug dog used in a 2015 Moffat County case could not tell officers whether he smelled pot or other drugs, the search that turned up a meth pipe was illegal.
Courts in other states with legal marijuana for medical or recreational purposes have said that a pot smell is insufficient grounds for a search.