Last week the Colorado Court of Appeals set a new precedent for drug cases in the state. The three judge panel ruled that officers need more cause to search a vehicle without permission than simply the smell of marijuana coming from a car.
The problem is that most drug-sniffing dogs are trained to alert officers to marijuana and other drugs, however, the dog cannot differentiate whether he smelled pot or other drugs, making the search illegal.
The drug-sniffing police dogs in Colorado who can detect marijuana may need new training. Judges wrote now that marijuana is legal users should have “a legitimate expectation of privacy.”
Colorado is not the only legal state to have this problem. Courts in other states with legal marijuana for medical or recreational purposes have said that the smell of marijuana is insufficient grounds for officers to conduct a search.