Vermont Supreme Court Rules Marijuana Smell is Not Grounds for Search

January is already shaking out to be a big month for court rulings on the civil and criminal liabilities people should or shouldn’t face over the smell of cannabis. On the heels of a federal judge’s dismissal of a racketeering lawsuit against a smelly cannabis farmer, the Vermont Supreme Court has ruled that certain marijuana odors are not grounds for a search of persons or seizure of property. The important ruling creates a binding legal precedent across all courts in Vermont and comes at the end of a lengthy lawsuit by the Vermont ACLU.

2014 ACLU Lawsuit Ends with Vermont Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Driver

Simple cannabis possession has been decriminalized in Vermont since 2013. And in 2018, Vermont became the ninth state to legalize cannabis for adult use. But in March 2014, a Vermont state trooper pulled over Rultand resident Greg Zullo and ended up seizing his vehicle when Zullo refused to consent to a search. The officer asked to conduct the search after reportedly smelling “burnt cannabis” inside the vehicle. The trooper said he pulled Zullo over because snow was covering his car’s registration sticker.

Zullo consented to a search of his person. But police had to tow

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