Vermont Supreme Court Rules Burnt Marijuana Smell Not Probably Cause to Search Vehicle

In a ruling that sets immediate precedent across Vermont, the state’s supreme court has decided that the smell of burnt marijuana is not enough to justify law enforcement obtaining a warrant to search a vehicle.

The court ruled that the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from a vehicle is not strong enough evidence or sufficient probable cause to conduct legally search said vehicle. The ruling comes roughly six months after the possession and personal cultivation became legal in the state.

“The seizure, aimed at immobilizing the plaintiff’s vehicle while the officer sought a search warrant, was essentially based solely on the trooper’s initial detection of the faint odor of burnt marijuana, which did not, in and of itself, create fair probability that marijuana would be found in the vehicle”, states the ruling.

The case, Zullo v. Vermont, effectively overturned a lower court decision.

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