Vermont Supreme Court: Smell of Burnt Cannabis Does Not Justify Search

Vermont Supreme Court: Smell of Burnt Cannabis Doesn’t Justify Search

The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled that a state trooper was wrong to catch a man’s automobile after he said that he smelled a faint odor of burnt marijuana.

The judgment creates binding court precedent across Vermont.

The court ruled Friday that a faint odor of burnt marijuana doesn’t create a fair probability that cannabis itself would be found. The judgment creates binding court precedent across Vermont, which legalized adult-use cannabis last year.

The Vermont American Civil Liberties Union sued the state over the seizure after then-21-year-old Greg Zullo of Rutland, who is black, was pulled over in Wallingford in March 2014. The trooper said snow was covering his registration sticker.

The trooper said he smelled burnt marijuana and asked to search the car. Zullo refused but allowed the trooper to search him.

The car was towed and a pipe and grinder with some marijuana residue were found, which isn’t a criminal offense.

While it’s authorized in Vermont for adults 21 and over to possess, eat, and develop cannabis for personal use, the state does not allow commercial farming or sales. That could change soon under a plan in the state Legislature that would legalize, regulate, and tax a commercial cannabis industry.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Released at Mon, 07 Jan 2019 20:06:12 +0000

Posted in: News

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