Cannabis Automobile search rules 2020

Michigan Cannabis Automobile Search Rules 2020

Federal Cannabis Automobile Search Rules

In a recent decision out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, United States v. Gray, the odor of marijuana in a motor vehicle could provide the probable cause necessary for a warrantless search automobile search in a state that has legalized adult use of marijuana. What does this mean for Michigan Cannabis Automobile search rules?

More states across the Country are leaning toward this type of approach in determining the reasonableness of similar searches.

Cannabis Automobile Search Rules

Cannabis Automobile Search Rules


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Michigan Cannabis Automobile Search Rules 2020

Obviously, Michigan is now a recreational state. We will most likely be looking to other states that have recreational laws for guidance on how to decide these types of issues.

In Gray, two occupants of a vehicle were traveling on a downtown street without any lights on. Naturally, the County sheriff’s officers ended up pulling them over.

At first, the occupants denied smoking marijuana in the car. The officers believed the occupants were “smoking buds” while the vehicle was operable.

In Nevada, it is illegal to, “smoke or otherwise consume marijuana in a public place,… or in a moving vehicle.” Nev. Rev. Stat. § 453D.400(2). The officers then called in a drug detection dog to search the vehicle.

After that, the drug detection dog alerted to the vehicle during a search. Furthermore, the officers found a firearm in the backpack of one of the occupants. Not only did the trial court (a Nevada court) never made the distinction regarding the difference between the odor of burnt or unburnt marijuana but it also appears that the appellate court was left a set of facts pertaining simply to the smell of marijuana.

What does this mean for us here in Michigan? Our Michigan Recreational law allows for the possession of 2.5 oz. of flower marijuana and who are 21 years or older.


“I believe that the case may have had a different outcome had the trial court made a distinction regarding whether or not the odor was of burnt or unburnt marijuana.  Had the smell been of unburnt or fresh marijuana the evidence may of very well been suppressed and the charges dismissed,” says attorney Joshua Covert of the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers.

In summary, there shouldn’t be probable cause to warrant a search as long as there isn’t the smell of burning or burnt marijuana.

Michigan Cannabis Lawyers: "Don't admit you've been smoking to the Police"

Michigan Cannabis Lawyers: “Don’t admit you’ve been smoking to the police”







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In conclusion, we stay in touch with the changing laws and regulations regarding Fourth Amendment searches and seizures. At the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers, we strive to stay ahead of the pitch and always ready to face a challenge.

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Michigan Cannabis Lawyers

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