A Miami man charged with drug possession is challenging whether cops had the legal right to search his truck after smelling marijuana in it.
According to the Miami Herald, Victor Chavez was found with marijuana and cocaine hidden in his truck in Southwest Miami-Dade County last year. His lawyer saws police violated his constitutional right against an unlawful search and seizure.
“The legalization of marijuana for a rapidly growing number of Floridians and businesses means that marijuana odor, in and of itself, is no longer an indication of criminality in Florida,” Assistant Miami-Dade Public Defender Fan Li wrote in his motion
Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, and soon the Legislature might accept smokable medical marijuana. Still, Supreme courts in states such as Arizona and Washington have ruled that the smell of marijuana is enough probable cause for police to search a car, regardless of the legality of the marijuana.
Chavez does not have a medical marijuana card but says the search was still illegal. He’s charged with possession of cannabis with intent to sell or deliver, and possession of cannabis over 20 grams. He’s also charged with cocaine possession. His lawyer wants a judge to suppress the results of the search.
A Miami-Dade judge will consider Chavez’s request at a hearing next month.
As legalization progresses, states must tamp down the ubiquitous (and often pretextual) default "reason" to search cars, persons, and sometimes homes (i.e., "I detected the obvious odor of marijuana"). Article looking at FL's handling of it: https://t.co/HKcW8891W3 https://t.co/T3c96Lha6p— Bryan Stephenson (@TNCrimDefense) February 25, 2019