Today we have a partisan, flawed decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The four conservatives overruled the three liberals in deciding that anything that smells like marijuana justifies breaching a stopped driver’s 5th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
The court’s conservative majority ruled 4-3 that Marshfield police had grounds to search the driver of a vehicle that smelled like marijuana, overturning lower court rulings that said officers couldn’t be sure that what they smelled was not CBD, a legal, marijuana-derived substance. The scents of CBD and marijuana are indistinguishable.AP: Scent like marijuana enough to warrant police search, Wisconsin Supreme Court rules
I’ll let it slide that AP doesn’t get that CBD is a scentless molecule; it’s the terpenes in cannabis that create the scent. They obviously are referring to industrial hemp and medicinal CBD plants.
This is a question that has been resolved in the opposite direction in other states. When a state legalizes (or even decriminalizes, in some cases), marijuana, courts have decided that it is now a “legal smell,” so all those canine controlled substance retrievers who had been trained to sniff weed, coke, heroin, meth, mushrooms, etc. have to be retired, because you can’t untrained them to smell pot, and if they alert on other drugs, all a dealer has to do is make sure some weed is among them and the search is thrown out of court.
Of course, Wisconsin is rapidly becoming the Idaho of the Midwest, a red prohibition state surrounded on all borders by marijuana legalization. Marijuana smell is still evidence of illegal possession of weed.
But as the liberal justices argued, industrial hemp and medicinal CBD plants are not just legal in Wisconsin, but federally legal as well. Those plants smell every bit as much like pot as the drug varietal.
What Wisconsin’s conservative justices decided was that illegal pot outranks legal hemp when it comes to a cop’s ability to search. They’ve decided that weed is such a pernicious evil that even people doing nothing wrong by possessing hemp should lose their 5th Amendment rights, because they might have weed instead.
Think of it like how you can lose your job for failing a random drug test for opiate use because you ate a poppy seed bagel for breakfast. There’s nothing illegal about that bagel, but since heroin is a problem, those bagels are forbidden to you.
That’s how stupid the War on (Certain People Using Some) Drugs is — we’ll make harmless things forbidden if they even hint at interfering with it.