Kansas Supreme Court Says Cops Can Search Your Home Without a Warrant If They Claim It Smells Like Pot

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Cops supposedly smelled 25 grams of pot inside a plastic container inside a safe inside a closet 30 feet from a guy’s doorstep.

Five years ago the U.S. Supreme Court refused to endorse a principle that could have allowed any cop with a dog to search any home. The court ruled that deploying a drug-detecting canine at the doorstep of a suspected marijuana grower’s house in the hope of obtaining probable cause for a warrant (which requires nothing more than a claim that the dog “alerted”) itself constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

But what if a cop without a dog claims his own nose detects marijuana inside a home? In that case, the Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled, the alleged odor provides probable cause for a search, which the cop can execute without waiting for a warrant if he says he was afraid the contraband he thought he smelled might be hidden or destroyed in the interim. In practice, the 4-to-3 decision, issued on December 7, gives police carte blanche to search any home at will.

Source: Kansas Supreme Court Says Cops Can Search Your Home Without a Warrant If They Claim It Smells Like Pot – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Constitutional law roundup By Walter Olson

  • Kansas Supreme Court rules 4-3 that cops can conduct warrantless search of private homes if they say they smell marijuana. Practical difference between this and “…whenever they please” is not clear [Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capital-Journal] More: Jacob Sullum;