The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled last week that an alert by a drug-sniffing dog is not sufficient evidence to search one’s vehicle.
The ruling of the three-judge panel is a victory for legalization efforts. It determines that because cannabis is legal in Colorado, citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy since dogs cannot tell officers what kind of drugs might be in a car.
The case comes on the heels of a 2015 Moffat County case where a dog could not tell officers whether he smelled pot or other drugs, and the search was ruled illegal.
Now cops will need more cause to search a vehicle without permission.
While police departments may just simply train new dogs to tell the difference, courts in other states with legal medical or recreational marijuana have ruled that a pot smell is insufficient grounds for a search.
The Colorado judges wrote that cannabis is legal and users have “a legitimate expectation of privacy.”