As more and more states are legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, it appears that the stigma surrounding marijuana use may be evolving. However, the recreational use of cannabis is still illegal at both federal and state levels here in Florida. If you are pulled over and a police officer claims they smell marijuana, you may be wondering what could happen.
Can a Police Officer Perform a Search Based on a Claim That They Smelled Marijuana?
Although the war on drugs is in many regards considered ineffective and expensive, Florida has not relinquished its resolve pertaining to this matter. Many police officers in the state still try to sidestep the 14th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure by claiming they smelled an odor of marijuana.
However, even though cannabis is not entirely legal, hemp is legal. Although hemp can look, smell, feel, and taste like marijuana, it only boasts a 0.3% THC content. Therefore, a chemical test would need to be administered to measure the THC content in the substance before a police officer can determine its legality.
This is critical because police officers can’t often tell the difference between legal hemp and illegal marijuana using their naked eye, mouth, nose, or hand since the legalization of hemp. As a result, police officers cannot search people or vehicles based solely on claiming that they smelled marijuana because it is illegal for an officer to perform a search based on an assumption.
What You Should Do if Police Claim to Smell Marijuana During a Stop
If you are stopped in a state where hemp is legal, but marijuana is illegal, you will need to ensure the protection of your rights. As with most situations that involve dealing with the police, it is usually in your best interest to remain silent until you can speak with your marijuana possession attorney. In just about every scenario, you will not be able to talk yourself out of the situation. If you keep talking, the more likely outcome will be more penalties.
When a police officer says they smell marijuana and asks if you have any on you or in the car, do not admit guilt even if you purchased marijuana. Without a chemical test, neither you nor the police officer can know exactly what you have.
Dispute a Marijuana Charge with a Marijuana Possession Attorney Who Will Personally Handle Your Case
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, marijuana possession attorney Brian Gabriel prides himself on the personal attention he provides to each and every client. If you have been arrested on a marijuana charge in the West Palm Beach area, Attorney Gabriel may be able to create a strong defense for your case.
Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has served the West Palm Beach area for over 30 years as a criminal defense attorney. He understands the complexities of Florida drug laws and will handle your case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his career. Call (561) 622-5575 or complete a contact form to learn more about your legal options today.