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SJC: Burnt Marijuana Odor Not Enough To Suspect Criminal Activity

By Denise Lavoie, AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON (AP) — The odor of burnt marijuana alone is not enough for police to suspect criminal activity and order a person to get out of a car, the state’s highest court ruled Tuesday, citing a state law that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of the narcotic.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

The Supreme Judicial Court cited a 2008 ballot question in which voters agreed to make possession of 1 ounce or less a civil, rather than a criminal, violation.

“We conclude that, to order a passenger in a stopped vehicle to exit based merely on suspicion of an offense, that offense must be criminal,” Chief Justice Roderick Ireland wrote for the court in the 5-1 ruling.

The court found that the new law “provides a clear directive to police departments handling violators to treat commission of this offense as noncriminal.”

“Ferreting out decriminalized conduct with the same fervor associated with the pursuit of serious criminal conduct is neither desired by the public nor in accord with the plain language of the statute,” Ireland wrote.

The court said that there must be additional reasons for police to suspect criminal activity to justify ordering someone to get out of a car.

Police Commissioner Ed Davis on ruling with WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jon Maclean

The ruling came in the case of Benjamin Cruz, a passenger in a stopped car, after a Boston police officer, smelling burnt marijuana inside, ordered Cruz to get out.

The court found that police permissibly approached the car because it was parked in front of a fire hydrant but did not have probable cause to order Cruz to step out.

As Cruz was getting out, police officers asked him if he had anything on him. They say Cruz replied that he had “a little rock for myself” in his pocket.

Police say they seized crack cocaine from Cruz and charged him with drug possession with intent to distribute and committing a controlled substances violation in a school zone.

The Supreme Judicial Court, in its ruling, upheld a lower court ruling suppressing the man’s statement to police.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Judith Cowin said case law in Massachusetts has always made it clear that police can do a warrantless search of a car if they smell marijuana.

She said the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana should not change that.

“An officer’s reasonable suspicion justifies an inquiry and, if necessary, an exit order to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that criminal activity has occurred or is occurring,” wrote Cowin, who deliberated in the case before her recent retirement.

In this case, the officers’ detection of the odor of marijuana provided a basis for a reasonable suspicion that the people in the vehicle might be involved in the commission of crime, Cowin wrote.

“Because that suspicion was reasonable,” she wrote, “the officers did not violate the defendant’s rights by inquiring further and by requiring him to exit the vehicle.”

Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said he was disappointed in the court’s ruling and agreed with Cowin’s dissenting opinion.

“Today’s decision sets a negative precedent for countless cases to follow,” Leone said. “This is another example of the challenging legal ramifications for law enforcement resulting from Question 2’s passage and, just as importantly, the mixed messages being sent to our children about marijuana.”

Sixty-five percent of voters approved the measure to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2008.

Supporters said the move would spare thousands of people from having criminal records and would save taxpayers $30 million in costs associated with marijuana arrests. Opponents, led by district attorneys, warned that the move could lead to more drug abuse among young people.

Cruz’s lawyer praised the court’s ruling.

“What they said was now that the people of Massachusetts have spoken and decided they no longer want small amounts of marijuana treated like a major crime, police shouldn’t do that, either in terms of how they investigate it or the reasons for which they begin investigating in the first place,” said Scott Michelman, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Criminal Law Reform Project.

He said the opinion “reaffirmed that you need suspicion of criminal conduct in order to search and seize.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

More from Kim Tunnicliffe
Comments

One Comment

  1. Jeff J. says:

    This is ridiculous. I voted for that law but I never expected this sort of stupidity. If you can smell pot in the car, then you have probable cause to believe that there is more than an ounce of marijuana inside. You can’t expect the cops to be able to SMELL the difference between 1 ounce and more than an ounce. The court just made it a lot harder to catch dealers. They pretty much banned using common sense.

    1. steve says:

      That’s exactly what the whole law is about Jeff. You voted for the law to make it decriminalized, but you support them being able to make you exit the car to search it just because they smell marijuana? We wanted this passed so the police and courts are not waisting time and money seaching/arresting someone for something as stupid as a joint. Now you’re saying you could be smoking in your car and if a cop smells it that they should have the right to search you and your car? Sounds like you need to think more about your opinions on the topic. Maybe you shouldn’t have voted for the law.

      1. Tony says:

        well smoking while driving would still clearly be a criminal violation.

      2. Chrisp says:

        Steve, what Jeff is pointing out is that the court used judicial activism to further the legalized marijuana cause. The court decided that it now holds the authority of “fortune-teller,” whereby any motorist who is smoking pot in their car from now on must obviously only be in possession of less than an ounce. How could the court know how much pot is in every single car that has odor wafting out of it? They don’t. But it doesn’t matter, because if fits their ideology. It’s the same thing as saying cops don’t have the right to search a car after smelling burnt gunpowder, because the driver is probably just in possession of some harmless bullets, not an assault rifle.

        Massachusetts, meet toilet.

      3. smashicus says:

        Smart smokers know you smoke at home and leave all that incriminating stuff there.

      4. Nick says:

        yeah, we don’t want them to waste time either

    2. Ron Reale says:

      “If you can smell pot in the car, then you have probable cause to believe that there is more than an ounce of marijuana inside.”
      WHAT?
      The smell of pot means someone just smoked some pot, PERIOD. If that is not criminal, than no problem, leave it alone.
      SEEING someone sell someone pot is called police work, and justifies an arrest.
      The biggest far the police have is loosing all the money and toys they have been using to terrorize citizens for nothing more than smoking a doobie on the way to the movies.
      What will they do without the ability to cause incredible harm and legal fees to their prisoners…I means, citizens?
      How will the good-ole-boy system of lawyers and judges making money off BS drug laws react, now that logic and common sense is being forced on them? How will they extort money from the prisoners…I mean citizens, under their control?
      Ron Reale
      realetybytes.com

      1. Randy Mcknight says:

        Right on Ron! We don’t have real police any more, we have para-militaries that are armed better than our soldiers were in Vietnam. All of this in the name of safety from ones self. Keep on speaking up my friend!
        Randy McKnight

      2. Steve says:

        Don’t worry, they will find a way. That is why it’s decriminalized but not legalized.

      3. IN MEMORY OF MARY JO says:

      4. Bob says:

        Smoking a doobie on the way to the movie is no different than doing a couple of shots on the way to the movie. Driving under the influence is still a crime!! It you want to toke up, show some responsibility and toke up at home and stay there until your straigh!!

    3. XPIOLT says:

      Dealers are not stupid enough to smoke in the car. That’ why their dealers. Maybe smelling nothing is probable cause to search someone’s vehicle. Maybe if you look like someone that deals in pot is enough. I got it, just set up illegal check points and search everyone! I hope a skunk doesn’t wee on my tire because that is what it smells like…so Ive been told. lol Happy 4/20 everyone!!

      1. furley says:

        good call xpiolet!

    4. ned vanceypants says:

      What in the world would be the “probable cause” that leads to a presumption of more t6han an ounce ? This is a very light substance when dried, and an ounce is more than most people would posess. In the dispensaries in states where pot can be purchased, the average purchase is an eighth of an ounce.

      And this stuff about “smelling” marijuana…any cop can say he believed he smelled marijuana, so he searched. Who can disprove a smell ?

      You are on the wrong side of freedom and liberty. You need to get back on track.

      1. furley says:

        three cheers for ned

    5. Andy says:

      Jeff, how much have you smoked today? If you actually “READ” the article it says the smell of “BURNT” mariujuana. Not the smell of marijuana like they have a couple of pounds in the car. Dolt…

    6. Michael Johnson says:

      Haha yeah man if you can smell pot it MUST mean they are transporting way over an ounce.. I can see the logic clearly.

    7. Joe says:

      Burnt marijuana buddy, burnt

    8. Stan B says:

      Maybe they were high? You know, the rule of unintended consequences is a wondrous thing to behold….

    9. furley says:

      jeff there are 30,000 dead people in northern mexico from this drug war. how many should die before you and other self righteous individuals understand it is a lost cause? youre a very sick man. why dont you go down to juarez and el paso and see the effect of your perverted psychosis about marijuana?

    10. terry b says:

      THe only stupid here is trying to outlaw a plant that grows wild

  2. blackbear1 says:

    All of law enforcement that you just dissed thanks you SJC. Nice going!! Lets have a “Hempfest” in your office building.

    1. yur mama bare says:

      Go back into hibernation buttbear1inthetush.

  3. Mike O'Malley says:

    The biggest problem that remains here is the fact that law enforcement can still quite easily come up with any number of reasons to give them “reasonable suspicion”. I have seen cops lie through their teeth. I think that every cop car should be outfitted with a video camera with good quality audio, in fact, cops should have a wireless mike attached to their uniform so that any conversation between the cop and someone else may be recorded. Too many times have I seen cops manhandle and bully people just because they have a badge. It’s time to weed out the bad ones and believe me, there are far more bad ones than you would believe. Any good cop out there won’t really be bothered by this but the bad ones will scurry like rats on the Boston wharf when you shine lights on them!

    1. blackbear1 says:

      You haven’t seen police officers manhandle anyone. You just watch too much TV and you are a cop hater. Maybe your boss should put a wireless mike on you on your job.

      1. Mike O'Malley says:

        You are 100% wrong. I have personally witnessed cops bullying people. Why do you think there are laws in some states that disallow people from videotaping cops in action? What has this country come to? If recording hadn’t been allowed MANY atrocities committed by cops would have just fallen by the wayside – denied it ever happened.

        And, as far as my job goes – I am self employed so I wouldn’t really mind if my boss put a wireless mike on me. Even if I worked for someone else I wouldn’t mind – they’re paying me after all. As long as I can turn it off when I’m on my personal time that would be fine.

      2. chester arthur says:

        As you in the police force always say:If you aren’t doing anything wrong,what do you have to hide?

      3. Randy Mcknight says:

        There you go Blackbear1, violate Mr. O’Malley’s CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT’S because he spoke out against crooked cops. He is absolutely correct in wanting cops to wear cameras and audio devices. This would protect the police from fraudulent claims and help in the prosecution of miscreants (or would it)?

      4. ned vanceypants says:

        Right. There are not any videos on youtube of police mishandling anyone. No need to go look on youtube…nothing to see. Get a clue.

      5. Go Back to Your Cave says:

        I’m a cop hater too! You’re so institutionalized you don’t even know how to relate to citizens anymore.

      6. Schoolyard Bully's Now A Nazi says:

        How do you know what I’ve seen? Sweet little boy, it’ll be ok.

      7. furley says:

        no, mike is right.

        blackbear, if the cops arent mishandeling anyone then why are you afraid of cameras and microphones? every one else must be transparent.

        well said mike.

      8. onceproudamerican says:

        DUDE, the supply of police beatdowns on youtube is un-ending. Public servants seem to often forget that they are answerable to the public. With taxpayers paying for LEO mistakes and the over-stepping of their authority it just makes sense to record what they do in the public’s name to remind them of the lawful limits of their authority.

    2. Mike O'Malley says:

      I should have added that I do think that a cop pulling someone over, smelling POT should be able to ask them to step out of a car. An almost exact analogy is alcohol. It is legal to drink alcohol, but if they smell alcohol they ask you to step out. So, conducting a field sobriety test in this case is only reasonable.

      In my original note I was pointing out the fact that I do not believe this law will change much – the cops will always find one thing or another to nail you if they want.

      1. justin says:

        But wasn’t this car parked?

      2. Randy Mcknight says:

        Mr. O’Malley, you are absolutely correct in your assertion. (Sir, you have a broken tail light ((as the cop smashes the tail light with his/her baton)) please step out of the car!)
        A few of these officers can and do make up any thing they want. After all, the law is on their side. They also have judges, prosecutors, administrators, lawyers, etc. that need to be able to work. With out money (fines) from marijuana prosecutions, how will they be able to make a living? How will correctional officers keep their jobs?
        I don’t want to go on a tangent here, but that is what they have been doing for the last 85+ years. There is no justice in America unless you can afford it!

    3. onceproudamerican says:

      With the public on the hook for lawsuits, I agree that every second of an officer’s shift should be recorded to protect the public.

  4. steve says:

    I know a lot of people are not going to agree with me on this but I think the big problem around pot is the misconception surrounding it. People keep getting hooked on the “drug” part of it, yes it is a “drug” but so isn’t Tylonol and caffine. You need to be able to look at how powerful that drug is, and I’m not talking about hearing it from people who’ve never smoked it before. That’d be like me, who’s never done cocaine before, trying to tell you how if makes you feel. If you don’t smoke cigarettes and someone handed you one and you smoked it, guess what, you’d be just as “intoxicated” as if you smoked that joint.

    The only way this matter is ever going to be done with is if it’s ever legalized. If you don’t like it or agree with it, don’t smoke, and teach your kids not to smoke if that’s what you believe. But what’s next, your going to tell people they can’t smoke a cigarette because it alters your state of mind? So does sugar…

    1. Trace says:

      Marijuana may be a drug like Tylenol or caffeine, but I’ve never heard of anyone “high” on Tylenol or coffee killing someone in a car accident or any of a number of other things that do happen when people smoke marijuana.

      1. nygrump says:

        Of course you haven’t, the State and insurance industry doesn’t look for that, but if tested how many accident participants would test positive for caffeine? QUITE A FEW! So would you then automatically assume the caffeine was resonsible? I would bet a nickel more accidents are caused these days from cellphones and texting than marijuana. or low blood sugar!

      2. FU DB says:

        I’ve been smoking weed and driving for 30 years. No accidents ever.

      3. furley says:

        trace people do more damage on caffeine than weed. because caffeine gets people jacked up and rude. like guys drinking vodka red bull. they are always fighting.
        what are these number of things that happen when people smoke weed?

        you are a clown.

      4. Thomas says:

        Yes. As a matter of fact there was a female high school soccer player in Socal (Orange County) who died as a result of overdose from overuse of energy pills and rubs.

        The median lethal dose (LD50) given orally, is 192 milligrams per kilogram in rats.[2] The LD50 of caffeine in humans is dependent on weight and individual sensitivity and estimated to be about 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass, roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult taken within a limited time frame that is dependent on half-life. Though achieving lethal dose with caffeine would be exceptionally difficult with regular coffee, there have been reported deaths from overdosing on caffeine pills, with serious symptoms of overdose requiring hospitalization occurring from as little as 2 grams of caffeine. Death typically occurs due to ventricular fibrillation brought about by effects of caffeine on the cardiovascular system.

        Treatment of severe caffeine intoxication is generally supportive, providing treatment of the immediate symptoms, but if the patient has very high serum levels of caffeine then peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis, or hemofiltration may be required.

    2. Truth says:

      By that analogy, you may as well legalize heroin, crack, meth, and everything else. The same rational would apply. Impaired is impaired, regardless of the method to use to reach that state.

      1. Denis says:

        You need to legalize them all and then we would have less crime but that is always a tough one. What about accidents caused by people who drink too much on a regular basis and have fried their brains and have slow response time due to that?!

      2. Bill says:

        Everything is full measure? We can’t be rational about it and say legalize pot but meth is a different creature and a scourge? Crack cocain and heroin aren’t different?

        C’mon. Just… c’mon. You were given a brain. Please use it.

    3. Randy Mcknight says:

      Okay, let’s get one thing straight, MILK is THE gateway drug! 99% of all drug users drank milk (breast milk included). Ban milk and you fix the drug problem. Then the police can go back to ticketing people for spitting in public.

    4. Shane Lafferty says:

      pot stays in your system for up to 30 days, so when these accident do happen who is to say that the person who cause the accident did smoke that day or 30 days ago, it is easier to say that pot did it and most of these people who say they smoke pot think they would get a better deal if they say that when the truth is they dont and you have to think to that these people who use this as an excuse are scared and first time offenders so for them to say that too they think that they can go to some rehab instead of doing jail time which is also wrong so this information that you have that people who smoke pot kill people and are dangerous is so very much wrong

  5. msw says:

    So, why can the cops have you get out of the car for a field sobriety test when they smell alcohol. Can’t they just do the same with pot. If they can smell it you may be committing an OUI

    1. Cole says:

      Yes, MSW has it right. The issue should be driving under the influence and endangering innocent people.

      The law said possession is not a criminal offense, but driving under the influence is a potentially deadly offense!

    2. cattyfan says:

      I was just going to make this same point. If you are caught driving with an open container of alcohol, even if it only has a small amount in the bottom, the police can pull you out of the car, and you can be arrested for suspician of driving under the influence. Shouldn’t the same standard apply if a small amount of pot is A.) visible or B.) can be smelled (llike msw mentioned) on the driver or in the car?

      This seems like a bizarre ruling for the courts, and it also seems in conflict with the movement in this country to outlaw smoking cigarettes. If a person can’t smoke a cigarette in their apartment, why is smoking marijuana now okay?

      1. Thomas says:

        The man in question was in the passenger seat of a car and obviously not driving. If he had been driving the vehicle then the officer could have done their job and charged him with being impaired.

  6. Des says:

    Police powers are already overreaching. This decision provides a little restraint, at least.

  7. Denise says:

    People who don’t believe there is anything wrong w/ smoking some pot – shouldn’t be concerned if their surgeon, day care provider, bus driver, airline pilot etc smoked a joint before performing their duties! if it’s just like asprin, sugar or cigarettes – then you’re right there shouldn’t be anything wrong w/ it. but if it isn’t and you wouldn’t want someone that has smoked a joint performing any service for you or your children… I think you should reconsider your stance on the effects of this “non-drug”. I personally have an open mind about what adults should be able to do in their own home – when not dangering anyone else – but I also believe their is a time and place for everything – and if you choose to take your own life thru drugs or otherwise that is your choice.

    1. Steve says:

      You’re absolutely right Denise, and to add to it, I wouldn’t be happy nor allow someone that smelled of alcohol perform any duties on myself/child. But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about someone in their own property smoking. And yes, it impares you to an extent. But I personally know plenty of people who perform normal everyday functions after smoking and you’d never know they had smoked. What good would it be to have them do a field sobriety test. Most people will pass that with flying colors after smoking pot. It’s not like drinking alcohol.

    2. P Tosh says:

      Lawyers smoke it, pilots smoke it, even dem judges smoke it too.

    3. Shane Lafferty says:

      denise how would you know if your doctor smoked pot right before your surgury or your daycare provider smoked some weed, you dont …. me personally think that the american people have the right to do anything they want to do as said in our consitution chemical or otherwise, this country is becoming more a police state /nation every day and these prison that we have here make these laws that non volilent drug offenders spend so much time in these jails, why do you think that baby rapers or murders get less time than a person who has an eight of pot either for sale or poscession, are drug addicts more harmful than a baby raper, now if we could get these drugs legalized there would be no more gangs that would be fight over territory for drugs sale or poeple that steal to feed their habbit would all be under control and we need to start funding drug rehabs in this nation and start educating people on these drug and what they do and not what these health books tell people, our country makes so much more money on non voilent drug offenders just imagine these cops would be able to stop radom people and say haey i smell pot smoke when they did not , these cops need to be actually do there jobs and leave people alone. you know in sweden, you woill never see a cop unless someone had called them for something other than a drug offense

  8. Denise says:

    next they’ll be saying because someone running down the road covered in blood can’t be stopped and questioned. Why … is it illegal to be covered in blood or running? They’re infrindging on your rights… if you want to cut yourself and run down the road – what’s wrong w/ that. I’m sure I could come up w/ some more stupid examples – but when push comes to shove – nobody wants the police to pick on “them” … but they want the police to pick on everyone when something happens to them! Well lets hope the cop that responds to you isn’t high from his small amount of legal mariguana!

    1. ned vanceypants says:

      Well…what is the statute that prohibits covering yourself in something that looks like blood (You can’t tell if it is blood from a distance) and running down the street ? In order to arrest somebody, there has to be a specific statute that prohibits the activity.

      Same with sitting in a car….the cops can always say they thought they smelled mj…. but if they are not able to say that, they have a tough time getting to a search. So they say it. Whether or not anything is found in the search, who can really say the cops didn’t smell anything ? Allowing the claim of having smelled mj allows the cops do whatever they want.

      The court did the right thing.

    2. Randy Mcknight says:

      IWhat a person does on their own time is fine with me. Many people are high when they take care of children, it helps them stay sane. You have obviously never smoked pot, just read what the police state has written and directed at you. You can not compare being high to even one drink of alcohol. All it does is relax a person. I would not be bothered at all by a cop responded to my call under the influence of marijuana.

    3. Shane Lafferty says:

      now that is a stupid comment, and i bet you are the type of person who like to drink beer or likes to get drunk and beat your spouse huh?

      1. Shane Lafferty says:

        not you randy, that comment was for denise

  9. James says:

    I think that every cop car should be outfitted with a video camera with good quality audio, in fact, cops should have a wireless mike attached to their uniform so that any conversation between the cop and someone else may be recorded.

    This. A thousand times.

    1. Mike O'Malley says:

      Thank you James. Cops most definitely do not want this because their quite often rude, condescending, bullying, and potentially illegal behavior would be out there for all to see.

      I also think that EVERY time a cop pulls someone over the video and audio should be fed back to the station house and RECORDED THERE. That way there’s no chance of a “local malfunction”. After some reasonable amount of time, somewhere between 30 days and 6 months the recordings could be deleted as long as they are not required for any type of investigation.

      1. furley says:

        james and mike for president. very good solution.

  10. James says:

    “I think that every cop car should be outfitted with a video camera with good quality audio, in fact, cops should have a wireless mike attached to their uniform so that any conversation between the cop and someone else may be recorded.”

    This. A thousand times.

  11. Laurie says:

    I do not smoke pot but I know quite a few people who do. They are not criminals. They are hard working honest people who like to relax with pot the way I have a few drinks after work. They are not out engaging in criminal activities and I don’t think they should be treated like criminals. I am not a cop hater, but I do think that a lot of cops do have a tainted view of people. Especially younger people.

    1. Mike O'Malley says:

      They definitely target young people. I was working with a lawyer on a commercial deal and we started talking about our kids. He told me that there are a few towns he doesn’t let his kids go to because of the way their cops treat kids that even look like they’re under 25.

  12. steve says:

    I swear it’s getting to a point in some blue states that you can douse a baby with gasoline and set it on fire in the town square and it still wouldn’t be enough to be called child abuse.
    Moral relativism! It’s a beautiful thing.

    1. cody says:

      I know that you’re just exaggerating your point, as to point out the hypocrisy of what one can get away with in these “blue states”. But your analogy is totally off base. Smoking marijuana puts no one in danger, be it yourself or others. Lighting a baby on fire obviously negatively affects that baby. It’s not moral relativism if you base your law on the question “How much harm does this do?”. Things that are not extremely harmful should not be criminal offenses (like smoking marijuana). Though, lighting babies on fire will always be a criminal offense (as it should be).

  13. ssnst says:

    first i am from hampton roads, so i dont often read articles from MA but i was compelled to remark, that this is the most grown up and adult exchange of opinions thiat i have read in the last year. thank you.

  14. Doug the Libertarian says:

    You know what I smell? Freedom. Never tried the stuff but a free man shoild be able to smoke as much as he likes. It should be treated very much like beer.

    1. Fred says:

      If they smell alcohol on your breath they make you take a breathalizer test. It is the same thing. And it might be someone smuggling a lot of Pot, not just a joint.

      1. Randy Mcknight says:

        Please send the smuggler to Southern Indiana if they have lots of it! :)

    2. Thomas says:

      What an adult does to themselves which does not endanger another person should be allowed. Each day in some form or another freedoms are being taken away from us.

  15. bserius says:

    and yet it is still legal for Delores Umbridge Naplitano and her TSA SS troops to sexually assault 6 year olds in the name of security

  16. walter12 says:

    Another fine example of the mind of leftists. Massachusettes has one of the most Marxist/Socialist state governments and Attorney’s office, and Judicial system in the US. Oh, we hate the 2nd Amendment, we hate tobacco, we hate freedoms, but you can have all the dope and alcohol you want, that way we can keep in line much easier. Only two kinds of people in your state nowadays, leftists and fools.

    1. Shane Lafferty says:

      walter12 it seems you are a fool right . leftist or just right but i do belive we all have the right to bare arms too but we also have have the right to the pursuit of chemical happiness as well as happiness too, i belive in our consitution but i agree we are losing our rught here in america and that is due to people not getting out there and votting for senators/ governers and president people just belive in what theywatch on t.v. or read in the papers but if you look and see who runs these companies you will see that these are the big companies and most of these companies are run by republicans in which in the last 8 years ran our country into the ground and sent our jobs over seas and it was the republicans who put us in so much debt, that it will take a mirical to get out of it.

  17. rodowal says:

    Well then that has to apply to alcohol as well.

  18. hiway280z says:

    Do a month of ride alongs with police officers. You want to see and hear abuse. You will see and hear how our officers are abused. Of course some won’t care if they are. Noout cry when officers are killed by criminals.If an officer arrests or shoots a criminal some come out of the woodwork to scream.
    Many of you are not worth protection from the military or police officers. You all belong in your own little area and take care of your problems, crime, etc yourselves.

    How lucky you are though as they will be there to protect you.

    1. justin says:

      youtube the police shooting of the seattle woodcarver then get back to me.
      Or the seattle mexican man they shouted racial slurs at whilst stomping on his head while he was handcuffed.(happened to be A CASE OF MISTAKE
      IDENTITY)
      Were not lucky they protect us we pay them. Its not welfare for those who are into authority its a profession.
      You are in enforcement or military or have serious issues if you beleive your sympathy.

      1. Randy Mcknight says:

        All Americans are worthy of military protections and the police need to do what they are paid to do. I have served in the military and taken my oath of allegiance to protect my country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. If I need to protect a person under attack, I will arm myself in a heart beat and do it!

    2. Boots under ur mom's bed says:

      Go back to bootcamp recruit.

    3. furley says:

      well i am ex military and no matter what i see in the field, i dont come back and treat people like garbage. everybody in fact sees bad people in their job, and it doesnt give them permission to be rude to people. why should cops be given a special pass to be jerks to people? go to europe, and you will see the police are fair and polite, even if they busted troublemakers before.

      good thing you are not workign for law enforcement, since you make excuses on violating peoples rights.

    4. Freedom says:

      Okay, so if I sign up for a job where I know I have to clean up peoples diapers (CNA), so I get to abuse the old people because I have to clean up their diapers?

      If, as a police officer, you can’t hack it because someone throws some verbal abuse your way, and you feel it is then okay to abuse others while in a position of clear authority, maybe you need to find another job instead of coming up with excuses to abuse people?

      Blaming the victim of deserving it is an age old tactic, it let a lot of rapists walk.

      All the rapists that got off because the women were asking for it thank you for your legal logic.

  19. Ahab says:

    Left wing, right wing, all the same bird.. It’s MIC not MIKE. Weed is good and they have zero right to tell me what I can put into my body. GO MA! Sounds like it might be on the “move to” list for me. Video and audio on the police is a great thing if you ask me, they are after all “PUBLIC SERVANTS” not mobile dictators. Freedom comes with responsibilities and the 2nd Amendment is there to protect us against enemies both foreign and DOMESTIC (and lets not get into the illegal immigrant Obama).

  20. mduncan says:

    what everyone is missing is the important facts; first he was parked, and more to the point of desent of the majority of the comparisons here he was the passenger

  21. ROC says:

    Will this apply to alcohol also? If you smell it in the car, can you search?

  22. new_york_loner says:

    Perfect timing for the court’s decision.

    The DA’s stooped to using “the children” in their dubious argument against decriminalization. Who do they think they are fooling? Their true motive was and remains maintaining business as usual for their buddies in the criminal justice system… professional folks who are making a living off of Cannabis prohibition.

    The DA’s are thinking “job security” for the lawyers, the judges, the jailers, the drug-testing and the re-hab industries…not the welfare of “the children”.

    It is good to see that Massachusetts is the home of the reasonable, the free & the brave.

    Question: Will Obama send in the AG, to snuff out the fires of reason in Massachusetts?

    President Obama sent in the Cannabis-hatin’ AG before, to lobby against the recent California voter proposition that would have “legalized” Cannabis. The tactic worked, the measure was defeated. Obama is no “flaming liberal”, he’s beholden to his sponsors – the special interests – not the people’s interests.

    It’s 4-20…party on.

  23. Ben Dover says:

    Does this mean that we can no longer “sniff” potential terrorists for explosive residue at airport terminals?

    1. Freedom says:

      I have never seen a police officer sniff explosives out with his nose.

      Have you?

      I would like to see that one.

      Engage brain before engaging mouth!

  24. Dunnyveg says:

    This is insane, and I say this as one who favors legalization of cannabis.

    First, the courts have NO business eviscerating drug laws. It is the job of the legislature to write the laws, NOT the courts. We need to convince people that legalization is the right course, not dictate.

    Second, it is insane to tie the hands of police when dealing with intoxicated drivers. If that cop can smell burning cannabis inside an automobile during a traffic stop, that means that dope has been smoked recently, and the driver is more than likely driving under the influence.

    Third, since I don’t want courts legalizing the stuff, we need to convince the public that legalizing cannabis is a good idea. Stunts like this provides a terrible impression to average citizens. Those of us in favor of legalization have a duty to oppose irresponsible court decisions. Irresponsible court decisions like this one need to be opposed.

    For anybody who thinks I’m overstating the case, one of these days a stoned driver is going to kill somebody, and right after the offending driver was pulled over, the cop smelled cannabis, and couldn’t do anything. Something similar to this scenario WILL happen; it’s only a matter of when.

    1. furley says:

      Re: “First, the courts have NO business eviscerating drug laws. It is the job of the legislature to write the laws, NOT the courts. We need to convince people that legalization is the right course, not dictate.”

      Dunny by your logic the Nuremberg Trials also had no business executing Nazis. The Nazis were also just following laws and legislation….

      The judges here who convict cannabis users are causing a holocaust on the Mexican border. 30,000 people are dead on that border. So any judge who refuses to assist in this holocaust is a hero.

      And anyone who says bust people anyways for weed is an accessory to this holocaust. That means you Dunnyveg. How many people should die on that border until your perverted thirst for death is quenched?

      you are a sick person, and there is no diffrence between your statements and those of joseph mengele or the other sick nazis who say they were just following the law and legislation of germany.

      rethink your position, or deal with God when your time comes. Be on the side of freedom, not death and holocaust. Its not too late for you Dunnyveg

    2. Freedom says:

      AND SOMEDAY, SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, MAY DO SOMETHING THAT MIGHT HURT SOMEONE!!! It might be on ACCIDENT and it may be ON PURPOSE!!!

      So, HEAR ME!! You MUST ALL wear your tracking collars, life monitors, thought recorders, and remote restraining devices, AND OBEY ALL COMMANDS AT ALL TIMES, and TOGETHER we can PREVENT ALL BAD THING!!!

      @Dunny, your a tosser, really. You enjoy having the state dangle its thing in your mouth all day while you work your lips over it?

      Grow up man, really, you sound like a hysterical 6 year old girl.

    3. Thomas says:

      Please read the article again. The man was a passnger in a vehilce that was parked. He was not driving.

      If he had been in the driver seat the police could have asked him to step out of the car etc… etc.. The case would have never gone to court.

  25. Gregcr says:

    Remember the four people that were executed outside of a Dorchester home while naked. Also included a 2 year old child! Well that was over marijuana dealing! Anybody who smokes this stuff has the blood of these four people and dozens of others who were killed in Boston over the Marijuana trade business!

    Smoke up Bostonians, It’s a killer!

    1. UR an IDIOT says:

      If you drive a car then the blood of any Arab is on your tires.

  26. X says:

    My problem with this is that there is no way to prove a cop did/didn’t smell something. I have had my car searched before because the cop said he smelled marijuana. No, I don’t smoke it.

  27. davecitizen says:

    Well truth is just an old fashioned notion held by conservatives who aren’t smart enough to be so tangled in intellectual abstractions that they’ve lost track of truth.

  28. Cazamus says:

    My problem with the story is the person had the smell of smoked pot in his car, which he then SHOULD be searched because he was driving under the influence. If it was at the guys house, then the police should not have the legal right to search, but if a officer smells burnt pot in a traffic check, that should be legal grounds for an area to search.

  29. Glen says:

    The problem is that a cop can say they smelled something even if they don’t. It’s impossible to refute. I’ve been pulled over leaving the vicinity of a bar and the probable cause for a sobriety test was that the cop ‘smelled liquor’ in my car. Which was impossible as I had not drank nor had alcohol ever been in the passenger compartment of my vehicle (I’m very anal retentive about any form of food or beverage in my vehicles.). This was just to cover his butt on the report if his little fishing expedition turned anything up.

    So yes, the police should have some kind of tangible probable cause to engage a search. Their word just doesn’t cut it.

  30. Jim from Boston says:

    Isn’t this like saying if a police officer smells alcohol in a car he has no probable cause to ask the occupants to step out?

    Is it not still illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana?

  31. new_york_loner says:

    When it comes to American Drug Laws, Justice went to the dogs years ago…literally.

    A human police officer’s nose may not be good enough to establish probable cause for a vehicle search in Massachusetts, but the nose of a trained dope-sniffing police dog has long been considered good enough to establish “probable cause” for a vehicle search.

    I found a site that has all the legal precedence for the various “dog as magistrate” court rulings. Here is a choice snippet from that source:

    “In another decision the Tenth Circuit court ruled that “a drug sniffing dog’s detection of contraband . . . establishes probable cause, enough for the arrest, more than enough for the stop.” United States v. Williams.” (End of snippet).

    Here’s the source URL:

    http://www.policek9.com/html/drugdog.html

    Will this new MA court ruling apply to Police dogs, or just to human Police? officers?

  32. Mlsut says:

    Someone should have sniffed around the court room. They would have probably found more than an ounce in view of this opinion.

  33. new_york_loner says:

    As for the relative impairment aspects of Alcohol versus Cannabis, there is no hard, empirical evidence that would remotely equate the two….Alcohol and Cannabis are completely different chemically and their effects on the human nervous system are not identical or even similar.

    In the real world, many who imbibe alcohol also smoke Cannabis, this confuses things. When it comes to driver impairment, Cannabis is a victim of “guilt by association”, not by way of unbiased, hard, scientific evidence.

    These Cannabis myths need to be demystified and dispelled….there is much work to be done.

    Party on!

    1. furley says:

      thanks for making that point clear to everyone here new york loner. many people forget this fact. well said

  34. Claritas says:

    What a bunch of losers there are in the Bay State nowadays. All it would take would be a law setting levels of sentencing for the moving violation of DWI, pot-wise, culminatiing in confiscation of the vehicle. Asshats who drive around stoned need to be protected from their actions, same as the rest of us. And by the way, if you can’t spell, don’t be posting comments; it just makes others ignore you sooner.

    1. Noah Webster says:

      Claritas, “don’t be” hatin’. And it’s not good form to begin a sentence with the word and. I wonder if English is your second language, considering the articles you omitted, the pluralities you mismatched, and the tenses you mixed; learn how to use a semicolon, “asshat.”

  35. Frankly says:

    The people have spoken. Get over it.

  36. Jack says:

    I love reading comments. You all believe you matter. You don’t. The left doesn’t matter. The right doesn’t matter. Pot doesn’t matter. Butter in your eggs doesn’t matter. Understand the simplicity of oblivion: you don’t matter.

    1. Jack THIS says:

      Then why not let me smoke the Gift?

    2. furley says:

      no, many of us agree with you. pot does not matter. so leave people alone to use it. good point jack.

  37. Zack Tribianni says:

    How about the odor of Leftist judge—that enough to warrant search?

  38. Ben Dover says:

    Cops are fart sniffers…that is why they always think pot smokers are in a car….most pot smokers just came out of a Taco Bell…a+b=c ………

  39. Jack says:

    You sit at your computer, read other peoples thoughts, and see nothing. Letters and words and sentences, media, television, movies, news, opinions, ideas, knowledge: all are designed to entertain you. Your life is an entertainment, your work is an entertainment. You believe that all exists to serve you.

  40. new_york_loner says:

    Having a bad acid trip there Jack? This is 4-20, baby…turn on, tune in and drop out.

    Ben Dover knows flatulence…Ben Dover knows cops, he can recognize a donut fart at fifty yards.

  41. firstpoppa says:

    Cool! I can drive thru Mass with 5 keys of marijuana in the trunk, stinking up the whole car and the cops can’t search based on the odor.

  42. Potnot Narcoticuidiot says:

    IT IS NOT A NARCOTIC WHAT STUPID WRITING

  43. RigidPrinciples says:

    This is great because technically, the government, at no level, has the privilege to legislate what you can, or can’t, put in, or take out, of your body, if you do in fact own your own body.

    Furthermore, in war, in general, both sides go on the offensive. Take Mexico for example :)

  44. solopoke says:

    War on drugs, just means your tax dollars being wasted on criminals created trough legislation.

    So many people like to tell others what to do and how to do it in the name of freedom. Freedom means doing what you wan’t as long as you do no harm to anybody else.

    Left vs right is the paradigm they use to brainwash you, and to accept your unhappy debt slave life.

    Man sitting in a car with smoke suddenly is considered a criminal?

    The police tend to look for the low hanging fruit when it comes to their work, afterall arresting real criminals takes work, and may put them in danger and they know pot heads are peaceful and easy to bully.

    PEACE 420

    1. furley says:

      well said solopoke!

    2. Thomas says:

      Solopoke you are so on the money.

  45. The Casual Observer says:

    I love reading news from MA and the responses. I laugh at the stupidly that the state of MA demonstrates. I call MA the gimme state because everybody wants the state to give them everything. The whole state is full of losers. Please continue the inbreeding that produces the MA idiots.

    The Casual Observer

  46. The Casual Observer says:

    Every election in MA proves that the MA idiot is alive and well.

    The Casual Observer

  47. J. James says:

    All of you pot heads can’t think clearly. BURNT means someone is smoking pot in or recently in the car and they are most likely under the influence. Remember DUI. Your pot has made you fat and stupider.

  48. B says:

    Marijuana is not a narcotic.

    1. Dennis in WV says:

      True enough, and then again neither is cocaine if you are using the standard set by the federal controlled substance act.

      Alcohol also is not a narcotic, but I don’t want consumers of that drug to be out and about driving either.

  49. RufusVonDufus says:

    Hey, it’s Massachusetts, what else would you expect?

  50. Dennis in WV says:

    What an idiotic judge. Drinking neither beer, wine nor whiskey is a criminal act either, but now I suppose an officer cannot request to search a vehicle because of the SMELL of alcohol? Mothers against drunk driving are gonna love that one.

  51. Barack says:

    do police have scales in their cruisers?

  52. Barack says:

    do cops have scales in their cruisers in MA?

  53. S.Hollly says:

    Just an observation but the article called marijuana a narcotic which it is not. Opiods such as morphine and oxycodone etc are narcotics.Second the suspect said he had some rock which is crack cocaine and not a narcotic or MJ and third there was no mention whether they found any pot or not in the car. That aside probable cause has caught a lot of criminals but an overreaching militaristic police force should be something to fear and resist in a free society.There are passionate arguments to be made for freedom vs security on both sides. I have police friends and I have been harassed by the police. At the end of the day the will of the people and society decides if a law is just or not and hopefully legislators and courts are on the same page. If we allow a militaristic police force then we tip that balance and majority opinion becomes servant to force and the people’s voice gets squelched. So would it be illegal to sit in a parked car that has a ”pot’ smell? I would say no as well.

  54. Hank Warren says:

    The cops will just lie next time. Lying cops, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress.
    (Last link of Banned Book):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000190526

  55. Frank says:

    I agree that the police in this case police did not have reasonable suspicion to order Cruz out of the car. Parking next to a fire hydrant is not a criminal offense. The smell of Marijuana is also not reason enough . Once the crack cocaine was found, that was reason enough.Even though the cops were wrong to ask Cruz to exit the vehicle, I’m glad they didn’t charge him for MJ use. They did abide by the MJ laws.

  56. toPdoG says:

    Legalize don’t Terrorize !
    Some people will never believe that priest can molest, mothers can drown their children, and that police can abuse their powers,
    For those of you who don’t believe…Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny say WAKE UP!!!!
    Quit filling the Jails with non violent drug abusers and start making space for rapist, murders, molester and thieves…who would you rather have living next to you; pot smoking hard working blue collar guy or a early released pedofile who couldn’t stay in jail because Joe the Plumber has a mandatory min for having a Joint…Look up the states that force pot smokers to go to jail and release sexual predators due to over crowding…those are facts!!
    It’s a loosing war that persecutes regular people!!

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