W.D.Mich.: Smell of MJ in a MMJ state may still provide PC for search; defendant has to have documentation justifying possession

The smell of marijuana coming from a car in a MMJ state can still provide probable cause. The occupants have to produce proof of compliance with the law, and then they might be immune from arrest. United States v. Trevino, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135962 (W.D. Mich. Aug. 9, 2019):

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does not alter the probable cause analysis, although it may have provided Trevino or Lopez limited immunity from arrest or prosecution, if he or she could prove full compliance with the law. See, e.g., United States v. Hinds, 2019 WL 1923254 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 30, 2019) (“Whether Hinds was in compliance with the MMMA or not has no bearing on whether probable cause to execute the search existed under the Fourth Amendment.”); Johnson v. Williams, No. 14-cv-12790, 2016 WL 1425706, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 12, 2016) (“[T]he protections of the MMMA do not extend so far as to completely decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana in Michigan, or prohibit searches when a valid MMMA card is a potential defense to arrest or other punishment.”); People v. Clark, 2019 WL 3436567 (Mich. Ct. App. July 30, 2019) (reversing trial court suppression order because the smell of marijuana supplied probable cause for the search of the vehicle, despite defendant producing medical marijuana card).

Accordingly, Trevino’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the van must fail. Officer Edmonson had ample cause to believe that the van contained marijuana based on his sensory observations and his prior knowledge of an illegal dispensary at the location. He was therefore empowered under the automobile exception to search the vehicle and seize the bags of marijuana, the cell phones, and the Hydro World flyer (which although labeled “political flyer” was in close proximity to the bags of marijuana and tied Trevino to Hydro World because it read “Danny Trevino’s Hydro World” in bold letters). See United States v. Garcia, 496 F.3d 495, 510 (6th Cir. 2007).

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