A man from Denver asked: Can they search my car because they smelled the odor of marijuana?
The answer used to be YES. However, with the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado, the answer is less clear.
Even during the days of medical marijuana, the fact that medical marijuana was legal to possess and consume made the issue of whether odor automatically gave probable cause to believe that the person was violating the criminal laws of the State of Colorado.
Now, with the passage of Amendment 64, where the use, possession, and consumption of marijuana is Constitutionally-protected in Colorado, the odor would not permit any police officer or any other person reasonably to believe that the odor was evidence of the commission of a crime. Also, because active THC leaves the bloodstream very quickly as it is metabolized, the odor of marijuana – whether burned or unburned – should not give rise to the belief that there have been any criminal laws violated. There may be a suspicion, but a suspicion is not enough to support a search. It requires probable cause (a reasonable belief).