Mass. Supreme Court Rules Against Marijuana Searches

Situations like this one in "Super Troopers," where Off. Thorny grabs the bag of weed, are no longer legal in Massachusetts.

Just because your car smells of burnt or unburnt pot doesn't give police the right to search it, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has determined.

The decision follows a 2011 ruling that banned warrantless searches when police smell burnt marijuana. The court, influenced by the decriminalization vote in 2008, instructed law enforcement to "focus their attention elsewhere."

“We have held that the odor of burnt marijuana alone cannot support probable cause to search a vehicle without a warrant," Justice Barbara Lenk wrote in the unanimous decision. "(Now] we hold that such odor (of unburnt marijuana), standing alone, does not provide probable cause to search an automobile.’’

The case involved a car in an accident. Police noticed the unmistakable odor of dried marijuana and searched the vehicle. They found a stash and arrested the suspect. That is now illegal in Massachusetts.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.