Phoenix, Arizona

The state Court of Appeals has ruled that the scent of marijuana alone can no longer be used as probable cause for a search warrant in Arizona because of the 2010 Medical Marijuana Act. 

Tuesday’s ruling provides more legal protection for medical-marijuana users and industry workers, as well as for anyone involved with the plant. But don’t go thinking cops are likely to ignore the distinctive, herbal odor — this new ruling comes with several important caveats. On its face, the 2-1 ruling in the Division Two appeals court is a no-brainer: Marijuana is legal in Arizona for 65,000-plus qualified patients and the hundreds of dispensary workers, cultivators, caregivers and cannabis chefs who are legally allowed to possess it. Depending on the circumstances, marijuana that’s emitting an aroma might be legal. Conversely, the people possessing, growing or using it might be doing nothing illegal.

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