Commonwealth v. CraanAnnotate this Case
This case concerned the effect of the 2008 ballot initiative decriminalizing possession of one ounce or less of marijuana on police authority to conduct warrantless searches of vehicles resulting from the odor of unburnt marijuana. Defendant’s vehicle was searched based solely on the odor of unburnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Defendant was subsequently charged with various drug- and firearms-related offenses. A municipal court judge ultimately allowed Defendant’s motion to suppress the fruits of the search. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order allowing the motion to suppress, holding (1) the search of Defendant’s vehicle was not justified as a search incident to arrest; (2) the search was not permissible on the basis that it was to “prevent the defendant from smoking marijuana while driving”; and (3) absent articulable facts supporting a belief that defendant possessed a criminal amount of marijuana under state law, the search was not justified by the need to search for contraband under federal law.