Will the police do anything if smelled a strong odor of marijuana from someone’s car?

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Will the police do anything if smelled a strong odor of marijuana from someone’s car?

Asked on January 11, 2016 under Criminal Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A witness stating there was a strong odor of marijuana may well have been probable cause: it's likely the deputy would have been legally justified in investigating, had he chosen to. However, if he did not, for whatever reason (including laziness), there's nothing to do: since the evaluation of "probable cause" is inherently subjective and discretionary, the authorities can't really be second guessed, especially on minor cases (e.g. marijuana, not murder) for choosing to not act.


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