Arizona courts have had recent trouble deciphering the differences between lawful and unlawful motives to search citizens based on the smell of marijuana. Two different cases regarding the smell of cannabis ended with conflicting results but the judges say they're unique cases. One case ruled a legal search when an officer smelled marijuana during a traffic stop, while the other case involved a permissable search warrant into a building after the smell of marijuana. Despite legal medical marijuana programs in the state, law enforcement still consider the smell or presence of marijuana to mean criminal activity.
The state's medical marijuana law provides immunity under certain circumstances, but possession of marijuana generally remains a crime, so the smell of marijuana is an indicator of possible criminal activity, Thursday's ruling stated.