Olmsted County Sheriff speaks on MN Supreme Court ruling

(ABC 6 News) – Earlier this month the Minnesota Supreme court ruled that the smell of marijuana in a vehicle does not give law enforcement enough probable cause to search a vehicle.

And local law enforcement officials believe this ruling makes their jobs more difficult.

On Sept. 13 the Minnesota Supreme Court not only ruled that law enforcement can’t search vehicles just because they smell marijuana coming from them — they also can’t use visible paraphernalia as probable cause either.

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson says the ruling has complicated things as deputies have to be more attentive to impaired driving behaviors when they are pulling someone over and can smell marijuana in the car.

And as Torgerson sees it, that puts public safety at risk.

“I question the mentality of that. The whole idea on our end of it is public safety. Kicking the impaired drivers off the road. They’ve taken those away but obviously the deputies, the officers have to pay particular attention to other signs and symptoms, and they’re still there,” he said.

Despite these changes — there still are some instances where marijuana products can result in a search.
That includes open containers of marijuana or edibles that are visible inside a vehicle.