CA3: Smell of burnt MJ and passenger rolling a blunt warranted stop and frisk for weapons

Defendants’ stop and frisk was reasonable. Their car was parked in a convenience stop parking lot, the motor was running, and the driver was apparently inside. The passenger was rolling a blunt, suggesting more marijuana in the car, and the officer as bystander could smell burnt marijuana. When the driver appeared out of the convenience store, he was stopped and frisked for weapons because weapons are commonly associated with drug crimes. United States v. Rodriguez-Mercado, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 28964 (3d Cir. Sept. 25, 2019).

It’s a close case, but the court concludes on the totality of circumstances that there is reasonable suspicion for a stop of a car that picked up bus passengers in WV and drove back to Ashland KY when the bus stopped in Ashland on the way there. It was a common technique of drug couriers seeking to avoid detection in that area in the officers’ “extensive experience.” They had no explanation for doubling back. United States v. Robinson, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164010 (Sept. 25, 2019).*