According to the Illinois Supreme Court, the answer is yes, especially if combined with other factors.

In People v. Hill, an officer stopped the defendant, then searched his car based on the strong odor of cannabis and a cannabis bud spotted in the backseat.  Defendant argued that because marijuana had been decriminalized, those reasons could not serve as the basis of a search.  The court disagreed.

The court said that a person does not have a legitimate interest in contraband. While small amounts of marijuana had been decriminalized, cannabis was still contraband, even though it might not be evidence of a crime in every situation.  The court said that cannabis was like alcohol, which is lawful in some situations but not in others. Further, the officer did not rely solely on the odor of marijuana as a basis for his search.  The bud in the back seat along with the defendant’s delay in stopping his car provided sufficient probable cause.

If you have been charged with a DUI, criminal or traffic offense, contact an experienced law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  Did the officer have the probable cause needed to stop you?  Was the search of your car legal?  If not, an attorney can petition the court to try to suppress the evidence.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)


About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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