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Trust Me, I'm an Expert: Marijuana Odor Experts

As I have begun to chronicle in this ongoing "Trust Me, I'm an Expert" series of posts, courts have not hesitated to deem people experts in fields such as "smell" and "lap dancing" and whether a grown woman can be smothered to death by a Labrador Retriever On the other hand, courts have refused to accept proposed experts in the field of "shit," and "pimping." Now, I've learned that there is an accepted sub-specialty in the "smell expert" field that focuses on the odor of marijuana.

As noted today by Scott Greenfield on his Twitter feed, a recent marijuana case in federal court in Illinois turned on the testimony of Richard L. Doty, Ph.D., who was permitted to testify as a marijuana odor expert. Police claimed that they smelled a strong odor of marijuana inside the defendant's car, and a subsequent search of the vehicle turned up 10 grams of pot inside a mason jar.

The court ultimately threw out the evidence of the marijuana, however, after Doty testified that the odor of marijuana sealed in a mason jar would not have been strong enough for an officer to smell it, as claimed. According to Wikipedia, Doty is "a researcher in the field of olfactory functioning and dysfunction (anosmia)" and the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Smell and Taste Center in Philadelphia. 

Posted by Bruce Carton on October 4, 2012 at 04:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)


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