The smell of marijuana plus the whir of a fan or other electric motor were enough to justify issuing a search warrant for a Blackpool home, a judge has decided.
The search that followed the issuance of the warrant resulted in police finding 576 growing plants, 155 grams of dried bud, 20 grams of dried flakes, and an unloaded, unlocked Parker-Hale rifle. The search took place in October, 2009.
The home’s occupant, Michael Cooke, was charged with production of marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking, theft of electricity, and weapons offences.
Cooke’s lawyers had argued in Kamloops court that the search warrant be excluded and the charges be thrown out.
However, in a judgment released last Wednesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Powers ruled that the police officer that first smelled the marijuana and heard the fan had more than “mere suspicion.”
The constable involved had detected the smell of marijuana one night while stopped about 150 meters from the Cooke residence.
He walked closer to the residence and could hear the humming of an electric motor, which he believed consistent with the noise made by a fan venting a marijuana grow operation (the accused said the noise could have come from a hot tub).
The police officer maintained surveillance for nearly an hour and smelled marijuana several times.
The defense conceded Cooke’s guilt with the judge’s ruling. The crown has indicated that it will seek the forfeiture of Cooke’s house. A sentencing hearing will be held the week of April 2.