On February 13, 2015, the Fifth District Court of Appeal decided the case of Oliver v. State, 2015 WL 585536 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015). In Oliver, the defendant was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for an inoperable tag light. The stop itself was not challenged on appeal. After the stop, the officer, in an aggressive manner, ordered the defendant to "keeps his hands on the f***ing dashboard." After a canine sniff alerted the officers to the presence of drugs in the car, the officers searched the defendant and found marijuana and a firearm on his person.
Ask most people whether billions of dollars should be spent arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating people for marijuana offenses and the answer will be a resounding "no." Recent polling in Florida indicates over 70% of the state's voters favor legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, which is what makes a just released study by the American Civil Liberties Union entitled The War on Marijuana in Black and White so disturbing. Not only are we spending more money every year trying to lock people up for smoking a plant, we are doing so based on race.