Economic reports are clear that South Florida's third largest industry -- after fabricating massive housing bubbles and churning out "I'm In Miami Bitch" t-shirts -- is marijuana grow houses. One in every three homes in Kendall, in fact, is actually an empty shell full of sophisticated pot-farming equipment.*
So South Florida's economy got some good news from the courts yesterday: Cops can't use drug sniffing dogs any more to randomly smell around front doors looking for grow houses. Take that, Man!
The 5-2 ruling from the Florida Supreme Court says that police violated a defendant's privacy when they took drug-sniffing dogs to snoop around his house without a warrant.
The defendant, 38-year-old Dade resident Joelis Jardines, was booked in December 2006 after police did just that. After their dog smelled pot outside Jardines home, the police got a warrant and burst in to find a pot-growing stash.
Using dogs outside a house is different than patrolling with them in a more anonymous environment, like an airport or train station, the justices said. Your right to privacy at home means a warrantless search causes "humiliation and embarrassment for the resident."
Police tell the Miami Herald that the ruling will make it tougher to take down grow houses.
"It's going to limit a tool we have in our arsenal of crime-fighting techniques," Miami-Dade Maj. Charles Nanney tells the paper.
The Florida State Attorney's Office plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Back in 2008, Florida passed California in total number of grow houses. More than 1,000 were busted last year, a 50 percent jump from four years ago.
Just don't get any bright ideas now, Adam Tavss.
(*Note: Completely fabricated, but possibly true, statistic.)