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Name: In re Randy C. (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 933
Case #: A167331
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 05/03/2024

A marijuana blunt on the passenger’s lap was an “open container” within the meaning of HSC 11362.3(a)(4), which provided probable cause for the officer to search the passenger compartment of the vehicle. A minor was stopped by police for driving a car with illegally tinted windows. During the stop, the officer smelled unburnt marijuana and saw a blunt on the passenger’s lap. The officer conducted a search of the vehicle and found a handgun in the glove compartment and an AR-15 rifle in the trunk. On appeal, the minor argued that the marijuana blunt was not an “open container” within the meaning of section 11362.3, and thus could not provide the officer with probable cause. The Court of Appeal rejected the argument, finding that the plain meaning of an “open container” is one in which there is no barrier to accessing the marijuana inside. Here, the blunt was an open container because the paper wrapping enclosing the marijuana presented no barrier to accessing the marijuana.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: