But sometimes, the nose can be totally full of shit. Just ask Jakayla Johnson, a 15-year-old high school student in Wake County, North Carolina.
On April 21, Johnson was sent home from Garner Magnet High School and subsequently suspended for possession of marijuana. There was just one problem—she didn't have any pot on her. And, as subsequent drug tests would prove, she didn't have any pot in her, either. In fact, Johnson was pulled out of class and sent to an assistant principal's office entirely on the allegation by a school security officer that she smelled like weed.
Yes, Jakayla was kicked out of school for a smell.
Johnson's suspension was ultimately overturned after she and her mother appealed the decision, but her case illustrates the radical (and oftentimes racially tinged) effect the war on drugs has had in communities around the country—communities in which "possession" can be as insubstantial as a wafting aroma.
Highlighting the frustratingly common absurdity of Jakayla's suspension is criminal defense attorney T. Greg Doucette, who took to Twitter to explain how law enforcement is able to justify these sorts of drug-related cases, and how the legal system frequently allows it to happen.
Perhaps surprisingly, Doucette is a Republican currently running for state senate. And while his party may have the reputation of being particularly harsh when it comes to criminal justice and the war on drugs, he's just as harsh on the zero-tolerance mindset that's brought us to this point.