One Stop, No Stop, Two Stop, Terry Stop: Reasonable Suspicion and Pseudoephedrine Purchases by Suspected Methamphetamine Manufacturers

This Note attempts to inject some clarity into courts’ reasonable suspicion calculus for cold medicine purchases. It argues that the key factor in analyzing such purchases is whether the purchaser or purchasers appear to be circumventing pseudoephedrine purchasing restrictions in order to obtain inordinately large quantities of pseudoephedrine. Part I provides a general background on the domestic manufacture of methamphetamine in small, clandestine laboratories. Part II then examines the interplay between outward innocence and reasonable suspicion under the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Finally, Part III establishes a framework for identifying purchasing strategies that methamphetamine manufacturers commonly use to circumvent pseudoephedrine purchasing restrictions. These types of pseudoephedrine purchases meet the threshold for reasonable suspicion, despite some courts’ decisions to the contrary.