Maryland Lawmakers Pass Bill Barring Weed Odor As Probable Cause For Searches

Maryland Lawmakers Pass Bill Barring Weed Odor As Probable Cause For Searches

The Maryland House of Representatives passed a bill on April 10 that would ban police from using cannabis smell as a basis for searching people or vehicles. The measure, House Bill 1071, also reduces civil fines to $50 for consuming cannabis in public.

The bill was approved by the Maryland House of Representatives in a vote of 101 to 36 in the closing minutes of the Maryland Legislature after introducing an amendment in the state Senate on Monday night. The bill has now been sent to Democratic Gov. Wes Moore’s desk for consideration.

Bill Bans Searches Based on Weed Smell

under House Bill 1071Law enforcement officers are prohibited from using the smell of raw or burnt cannabis as a possible cause for searching a person or vehicle. Supporters of the bill need the bill to meet the intent of Question 4, a referendum to legalize recreational marijuana, which passed with about two-thirds of the vote in last year’s midterm elections. claims to be. House Bill 1071 also prohibits searches based on possession of legal amounts of marijuana or the presence of cash near cannabis without additional proof of intent to distribute marijuana.

Question 4 takes effect July 1 and legalizes the possession of up to 12 grams of cannabis for personal use. Possession of 12-20 grams is a civil offense and carries fines of up to $250. Possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor with penalties including imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000.

Proponents of legalization say House Bill 1071 is needed to protect the rights of legal cannabis users because possession of more than 12 grams of cannabis is still illegal. follows last year’s Maryland Supreme Court ruling upholding police powers to briefly detain and search individuals based on the smell of cannabis, even though the state legalized medical marijuana in 2013. It’s what follows. In the Supreme Court case, police told the House Judiciary Committee last month that they would continue to search based solely on the perceived smell of cannabis.

“Legalization alone did not solve this problem,” Hall told the House Judiciary Committee last month. according to reports from Maryland Daily Record.

“As long as smell supports Fourth Amendment encroachment, Marylanders legally involved in the cannabis market are at risk,” Hall added. Alleging is just a blank check for violating an individual’s right to privacy in the hope that the police will find some crime, and the Fourth Amendment calls for much more. ”

A law banning police from using the smell of marijuana as a cause of investigation is also backed by the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Yanet Amanuel, the branch’s public policy director, told the Judiciary Committee in March, “Stopping and searching for marijuana only poses serious risks to people’s Fourth Amendment rights.” It also enables racial profiling and dangerous and unnecessary police interactions.

“This is why it is important for legislatures to step up and ensure that laws and police practices are consistent with the reasons they say support marijuana legalization, and most importantly, the law. reflects the will of the people,” he added. “Marylanders shouldn’t be afraid to interact with the police because of the lingering smell of now-legalized substances.”

Meg Nash, partner at cannabis and psychedelics law firm Vicente LLP, said legislation such as House Bill 1071 is needed to ensure that cannabis legalization is implemented equally. rice field.

“It’s encouraging to see Maryland addressing the harmful effects of the war on drugs, not just by legalizing adult use, but by revising parts of its criminal code.” Nash wrote in an email. high times on wednesday. “These kinds of laws are necessary to protect individual rights in states like Maryland, legalize adult use of cannabis, and address harm to communities unfairly affected by the ban. It demonstrates the state’s commitment to

House Bill 1071 also reduces fines for public consumption of cannabis from $250 to $50. After receiving final passage in the closing minutes of the current Legislative Council on Monday night, the bill was sent to the governor’s desk for consideration.

Alexandra Solorio
Introducing Alexandra, an accomplished cannabis writer who has passionately pursued her craft for a decade. Through a decade-long journey, Alexandra has cultivated a profound connection with the cannabis world, translating her expertise into captivating prose. From unraveling the plant's rich history to exploring its therapeutic marvels and legal evolution, she has adeptly catered to both connoisseurs and newcomers. An unwavering advocate, Alexandra's words not only enlighten but also advocate responsible cannabis use, establishing her as an indispensable industry voice over the past ten years.

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