Bill Eliminating Marijuana Scent as Evidence of A Crime Passed House!

Bill Eliminating Marijuana Scent as Evidence of A Crime Passed House!

Thursday, the House of Delegates gave preliminary approval to a bill that would make it illegal for police to stop people just because they smelled like marijuana After the voice vote, the House could vote as soon as Friday on whether to pass the bill. The bill says that the smell of marijuana alone is not enough for police to suspect someone of doing something illegal.

During a traffic stop, the smell could still give an officer a good reason to think that a person was driving while high on marijuana. The House is thinking about the bill, called House Bill 1071 because it will soon be legal to own up to 12 grams of marijuana.

In a referendum last November, voters in Maryland said that people over the age of 21 could have a small amount of the drug. Under the authorized referendum and related law, people who have between 12 and 20 grams of marijuana in their possession will have to pay a $250 fine.

Bill Eliminating Marijuana Scent as Evidence of A Crime Passed House!

The law and referendum will go into effect on July 1. Possession of more than 20 grams will be a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. At the moment, having less than 10 g of marijuana is a civil offense that can result in a $100 fine if the drug is not being used legally for medical purposes.

The House is also thinking about HB 1071 because the Maryland Supreme Court ruled last year, before the referendum, that police can briefly stop and question people who smell like marijuana without breaking their constitutionally protected right against unreasonable searches and seizures, even though having less than 10 grams of the drug is not illegal.

Assistant Maryland Defense Attorney Michele Hall told lawmakers that HB 1071 is needed so even though marijuana will still be illegal if you have a lot of it, the smell of it could still lead police to stop and question people. She did this by referring to the court’s decision in In Re: D.D.

Bill Eliminating Marijuana Scent as Evidence of A Crime Passed House!

Hall told the House Judiciary Advisory board last week, “Legalization alone did not solve this problem.” “As long as smell continues to support Fourth Amendment intrusion, legal cannabis sellers in Maryland are at risk,” said Hall, who argued for D.D. before the Supreme Court but lost.

“Alleging the smell of cannabis is just a blank check for police to invade a person’s privacy in hopes of finding something illegal, which is against the Fourth Amendment.” The Maryland branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has also given HB 1071 a lot of support.

Yanet Amanuel, the director of public policy for the chapter, told the Judiciary Committee last week. “Stops and searches based on the smell of marijuana are not only a serious threat to people’s Fourth Amendment rights, but they also allow racial profiling and dangerous and unnecessary police interactions.”

Bill Eliminating Marijuana Scent as Evidence of A Crime Passed House!

Amanuel added, “This is why it is so important for the legislature to step up and make sure that the law and police practices match the reasons you all said you support legalizing marijuana and, most importantly, that the law reflects the will of the people.” “People in Maryland shouldn’t worry about running into the police because they smell like a substance that is now legal.”

But William Katcef of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association said that judges, not lawmakers, should decide constitutional questions like probable cause and reasonable suspicion. Katcef told the Judiciary Committee, “I don’t think we should let the General Assembly decide what constitutes reasonable suspicion and what constitutes probable cause.”

Bill Eliminating Marijuana Scent as Evidence of A Crime Passed House!

“I think it should be up to the courts.” Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee voted 15 to 6 to send the bill to the House floor. The main person behind HB 1071 is Del. Charlotte Crutchfield, D-Montgomery. It would go into effect on October 1. The bill was not filed in both the House or the Senate.


Sheela Sharma

About Author

Sheela is a skilled and experienced writer with a deep passion for all things related to the CBD industry. She enjoys writing everything related to CBD and Marijuana. When she isn't writing she likes to watch tv series and listen to podcasts.

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