From now on the Maryland police can not search the car if it smells of marijuana
The Court of Appeals Judge Mary Ellen Barbera ruled that the arrest and search of a car that smells of marijuana is now illegal.
“The odour of marijuana, without more, does not provide law enforcement officers with the requisite probable cause to arrest and perform a warrantless search of that person incident to the arrest,” Growcola reports.
As part of the national policy to decriminalize marijuana in the United States, in 2014, officers were also prohibited from arresting or inspecting cars if they contained less than 10 grams of a soft drug.
“One of the justifications for the automobile exception is the diminished expectation of privacy one enjoys in his or her vehicle,” the court ruled this week, according to Baltimore Sun. “In juxtaposition, there is a heightened expectation of privacy enjoyed in one’s person. Arresting and searching a person, without a warrant and based exclusively on the odor of marijuana on that person’s body or breath, is unreasonable and does violence to the fundamental privacy expectation in one’s body; the same concerns do not attend the search of a vehicle.”
The Police Department did not like the decision, as the distinct scent of marijuana indicated that the vehicle could contain a large amount of the drug.
Judge Barbera also added to the ruling that the officers must be clear that there is an excess of the allowed amount of marijuana in the car, and not act on the basis of speculation and assumptions.
“For such a search to be supported by probable cause, the police must possess information indicating possession of a criminal amount of marijuana,” Barbera wrote.