MA court rules marijuana odor is no longer ‘reasonable suspicion’ for cops | The Raw Story

BOSTON (Reuters) – The smell of marijuana smoke is no longer enough reason for police to order someone out of a car, now that pot has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, the state’s highest court said in a decision published on Tuesday.

The ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was in response to an appeal filed by lawyers for Benjamin Cruz from Boston, whom police ordered out of a car in 2009 when they approached the vehicle parked in front of a fire hydrant and smelled marijuana.

Cruz was later charged with possession of a class B controlled substance with intent to distribute and committing a controlled substance violation in a school zone.

The high court said a key factor in its decision was the 2008 change in state law which made possession of one ounce or less of marijuana a civil rather than a criminal offense.

“Without at least some other additional fact to bolster a reasonable suspicion of actual criminal activity, the odor of burned marijuana alone cannot reasonably provide suspicion of criminal activity to justify an exit order,” the opinion said.

via MA court rules marijuana odor is no longer ‘reasonable suspicion’ for cops | The Raw Story.

So far, I’d only heard this through quite a few rumors, so it’s nice to see some solid writing on the matter. And while this may seem reckless to some folks (even those of us who agree that what you put in your body is your own business don’t necessarily want people driving under the influence), I’d argue that if there isn’t anything else going on that the cop can point to, they shouldn’t be able to get you out of the car. Is driving stoned and under control really more dangerous than driving on the variety of pills people get prescribed in this country?


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