Illinois Senate Passes Bill To Block Police From Searching Cars Based On Marijuana Smell

The Illinois Senate has approved legislation that would prevent the smell of marijuana from being used as probable cause to search a vehicle or its passengers.

The Senate voted 33–20 on Thursday to pass the bill, SB 125. It’s now set to be considered by the state’s House of Representatives.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rachel Ventura (D), said in a statement issued by Senate Democrats that the proposal would protect Illiniosians’ rights against unreasonable searches.

“People—especially people of color—are unnecessarily pulled over far too often,” Ventura said. “The odor of cannabis alone shouldn’t be one of those reasons. Cannabis is legal in Illinois and it’s a pungent scent that can stick to clothes for extended periods of time.”

.@SenatorVentura leads bill to remove odor of cannabis as probable cause to search a vehicle https://t.co/f0AMUw5Gy6 pic.twitter.com/jtqPpPjRSQ

— IL Senate Democrats (@ILSenDems) March 31, 2023

The release from Senate Democrats notes the bill was a response to a Will County court case in which a defendant was pulled over and arrested after the officer detected “a strong odor of burnt cannabis emanating from the vehicle.” The defendant said someone had smoked cannabis in the care “a long time ago.”

The bill

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