As Maryland’s governor prepares to sign a marijuana sales bill that passed the legislature over the weekend, lawmakers have approved a separate measure to prevent police from using the odor or possession of cannabis alone as the basis of a search.
The legislation from Del. Charlotte Crutchfield (D), which passed the House with amendments last month, cleared the Senate in a 27-20 vote on Monday with one additional revision. It then went back to the House, which concurred with the change and passed it in a 101-36 vote, with just minutes left in the legislative session.
It states that a law enforcement official “may not initiate a stop or a search of a person, a motor vehicle, or a vessel” based only on the smell of burnt or unburnt cannabis, the possession of a personal use amount of marijuana or the presence of money near marijuana without additional evidence of intent to distribute.
Further, the bill says police cannot search certain parts of a motor vehicle for marijuana during investigations into suspected impaired driving, including parts of the car that aren’t accessible to the driver or any areas that aren’t “reasonably likely to contain evidence relevant to the condition of
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