Maryland is continuing the trend toward decriminalizing marijuana.
Maryland judges unanimously agreed that smelling like marijuana is not suspicious enough for law enforcement to search and arrest an individual.
"A law enforcement officer cannot determine by the odor of marijuana alone the quantity of marijuana, if any, someone possesses. Therefore, the mere odor of marijuana does not create probable cause to believe an arrestee possesses a criminal amount of that substance," the court ruling stated.
The Baltimore Sun also reports this is the second time in as many years the Maryland Court of Appeals—the highest court in the state—made it more difficult to get arrested for marijuana possession. Last year, it was deemed that visible possession of less than 10 grams did not warrant an arrest or search. This latest ruling means the smell of marijuana also isn't grounds for arrest or search.
But there is a catch: The ruling doesn't apply when the suspected odor comes from a vehicle that's been pulled over by police.
"One of the justifications for the automobile exception is the diminished expectation of privacy one enjoys in his or her vehicle,” the court ruled. “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."
What are your thoughts? Was this the right move for the court? Tell us in the comments!