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MD: Court Of Appeals Said Marijuana Odor Justifies Car Search Without Warrant

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
Frederick, Md.

Although possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in the state of Maryland, the Court of Appeals has recently ruled that police are still allowed to search a car without a warrant if they smell a the plant's odor.

"Decriminalization of marijuana in the state of Maryland does not constitute the legalization of marijuana...and that's kind of what the High Court has basically said -- that the smell of marijuana still constitutes probable cause," said commander of criminal investigations for the Frederick Police Department, Lt. Clark Pennington.

The Maryland General Assembly decriminalized marijuana in 2014. Possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana results in a fine.

"That's part of the decriminalization process. There is a fine for possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana. It becomes a criminal offense if you...posses more than 10 grams of marijuana. So, that's kind of the difference if there's a fine of just a citation, or they're actually just arrested," Pennington said.

In Frederick, police said they see a lot of cases where a person's car is searched due to marijuana odor.

"That constitutes probable cause for a search of the vehicle, but it also constitutes probable cause of the arrest of the driver because then they are in possession of an illegal substance. They can be arrested if they posses more than 10 grams of marijuana, then they are taken down to central booking to be processed. If they posses less than 10 grams, they're issued a citation and they're released," Pennington said.

Police said selling marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia remain criminal offenses.

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News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Court Of Appeals Said Marijuana Odor Justifies Car Search Without Warrant
Author: Jordan Lindsay
Contact: Your 4 State
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