The highest court in Maryland has a rule that limits the police’s ability to search and arrest anyone basing it just on marijuana. They maintained that people cannot be arrested based on marijuana’s smell.
During the ruling, with Mary Ellen Barbera (Chief Judge) authoring it, it was said:
The odor of marijuana, without more, does not provide law enforcement officers with the requisite probable cause to arrest and perform a warrantless search of that person incident to the arrest.
This is based on this same court’s last summer ruling, which says that no officer can search or arrest anyone with marijuana below 10 grams. This is within the decriminalized range back in 2014. In this case, the ruling was that the police officer understood that the marijuana source was not up to the threshold used for arresting or searching anyone.
This latest ruling extends further, revealing that just the smell of Marijuana doesn’t justify an officer to search for more or make an arrest.
During a ruling in 2017 regarding car searches, the court decided this, and still stands it ground based on this new opinion that involves searching people. Police officers still have the right to search vehicles; this is based on a case law, which says that in automobiles, privacy expectation is reduced.
This week, the highest court ruled:
One of the justifications for the automobile exception is the diminished expectation of privacy one enjoys in his or her vehicle. 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.