July 22, 2024

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SJC: Odor of marijuana not enough to order suspect out of car

SJC: Odor of marijuana not enough to order suspect out of car

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The odor of burnt marijuana is no longer enough for police officers to order a person from their car, now that possession of less than an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, the state’s highest court ruled today.

“Without at least some other additional fact to bolster a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, the odor of burnt marijuana alone cannot reasonably provide suspicion of criminal activity to justify an exit order,” the court ruled in a decision written by Chief Justice Roderick Ireland.

The court said the people’s intent in passing the ballot question decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana was “clear: possession of one ounce or less of marijuana should not be considered a serious infraction worthy of criminal sanction.”


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