In a decision that’s sure to blow the minds of the hundreds of thousands of Massholes currently attending college in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, the smell of marijuana is no longer enough to ask a driver to “step out of the car.” This severely limits the police, but it’s always felt like an infringement on toker’s rights when they’re asked to step out of the car. Video after the jump.
Possessing an ounce of less of marijuana is not considered a serious infraction (as ruled by the voters in 2008):
The state’s highest court, overturning precedent and denying police a crime-fighting tool, ruled yesterday that the odor of marijuana smoke is not enough for officers to order a person out of a parked car, now that possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is no longer a crime in Massachusetts.
There was a lone dissenting vote from Justice Judith Cowin of the State Supreme Court, and in the interest of fairness, we’ll blockquote her as well:
She said that state law had allowed police officers to search a vehicle and order the occupants to exit if they smelled marijuana smoke.
“Even though possession of a small amount of marijuana is now no longer criminal, it may serve as the basis for a reasonable suspicion that activities involving marijuana that are indeed criminal are underway,’’ she wrote.
“Our case law is clear that ‘the odor of marijuana is sufficiently distinctive that it alone can supply probable cause to believe that marijuana is nearby,’ ’’ Cowin wrote. “The advent of decriminalization certainly has had no effect on the distinctiveness of marijuana’s odor, nor has decriminalization affected the criminal status of numerous other activities involving marijuana.’’
It’s easy to take umbrage with a judge that doesn’t smoke marijuana recreationally, but marijuana (like race, gender, age and a host of other discriminating factors) does not prelude criminal activity. Marijuana is safe, and does not constitute deviant behavior. Anyone who says otherwise is just wrong.