The Maryland Court of Appeals has been on a steady march in the right direction when it comes to cops pulling people over for the smell of marijuana. In a unanimous opinion this summer the court said, without hesitation, no:
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.Rasherd Lewis vs. State of Maryland
This case is a culmination of two previous cases that have recently limited the ability of police in Maryland to harass people for smoking marijuana. This is due to the fact that if you possess a small amount of marijuana it is no longer a criminal charge but a simple citation. To have probable cause to search you must believe a crime has been committed in Maryland. The smell of pot has for decades been a gateway for police harassment. As professor David Jaros at the University of Baltimore recently told the Baltimore Sun:
Police may stop people based on a traffic violation, say they smell marijuana, and search the vehicle.; such stops are often racially disproportionate.
Despite the practices of the police, being Black in America is not a crime. If you have been pulled over for the smell of marijuana or possession of a very small amount of marijuana you likely have a very good argument to suppress the search of your car. If you would like a free consultation for your Maryland case, please call us at 301.513.7832 or use our convenient booking tool at the top of the website.