YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — Can the smell of marijuana be enough to let police search your car in a traffic stop? Right now it is but local attorneys are working to change that.
The move was inspired by a supreme court decision made in 2019. Rather marijuana, it was with guns.
The Supreme Court decided police cannot stop people for having a concealed firearm just to ask for their permit. That’s essentially the argument with marijuana what’s happening here now in York.
Anthony Tambourino, with the York County office of conflict counsel, is among several attorneys in the process of trying to overturn Pennsylvania law that allows law enforcement to conduct searches, based solely on the smell of marijuana.
There are several cases in the county court. Attorney’s argue some legal weed can give off a smell- from its original container and therefore officers shouldn’t investigate the smell if you’re pulled over for something different.
“If somebody was pulled over for speeding and there was an odor of marijuana, we believe now that Marijuana is legal in some forms, specifically green leaf marijuana, the odor you can’t tell if it’s the legal or illegal version,” said Tambourino.
Unlike alcohol, where it’s odor is detected after being consumed, marijuana is different. Smelling it doesn’t mean the driver consumed it.
“With alcohol, typically the odor is coming from the person and not the vehicle, unless someone spills alcohol, you’re not going to be spelling alcohol whereas weed could be burnt or in its raw form and there that smell regardless.”
For the law to be amended it would have to receive favorable ruling from the courts. A judge could make a decision as early as next month