Maryland lawmakers are debating a bill that would prevent law enforcement from stopping motorists based on the smell of cannabis unless there is other evidence that the motorist is impaired such as erratic driving.
The bill would also prohibit police from using cannabis-related evidence as the sole basis to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause for a stop including possession of cannabis, suspicion that the person possesses cannabis and the presence of money near cannabis.
Baltimore City state legislator Sen. Jill Carter sponsored the bill.
Last year, Maryland’s top court ruled in a 4-3 decision that police can stop someone if they smell cannabis. The court said the drug’s aroma provides police with a “reasonable suspicion” that the person may have at least 10 grams or has committed another criminal offense. The court’s decision overturned a lower court ruling that police couldn’t stop a person based on the smell of cannabis.
Under Maryland law, possession of less than 10 grams is a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine unless the drug is being used for legal medicinal purposes. That, however, changes later this year. Marylanders approved recreational use and simple possession of marijuana through a ballot measure in November. Beginning July 1, those who are 21 years and older will be allowed to possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana and to grow two marijuana plants out of public view.
Public smoking of cannabis is not allowed.
The voter-approved legislation also eased the rules on the expungement of marijuana-related crimes.
If you are facing charges over cannabis use and possession, an Ocean City cannabis lawyer can help. If you need help getting old marijuana charges removed from your record, an Ocean City expungement attorney can help. The attorneys at Maronick Law LLC have experience with Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh marijuana and expungement matters.
Maronick Law LLC is open during the pandemic and continues to meet your legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact the law office at 410-881-4022 or via our website for a free consultation.