A bill proposed in Missouri would outlaw warrantless searches based on the odor of cannabis alone, KOMU 8 reports. The bill was pre-filed by Democratic state Rep. Ian Mackey who said the law “makes sense” because of the legalization of medical cannabis in the state.
The measure contains just one sentence: “Notwithstanding any provision of law, the odor of marijuana alone shall not provide a law enforcement officer with probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of a motor vehicle, home, or other private property.”
In an interview with KOMU, Mackey explained that officers should be able to differentiate between fresh and burnt cannabis and that the scent of fresh cannabis should not be a valid reason to perform a warrantless search.
“Obviously smoking marijuana and driving impaired is illegal, as it should be. And so if someone has glassy eyes, if someone’s movements indicate that they’re impaired obviously that is still well within the purview of a warrantless search, but not the smell of cannabis alone.” — Mackey to KOMU
The bill currently carries no co-sponsors and has not yet been added to any committee or House schedules.
Last August, pro-cannabis group Legal Missouri 2022 announced they had filed a ballot initiative to put the cannabis legalization question to voters during next year’s midterm elections. The group must collect 175,000 Missouri voter signatures in order to get the question on ballots.
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