South Carolina Representative has filed new legislation that would prohibit police officers from seizing, searching, or arresting someone based solely on the stench of marijuana. State lawmakers believe that the scent of cannabis alone, whether in a vehicle or on an individual, does not give police the green light to search a person, mainly in a state such a South Carolina that permits hemp cultivation. It’s been the age-old tale of law enforcement utilizing the smell of marijuana to search someone’s vehicle without a warrant. Many of these searches usually result in an arrest once the cannabis, burnt joint paper, or smoking accessories are found.
This occurs in South Carolina and in other states across the country. Since marijuana has become legalized in most states, advocates and supporters are working to help bring this practice to a close. Representative Tedder clarified the bill’s goal saying its intention is “solely to protect South Carolina residents,” specifically those that work in industrial hemp farms and other minorities. However, the bill cannot make marijuana legal or decriminalize it in any way; the new legislation aims to stop probable searches based on the smell of cannabis or hemp alone.
In states that allow hemp cultivation, it’s not uncommon for someone to smell heavily like hemp. Tedder’s ordinance will stop police from stopping and searching these individuals solely because they smell like hemp burnt or fresh. Tedder noted that smelling like cannabis is not an illegal act; he also mentioned that anyone around someone using marijuana or hemp legally would smell like hemp or cannabis. If an individual smells like marijuana, or their vehicle or clothes, it doesn’t mean that they consumed the substance.
While there are many mixed reviews about the bill, many are banking that the legislation will pass, as it will stop many from getting wrongfully booked and arrested. It’s incredible to see lawmakers push for marijuana reform in such a significant way; this is a massive step in the right direction for South Carolina