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4/20: Another reason to celebrate ‘high’ times

It’s 4/20, and new SJC ruling says cops can’t tell people to exit cars based on pot scent. ‘Fantastic’ ruling for marijuana law reform efforts. 

Pot-smokers have another reason to toke up today.

It’s not only April 20 — the annual counterculture date for marijuana users to gather and celebrate the drug — it’s also a day after the state’s highest court issued a decision on marijuana use and police inquiries.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that police cannot order a person out of a car based on of the smell marijuana.

“That’s fantastic,” Bill Downing, a director with the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said upon hearing the news. “It means the public’s will will be done. The voters wanted law enforcement’s focus to shift away from marijuana.”

The ruling stated that because Bay State voters chose to decriminalize an ounce or less of marijuana, making it a civil violation, “the odor of burnt marijuana alone cannot reasonably provide suspicion of criminal activity to justify [making a person get out of a car].”

However, now-retired Justice Judith Cowin dissented.

“Even though possession of a small amount of marijuana is now no longer criminal, it may serve as the basis for a reasonable suspicion that activities involving marijuana, that are indeed criminal, are under way,” she wrote.

Downing hopes the ruling will bring out more people events like the “hash mob” planned for a downtown location today.

 
 
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