Police Can’t Search You For Smelling Like Marijuana Under New Virginia Law

Legislation to stop police from searching people or seizing property based solely on the smell of marijuana in Virginia is set to take effect after lawmakers adopted recommended changes from the governor.

The new law, which contains a variety of reforms related to motor vehicle and law enforcement policy, stipulates that “no law-enforcement officer may lawfully stop, search, or seize any person, place, or thing solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana, and no evidence discovered or obtained as a result of such unlawful search or seizure shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.”

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) evidently did not take issue with that component when it arrived on his desk last month. Rather, he recommended a change to a policy on police stops for people driving at night without functioning headlights or brake lights. Because the legislature accepted those recommendations without further changes on Monday, the companion House and Senate bills were reenrolled and given final approval.

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