Thanks to the state of New York’s recent move to legalize recreational cannabis, laws are going to change across the board. One exciting new development is that the smell of cannabis alone is no longer cause for search and seizure in the state.
As of this week, the NYPD issued a memo to all officers that, now that cannabis is officially legal, more probable cause than just the smell of cannabis is needed for a car to be searched. The memo lays down the new law and explains how it will affect officers’ interactions with folks who may or may not have cannabis legally on their person.
“Effective immediately, the smell of marijuana alone no longer establishes probable cause of a crime to search a vehicle,” the memo explains. “This change applies to both burnt and unburnt marijuana.”
While driving high will remain a crime in New York, like in other legal states, and the small of burned cannabis could be cause for officers to decide a driver is impaired, they will only be allowed to search the passenger compartment, not the trunk of the vehicle, unless there is more evidence that the trunk could contain something illegal. While using cannabis in a