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Marijuana smell isn’t enough to search car, SC senator poses in new bill

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina senator wants to change the way law enforcement handles traffic stops and marijuana arrests.

Right now, if an officer smells marijuana during a traffic stop, they have the right to search your car.

According to WCIV, Sen. Deon Tedder of Charleston has pre-filed Senate Bill 892. It would ban the smell of marijuana alone from being used as probable cause to search someone’s car when they’re pulled over.

Tedder said the bill aims to protect people who may use legal forms of marijuana such as delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, and hemp.

“How can you tell which is which?” asked Rock Hill resident Angela Love. “If someone bought it out of a grocery store versus someone bought it off the street, is still the same smell. So how can the officer tell?”

But some police officers say the bill may do more harm than good. B.J. Kennedy with York County’s Drug Enforcement Unit released a statement saying “this bill would promote and increase the chances of traffic collisions, injuries, and possible fatalities from impaired driving as a result of marijuana use in vehicles. This bill in effect is an attempt to legalize marijuana, while endangering the public in the same manner.”

Tedder said the bill would not legalize marijuana and doesn’t stop officers from doing their job.

“They can still perform field sobriety tests and charge a person if they feel they’re under the influence,” he said.

Sen. Tedder introduced the bill once before, but he’s optimistic it will make it to committee this time.


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