Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jul 2014
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2014 The Boston Herald, Inc
Note: Prints only very short LTEs.
Author: Sam Tracy
Page: 16


I am very glad the Supreme Judicial Court upheld the will of 
Massachusetts voters by ruling that the smell of unburnt marijuana 
can no longer justify searches ("Court marijuana ruling can't pass 
sniff test, police say," July 10). But I was disappointed in the 
fearmongering by critics of the ruling.

Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of 
Police Association, said the searches forbidden by the ruling are no 
different than "stopping somebody with the smell of alcohol on their 
breath." As the article says, however, the court already ruled in 
2011 that the smell of burnt marijuana - a much closer equivalent to 
alcohol-scented breath, as it signifies recent use - cannot justify a search.

This ruling simply applied that protection to unburnt marijuana as 
well, which certainly makes sense. Otherwise, there would have been a 
strange incentive for people carrying marijuana to light up as soon 
as they saw police coming their way.

- - Sam Tracy, Somerville

The writer is chairman of Students for Sensible Drug Policy
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