South Carolina Bill Would Make Smell of Marijuana No Longer Probable Cause for Search, Seizure or Arrest

Legislation filed yesterday in the South Carolina Senate would make it so that “the scent of marijuana alone does not provide law enforcement with reasonable suspicion or probable cause to support a stop, search, seizure, or arrest.”

Filed by Senator Deon Tedder (D), the measure has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The measure states that a law enforcement officer may not:

(1) stop a person or motor vehicle based solely on the scent of marijuana, cannabis, or hemp, whether burnt or not; or

(2) search, or request to search, a motor vehicle, driver, or passenger in a motor vehicle, based solely on the scent of marijuana, cannabis, or hemp, whether burnt or not.

The proposal also states that “The scent of marijuana, cannabis, or hemp on its own, whether burnt or not, does not provide a law enforcement officer with reasonable suspicion or probable cause for a stop, search, seizure, or arrest.”

Section 2 of the bill states:

The repeal or amendment by this act of any law, whether temporary or permanent or civil or criminal, does not affect pending actions, rights, duties, or liabilities founded thereon, or alter, discharge, release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under the repealed or amended law, unless the repealed or amended provision shall so expressly provide. After the effective date of this act, all laws repealed or amended by this act must be taken and treated as remaining in full force and effect for the purpose of sustaining any pending or vested right, civil action, special proceeding, criminal prosecution, or appeal existing as of the effective date of this act, and for the enforcement of rights, duties, penalties, forfeitures, and liabilities as they stood under the repealed or amended laws.

The full text of Senate Bill 892 can be found by clicking here.

This act “takes effect upon approval by the Governor.”

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