Virginia Legislature Passes Bill to Prohibit Police Stops Based on Cannabis Odor
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Virginia Legislature Passes Bill to Prohibit Police Stops Based on Cannabis Odor

The legislation, which limits the ability of law enforcement to conduct warrantless searches solely based on the smell of cannabis, is now headed to Gov. Ralph Northam.

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October 6, 2020

The Virginia Legislature has passed legislation that would prohibit police stops based on cannabis odor, sending the bill to Gov. Ralph Northam, according to NORML.

RELATED: Virginia Senate Approves Legislation to Prohibit Police Stops Based on Cannabis Odor

Senate Bill 5029 and House Bill 5058 cleared the legislature in a special legislative session, and would limit the ability of law enforcement to conduct warrantless searches solely based on the smell of cannabis.

“While this will certainly decrease non-essential interactions between law enforcement and otherwise law-abiding Virginians, it is only by legalizing the responsible use of cannabis by adults that the Commonwealth can end its failed experiment with prohibition and begin repairing the decades of damage,” Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML’s development director and the executive director of Virginia NORML, said in a public statement.

Virginia decriminalized the possession of less than one ounce of cannabis during this year’s regular legislative session, and the law took effect July 1.

The decriminalization bill also established a work group to study adult-use cannabis legalization in Virginia, and the group is expected to issue its recommendations by Nov. 30.