Let’s say you drive a beat up 1990s Volkswagen that hasn’t been washed in years and have a Grateful Dead sticker on your bumper. If a cop saw you crawling around the highway, he’d probably pull you over on suspicion of liking the reefer.
In Massachusetts, however, that cop would be the one at fault–even if he did find weed in a Deadhead’s whip. The state’s Supreme Judicial Court voted 5-2 in favor of forbidding cops from pulling over cars just because they “suspect” weed might be in them:
“Permitting police to stop a vehicle based on reasonable suspicion that an occupant possesses marijuana does not serve [the] objectives” of the law change, Justice Margot Botsford wrote for the majority.
Botsford wrote that allowing such stops “does not refocus police efforts on pursuing more serious crime,” another goal of changing the law. [Boston Globe]
Of course it’s a bit unclear what qualifies as “suspicion” and most cops will find a way to pull you over if they want. Likewise, the Masshole 5-0 can still hand out tickets if they find weed in your car.
Since Massachusetts has decriminalized cannabis under an ounce, that’s not such a big deal.