NYPD memo tells police that the smell of marijuana alone is no longer the likely cause of a crime justifying vehicle search after state votes to legalize drugs
- The NYPD distributed an internal memo to all of its orders on Wednesday, explaining new marijuana laws
- Government Andrew Cuomo signed a law on Wednesday that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana
- New Yorkers 21 and older can now legally possess up to three ounces of marijuana outdoors
- Memo states that the smell of marijuana alone no longer establishes the likely cause of a crime to search a vehicle
- Smoking marijuana while driving is still illegal, as is driving a vehicle while high
Police officers in New York City are no longer allowed to search a vehicle simply because it emits a smell of marijuana, now that the state has legalized recreational use of the drug.
The NYPD issued a memo on Wednesday under all of its orders, explaining the new laws regulating marijuana possession, sale and use and “ outlining the department’s sweeping changes in marijuana enforcement. [sic]
The memo was sent after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, making New York the 16th state in the US to take that move.
After the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York, the police can no longer search a vehicle because it emits a smell of marijuana (photo file)
Under the new laws, adults cannot be prosecuted for smoking marijuana on the street. Pictured: Eliana Miss Illi, CEO of Weed World in Midtown Manhattan, smokes a joint Wednesday
People 21 and older can legally own up to 90 gram pots outdoors and also grow up to three adult cannabis plants in their homes
New Yorkers 21 and older can now legally own up to three ounces of marijuana outdoors and purchase cannabis from authorized retailers.
Adults can also legally have up to 5 pounds of marijuana in their home and grow up to three adult and three immature cannabis plants in their home.
‘The smell of marijuana with immediate effect [sic] only no longer establishes the probable cause of a crime to search a vehicle, ”the police memorandum said. This change applies to both burned and unburned marijuana [sic]
Smoking marijuana while driving is still illegal, as is driving a vehicle while high.
If an officer smells burnt marijuana from a car, it can be considered a likely reason to search the passenger compartment, but not the trunk.
Police can search the trunk only if they develop a ‘separate probable cause’ to believe there is evidence of a crime inside.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on Wednesday to legalize recreational marijuana
The sale of marijuana for recreational use will only become legal for an estimated 18 months pending government regulations
The memo notes that the new law allows anyone over the age of 21 to smoke marijuana “ almost anywhere cigarette smoking is allowed, including on sidewalks, on front arches, and in other public places. As a result, smoking marijuana [sic] at any of these locations there is no basis for an approach, stop, subpoena, arrest or search. ‘
Under the revised guidelines, street marijuana sales are still illegal, but police who witness a man-to-man exchange of 3 oz or less of marijuana cannot make an arrest or issue a subpoena unless they see the money change hands.
Police officers have also pointed out that people on parole can now use marijuana unless the terms of their parole specifically prohibit it.
Anyone previously convicted of marijuana possession under the new legal limit will automatically be eligible for a new sentence. The bill will also lead to reduced penalties for possession and sale.
This is a historic day in New York – a day that redresses past injustices by ending harsh prison sentences, embracing an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy and prioritize marginalized communities so that those who suffered the most be the first to reap the benefits, ‘Cuomo said in a statement.