A Texas Police Division decides that the odor of hashish alone just isn’t a probable motive for the search
In Texas, the Robinson Police Department is amending a policy that previously allowed officials to search a vehicle for the smell of marijuana, while other departments within the same county continue to use the smell of marijuana as a likely cause of a search.
Differentiating Between CBD Vs. Marijuana In Texas
Cannabis has a noticeable odor that is extremely strong when burned, and law enforcement often uses the presence of that odor to search citizens at traffic stops. This usually serves as a cover for racial profiling, as the police are already pulling a disproportionate number of minorities away, resulting in a disproportionate number of cannabis-related arrests.
With the decreasing stigma of cannabis among Americans, this law is under increasing scrutiny. Among those struggling hardest for change are those who use CBD, which has no noticeable effects on one’s driving skills, but has an almost identical odor to marijuana.
The only way to scientifically differentiate CBD and marijuana is to have it tested in a laboratory. Unfortunately, most people, including the police, rarely go this far to stand their case, and CBD users have been jailed for something that was completely legal on their part. The severity of the problem has only increased as people in the United States become more used to CBD products and the lines between legal and illegal traffic stops blur.
Police inconsistencies and marijuana
There is an urgent need to review the policies of police officers using the smell of marijuana as a likely reason to search a person or vehicle. A McLennan County, Texas police officer is trying to publicize this issue. Ann Tamporello, an officer with the Waco Police Department who also owns a CBD American Shaman store, said, “Even though they look the same, the effects are very different when someone ingests them.” She is one of the few officers who does have spoken out so loudly against the status quo, and the rest of the Waco Police Department has not been as open to policy changes similar to the Robinson Police Department.
McLennan County is still encouraging police officers to use the smell of cannabis as a likely reason for a search. Waco police are still accusing people of possessing marijuana, Officer Garen Bynum said. “We’re still working as usual, and the smell of marijuana is still a likely reason to search your vehicle.”
Officer Tamporello explained how the system currently works in Waco. “If a cop pulls someone over with the smell of ‘presumably’ marijuana, they can legally obtain the sample and write a report with the information given to the person and then send it to a lab for testing. If the test showed the sample as hemp (CBD) it could be returned. However, if the test shows that it is illegal marijuana, the lab will send it back to the police. “However, this practice has overburdened state testing laboratories, and in 2019 prosecutors ordered testing restricted to marijuana-only offenses.
With the help of officials like Tamporello, we can hope that the Texas Police Department will continue to follow the advice of informed lawyers and experts and use the Robinson Police Department guidelines as a blueprint.
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