Wait Officer! Weed Smell Might No Longer Be Cause For Vehicle Search In IL With This Bill Passing Senate

Illinois Senate passed legislation Thursday that would remove marijuana smell as a possible cause for the search of a motor vehicle. Senate Bill 125, sponsored by state senator Rachel Ventura (D), aims to protect 4th Amendment rights of Illinois residents. 

“People – especially people of color – are unnecessarily pulled over far too often,” Ventura said. “The odor of cannabis alone shouldn’t be one of those reasons. Cannabis is legal in Illinois and it’s a pungent scent that can stick to clothes for extended periods of time.”

The bill, which passed the Senate in 33 to 20 votes, is now heading to the state House for consideration. 

Under the measure, cannabis odor is not enough to provide cause to search a driver or passengers of a vehicle, writes Illinois Senate Democrats. If the bill becomes law, it will eliminate the requirement that a driver or passenger must store marijuana in an odor-proof container. 

The bill amends some parts of the Illinois Vehicle Code but does not change the law requiring that no driver (not even medical marijuana card holders) can use cannabis within the passenger area of any motor vehicle on a highway in Illinois. 

Senate Bill 135 was created after a ruling in criminal court involving a defendant who was pulled over and arrested after an officer noticed a strong smell of marijuana. The defendant confirmed that someone had indeed smoked weed in the vehicle, but that it happened a long time ago.

The strength and persistence of cannabis aroma highlight a relatively recent case of Josefa Ippolito-Shepherd from D.C. who sued her neighbor over cannabis odor. Ippolito-Shepherd argued that the smell was a public nuisance and that it was affecting her sleep and everyday life. 

Photo: Kindel Media on Pexels


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Posted In: CannabisNewsMarketscannabis odorIllinois cannabisIllinois Senate DemocratsJosefa Ippolito-ShepherdRachel Ventura
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