Saturday, July 19, 2008

Court nixes arrests over pot smell

Guilt by association!

That's one of the concepts that guides the failed drug war. Of course, the alleged association is often nonexistent, like when the programmies babble about how any song written after 1940 is "druggie music", but that's another matter entirely. This story is about the law enforcement practice of arresting every occupant of a car just because of a marijuana smell.

I know I've seen this practice on 'Cops', probably in the more recent episodes that are mostly filled with the police lecturing folks about how much they hate marijuana. If one person smokes pot, the authorities consider everyone in the vicinity guilty.

It's easy to see what a slippery slope this is. If one person at a festival or a concert smokes a joint, does that mean cops can ticket all of the hundreds of revelers?

Luckily, the state of Washington has now placed some much-needed speed bumps on this slippery slope. The Washington Supreme Court, citing the Evergreen State's broad privacy protections, has now ruled that police can't arrest passengers just for being in a car that smells of marijuana.

This decision should be obvious. But it actually corrects a bad ruling from some years back that caused passengers to be jailed even if no marijuana was to be found on them.


No comments:

Post a Comment