Apr. 20 2011 -- BOSTON (Reuters) - The smell of marijuana smoke is no longer enough reason for police to order someone out of a car, now that pot has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, the state's highest court said in a decision published Tuesday.
The ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was in response to an appeal filed by lawyers for Benjamin Cruz from Boston, whom police ordered out of a car in 2009 when they approached the vehicle parked in front of a fire hydrant and smelled marijuana.
Cruz was later charged with possession of a class B controlled substance with intent to distribute and committing a controlled substance violation in a school zone.
The high court said a key factor in its decision was the 2008 change in state law which made possession of one ounce or less of marijuana a civil rather than a criminal offense.