Suffolk University Law School Professor Chris Dearborn was interviewed on WBUR’s Morning Edition show April 21.
Dearborn, an expert on criminal law, commented on some of the issues that complicate a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling. The SJC found that the odor of marijuana is not reason enough for police officers to order a person out of a car and to search the vehicle.
Sixty-seven Massachusetts communities have bylaws which make public use of marijuana illegal even though possession of less than an ounce is not illegal under the marijuana law enacted in 2009.
There are two kinds of bylaws – civil and criminal. Dearborn said those that impose a criminal sanction might run afoul because the “law clearly states that no individual entities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are allowed to pass any laws or sanctions that are inconsistent with this law.”