Odor Plus - New Florida Law - Florida Hemp Law

On Detaining People for Weed: Miami-Dade Police and Its New “Odor Plus” Policy

Believe it or not, with hemp legalized on both federal and state level, Florida’s largest police force, Miami-Dade, stops detaining people over suspected cannabis possession and usage.

Before, police officers use the scent of cannabis smoke to question and detain people. But because hemp has been legalized, the police can’t simply impose laws against cannabis to users. Both marijuana and hemp have a similar smell, making it hard for the officers to distinguish which is which.

Hence, the birth of “Odor Plus.”

After the legalization of hemp late last year on a federal level, states are forced to revise their marijuana laws to exempt hemp from the controlled substance list. In Florida, this circumstance has resulted in rather interesting tweaks in the ways police impose laws against cannabis.

The smell of cannabis alone cannot be the cause for questioning, conducting a search, or detaining a cannabis user.

There are no training yet on determining nor technology available to easily detect if a cannabis user is using legal hemp or marijuana.

So, how will the police determine what strain of cannabis a person is using?

A legal memo was sent to New Times by a police spokesperson stating, “Accordingly, officers can no longer search a vehicle based solely on the odor of cannabis. Now you must articulate additional factors that lead you to believe that the substance is illegal cannabis, based on the totality of circumstances. You need ‘odor plus.’”

“Some ‘odor plus’ factors include: signs of impairment, information/intelligence regarding illegal activity prior to the stop and search, admission of possessing a controlled substance, etc.”

“Odor plus” remains a growing testing procedure that the police have started adopting to in order to clearly identify the strain of cannabis being used.

How will this procedure progress?

Stay tuned.

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