An exciting new development for New York City residents this week is that the smell of cannabis alone is no longer a reason for searches and seizures in the state.
This week, the NYPD sent officers a notice that now that cannabis is officially legal, a more likely reason to search a car is required than just the smell of cannabis. The memo sets out the new law and explains how it will affect people who legally have cannabis on their person and property.
The memo says the smell of marijuana alone is no longer a probable cause for a search of a vehicle. The mere "smell" of cannabis is therefore still not a crime, and therefore officers can search only the passenger compartment, not the boot of the vehicle if there is reasonable suspicion that there may be something illegal in it. This allows for the search of vehicles if small amounts of burnt cannabis are seen, which can cause an officer to decide that the driver is impaired.