The Virginia Senate is about to consider a bill that could dramatically reduce the number of people who are stopped and searched by police officers.
The smell of marijuana is often used by police officers as a pretext to stop people and ask to search their car or their backpack or their pockets. Advocates say it predominantly targets Black people, and that could come to an end if Delegate Patrick Hope is successful. The Arlington Democrat has a bill that’s already passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate.
It moves the smell of marijuana from a primary offense to a secondary offense. That means police could not stop someone because they smelled marijuana. It also makes a secondary offense out of something dangling from a rearview mirror or a license plate that’s not illuminated.
“I’ve been pulled over in my 30 year driving career in my life, and I know that when I get pulled over by law enforcement I myself get very anxious,” Hope says. “But I’ve…