Rep. Deon Tedder, D-Charleston, said the goal of the bill is not to make marijuana legal, but to protect people, especially minorities and hemp farmers.
Hemp farming is legal in the state of South Carolina as long as the grower has the required permit, but marijuana is still considered an illegal substance in the state.
If the bill were to pass, it would stop a person or motor vehicle from being stopped or searched based solely on the scent of marijuana, cannabis, or hemp, whether burnt or not.
“The smell alone is not enough to be considered an illegal act because the accused could’ve been around someone who was illegally using marijuana or legally using hemp and both substances smell the same,” Tedder said.
Tedder said his bill doesn’t stop an officer from searching a vehicle if someone appears under the influence. He believes most people stopped and searched in South Carolina are African American males who were stopped because an officer allegedly smelled marijuana.
Read more about the bill here.