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VIDEO: MDGA 2023 – SB 51 Hearing – Judicial Proceedings Committee (2.2.2023)

On 2.2.2023 several community organizations and civic leaders testified in support of Senate Bill 51 – Removing the sole use of the odor of cannabis as the basis for stops and searches by law enforcement.



  • Yanet Ammanuel – ACLU of MD
  • Debra Ramsey – Former Baltimore City police detective
  • Malcolm Ruff – Murphy Firm
  • Michelle Hall – Office of the Public Defender
  • Roberto Martinez – Office of the Public Defender, District Court Montgomery County
  • Charlotte Ahearn – Maryland Legal Aid
  • Councilman Martin Mitchell – Laurel City Council
  • Heather Warnken – Center for Criminal Justice Reform
  • Karen Kaplan – Jews United For Justice
  • Joanna Silver – Silver Spring Justice Coalition
  • Rusty Carr – District 4 constituent
  • Sita Abdul-Malik – Maryland NORML
  • McKayla Wilkes
  • Rondez Green – Student, Bowie State University
  • Nikki Tyree – League of Women Voters


  • Scott Shellenberger – Baltimore County State’s Attorney 
  • David Daggett – Maryland State’s Attorney Association 
  • Mike Lewis – Sheriff of Wicomico County (representing Maryland Sheriff’s Association and Maryland Chefs of Police Association)
  • Steven Kroll – Maryland State’s Attorney Association

Removing the sole use of the odor of cannabis as the basis for stops and searches by law enforcement.

The issue:
The use of odor searches and cannabis prohibition policies more generally have been used as a tool for law enforcement to justify stops and searches. Black people are overwhelmingly represented among those who are stopped and searched on the basis of the odor of cannabis. This allows for Black people to have more contact with law enforcement, which has often led to Black people experiencing police violence and mistreatment.

What does the legislation do?
This bill says that law enforcement can not use odor searches as the sole basis for a search.

Bill Information

Important Dates

Previous Hearings

Bill Sponsors

Senator Jill Carter

District 41
Baltimore City
(410) 841-3697

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Committee Chairs

Senate Judicial Proceedings

Senator Will Smith

District 20
Montgomery County

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Senator Jeff Waldstreicher

District 18
Montgomery County

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House Judiciary

Delegate Luke Clippinger

District 46
Baltimore City

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Delegate David Moon

District 20
Montgomery County

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