Local law enforcement officials say the state Supreme Judicial Court took away an important drug enforcement tool when it ruled that the odor of burnt marijuana is not enough for police to suspect criminal activity.

“They took a tool out of our toolbox with this decision,” said Lt. William Quigley of Cohasset.

In the 5-1 ruling Tuesday, Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, of Milton, cited a 2008 ballot question in which voters agreed to decriminalize possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana.

Since odor alone doesn’t indicate how much marijuana a person may have, it can’t justify a criminal search of a stopped vehicle, the court ruled.

Read more: Court limits vehicle searches for pot; South Shore law enforcement officials frustrated
The Enterprise (Brockton), April 20, 2011
The Patriot Ledger (Quincy) April 20, 2011