ROBINSON, Texas – Robinson Police officers who notice the smell of marijuana coming from a vehicle will no longer automatically conduct a search.
Robinson Police Chief Rich Andreucci says procedural justice is important to him, and he wants people to be treated fairly.
“The last thing I would want is for them to search a vehicle and find out that the person was using hemp, which is legal,” Andreucci said.
Hemp was legalized in Texas in 2019, and he says the two have similar smells. He does not want a person searched and arrested for the wrong reason.
“Then we’ve brought this person through the criminal justice system that should have never had any of that stuff happen to them,” Andreucci said.
Andreucci emphasized he is not telling his officers to stop searching cars because of the smell – but to consider asking questions first.
“Do you have any marijuana in the car? Have you recently smoked any?,” Andreucci said. “Then based on their answer to that question – if they did say yes, there is some in the car. Then your probable case is no longer the odor. They’ve just admitted that there is illegal narcotics in the car.”
He says the Police Department does not have a weak stance when it comes to illegal narcotics, because they do not condone it.
“I just want to make sure that when we do make an arrest, we can go to bed knowing that it was a good arrest and we treated that person fairly,” Andreucci said.
Andreucci hopes the community supports and appreciates the extra step he is requiring his officers to take. He never wants the Police organization to lose its legitimacy to the public.
“We need to make sure that we are doing our best to protect our citizens and their right to be secure – in their vehicles, homes and wherever else,” Andreucci said.