Marijuana: Seizure of Evidence

Under federal law, possession of even small amounts of marijuana is still a crime in the District. Federal law enforcement can still arrest anyone for possession in D.C., although local law enforcement (the Metropolitan Police Department) complies with local decriminalization of possession of up to 2 ounces by a person over age 21. But whether you’re 21 or under, or over 21, the government must not exceed constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures (whether seizure of a person or evidence of an alleged crime). The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives enhanced protection to preserving the sanctity of the home. Privacy in your home extends to all types of warrantless “searches,” whether the search is conducted in person by police, or through infrared technology. Your privacy might even be protected from warrantless surveillance flights above your property, depending on how common such flights are, if you maintain a “reasonable expectation of privacy” from such intrusions.

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