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Am I Allowed to Smoke Marijuana While on Probation If I Have A Medical Marijuana License?


6/18/2020

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has unanimously held that a Lebanon County, Pennsylvania court policy prohibiting the use of medical marijuana for defendants who are on probation for criminal charges and possess a valid medical marijuana license issued by the State of Pennsylvania violates state law. Chief Justice Saylor issued the opinion

Pennsylvania law provides that a person with an approved serious medical condition who is a Pennsylvania resident and is certified by a doctor may participate in the State’s medical marijuana program pursuant to the 2016 Medical Marijuana Act. The Act provides that “[n]othwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, use or possession of medical marijuana as set forth in [the] act is lawful” within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Act also contains an immunity provision protecting patients from government sanctions. Specifically, 35 P.S. §10231.303(a) provides that no individual “shall be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, . . . solely for lawful use of medical marijuana . . . or for any other action taken in accordance with this act.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a petition on behalf of individuals on probation that challenged whether the Policy was valid.  It sought to confirm that the 2016 Act prohibits the penalization of medical marijuana patients who follow established state law and its requirements.  Further, it asked for injunctive relief to restrain any type of enforcement or implementation of the Policy.

Although Lebanon County asserted that there were disruptions and difficulties related to supervising probationers and parolees using medical marijuana, this does not mean that the enacted law is not valid. There are rules and procedures set in place to prevent abuse of the program.  One of the rules in place is that the MMA is not to be used by individuals who are currently incarcerated.  Parolees and Probationers are not incarcerated and if they meet the Act’s requirements and obtain medical marijuana cards through doctors who are qualified to examine these individuals and are ethically bound to do no harm, then, the petitioner’s needs are valid. A person can be both a probationer/parolee AND a patient in need of duly recommended medical relief. 

If you are on probation and have been charged with a Violation of Probation or if you are facing new charges related to possession of marijuana, contact Philadelphia marijuana possession law firm Wimmer Criminal Defense, PC for a free consultation at 215-712-1212 today. The sooner you call, the sooner we can help. If you are facing criminal charges for drug possession, you may be looking at jail time or probation. Criminal defense attorney Lauren Wimmer has the knowledge, experience, and skill you need to get a fair result.

This post was authored by Rita S. Rubins, BSW, lead paralegal at Wimmer Criminal Defense, PC.