Is it fair for people on probation to present additional proof of their need for medical marijuana to judges? The Colorado Supreme Court is set to make a decision on this matter. This comes after Alysha Walton agreed to probation after she was arrested for speeding and driving under the influence and pleaded guilty in El Paso County in 2017. Her lawyer requested a hearing where he argued that she be allowed to continue receiving medical marijuana while serving her sentence, but the judge said that her doctor would have to testify.
Data from the Department of Public Health and Environment in Colorado shows that there are at least 80,000 people who have valid medical marijuana cards, and a quarter of these are patients from El Paso County. Therefore, it is hard to predict how many people have issues with these kinds of stipulations as conditions for those on probation.
No doctor was willing to testify on her behalf; therefore, Walton appeared at her hearing with only her medical card and a letter from a doctor despite being advised otherwise by the court. Eventually, the court ruled against her, and she was required to stop using medical marijuana during her probation. The Colorado Public Defenders office argued that the restriction was an abuse of the court’s power by the judge since she presented the documentation needed to support her need for medical marijuana.
According to Jay Tiftickjian, a law allowing people on probation to use medical marijuana was passed in 2015, although it is still not clear to what extent this law is being implemented because he still gets countless emails from people on probation requiring to use medical marijuana but are not allowed. Due to the colossal amount of inquiries, his firm added a page to their website for answering some of the common questions.
According to Tiftickjian, a judge’s view on weed can affect his decision where one judge may permit the use of medical cannabis while another may issue a strict sentence when asked for permission to seek medical marijuana treatment.
Tiftickjian had a client, John West, who was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Jefferson County. The Judge gave West two options, either give up driving or retain his access to medical marijuana for two years. He gave up access to medical marijuana, went on anxiety medication and completed his probation and later went back to using medical marijuana.
One of the public defenders working on Walton’s case, Cayne Duncan, in his brief, wrote that the judge is supposed to look at the facts of medical marijuana enrollment. He further wrote that the judge would be abusing the court’s powers by issuing a requirement for a doctor to present the facts written in the letter.
The district attorney defended the ruling saying that the judge acted within the authority, which stipulates that a doctor should appear and testify on the need for medical marijuana by the patient.
A case challenging the requirement for a doctor to testify in support of a convict’s need to continue using medical marijuana as they serve their probationary period is now before the State Supreme Court. Marijuana industry experts believe that companies like ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) and MustGrow Biologics Corp. (CSE: MGRO) will be hoping that the highest court in the state removes the added requirements for people on parole who want to use medical marijuana to manage their health conditions.
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