The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will decide whether people under court supervision can use medical marijuana, after lawyers in a lawsuit filed against the Lebanese court medical cannabis policy denied their case on Tuesday.
Because of the coronavirus novel, this session was conducted virtually – a first for the Supreme Court. The seven judges wore their black robes but sat at the computer, not next to each other in court. And lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union – who filed the lawsuit – and for the county to submit their arguments to the screen rather than to the bench.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Lebanese Regency residents under court supervision who were banned from using medical marijuana by the court, even though they had cards that allowed them to do so. Courts in the Lebanese District adopted a policy in September that prohibited people who were tried or released conditionally from using medical marijuana.
The policy was later updated to include that people under surveillance could obtain an exception by providing medical documentation proving that the use of the substance was a medical necessity.
The Supreme Court places a pause for policy enforcement in October, pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
The court’s decision on this issue will apply in all states, because the Medical Marijuana Act passed by the General Assembly in 2016 does not specify how it applies to people under court supervision.
ACLU lawyers debate the case
During the trial, ACLU lawyer Sara Rose argued that the policy violated the Medical Marijuana Act and placed undue burdens on those undergoing probation or parole by asking them to prove “medical needs” to be exempted from the policy.
Rose believes the court’s policy also violates the part of the Medical Marijuana Act that provides protection to people who legally use medical marijuana and gives them immunity from being denied the right or privilege for using medical marijuana.
Rose noted the court did have the authority to follow the guidelines of the Medical Marijuana Law as a condition of probation.
“There are many things that a trial court can do to ensure that someone complies with the (Marijuana Medical) Act,” Rose said. “What a trial court cannot do is to forbid individuals from doing what the legislature has permitted them to do.”
The judge questioned Rose for the ACLU’s argument that the immunity clause protects the person being tried, whether the convicted court has the authority to prevent legal use of medical marijuana, and the ACLU’s statement that the policy requirements being tried prove that their medical marijuana is a “medical necessity” places an undue burden should. to them.
Rose argues that the policy does not specify what even experimental testers have to prove if they are looking for an exception, and that the term “medical needs” is different from what can be prescribed by medical marijuana to treat.
“A doctor must demonstrate that an individual … can receive some benefits, palliative or medical benefits, from the use of medical marijuana,” Rose said. “That is a threshold that is far lower than a typical understanding of medical needs, which is usually a last resort.”
Robert Krandel, a lawyer representing the Lebanese court, argues that the court must consider more than just whether someone has a medical marijuana card when setting conditions for probation or parole.
“The court is charged with greater responsibility than just a doctor. The court must ensure that these petitioners leave the criminal justice system and are rehabilitated,” Krandel said.
Krandel too argues that the policy does not conflict with the Medical Marijuana Act.
“They are not bothered just because of their medical marijuana … their rights and privileges to be free, to stay out after 11, to have pagers and cellphones and other things, those rights are violated because they are already on probation,” Krandel the word. “That’s why there doesn’t seem to be a conflict here with the Medical Marijuana Act.”
The judge questioned Krandel about how much judgment should be given by the judge in determining someone’s medical treatment if the treatment included controlled substances, the relationship between policy and crime related to substance abuse, and why the burden of the insured was to prove their medical marijuana. use for “medical purposes.”
When asked by Judge Debra Todd if there were “differences between the types of crimes that led to probation and the use of medical marijuana,” Krandel said there might be room for policy for those who have no history of drug abuse.
“Let’s say a prospective trial has no connection with substance abuse and they want to use medical marijuana, so they will use the policy and petition the judge,” Krandel said.
Krandel also noted during his argument that because courts prevented policies from being implemented, there was no background to determine how well the policies could be implemented.
In a closing statement, Krandel suggested that the court could provide input on the policy and how it could be implemented rather than discarding it entirely.
Nora Shelly can be contacted at [email protected]
Read or Share this story: https://www.ldnews.com/story/news/2020/05/19/lawsuit-aclu-lebanon-county-courts-medical-marijuana-probation-policy-pa-supreme-court/ 5219695002 /
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]