On October 30, 2019, using it’s extraordinary King’s Bench power, The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a ruling temporarily preventing probation departments from enforcing policies that prohibit the use of medical marijuana by those under their supervision. On June 18, 2020, the Court made that ruling permanent.
The matter concerned a challenge to a Lebanon County policy prohibiting the use of medical marijuana by individuals under court supervision, such as those on probation. The policy prohibited the active use of medical marijuana, regardless of whether the probationer had a medical marijuana card, while under supervision by the Lebanon County Probation Services Department. Lebanon County had made several arguments in support of the policy, however they were unable to persuade the Commonwealth’s highest court that the policy was lawful.
Of particular relevance, the Medical Marijuana Act contains an immunity provision protecting patients from government sanctions. Under the Act, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, use or possession of medical marijuana as set forth in the Act is lawful within this Commonwealth. Per the statute, no such 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.
By Order of the Supreme Court, individual counties may no longer have policies in place banning the use of medical marijuana for those that have valid medical marijuana cards and prescriptions. Those that do not possess a valid card are still subject to the rules and regulations of probation and parole.
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