State Supreme Court hears oral arguments on whether trial courts can stop people on probation from using medical marijuana

Written by on May 20, 2020

State Supreme Court hears oral arguments on whether trial courts can stop people on probation from using medical marijuana

By An-Li Herring, WESA

May 20, 2020

A marijuana plant. Photo | David Zalubowski, AP

The state Supreme Court live-streamed oral arguments for the first time Tuesday, May 19. WESA’s An-Li Herring reports that one case addressed whether trial courts can stop people on probation from using medical marijuana.

Three probationers challenged a Lebanon County court policy that would let judges ban people from using medical cannabis while under court supervision. The plaintiffs say state law gives them the right to use the drug to treat serious health conditions. But the attorney on the other side, Robert Krandel, says judges must balance health needs with rules to prevent future crimes.

“The courts have to ensure that these petitioners get out of the criminal-justice system and are rehabilitated and … become good citizens,” said Krandel.

But ACLU lawyer Sara Rose argued that there’s no evidence that restricting access to medical marijuana would help.

“As long as the person on probation is complying with the Medical Marijuana Act, then the trial court does not have discretion to penalize them,” said Rose.

The argument was conducted online due to the coronavirus. Some justices expressed concern that the Lebanon County policy gives judges too much power. 


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