In a win for the destigmatization of cannabis, a Coloradan court has reverseda previous ruling which barred those on probation from using medical marijuana.
MMJ use during probation had been legal in Colorado since 2015. However, two years ago a judge was able to rule that she didn’t like the law.
The case in contention at that time was that of Alysha Walton, a patient who pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Though Walton had a doctor’s recommendation for her cannabis use, she was unable to get a physician to testify for her legitimate medical need in court. As a result, Colorado Judge Karla Hansen ruled that the evidence was insufficient to justify Hanson’s use of MMJ during probation.
The precedent has affected the lives of MMJ patients in Colorado ever since, prohibiting people from doctor-recommended treatment, and treating medical marijuana as a narcotic rather than a medicine.
However, all that changed Monday when the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Hansen’s decision.
Now, patients can only be prohibited from use of MMJ if authorities can prove that doing so would negatively affect their rehabilitation.
Supreme Court judges not reversed Hansen’s decision; they expressed their “disapproval” of her interpretation of the law.
“The supreme court holds that the statute’s plain language creates a presumption that a defendant who is sentenced to a term of probation may use medical marijuana unless one of the enumerated exceptions applies,” the justices wrote in their decision.
“The prosecution bears the burden of overcoming the presumption. The relevant exception in this case requires the court to make particularized findings, based on material evidence, that prohibiting this defendant’s otherwise-authorized medical marijuana use is necessary and appropriate to promote statutory sentencing goals. Because the county court made no such findings here, the supreme court disapproves of the district court’s order affirming the county court’s decision.”
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