Court order puts county’s medical marijuana policy on hold

Lebanon

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state Supreme Court has ordered Lebanon County Court to stop enforcing a controversial policy about medical marijuana until the high court rules and makes a decision. The policy the county court put into effect prohibited people under court supervision, on parole and probation, from using medical marijuana . Here’s a breakdown of how this story has developed:

  • Sept. 1 – The Lebanon County Court announced people on community supervision, such as probation or parole, would be prohibited from using medical marijuana
  • Oct. 8 – ACLU of PA filed a lawsuit against the Lebanon County Court, saying the policy is unconstitutional
  • Oct. 30 – PA Supreme Court ordered Lebanon County to retract it’s controversial policy until the high court hears the case
  • Dec. 9 – The PA supreme court asked the parties to submit their briefs

The ACLU of PA filed the lawsuit on behalf of three people on probation and registered with the state Health Department as certified medical marijuana patients. These 3 patients have epilepsy, PTSD and chronic pain. According to the ACLU there are currently 60+ people currently in similar situations.

The ACLU says Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law protects patients from arrest, prosecution, or penalty and prohibits them from being denied any right or privilege for using marijuana.

The court policy that went into effect Sept. 1 gave people under supervision by county probation 30 days to discontinue their medical marijuana use.

The policy states that a medical marijuana card is “not a prescription for medication but rather a recommendation by a physician,” adding that under federal law, marijuana remains a Schedule I substance and therefore “has a high potential for abuse and dependency.”

In response the the PA Supreme Court’s decision to have the county court retract the policy the ACLU of Pennsylvania said:

“Today’s order from the Supreme Court is a great relief to our clients. They have been given a terrible choice between using their medication and risking jail or not using their medication and suffering the physical and emotional consequences. We look forward to explaining to the court why policies like the one in Lebanon County are illegal and must be struck down.”

ACLU of Pennsylvania’s Legal Director, Witold Walczak

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court asked the parties to submit briefs in the case by December 9. More information about the lawsuit, click here.

An ACLU lawyer said case arguments likely won’t happen before spring 2020. Stay with ABC27 News for the latest on this developing story.

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