Pennsylvania Federal Judge Rules Those On Probation May Not Use Medical Cannabis

The question of medical cannabis use while on probation remains a source of tension.
Pennsylvania Federal Judge Rules Those On Probation May Not Use Medical Cannabis
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A federal judge in Pennsylvania this week ruled that a woman on probation could not use marijuana, despite having a medical cannabis card that legally entitles her to a prescription. 

On Wednesday, U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann reportedly told 31-year-old Alyssa Howe that using medical marijuana during her probationary period is “out of the question,” according to PennLive. 

Howe was in court for sentencing after she admitted that “she had misappropriated $9,222 over a three-year period while working as a clerk in the Kreamer Post Office in Snyder County,” PennLive reported. She told Brann that she is a recovered heroin addict, but the judge urged her to seek out other prescription remedies in lieu of medical marijuana.

According to PennLive, Howe was placed “on two years’ probation during which she must perform 30 hours of community service.”

Prescription Pot on Probation

The case calls to mind a lawsuit brought last year by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. The ACLU sued Lebanon County, Pennsylvania over a new policy that bars people with medical marijuana cards to use the treatment if they are on probation—a dispute that further underscores the divide between federal and state governments with regard to cannabis policy. 

Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016, but pot remains banned on the federal level, an inconsistency that has produced tension in the last decade. In its lawsuit last fall, the ACLU argued that the county rule violated Pennsylvania state law. The suit was brought on behalf of the 41-year-old Melissa Gass, who treats her epilepsy with medical cannabis, but found herself on probation due to a 2016 arrest. 

“Medical marijuana has made all of the difference in improving my quality of life,” Gass said in October. “When I started using cannabis to treat my epilepsy, I went from having multiple seizures a day to having one every few months. Medical marijuana has been a lifesaver for me. This policy is a cruel blow.”

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  1. Federal Judges and Federal prosecutors refuses to jail HSBC bankers and others for laundering drug money for cartels, russians, and terrorists in 2010. But untold thousands die from drug money and most are innocent and die from the war on drugs the new Jim Crow of injustice and a well funded killing machine at a chunk of national debt. It divides and dilutes freedom and promotes inequality.

  2. I know that I’m on state parole in pa not on probation. And I was in bed with a migraine one day and my po asked why during the home visit. I stated I get terrible migraines and he started to ask about my health and other issues I have. He suggested to me to get on medical marijuana because it’s legal with the card in pa just like any other prescription. I know it has helped me tremendously with migraines, chronic back and knee pain, a seizure suffer as well as ptsd, anxiety and depression as well as a past drug abuse history. It’s now being studied as a way to help those in recovery from relapsing.

    1. The judge ruled against her,not everyone in the state of p.a.on parole or probation.my p.o.encouraged me to get on med cann because of addiction issues,epilepsy,and a few other ailments.my life is the best it’s been in a long time.i owe a good deal to medical cannabis.I 💘 MARIJUANA!!!!

    2. I am in Scuylkill county do you think i will have a problem i just got out an went an got my card I didnt ask I figured I would be ok what do you think??I have ptsd an anxiety an opiate dependency an pain

  3. It’s my opinion that no one should be able to interfere in any legal medical treatments being pursued by any person, no matter what their probation or parole status. Forcing a person to take synthetic prescription medications which could, and often do, have very serious side effects instead of a chosen, medically approved and safer alternative should be considered a violation of that person’s civil rights.

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