ACLU seeks to end midstate county’s policy barring probationers from using medical marijuana

  • Rachel McDevitt

(Harrisburg) — A civil rights group wants Pennsylvania’s highest court to strike down a midstate county’s policy barring people on probation from using medical marijuana.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says Lebanon County’s rule contradicts state law.

Under the state’s Medical Marijuana Act, people using the drug lawfully cannot be arrested, prosecuted, or penalized for doing so. They also can’t be denied any right or privilege.

“And probation being a privilege, it seems to pretty squarely fall within the plain language of the Medical Marijuana Act,” said Andrew Christy, Criminal Justice and Poverty Attorney at the ACLU.

The ACLU originally filed the lawsuit in Commonwealth Court in October on behalf of three medical marijuana patients on probation in the county.

The state Supreme Court took up the case and temporarily stopped Lebanon County from enforcing its policy.

The ACLU on Wednesday filed a brief seeking a permanent halt to the rule, which it says would create a uniform approach across the state.

“Essentially the question of whether a person with serious medical issues and with serious disabilities can use medical marijuana [while on probation] at the moment really depends on geography,” Christy said.

A Lebanon County spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

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