In the state of New Mexico, where medical marijuana is legal, a judge has ruled in favor of those incarcerated, and who are cannabis card holders, can use the drug.
Medical Marijuana for Incarcerated Patients
A New Mexico judge has ruled in favor of incarcerated persons who are medical marijuana card holders such that they can use their medicine while in prison. District Court Judge Lucy Solimon has now set precedent for medical care for those in jail or prison or on probation on the heels of reported incidents of correctional officers confiscating medical cannabis products from patients.
This most recent case follows Joe Montaño who was the unlucky victim of a correctional officer confiscating his medical marijuana while Joe was serving a ninety-day sentence of home confinement. New Mexico’s Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (2019) allows for medical cannabis to be administered by patients who are on parole or probation.
Judge Solimon went on to say that, “Although CCP is not specifically mentioned in the Compassionate Use Act, (Bernalillo) Country fails to demonstrate that the Community Custody Program (CCP) should be treated differently than probation or parole. Therefore, it appears as though the Compassionate Use Act does apply to the defendants on CCP as it does to defendants on probation or parole.” This ruling is only a step forward and a demonstration that even those being held under state custody have the right to access medical marijuana just as they would any other medication.
Pot Policy Problems
While some disagree with the outcome of this ruling, the meaning for those aligned with cannabis policy furtherance was best captured by Senator Jacob Candelaria. Candelaria represented the defendant in the case and went on to state that, “there’s no discretion under the Medical Cannabis Act. You must allow this. While the criminal industrial complex may have pushback or some concerns, take those to the legislature.”
To emphasize the overwhelmingly clear mandate, Candelaira concluded with a sentence we love, “because until such time as the legislature changes the law, the law is clear. You must under existing law provide incarcerated persons with the ability to access medical cannabis free from penalty. That’s the law.”
Many people agree this is a big win in the United States, a country that has a tarnished history of jailing disproportionately high numbers of minorities for non-violent marijuana offenses and still leaves much to be desired from its existing medical marijuana programs. Duke Rodriguez of Ultra Health expressed that, “this ruling exemplifies the spirit of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act: cannabis is medicine and every patient deserves the legal right to access their medicine.”
This win has also sparked controversy pertaining to if jails should pay for the medical marijuana for those incarcerated who qualify as patients. However, vocalizing what many are likely thinking themselves, Senator Candelaria closed with “I absolutely do believe that jail and prison facilities have the responsibility to provide that medical care if it’s ordered by a physician, period.” We at The Weed Blog anticipate continued progress and development in this realm of cannabis policy and believe that people who need medicine are the ones who deserve it.
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