“LOOK ME UP”: Woman living with epilepsy fights back against probation services policy on medical marijuana

Melissa Gass suffers from epilepsy. She said, before medical marijuana, she suffered nearly 13 seizures a day. On medical marijuana, she said that fell to only a few every few months.

But, Gass can no longer use medical marijuana, even though she has a medical marijuana card.

A ruling by Judge John Tylwalk bars Lebanon County Probation Services from permitting "the active use of medical marijuana, regardless of whether the defendant has a medical marijuana card, while the individual is under supervision by the Lebanon County Probation Services Department." The order also gives offenders 30 days to discontinue use.


Read the entire decision here.

But Gass said, her medical marijuana card is a matter of life or death, and she said it was issued by doctors. She no longer takes it because she is on probation. Instead, she has to take six different medicines, she said. While using medical marijuana, she said, she only took two.

Judge Tylwalk said people like Gass can petition the court to be exempt from the policy.

"I would not expect that we would be inhumane or unsympathetic in that situation but I believe they're all very specific fact-based situations," said Tylwalk. He added, "I think just coming into us and saying I have this medical marijuana card, you need to excuse me from this policy is not sufficient. We would need, you know, additional information."

But, as his order states, medical marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. And, it's classified as a Schedule I substance which is defined as having a high potential for abuse and dependency with no recognized medical use or value.

"There is definitely conflict between federal law and our medical marijuana law," said Judge Tylwalk.

Rules of probation also read that people on probation "may not possess or drink alcoholic beverages nor use any narcotic drugs and you will abstain from the possession, use or abuse, manufacturing, or sale of any legal or illegal mind/mood altering chemical/substance."

Read full adult probation rules here.

But Gass had this to say, "I think all of us that are fighting this battle should join on the courthouse steps and demand to see Judge Tylwalk. Look me up on facebook. Melissa Gass."

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