Closings & Delays

Commonwealth Court explains why it believes PA Supreme Court needs to decide medical marijuana case in Lebanon Co.

The Supreme Court is still deciding if it will hear a case challenging a policy that blocks people on probation from using medical marijuana in Lebanon County, even if the person has a medical marijuana card.

FOX43’s Jamie Bittner broke the story on Melissa Gass, who is on probation in Lebanon County and who lives with epilepsy. Gass has joined Ashley Bennett and Andrew Koch in the lawsuit filed on behalf of the ACLU against the 52nd Judicial District of Lebanon County.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decided to transfer the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. However, the PA Supreme Court asked the Commonwealth Court to explain that decision.

In a new 8-page court filing, the Commonwealth Court states in part, it "lacked jurisdiction." It also states the PA Supreme Court has "authority over 'all courts and magisterial district judges' and over 'personnel of the system'" such as judicial officers and judges.

Read the court's entire statement here.

The 52nd Judicial District of Lebanon County responded to the lawsuit earlier this month. It defended the medical marijuana policy in part by stating, "the Judicial District promulgated the Policy after the Office began to experience disruption in probation services and persistent difficulty supervising probationers and parolees who use medical marijuana."

The legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Witold Walczak, stated “the plain language in the medical marijuana law shows that the legislature intended to protect all patients, including those on probation” and he added “judges may not agree with the Medical Marijuana Act, or may not support people using marijuana for any reason, but they must follow the law.”

Medical marijuana has been legal in Pennsylvania since 2016. But, the federal government still views it as illegal and a Schedule I drug.

What is a Schedule I drug?

Read Lebanon County's probation policy.

Read the Lawsuit here.

Read the full response from the 52nd Judicial District to the ACLU lawsuit here.

Follow the story of Melissa Gass from the beginning when she spoke first exclusively to FOX43.

The story of Melissa Gass.

Melissa Gass rallies at the Capitol.

ACLU announces lawsuit against 52nd Judicial District, Lebanon County.

See all court postings regarding the Gass, Bennett & Koch, et al. v. 52nd Judicial District:

Memorandum Opinion

Answer to Application for Special Relief

Supreme Court Briefing Schedule

Transfer To The Supreme Court

Application For Emergency Relief

Brief ER Relief

Petition For Review

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