Pennsylvania's Board of Probation and Parole has responded to a right to know request filed by FOX43 asking for the policies of all 67 counties of Pennsylvania regarding medical marijuana and people on probation. The request was made multiple days before the PA Supreme Court decided to take up the case challenging Lebanon County's policy on medical marijuana and probation.
In the October 24th letter, the PA Board of Probation and Parole said it "does not have the records that you request in its possession, under its custody or its control.
It however added, the following guidance regarding medical marijuana has been communicated to state parole supervision staff: "If the parolee has a prescription for medical marijuana, we would treat it exactly as we would treat any other prescription."
Read the entire response here.
In regards to the Lebanon County case, yesterday, the PA Supreme Court issued a 'stay' on the Lebanon County policy that stops people on probation from using medical marijuana, even if they have a card. That means, the policy will not be enforced or implemented until further order from the Supreme Court.
An oral argument will now be scheduled on the matter. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has asked for briefs to be submitted by December 9.
Read the Supreme Court's decision here.
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, explaining the decision in this court filing.
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 & the Lebanon County court 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.
Case heads to the PA Supreme Court
See all court postings regarding the Gass, Bennett & Koch, et al. v. 52nd Judicial District:
Per Curiam Order
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