Arizona Supreme Court Rules Probationers Can Use Medical Marijuana

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - 3:59pm
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People on probation can no longer be prohibited from using medical marijuana. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Tuesday it’s illegal for the state to require that restriction as a term of probation.

The 2010 voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act protects qualifying card holders from being denied any right or privilege for using the drug and according to law, probation is a privilege.

David Euchner, attorney for one of the probationers, said the decision goes into effect immediately.

“It works for not only everybody starting today but it also works for everybody that is currently on probation or anybody that is going to be on probation,” he said. 

Euchner said this means courts can no longer include language in plea agreements that ban medical marijuana use. Spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney Office, Jerry Cobb said this is an example of problems when the public makes laws with ballot initiatives.

 “There was no discussion at the time of the election regarding the impact on case resolution and the ability for parties to negotiate plea agreements," he said. “And now we are suffering the consequences of that.”

Cobb said its standard in most probation agreements that probationers are banned from using drugs, which up until now that included medical marijuana. The Maricopa County Attorney’s office said it’s reviewing the ruling to decide how it will impact the office’s ability to negotiate plea agreements. The decision results from two cases where card holders who had plea deals with Cochise and Yavapai counties challenged the ban on medical marijuana use.

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