California Supreme Court Nixes Pot For Prisoners

High Times

The California Supreme Court ruled this week that inmates in the state prison system do not have a right to possess marijuana under Proposition 64, the landmark 2016 ballot initiative that legalized cannabis in the state. The ruling overturns a lower court decision in 2019 that found that prisoners could possess marijuana but could not smoke or otherwise ingest it while behind bars. “It seems implausible” that the voters intended to essentially decriminalize marijuana in prisons with the ballot measure’s passage, Associate Justice Joshua Groban wrote in the court’s majority opinion. 2019 Decision Overturned For California Inmates The Supreme Court’s decision was handed down in a case of five men who were convicted of marijuana possession after being found with cannabis in their prison cells. In 2019, California’s 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that although smoking and ingesting marijuana in prison is illegal under state law, possession of cannabis was not specifically outlawed by statute. Under that ruling, the appeals court found that state prisoners could legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Other appeals court decisions, however, had found that marijuana possession in prisons is still against the law. In a 5-to-2 decision released last Thursday, the Supreme Court overturned the 3rd District Court of Appeal’s ruling, agreeing with a state attorney general’s office finding that Prop. 64 did not apply to incarcerated individuals. “We agree with the Attorney General that if the drafters had intended to so dramatically change the laws regarding cannabis in prison, we would expect them to have been more explicit about their goals,” wrote Groban. “While perhaps not illogical to distinguish between the possession and use of cannabis, it is nonetheless difficult to understand why the electorate would want to preclude laws criminalizing cannabis possession in prison, but permit laws criminalizing cannabis…

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