Joseph Garvey: Marijuana Incarcerations in Legalized States

Joseph Garvey: Marijuana Incarcerations in Legalized States
CANNANNEW REPORT

 Joseph Garvey The recently decided case of People v. Raybon, 11 Cal. 5th 1056 shows that even in states where the possession of marijuana is legal the courts can still find ways to charge people with possession.  It also highlights the major disparity forming between state laws and federal laws concerning the legalization of marijuana. Issue The issue in this case is whether a possession of marijuana charge that someone has already been convicted of can still be enforced, despite statute stating that those held on possession charges be released, if the possession occurs in a state correctional facility. Ruling The court held that possession of a controlled substance in a state correctional facility is a felony and those convicted cannot be released until they have served their time. Analysis For this case, the court looked very closely at Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which legalized the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for almost any adult.  Proposition 64 also added remedial provisions for persons convicted of a cannabis related crime “who would not have been guilty of an offense, or who would have been guilty of a lesser offense under the Act.1” However, the act had several exceptions.  One of these exceptions was that the Act does not amend or affect “laws pertaining to smoking or ingesting cannabis or cannabis products on the grounds of, or within, any facility or institution under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.2” The defendants in this case argued that because the exception only refers to the smoking or ingesting of marijuana their possession charge should not be enforced.  The court stated that Section 11362.45(d) is most reasonably construed as encompassing laws that prohibit the possession of cannabis in prison. The court…

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