California Supreme Court Refuses Access to Cannabis for Prison Inmates
The Center Square reported that, following a lower court’s ruling that declared inmates in state prisons have the right to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, California high court has reversed it.
The ruling ensures those who are incarcerated cannot carry cannabis while in the custody of state prisons.
This case came about after guards found cannabis in the cells of five incarcerated people, including Goldy Raybon. The argument here is that the convictions should be dismissed following the 2006 alteration to the law that permitted individuals to have up to an ounce in their possession. However, since cannabis and other drugs are banned from state prisons, the state’s high court had to come to its own conclusion on the matter.
One appellate court panel ruled that prison inmates should be allowed to carry up to 28 grams of cannabis in prison. However, they could not consume it.
The 5-2 majority was commented upon by Justice Joshua Groban, who wrote that allowing inmates to have up to 28 grams of cannabis on their person in prison probably falls outside of what voters approved when Proposition 64 passed.
“It seems unlikely that this was the voters’ intent,” he explained. “We think it clear that laws barring possession of cannabis in prison related to drug use. The act of possessing cannabis and the act of using cannabis have an obvious relation insofar as ‘a person has to possess cannabis to smoke or ingest it.’”
Both justices believe that the majority overstepped by considering the idea that possession in prison could be legal following legalization.
“We do not need to answer questions about post-Proposition 64 charging practices to resolve Raybon’s claim concerning his pre-Proposition 64 charging practices to resolve Raybon’s claim concerning his pre-Proposition 64 conviction,” Associate Justice Leondra Kruger explained in writing. “Raybon’s only argument here is that he is entitled to the retroactive dismissal of his prior conviction under Proposition 64 because he is a person ‘who would not have been guilty of an offense’ had Proposition 64 been in effect at the time.”
However, Proposition 64 had not been in effect at the time. So, the verdict against Raybon seems relatively reasonable.
Through the 1996 Medical Marijuana Initiative, cannabis is allowed in prisons. But there must be an established medical cause for cannabis permission.