Colorado Supreme Court to weigh in on how judges decide when people on probation can use medical marijuana

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Summary

A county court judge prohibited Alysha Walton from using medical marijuana while on probation for a DUI, and a district court judge agreed with the decision. The officer didn’t recommend she be prohibited from medical marijuana use, just that she refrain from alcohol and attend alcohol education classes. So, the judge prohibited Walton from using medical marijuana while on probation, saying the court didn’t have enough evidence to prove its necessity. But the Colorado Public Defender’s Office, which represented Walton, has argued the county court abused its discretion and violated Walton’s rights, according to the opening brief to the Supreme Court. Some judges make the conditions of using medical marijuana while on probation so prohibitive that a reasonable person couldn’t get by with the orders, Tiftickjian added.

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Colorado courts are still trying to figure out the ground rules for people using medical marijuana while on probation, and the state Supreme Court will weigh in when it hears oral arguments Thursday in an El Paso County case where a judge denied a woman’s use of the drug while on probation for DUI.

The woman will ask justices to decide whether a defendant must provide evidence that the marijuana is medically necessary or whether probationers can use it unless a judge decides it’s appropriate for the sentence. The case also questions to what lengths a probationer must go to prove the marijuana is critical to their health.

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