In yet another groundbreaking move towards prison reform, California court has ruled that inmates can now legally possess marijuana…..they just can’t smoke it.
According to the NY Times, an appeals court decided that California inmates were within their rights to possess up to an ounce of pot but they are not permitted to use it. The decision came last Tuesday after the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento overturned convictions of five inmates who were facing consequences after they were caught with marijuana.
The court referenced the 2016 ballot initiative Proposition 64 that made possession of less than one ounce of marijuana no longer a felony in the state of California. However, ingesting or smoking marijuana still remains a felony.
“The purpose of the language is to describe the vast array of means of consumption, and consumption, not possession, is the act the voters determined should remain criminalized if the user is in prison,” the ruling. “We agree with defendants that consumption can be achieved in ways not strictly involving smoking or ingesting, such as inhaled as a nonburning vapor or applied topically such that it is absorbed through the skin.”
The ruling added that prison authorities reserved the right to ban possession of pot to “maintain order and safety in the prisons.”
“While the court’s decision is still under review, we want to be clear that drug use and sales within state prisons remains prohibited,” said Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “C.D.C.R. is committed to providing a safe, accountable environment for prisoners and staff alike, and we plan to evaluate this decision with an eye toward maintaining health and security within our institutions.”
Press play below for more on this story.