Court Says Prison Inmates Can't Be Charged For Having Weed Unless They Use It

An appeals court has ruled that California inmates can legally possess marijuana inside the state’s prisons.

Sacramento, CA – An appeals court has ruled that California inmates can legally possess marijuana inside the state’s prisons, as long as they don’t consume it.

When the state voted to legalize recreational possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in 2016, they made no exception for prison inmates, the Third District Court of Appeal noted, according to the Associated Press.

California law does prohibit the consumption of marijuana in prisons, so using the drug would still constitute a felony criminal offense.

“Consumption, not possession, is the act voters determined should remain criminalized if the user is in prison,” the appeals court said in their 20-page ruling, which also overturned the criminal convictions of five inmates who had been charged for having the drug in their prison cells, according to The Mercury News.

Although they cannot be criminally charged by the state, inmates found in possession of cannabis may still face negative consequences through the prison administrative process, including segregation or loss of good behavior credits.

Those who possess marijuana could potentially still face federal prosecution if federal authorities decided to charge them under federal drug laws.

“The voters made quite clear their intention to avoid spending state and county funds prosecuting possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and quite clear that they did not want to see adults suffer criminal convictions for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana,” Sacramento County Assistant Public Defender Leonard Tauman said, according to the Associated Press.

Tauman said that the appeals court “quite properly honored what the electorate passed.”

Assistant Public Defender David Lynch also praised the court’s decision.

“This ruling will prevent inmates from having years added to their sentences for simple possession, reducing overcrowding and saving $50,000-75,000 a year in unnecessary costs,” Lynch declared.

But Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office blasted the court’s ruling and said that it essentially legalizes bringing drugs into the state’s prisons, the Associated Press reported.

“The Attorney General raises the same hackneyed and losing arguments in each case involving contraband in jails or prisons,” the three-judge panel wrote in their ruling. “The fact that the Attorney General may not agree with the voters does not empower us to rewrite the initiative.”

“A result is not absurd because the outcome may be unwise,” the judges wrote, according to The Mercury News.

Comments (27)
No. 1-19
Mig Alley
Mig Alley

Try as they might, still can't find the bottom of the cesspool. 💩

robocop95
robocop95

California. Nuff said.

JBo
JBo

Stunned! Stunned I am, in California of all...wait. California? Never mind.

new2lv2
new2lv2

Can we vote to have California removed from the U.S. PLEEEEEAAAAASSSSEEEE????? I haven't heard anything of common sense or good for humanity come from that entire state for at least 30 years now. Can we please get rid of California, declare it a hostile territory and nuke the ever loving F' out of it?

Foundoutwest11
Foundoutwest11

Sorry but it is all in the water they drink, makes everyone crazy in ca who live there

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

They just feel like carrying around some marijuana? Are they planning to hold on to it until the end of their prison terms - start using it when they're outside the gates? Not likely! They have it because either a.) they want to use it, or b.) they're planning to sell it to someone else.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

they are planing on using it as decoration in art class? some leafy green bushes? While I don't really care if someone wants to smoke up in jail, if the rules say they can't.... although, Shivs are legal outside of prisons, yet banned in prisons; does this mean prisoners can have several of them, and they are only in violation if they stab someone?

NH.Corr
NH.Corr

We need to expand the wall to include Cali!!!!

Schmier Nippel
Schmier Nippel

Please.. I live in California... please nuke it for the sake of the rest of the country

LEO0301
LEO0301

The judges in California no longer takes common sense into consideration when making decisions. The inmates are running the asylum in the state of fruits and nuts.

Johkur
Johkur

Then alcohol would also be allowed in their cells all these years, if the person is 21 or older. . They just can't ingest that other. How's it different?

trainbuff
trainbuff

Does no one see the absolute stupidity in this? Yes you can possess it but not use it? These judges that make these rulings must be high on the gonja themselves!

Vrodgirl
Vrodgirl

All I had to do was read the headline to know this happened in California. As a retired State Correctional Officer I can't wait to get out of this State and back to reality.

Bulldog
Bulldog

Praying for an earthquake to separate the entire West Coast from the rest of the United States

magnumforc
magnumforc

Third District is mimicking the ultra liberal Ninth District...imagine that!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Good. People shouldn't get prison time for weed unless they give it to children. Society got way carried away with locking people up for mj "crimes" and it is now taking a big step back off that -- as it well should.

Stanracer
Stanracer

California crazies at large....

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

Sure ok, I get it. The Felons just keep the weed just like a Chia Pet right?

Shirleybaird571
Shirleybaird571

I can't believe ,they think they won't use it, or eat it. Regardless, it was contraband, brought into the prison.