Colorado Supreme Court: Criminal defendants can use medical marijuana while on probation with limited exception

By: SAJA HINDI

The Colorado Supreme Court unanimously agreed in a decision released Monday that a person who is sentenced to probation can use medical marijuana unless there’s evidence that it would counter the goals of a sentence.

The state’s highest court “disapproved” of the decision by a district court to uphold an El Paso County judge’s decision prohibiting Alysha Walton from using medical marijuana while on probation. It said the decision violated Walton’s rights guaranteed under Colorado’s Constitution.

Walton’s sentence stemmed from an August 2016 DUI charge that involved alcohol for which she pleaded guilty. The Surpeme Court did not, however, reverse the decision because Walton had already completed her deferred sentence and year of unsupervised probation on May 24, 2018. Still, the high court’s ruling will set a precedent for others in similar situations.

El Paso County Judge Karla Hansen denied Walton’s use of medical marijuana during a hearing because Walton failed to bring a medical professional to testify about her need to use it, though she provided documentation authorizing its use.

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