The American Civil Liberties Union is taking over a Pennsylvania county over a brand new coverage that bars individuals with state medical marijuana playing cards to make use of the drug in the event that they have been on probation. 

In a lawsuit filed this month on behalf of a number of petitioners, the state chapter of the ACLU asserts that these guidelines issued by the Lebanon County, Pennsylvania violate state legislation. Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016, and the state permits its use for sufferers affected by roughly two dozen completely different medical circumstances.

The county’s court docket system and probation division introduced final month that the brand new coverage would take impact on October 1. One of many petitioners within the swimsuit filed is Melissa Gass, a 41-year-old girl who makes use of medical cannabis to deal with grand mal seizures from her epilepsy. 

She can also be on probation in Lebanon County stemming from a 2016 arrest for easy assault following an altercation she had along with her husband. Gass says she stopped utilizing marijuana upon studying of the county’s new coverage, going a month with out it and struggling a pointy uptick in seizures in consequence.

“Medical marijuana has made the entire distinction in enhancing my high quality of life,” she mentioned in an ACLU press launch. “After I began utilizing cannabis to deal with my epilepsy, I went from having a number of seizures a day to having one each few months. Medical marijuana has been a lifesaver for me. This coverage is a merciless blow.”

In accordance with the swimsuit, Gass “had for years been efficiently self-medicating with marijuana to regulate her seizures,” and that marijuana had “allowed her to dispense with the prescriptions that triggered opposed psychological well being signs.”

However Gass stopped utilizing marijuana after her probation started in 2018 and, in line with the swimsuit, instantly resumed affected by seizures. She obtained a medical marijuana card in February, however was informed by a probation officer final month that, because of the coverage change, she must cease utilizing medical marijuana

Reggie Shuford, govt director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, mentioned that the county is “endangering our shoppers’ well-being.” 

““Medical marijuana provides our shoppers’ their lives again and helps them handle their each day challenges,” Shuford mentioned.

Federal Regulation vs State Regulation

County officers have defended the coverage change on the grounds that marijuana stays unlawful below federal legislation. However Pennsylvania ACLU Authorized Director Witold Walczak disagrees.

“The plain language within the medical marijuana legislation reveals that the legislature supposed to guard all sufferers, together with these on probation,” Walczak mentioned within the press launch. “Judges could not agree with the Medical Marijuana Act, or could not help individuals utilizing marijuana for any motive, however they need to observe the legislation.”

The ACLU’s class-action lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction.