Pennsylvania court rules medical cannabis still a controlled substance

Today the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania released its decision on cannabis and how it relates to criminal law. The court ruled that, in order for evidence related to marijuana possession arrests from before October 1, 2018 cannot be used against a defendant at trial or sentencing even if they are charged with crimes after that date. If a person is still under arrest today however there will no longer be any legal defense pertaining to old charges as long as their case has not been resolved by some other means than an acquittal or dismissal which could occur through plea bargaining.,

The “pa home grow bill” is a law that was passed in Pennsylvania. The bill allows medical cannabis patients to possess up to six plants and grow them at home. It also provides for the creation of a state-regulated dispensary system.

Pennsylvania court rules medical cannabis still a controlled substance

Pennsylvania-court-rules-medical-cannabis-still-a-controlled-substance

 

 

An appeal from a Pennsylvania medicinal cannabis user who was convicted of DUI was denied by Judge Deborah A. Kunselman.

A Pennsylvania court decided this month against a medicinal cannabis user who was appealing a driving under the influence conviction from 2021. 

Franklin Dabney, a 29-year-old from Hanover, Pennsylvania, was arrested in 2020 when a Pennsylvania state trooper in an undercover car caught him traveling 93 miles per hour in a 65-mile-per-hour zone.

According to the York Daily Record, the trooper “noticed a’strong stench of raw marijuana’ emanating from inside the vehicle,” leading Dabney to “[pull] out a medical marijuana card and [say] that the scent was probably coming from his clothing.”

The Daily Record said that “law officers conducted a warrantless search of the car, discovering flakes of suspected marijuana under the center console and front-passenger seat, as well as a shopping bag containing three baggies of pot.”

“Dabney’s eyes were dilated and red, according to authorities. During normal field sobriety tests, he also exhibited indicators of impairment. Dabney was detained and sent to Gettysburg Hospital, where a blood test confirmed that he was in possession of active marijuana components and metabolites. Prosecutors eventually agreed to throw out the marijuana discovered in his vehicle and dropped three of the counts against him.”

According to the Daily Record, which prompted the appeal, a Pennsylvania court “found Dabney guilty of driving under the influence, reckless driving, and speeding and sentenced him to six months’ probation, ten days on house arrest, and handed down approximately $1,115 in penalties.” 

According to the newspaper, Dabney and his lawyers argued that “medical marijuana is not a Schedule 1 controlled substance in Pennsylvania, and that law enforcement should be prohibited from charging and prosecuting him for two subsections of DUI,” and that if it were, the DUI law would conflict with the state’s medical cannabis statute.

A panel of three justices in the Pennsylvania Superior Court dismissed that argument last week. 

Judge Deborah A. Kunselman said in her decision that “medical marijuana remains a Schedule I restricted drug” and that “there is no contradiction between the [Medical Marijuana Act] and the Vehicle Code.”

“There is no necessity for’medical marijuana’ to be categorized as a Schedule I restricted drug,” Kunselman said, adding that the Medical Marijuana Act “did not remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I banned substances.”

Dabney’s claim that the state trooper was mistaken to determine that there was probable cause to arrest him for DUI was also dismissed by the panel.

“This matter has no validity in our opinion.” “The odor of marijuana alone does not constitute to probable cause to undertake a warrantless search of a vehicle but, however, may be regarded as a consideration in considering the entirety of the facts,” Kunselman ruled, citing the MMA. 

The lawsuit might have ramifications for Pennsylvania’s 400,000 medicinal marijuana users.

The decision “is precedential,” which means it “has a binding impact on future cases in Pennsylvania,” according to the York Daily Record, and it’s unknown if Dabney will file another appeal.

According to the York Daily Record, Dabney’s attorney, Christian DeFilippo, stated, “That’s absolutely something we’re contemplating.”

“I’d want to give him some time to think about it.”

The “is selling edibles illegal in pennsylvania” is a question that has been asked many times. Pennsylvania court ruled that medical cannabis is still a controlled substance, but it does not make sense to sell edible marijuana products.

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