California is one of the many states in the United States taking measures to legalize marijuana in some way. Proposition 64 in California allowed people in the state to possess small amounts of marijuana without being charged with a felony. A court in California ruled that Proposition 64 should apply to those incarcerated in California prisons as well.
This week, the California Third District Court of Appeals made a ruling on a case that involved five inmates within the California correctional system. The five inmates were found to be in possession of small amounts of marijuana. These inmates were charged with felonies for possession of the substance.
According to NY Times, in a divided decision, a three judge panel ruled that Proposition 64 applies to those in prison as well. The judges ruled that the five inmates could not be charged with felonies for possession. However, the judges also issued some clarifications to the ruling that has left the legal community in California confused.
The court ruled that the inmates could not be charged with felonies for possession, but the court also ruled that inmates could be charged with felonies for smoking or ingesting marijuana while they are incarcerated. The judges also ruled that while the inmates couldn’t be charged for possession, the prison system can still ban marijuana from prisons as a way to maintain safety and order within the state’s prisons.
The court stated that there needed to be new legislation passed in order to make the situation in prisons more clear. The judges also stated that a new referendum is another possible solution to the confusion.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra expressed his disapproval with the decision of the majority of judges. At this time, it is not known of Mr. Becerra will appeal the ruling in the matter to the California Supreme Court.