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Name: People v. Beaty
Case #: F055868
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/28/2010

A medical marijuana user is not ipso facto unamenable for Prop. 36 probation. The court placed appellant on Prop. 36 probation after he pled to possession of methamphetamine. Probation conditions included prohibition from the use of unauthorized street drugs and of controlled substances without a doctor’s prescription, and completion of a drug treatment program. Appellant told his probation officer that he was authorized to use medical marijuana under Prop. 215. The officer found this irrelevant and subsequently filed a petition to revoke probation because appellant failed his drug tests. The court did not sustain the petition because part of the statutory scheme enacting Prop. 215 anticipates a probationer might use medical marijuana and provides a mechanism for use under court supervision. (Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.795, subd. (a)(1).) Instead, the court ordered compliance with the probation department’s policy regarding Prop. 215. A later petition alleged appellant was unamenable for drug treatment programs. Two experts testified appellant’s marijuana use was inconsistent with the goal of treatment programs, namely complete abstinence from all drug use. This time, the court sustained the petition and revoked Prop. 36 probation. The appellate court considered whether as a matter of law a medical marijuana user is unamenable for drug treatment required by Prop. 36. It concluded this approach interferes with the intents and spirits of both propositions, and violates the basic principle that probation conditions must be reasonably related to rehabilitation. The court noted that Prop. 36 defines drug treatment broadly. (See Pen. Code, § 1210, subd. (b).) It also noted there are other controlled prescription drugs, such as methadone and Adderall, which may be medically necessary by some probationers. There is no requirement in Prop. 36 that a defendant abstain from all controlled substances, including those prescribed by a doctor, or that a defendant recover from an addiction that has not been factually established. Here, the prohibition on using medical marijuana was not reasonably related to appellant’s rehabilitation or the offense. Appellant’s conviction related to methamphetamine, not marijuana, and there was no evidence he abused the drug or that its use would lead to future criminality.