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Name: People v. Leal
Case #: A131366
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/29/2012
Summary

A probation condition restricting medical use of marijuana may be justified as a valid rehabilitative measure and does not conflict with the Compassionate Use Act (CUA) or the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). Following his conviction for possession of marijuana for sale and firearm offenses, the court granted appellant probation with a condition prohibiting him from the use of marijuana, even with a medical marijuana card. Affirmed. In assessing a probation condition banning marijuana possession, the court applies a three-step inquiry. First, the court examines the validity of any CUA recommendation. Here, appellant presented a facially valid MMP identification card. Second, the probation condition is evaluated under the Lent three-pronged test. (People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481.) All three prongs must be satisfied before a reviewing court will invalidate a probation term. Here, the condition was valid. It had a sufficient nexus to appellant’s offense and to future criminality because he was using the CUA as a front for illegal marijuana sales. The court noted that, despite federal law, authorized medical use of marijuana is not conduct that is criminal for purposes of Lent. Third, the court must balance competing interests and exercise its discretion in determining whether to impose a condition that is valid under the Lent test but interferes with a probationer’s CUA use of marijuana. In this case there was abundant evidence of need to rehabilitate appellant and protect the public. Against this showing, there was no evidence that appellant had an overriding need for medical marijuana beyond mere possession of a MMP identification card. The court did not abuse its discretion in imposing the condition. Separately, the court ruled the sentencing court has the inherent authority and discretion to limit or ban the use of marijuana as a condition of probation despite the enactment of the CUA or the MMPA. The court disagreed in part with People v. Tilehkooh (2003) 113 Cal.App.4th 1433, 1437.