California prisoners cannot have marijuana, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
The court reversed a 2019 appellate court ruling that temporarily decriminalized possession of marijuana in California state prisons, the Associated Press reported in August.
The 3rd District Court previously overturned the conviction of five men charged with possession of marijuana in their cells. This ruling also decriminalized possession of up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana within prison walls.
Smoking or consumption of marijuana by the incarcerated was still considered illegal under this ruling.
Associate Justice Joshua Groban was one of five California Supreme Court justices to support this decision to criminalize marijuana within state prisons.
Groban wrote that “while perhaps not illogical to distinguish between the possession and use of cannabis,” the notion that voters wanted to decriminalize possession of marijuana in prisons seemed “implausible.”
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. The state legalized recreational marijuana 20 years later after voters approved Proposition 64. Both are illegal in prisons.
A dissenting opinion by Associate Justice Leondra Kruger stated that while Proposition 64 did not decriminalize possession of marijuana in prison, voters could have intended to provide a “limited measure of leniency” for the incarcerated when caught in possession of marijuana.