An Arizona judge deemed it acceptable for a medical marijuana patient to continue to smoke weed while she is on probation, even though use of the drug is strictly prohibited in the plea agreement filed on her behalf.
Earlier this week, Judge Cele Hancock ruled that 43-year-old Jennifer Lee Ferrell will not have to refrain from using medicinal cannabis in order to adhere to the provisions in her probation agreement.
In 2012, Ferrell was arrested and charged with DUI, resisting arrest and attempted aggravated assault on an officer of the law. She is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in December.
The County Attorney Office recently added a condition to plea agreements, which prohibits offenders from growing, possessing or using marijuana, regardless of whether the defendant has a valid medical marijuana card.
However, Ferrell’s attorney argued that the no-weed clause was a contradiction to state law, and that prosecution could not legally prohibit medical marijuana as part of a probationary action since Arizona law permits the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The prosecution contended that criminals do not get the privilege of selecting which provisions are included in the terms of their probation. "It's a plea agreement. It's not a plea smorgasbord,” said Deputy County Attorney Kevin Schiff.
In the end, the defense gained the support of Judge Hancock, who declared that Ferrell would be permitted to continue using medical marijuana for the extent of her probation.
Prosecutors are expected to appeal the decision.