Dear Stoner: If I get put on probation, would I still be allowed to smoke pot? What if I have a medical card?
Dear George: This situation was in flux until last year, so I'm not surprised that your head is spinning. Coloradans on probation had been barred from medical marijuana since the MMJ program's inception, a stance affirmed by the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2012. However, the passage of a 2015 bill sponsored by state representative Joe Salazar allowed medical marijuana patients on probation to continue using unless they were convicted of an offense related to medical marijuana, or the court felt that prohibition against possession or use was necessary to accomplish sentencing. Sadly, that only lasted about a year.
Salazar sponsored another measure in 2016, tweaking the earlier proposal by allowing Colorado judges to decide if a patient on probation would be allowed to continue using. It passed 58 to 7 in the House and 33 to 1 in the Senate before being signed by Governor John Hickenlooper. Under the new law, judges are to base their decisions on “any material evidence,” though we've heard reports of judges flat-out banning marijuana use for anyone, no matter the crime.
Have a question for our Stoner? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.