ACLU sues Pa. county more than health-related marijuana policy

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This write-up appeared on PA Post.

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is suing Lebanon County’s court program and probation division more than a selection to bar individuals on parole from employing health-related marijuana.

Lebanon is not not the only county that does this. The Pennsylvania ALCU says it has heard at least seven other folks — Lycoming, Indiana, Jefferson, Forest, Elk, Potter, and Northampton — have equivalent policies. The group is hoping its suit has statewide implications.

The Lebanon suit coalesced more than the final month following the county announced, in early September, that come October 1 it would no longer permit individuals with state health-related marijuana cards to use the drug if they have been on probation.

The state ACLU stated the county is not right away detaining individuals, but might place them in violation proceedings if they have marijuana in their systems through probation verify-ins.

Melissa Gass is on probation in Lebanon, and was employing health-related marijuana for seizures. Considering the fact that mastering of the county’s new policy, she has gone about a month with no the drug.

“Within a two-week span I’ve had more than 20 drop seizures,” she stated at an ACLU press conference — referring to a wide variety of seizure in which she falls to the ground, occasionally with small warning. “I’m not functional. I was place on all types of other medicine. A lot of benzos once again.”

State ACLU Legal Director Vic Walczak stated officials in Lebanon and other counties have argued that they can bar health-related marijuana due to the fact the drug is federally illegal.

Walczak thinks that violates state law.

“Judges might not agree with the health-related marijuana law. They might not help anyone employing marijuana. But they need to stick to the law,” he stated. “The health-related marijuana law tends to make no exceptions for individuals on probation.”

A spokesperson for Lebanon County didn’t return a request for comment.

Walczak stated at least seven other counties are also barring health-related marijuana for individuals on probation.

The ACLU is in search of a preliminary injunction in its suit, which is filed as a class-action in commonwealth court.

Walczak estimated there are about 60 health-related marijuana cardholders on probation in Lebanon County who may possibly be impacted by the suit.


PA Post is a digital-initial, citizen-focused news organization that connects Pennsylvanians with accountability and deep-dive reporting.

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