SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A California appeals court says it’s legal to have small amounts of marijuana in prison – so long as inmates don’t inhale.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that California voters legalized recreational possession of less than an ounce (28 grams) of cannabis in 2016, with no exception even for those behind bars.
But the court says state law does prohibit smoking weed in prison. Prison officials can also still punish pot possession as a rules violation.
“According to the plain language of ... Proposition 64, possession of less than an ounce of cannabis in prison is no longer a felony,” the court ruled Tuesday. “Smoking or ingesting cannabis in prison remains a felony.”
The court overturned the Sacramento County convictions of five inmates who had been found with marijuana in their prison cells.
“The voters made quite clear their intention to avoid spending state and county funds prosecuting possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and quite clear that they did not want to see adults suffer criminal convictions for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana,” Sacramento County Assistant Public Defender Leonard Tauman said in an email. The appeals court “quite properly honored what the electorate passed.”