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Medical marijuana is legal, but some New Yorkers still can’t get it

Medical marijuana has been approved for medicinal use for nearly 10 years, but some people on probation in New York are still facing difficulties in accessing their prescriptions. Attorney Julie Garcia, who practices in Warren County and other North Country counties, is currently fighting a legal battle to ensure people on probation have reasonable access to their medically prescribed marijuana, as stated in cannabis law 127.

According to Garcia, probationers are being required to turn over personal medical documents to the judge to get permission, and then the judge decides whether or not the person is allowed to use their medicine. Law 127 states: “A person’s use of cannabis or conduct under this chapter shall not be prohibited unless it has been shown by clear and convincing evidence that the prohibition is reasonably related to the underlying crime.”


Garcia is meeting with the Warren County DA’s office and the judge to discuss the finer points of the cannabis law and process. She argues that if people have a medical marijuana card, they should be able to use it, and she believes that by denying them access to plant medicine, they are being pushed towards prescribed opioids, which are not as safe as medical marijuana.

“A person’s use of cannabis or conduct under this chapter shall not be prohibited unless it has been shown by clear and convincing evidence that the prohibition is reasonably related to the underlying crime,” Garcia said, citing Law 127. “If they have a card they get to use it. They don’t have to provide HIPAA protected information to the judge to probation, to the DAs office. That’s it. They just have to provide proof that they are a certified medical marijuana patient.”

A spokesperson for Warren County sent a statement saying, “The Warren County Probation Department cannot discuss specific cases, but we can assure the public that our staff follows all applicable New York State laws and court policies regarding oversight of probationers.”