According to a new ruling from a California appeals court, prison inmates who possess small amounts of marijuana are not guilty of a felony crime. According to NPR, the court ruled that because marijuana is legal in the state, it can’t be a felony in prison.
The ruling from a panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Sacramento overturns the convictions of five inmates who had been found guilty of possessing marijuana.”The plain language of Proposition 64 is clear,” said the court. “[P]ossession of less than one ounce of cannabis in prison or a similar penal institution is not a felony.”
In response to the ruling, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation emphasized that inmates are still banned from smoking or ingesting marijuana in its prisons.
“While the court’s decision is still under review, we want to be clear that drug use and sales within state prisons remains prohibited,” said CDCR Press Secretary Vicky Waters. She added that the agency will “evaluate this decision with an eye towards maintaining health and security within our institutions.”
Despite their conclusion that possessing cannabis does not constitute a felony, the court said prison authorities could still ban