An Albuquerque district judge ruled this week that the Metropolitan Detention Center in Bernalillo County must allow qualified patients access to medical marijuana - a victory for advocates that could have far-reaching consequences for prisons and jails. It is unclear whether any of the country's prisons would voluntarily comply with the ruling.
David Candelaria, a lawyer representing defendants in the DWI cases that led to the decision, said he intended to inform jails and prisons to comply. Tuesday's ruling sets a precedent for patients, even those in prison, to have access to medical cannabis, whether they are at home or in a prison cell, he said. “It is within the discretion of the medical cannabis law, but it must be allowed”, Candelaria said in an interview on Thursday.
Under the current law, prisoners must have unpunished access to medical cannabis. Unless the legislature changes the law, it is clear that the legislature must bring the criminal industry on board, which may have backsliding and concerns.
This follows the case of Joe Montano of Albuquerque, who was convicted of drunk driving in 2019. He successfully completed a mental health treatment program outside the court and was allowed to serve his sentence at home.