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Can You Get a Medical Card While on Parole or Probation?


Medical use of marijuana is permitted for some people on parole or probation, but state laws vary.

In some states, cannabis is considered a valid medication for certain qualifying conditions. In other states, however, cannabis is not allowed for people on parole or probation. Those undergoing drug treatment through a program as part of their probation, for example, may be in danger of breaking the terms of probation if they test positive for THC or THC metabolites.

Learn more about the legal aspects of medical marijuana use while on parole or probation, including states that do and do not allow medical cards for parolees and probationers.

Note that the information in this article is an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Consult an attorney for legal guidance about valid marijuana possession in your state and unique situation.

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What You Can (and Can’t) Do on Parole or Probation

Medical marijuana laws differ among the 50 states, and you may or may not be allowed to obtain a medical card while on parole or probation. You may also not be allowed to purchase and consume recreational use marijuana if you do not have a valid medical card. Your legal rights depend on the state where you reside and differ if you have been released on federal probation.

States That Allow Medical Cards During Probation or Parole

State laws are constantly evolving, but some states currently allow medical cards during probation or parole. For example, Florida allows medical marijuana use for people on the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (sometimes called the Compassionate Use Registry). In Florida, when you receive a drug test on probation, you will not be tested for the presence of THC or other cannabis substances if you possess a valid medical card.

In other states, laws are changing favorably for medical cardholders. In 2021, a court of appeals unanimously ruled in Michigan that judges cannot prohibit medical cardholders on probation from using marijuana. The case specifically addressed people on probation, but legal experts believe the permission applies to parolees and defendants out on bond.

Some states, like New Jersey, only allow medical marijuana use in some instances. Parolees and probationers deemed to have a “grave” medical condition may receive approval to use cannabis with their valid cards.

Pinpointing the exact legal guidelines in each state can pose a challenge, as many states do not have their policies explicitly stated. Furthermore, some states, like California, only allow the medical use of marijuana in some instances. If you served time for a DUI or other drug-related offense, you might not be permitted to use medical cannabis. The only way to know if you can legally use marijuana during probation or parole is to speak with your probation or parole officer or consult a qualified attorney.

States That Don’t Allow Medical Cards During Probation or Parole

Several states do not permit medical marijuana patients to use medical cards during probation or parole. Of course, any state without a medical marijuana program will not allow its residents to use marijuana legally, whether on parole or not. The states currently without a medical marijuana program include:

As medical cannabis bills continue to appear on state ballots, this list can and most likely will change. Stay informed of your state’s laws for the most up-to-date information.

Can You Get a Medical Card If on Federal Probation or Supervised Release?

If you are on federal probation or supervised release, you will not be permitted to obtain or use a medical marijuana card. Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level. The plant remains illegal federally, so you must wait until you complete your federal probation before applying for a new medical card.

The Bottom Line

In some states, your probation terms may permit you to hold and use a medical marijuana card. In other states, marijuana use for medical purposes may represent a probation violation. Stay informed of your rights and all applicable state and federal laws.

Finally, speak with your probation officer if you have any questions about the terms of your probation sentence, recreational use, or medical marijuana.

Consume medical cannabis legally by obtaining a valid medical marijuana card in your state. Connect with Leafwell’s virtual clinic and start your application online today.

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