The justice system needs serious reform, especially when it comes to cannabis law. Over the past few years of states moving forward with cannabis legalization, there’s been a concerted effort to make sure legalization addresses the injustices in the system that’s unfairly targeted marginalized communities.
In Massachusetts, a new lawsuit has been filed against the Department Of Corrections alleging that they’ve been using faulty drug tests on inmates. Per Ganjapreneur, the lawsuit claims the MDOC has been using drug tests made from the company Sirchie Acquisitions Company, LLC but the accuracy has been off. MDOC has allegedly used Sirchie’s drug tests on prisoner’s incoming mail to test for any drugs that might be packaged inside.
The lawsuit, filed by BraunHagey & Borden, claims that these tests have led to several false-positive results. Even an MDOC employee claims that the faulty results are estimated to be as high as 80%.
Ellen Leonida, a partner at BraunHagey & Borden, said the lawsuit was a result of a broken system. Leonida added that the suit was filed in order “to protect disempowered people incarcerated by the DOC from the unconscionable decision to use these tests in the face of overwhelming evidence of their inaccuracy.”
While Sirchie claims their tests are able to discover synthetic cannabinoids being sent by mail, the lawsuit alleges that the drug tests aren’t accurate in identifying those properties. The lawsuit claims these tests are instead deceived into positive results from basic chemicals found in ordinary paper. The lawsuit compares the test’s accuracy to “witchcraft, phrenology or simply picking a number out of a hat.”
The alleged faulty drug tests have burdened the prisoners more than anyone. If a test returns positive, inmates are handed two unfavorable choices. The first is pleading guilty and face discipline. The second is to fight the charge but until the agency completes a proper test. This often leaves inmates in solitary confinement and stripped of their privileges for months.
The lawsuit claims that the faulty tests directly impede an inmate’s right to legal counsel and due process.
“We also intend to hold the drug companies liable for knowingly profiting from the misuse of these tests and the misery they are causing,” Leonida added. Drug company sales agent Premier Biotech, Inc. is also listed in the lawsuit along with the MDOC.