Cannabis prohibition, and the War On Drugs, have disproportionately targeted marginalized and underserved communities across America. And while lawmakers are trying to push for criminal justice reform, individuals in certain states are still fighting for the right to use medication without facing incarceration.
In Missouri, specifically, parole and probation officers are forcing medical marijuana patients back to prison if they test positive for THC. Take 29-year-old Ray Breer, for example. Breer is a registered medical cannabis patient in the state of Missouri who is currently on probation for a marijuana possession charge in August 2019. He went to prison for a brief period, however, after he was released from prison, he received a medical card to stay safe. It didn’t help.
Breer revealed that he had a pee test that came up positive for THC and his parole officer was unforgiving. Breer was sent back to prison while the court told him he’s privileged to have received probation in the first place.
“Probation and Parole and DOC is not recognizing a patient’s ability to medicate while on supervision,” Canna Convict Project (CCP) co-founder Christina Frommer told Filter.
Breer was among the many individuals affected by the war on drugs who found support in CCP. They attempted to sway the court with expert witnesses that they brought forth.
“The probation and parole issue here in Missouri is that PNP [Probation and Parole] and DOC [Department of Corrections] is not recognizing a patient’s ability to medicate while on supervision,” Frommer said. “Some of the individuals have really cool probation officers or parole officers, and they’ve been allowed to medicate while they’ve been on supervision, no problem. And others have gone as far as receiving sanctions and gotten put back in prison.”
Canna Convict has identified even more cases within Missouri related to individuals being incarcerated over lawful medication. These cases are becoming even more common than those with non-drug-related convictions.
In 2018, voters in Missouri voted for an amendment within the constitution when it comes to cannabis possession. It says that the possession of marijuana shouldn’t lead to any legal repercussions, “provided that the possessor produces on demand to the appropriate authority a valid qualifying patient identification card; a valid qualifying patient cultivation identification card; a valid physician certification while making application for an identification card; or a valid primary caregiver identification card.”
And while Breer did have the card, he remains on probation with his next court date set for Aug. 23rd.