While medicinal marijuana use has been permitted in Colorado since 2000, this right did not extend to those on parole or probation. Now, that’s all going to change.
Last month, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper approved legislation that would allow people on probation or parole to use medical marijuana in Colorado. In essence, this new bill will allow those with proper medical prescriptions to use marijuana without being charged with violating their probation.
However, while the legislation does make it so prescription-holders may use marijuana for approved medical purposes in Colorado while on probation, recreational use is still typically prohibited for indviduals with this status.
In addition to being prohibited from recreational marijuana use, persons on probation are typically subject to a variety of harsh restrictions and strict rules. Although these rules and restrictions may vary from case to case, common examples of probationary restrictions and requirements include:
Strict law abidance. The vast majority of probation terms demand that you agree to not break the law while on probation—this includes relatively minor laws, such as traffic violations and jaywalking.
Probation officer meetings. Most probation sentences require you to meet with a probation officer at a regularly scheduled time and date. If you miss multiple meetings, you may be charged with a probation violation.
Restitution payment. Depending on the circumstances of the crime that resulted in in your probation sentence, you may be required to pay restitution to individuals or entities that were harmed as a result of your actions.
Employment requirement. The terms of your probation may require you to find lawful employment. Failure to find an appropriate job within the allocated amount of time could result in a probation violation charge.
Controlled substance prohibition. In addition to recreational marijuana, you are not allowed to use controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine, and meth. If you are found in possession, distributing, or manufacturing such substances, you could be charged with a probation violation.
Weapon prohibition. Typically, you are prohibited from buying or carrying any kind of dangerous weapon while on probation, including handguns and hunting rifles. While on probation, you may be prohibited from obtaining a concealed firearm permit, and may have to forfeit any existing weapons under your ownership.
Rehabilitation enrollment. Depending on the circumstances of your crime, you may be required to enroll and complete a rehabilitation program for alcohol or drug addiction.
Travel restrictions. While under probation, you may be barred from traveling out of state or country without special permission.
Contact ban. In some cases, your probation order may include a protection order that forbids you from contacting, harassing, or threatening certain victims or witnesses.
Special conditions. Depending on the nature of the crime you were convicted of, the court may require you to adhere to special conditions such as abiding by a curfew, attending Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and completing a GED program.
As tough as your probationary terms might seem, the consequences for violating these terms may be even tougher. If you are charged with violating the terms of your probation, you may receive additional time added to your original probation sentence, jail time, and heavy fines.
If you have been accused of marijuana use or any other type of violation while on probation, consult with a Colorado probation violation defense lawyer immediately. If you act quickly, your attorney may be able to negotiate with your probation office in order to persuade him or her against filing a complaint. But if it does become necessary to take your case to court, your attorney can defend your rights with aggression and skill, working to have your probation violation charges reduced or dropped.