ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — It’s been almost 10 years since medical marijuana has been approved for medicinal reasons, but some New Yorkers on probation are still facing issues being allowed to use their prescriptions.

“If people have a medical marijuana card, they should be able to use it, when you’re denying them access to plant medicine you’re basically pushing them towards prescribed opioids, which are we know, they’re not as safe as medical marijuana,” said Julie Garcia, a private practicing Attorney in Warren County and other counties across the North Country. She is currently fighting a legal battle to ensure  people on probation have reasonable access to their medically prescribed marijuana, as stated in cannabis law 127.

“If they have a card they get to use it. They don’t have to provide HIPAA protected information to the judge to probation, to the DAs office. That’s it. They just have to provide proof that they are a certified medical marijuana patient,” said Garcia, She takes issue that probationers in Warren County are being required to turn over personal medical documents to the judge to get permission, “And then the judge decides whether or not the person is allowed to use their medicine,” she explained. Law 127 states: A person’s use of cannabis or conduct under this chapter shall not be prohibited unless it has been shown by clear and convincing evidence that the prohibition is reasonably related to the underlying crime. 

Garcia started a case when one probationer with back problems was denied access. That patient has been granted approval following her challenge, but she feels overall, not everyone is on the same page. “So I thought by requesting a meeting, I thought that we could have a conversation because listen. We’re attorneys, we don’t always interpret statutes the same way, so maybe they’re interpreting the statue differently than I am.”

A spokesperson forWarren County sent this statement: “The Warren County Probation Department can not discuss specific cases, but we can assure the public that our staff follows all applicable New York State laws and court policies regarding oversight of probationers.”

Garcia is meeting with Warren County DA’s office and the Judge to discuss the finer points of the cannabis law and process.