Pennsylvania Court Rules Medical Cannabis Still A Controlled Substance

A court in Pennsylvania this month ruled versus a medical marijuana client who had appealed a 2021 driving under the impact conviction. 

The York Daily Record has the background on the case including Franklin Dabney, a 29-year-old from Hanover, Pennsylvania who was jailed in 2020 after a Pennsylvania state cannonfodder in an unmarked lorry clocked him going 93 miles per hour in a 65 zone.

The cannonfodder “noticed a ‘strong smell of raw cannabis’ coming from inside the automobile,” the York Daily Record reported, triggering Dabney to “[take] out a medical cannabis card and [state] that the odor was mostlikely comingfrom from his clothing.”

“Law enforcement performed a warrantless search of the automobile, finding flakes of presumed cannabis near the center console and front-passenger seat as well as a shopping bag including 3 baggies of weed,” the Daily Record reported. “Dabney, cops stated, had dilated and red eyes. He likewise revealed indications of disability throughout requirement field sobriety tests. Police apprehended Dabney and took him to Gettysburg Hospital, where a blood test exposed that he had active cannabis substances and metabolites in his system. Prosecutors lateron concurred to omit the weed discovered in his automobile from proof and withdrew 3 of the charges versus him.”

A little more than a year after the arrest, a Pennsylvania judge “found Dabney guilty of driving under the impact, reckless driving, and speeding and sentenced him to 6 months’ probation, with 10 days on home arrest and handed down practically $1,115 in fines,” according to the Daily Record, which stimulated the appeal. 

Per the paper, Dabney and his lawyers competed that “that medical cannabis is not a Schedule 1 managed compound in Pennsylvania and that law enforcement needto be restricted from charging and prosecuting him for 2 subsections of DUI,” and if it were, the DUI law would be in dispute with the state’s medical marijuana statute.

Last week, a panel of 3 judges in the Pennsylvania Superior Court turneddown that argument. 

In the ruling, Judge Deborah A. Kunselman, stated that “medical cannabis stays a Schedule I regulated compound,” and that “no dispute exists inbetween the [Medical Marijuana Act] and the Vehicle Code.”

“There is no requirement for ‘medical cannabis’ to be noted as a Schedule I regulated compound duetothefactthat medical cannabis is cannabis, particularly cannabis ‘for accredited medical usage,’” Kunselman composed, including that the Medical Marijuana Act “did not getridof cannabis from the list of Schedule I regulated compounds.”

Additionally, the panel declined Dabney’s contention that the state cannonfodder was incorrect to conclude that there was possible cause to arrest him for DUI.

“We discover no benefit to this concern. Our Supreme Court hasactually held that since of the MMA, ‘the smell of cannabis alone does not quantity to possible cause to conduct a warrantless search of a automobile however, rather, might be thoughtabout as a aspect in takingalookat the totality of the situations,” Kunselman composed. 

The case might have ripple results for Pennsylvania’s more than 400,000 medical marijuana clients.

As the York Daily Record keptinmind, the judgment “is precedential, which implies that it has a binding result on future cases in Pennsylvania,” and it stays uncertain if Dabney will file another appeal.

“That’s definitely something we’re thinkingabout,” Dabney’s lawyer, Christian DeFilippo, stated, as pricedquote by the York Daily Record. “I desire to let him take some time to make that choice.”


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