How Does Proposition 1 Affect My Probation?

I have been receiving numerous calls lately about the recent passage of Proposition 1 (The legalization of recreational marijuana). The main question I get asked is, “How will this affect my probation?” While the passage of the law has yet to take effect, there are some important things to note with this new legislation.

If you are on probation and currently drug testing, you must contact your probation officer before you use! People on probation operate under different rules than those who are not. Many conditions of probation include two important clauses. First, you must not violate any state or FEDERAL law. While Michigan may have moved to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the Federal government has not been so progressive. It is still 100% illegal in all forms (including medically) under federal law. Moreover, the court still has the ability to regulate your use of any substance. Alcohol is legal for all individuals over the age of 21. Yet, the court is allowed to prohibit your use of alcohol. They are allowed to regulate your use of marijuana in much the same way.

Few judges are inclined to allow someone to use marijuana on probation. We expect this to continue even with Proposition 1 passing. (Most judges were STRONGLY opposed to Proposition 1). However, some judges will allow medicinal use if the proper medical documentation is provided. The most important thing is to have an attorney who can advocate against drug testing in the first place. If your crime is not alcohol/drug related, then some courts won’t require testing. Still, many courts require the testing in all cases. Putting up the proper defense against that testing could make or break your ability to use. If you do end up with testing, you can always petition the court to discontinue the drug testing portion.

At the end of the day, this law will primarily benefit those who remain out of trouble with the law. Many of my clients who are on probation found themselves in the court due to possession of marijuana. As this will no longer be the case (once the law is formally adopted), many people will avoid being hauled into court. If you find yourself on probation for an offense outside of possession of marijuana, you must advocate for no drug testing at sentencing. Otherwise, your recreational use will be prohibited.