How Parole and Probation Impact Marijuana Use in Colorado


If you’ve recently been convicted of a crime in Colorado, you will likely face either probation or parole as part of your sentence. While on probation, there are many restrictions and requirements that must be met in order to avoid ending up back in the court room again. In years past, restrictions were placed on the use of marijuana for those on probation/parole, even though Colorado is well-known for legalizing the substance several years ago.

With Colorado being so supportive of the use of marijuana for any reason, but especially medical reasons, many of those serving a parole/probation sentence were frustrated when their access was restricted to what they considered medication. Ultimately, the law places restrictions upon those on probation or parole to assist them in their journey of becoming compliant with the state’s laws. However, without their medication, this policy begged the question would restricting medical marijuana help or hinder in a person’s journey to good citizenship?

The Law Reviewed

As it turns out, those on probation/parole weren’t the only ones who saw an issue with this black and white policy. Instead, former Governor Hickenlooper decided allowances needed to be made to accommodate those who had used marijuana for medical conditions, prior to their conviction. Thus, he decided to support changes to the law in 2015.

With these changes in effect, those on parole or probation may now legally use marijuana for medical purposes. However, that does not mean anything, and everything goes. Instead, it is important to be aware that medical means just that, for medical purposes only. Thus, if you are on probation/parole and get caught using marijuana for recreational purposes, you will be guilty of breaking the terms of your sentence leading to additional penalties.

Since this law has been signed into effect, Jefferson/Adams counties have been forced to make concessions to accommodate those who rely on medical marijuana to manage chronic conditions, especially those involving severe pain. As such, persons who qualify for medical marijuana, while under the terms of probation/parole sentence, may use and possess the substance without consequences.

Understanding Probation Violations

When you are given a probation sentence, it is important to obey the rules and guidelines ordered for you. Failing to do so could result in a probation revocation proceeding. You can be guilty of violating your probation sentence should you fail to meet and comply with the specifics of your sentence. You could also find yourself in violation of your probation should you be charged with committing any illegal act while still serving a probation sentence.

Thanks to the updates given to the law, if you are currently on probation and have medical reasons for marijuana use, you don’t need to fear violating the terms of your probation. However, it is important to note that in order to qualify for this exemption, you must hold a valid medical marijuana license. Therefore, if you have a medical marijuana license, legally speaking you are well within your rights to use/possess the substance. Due to this probation medical marijuana use/possession alone will not be a reason for you to end up back in court. Should a probation officer suggest otherwise, know your rights and make your next call to a skilled criminal defense attorney.

If you are someone you love has been charged with a crime, don’t give up hope. Allow the experts to review the details of your case and ensure your rights have been respected every step of the way!