Judge denies medical marijuana use for man on probation

LIHU‘E — An unusual request, to smoke medical marijuana while on probation, has left a judge concerned with first impressions, which could set a precedent.

State Public Defender Stephanie Sato filed a motion to modify terms and conditions of probation for Mahlon S. Callison, 47, of Waimea. The request was to extend the date to complete Callison’s community service hours — in addition to requesting that the court allow him to use medical marijuana under permit without violating probation.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Wendel Crutchfield objected on behalf of the state.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Tuesday approved the motion in part, allowing the extension of community service hours. She denied the medical marijuana request, however, citing a lack of medical evidence in support to show need in light of other alternatives.

When determining appropriate use in cases of first impression — setting precedence in law with decisions involving judicial discretion — Watanabe said the single letter of support from an attending supervisor within the Department of Public Safety was not sufficient support for this medically related issue.

Watanabe said the court would prefer to have live testimony from the attending physician. If that was not possible then she said the court would need sufficient documentation or certification to show medical need.

Sato’s request to submit the required supporting materials and revisit the issue was approved.

Callison pleaded no contest to second-degree theft and was sentenced to five years probation in 2009. Sato noted that his previous misdemeanor drug charges were for marijuana and pipe possession in 2008.

Callison is in the process of completing 450 hours of community service for one conviction and 500 hours for the other.

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