A California courtroom has dominated that jail inmates are legally allowed to own marijuana, however that they don’t seem to be permitted to make use of it.

Final week, the Third District Court docket of Enchantment in Sacramento overturned the convictions of 5 inmates who had been discovered with pot, pointing to the language of Proposition 64, the 2016 poll initiative that made possession of lower than one ounce of marijuana not a felony within the state.

“The aim of the language is to explain the huge array of technique of consumption, and consumption, not possession, is the act the voters decided ought to stay criminalized if the person is in jail,” mentioned the ruling, which was handed down on Tuesday. “We agree with defendants that consumption might be achieved in methods not strictly involving smoking or ingesting, akin to inhaled as a nonburning vapor or utilized topically such that it’s absorbed via the pores and skin.”

Nevertheless, the courtroom identified that smoking or ingesting marijuana remained a felony.

The ruling added that jail authorities reserved the fitting to ban possession to “keep order and security within the prisons.”

The state’s penal code makes it a criminal offense for an individual to carry “contraband” into jail, together with alcohol and managed substances.

“Whereas the courtroom’s resolution remains to be beneath overview, we wish to be clear that drug use and gross sales inside state prisons stays prohibited,” mentioned Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the California Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “C.D.C.R. is dedicated to offering a protected, accountable surroundings for prisoners and workers alike, and we plan to judge this resolution with an eye fixed towards sustaining well being and safety inside our establishments.”

The pondering behind permitting possession however not consumption was clear to not less than one lawyer.

“You’ll be able to by no means have smoking in a facility as a result of you possibly can have fires, everyone’s trapped in cells, they will’t get out,” Michael Kraut, a California prison protection legal professional and former prosecutor, mentioned on Saturday. “So the difficulty isn’t the possession of the marijuana; it’s not the difficulty whether or not it’s medical or medicinal or leisure.”

“The problem is you possibly can’t have a fireplace,” he mentioned.

A marijuana advocacy group in California mentioned it didn’t suppose the ruling would have any real-world results.

“I believe it’s form of a novelty resolution,” mentioned Paul Armentano, deputy director of the Nationwide Group for the Reform of Marijuana Legal guidelines, which champions truthful marijuana legal guidelines and laws in California. “As is nicely acknowledged, loads of behaviors and actions could also be authorized beneath state legislation that aren’t essentially permissible to people who are incarcerated.”

Mr. Armentano defined that whereas marijuana — in small quantities — was authorized for adults in California, nothing was stopping the state corrections company from taking its personal actions.

“That is one in every of these points the place such a loophole could exist, however it’s arguably solely going to exist for a brief time period,” Mr. Armentano mentioned. “You’d be hard-pressed to make an argument that almost all of Californians, after they had been deciding on this situation, had been voting to permit marijuana within the prison justice system.”

He mentioned he didn’t consider that inmates needs to be allowed to make use of marijuana.

“It might be inconsistent with current legal guidelines and laws” and cultural mores, he mentioned, “to permit inmates to make use of any form of leisure intoxicants.”