Appeals Court Rules Possession of Cannabis While in Prison Not Impacted by Prop. 64

The California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, affirmed the initial judgment in a cannabis case where the appellant claimed charges against him for possession of cannabis while incarcerated should be dismissed since Proposition 64 made it legal for adults over 21 to possess up to 28.5 grams of cannabis.

Artemis Whalum, represented by Kenneth Vandevelde, appealed the trial court’s decision to deny his request to dismiss and recall his sentence. Whalum is currently serving a prison sentence for possessing cannabis in a correctional institution.

The indictment for possessing cannabis while in prison came after Whalum was found with .4 grams of cannabis in his prison cell in 2013. He pled no contest to the violation and received a consecutive sentence of two years and eight months. After the passage of Proposition 64, he appealed his sentence arguing that his actions would now be considered legal.

Proposition 64 allowed for people currently serving a cannabis-related sentence the ability to petition for a recall or dismissal of their sentence, however, the appeals court ruled that the code criminalizing possession of cannabis in prison,  Penal Code section 4573.6, was not affected by Proposition 64.

Proposition 64 has led to other lawsuits, including a case where California municipalities took issue with the clause allowing cannabis to be delivered to any jurisdiction in California.