Mary Cease’s marijuana appeal

Mary Cease. Photo by Steve Mellon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

A fact-check

By David Loomis

INDIANA — On Thursday, The Indiana Gazette reported atop its front page that medical-marijuana patient Mary S. Cease, the Clymer woman denied assistance by an Indiana County housing agency and by a local judiciary gripped by the federal government’s century-long reefer madness, had abandoned her appeal to state court.

“Clymer woman drops fight over housing,” read the two-column headline. A quote attributed to Cease — “I’m out of this. I can’t take it anymore. I’m done.” – certainly seemed to support the header.

Except the new information contradicted Cease’s public comments at Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s April 14 marijuana-listening-tour stop at the Kovalchick center on April 14, among other remarks she has made since last year.

Was she smoking something?


NO. THE STATE’S medical-marijuana law forbids smoking the stuff. And Cease’s pro-bono cannabis attorney in Harrisburg promptly confirmed that that her client is committed to securing housing from the county housing authority and to appealing the local court’s April 10 ruling against her.

Judith D. Cassel, of Harrisburg, attorney for Mary Cease, of Clymer. Photo from Cassel’s website.

“I think there was a misunderstanding,” is the way attorney Judith D. Cassel put it in an email shortly after the news story’s publication.

Her client agreed. And when someone from the newspaper called her on Friday to ask whether she wanted a retraction, Cease declined, she said in a Sunday phone interview. The caller said the paper would report a follow-up story.



On Friday, Cassel filed Cease’s appeal in state Commonwealth Court, the intermediate appellate panel that hears complaints against local government.


David Loomis, Ph.D., emeritus professor of journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is editor of The HawkEye.

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