Former pot dispensary manager gets probation, 6 months in jail
December 14, 2010
Dana Littlefield, San Diego Union-TribuneThe manager of a now-defunct medical marijuana dispensary who was convicted of illegally possessing and selling the drug was placed Wednesday on probation for three years and ordered to serve six months in county jail. Jovan Jackson, 32, who once operated the Answerdam Alternative Care collective in Kearny Mesa, was given until Feb. 1 to report to jail. His attorney asked for the additional time so that Jackson could spend the holidays with his family and get his affairs in order.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Howard Shore denied a defense request to allow Jackson to continue using marijuana for medicinal purposes, even with a valid recommendation from a doctor, and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine.
Jackson, a Navy veteran and barber, has said he was prescribed medical marijuana by a San Diego doctor for temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, which causes pain in the lower jaw.
Before the sentencing went forward Wednesday, attorneys Lance Rogers and Joseph Elford, chief counsel of Americans for Safe Access, argued unsuccessfully that Jackson should be granted a new trial because the judge erred when he ruled Jackson could not use the state’s medical marijuana law as a defense.
Before the trial began, Shore said the law did not apply in this case because it protects members of a marijuana collective whose primary purpose is cultivation of the drug, not distribution.
The lawyers also argued Wednesday that the trial violated Jackson's constitutional protections against double jeopardy. In December 2009, a different jury acquitted Jackson of marijuana possession and sales charges related to undercover buys at the Answerdam collective in 2008.
The second trial, which began in September, focused on a raid of the collective in September 2009, part of a multiagency investigation called Operation Green Rx. Jackson was found guilty of three charges of illegal possession and sale.
Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg argued that Answerdam was not a legal collective but a “retail busines,” where Jackson sold marijuana and other products to more than 1,600 customers. The prosecutor said Answerdam took in $1,000 to $1,500 a day.
Rogers argued that prosecutors had no direct evidence linking Jackson to those sales.
The attorney said Wednesday that his client will appeal.