San Diego Medical Marijuana Dispensary operator convicted of possession & sales
September 30, 2010
Jackson was the former operator of the San Diego medical marijuana dispensary Answerdam Alternative Care Collective. It was the second trial in less than a year for Jackson, who was arrested in a multi-agency law enforcement raid in September 2009. Jackson was acquitted by a jury in December of marijuana possession and distribution charges stemming from a 2008 arrest. This time, however, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis convinced Superior Court Judge Howard H. Shore to deny Jackson a medical marijuana defense, virtually assuring a conviction.
"After the embarrassment of losing the first trial against Jovan Jackson, District Attorney Dumanis was desperate for a conviction," said Eugene Davidovich, head of the San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group. "Jackson should not have been denied a defense and should not be used as a scapegoat for the District Attorney's misguided position that medical marijuana sales are illegal."
During jury selection last week, in an effort to keep medical marijuana out of the courtroom, Judge Shore went so far as to order Jackson's supporters to remove articles of clothing that displayed an Americans for Safe Access logo, including tote bags carried into the courtroom.
Today's verdict comes as both the San Diego City Council and County Board of Supervisors are developing local medical marijuana distribution laws that would regulate the same activity for which Jackson was convicted. A San Diego grand jury issued recommendations in June calling on city and county governments to implement the state's medical marijuana law. In particular, the grand jury called for the city and county to develop a "program for the licensing, regulation and periodic inspection of authorized collectives and cooperatives distributing medical marijuana."
As part of law enforcement's "Operation Green Rx," more than 60 people were arrested in several raids. Yet, of only two cases the District Attorney chose to take to trial, both had resulted in acquittals. In addition to Jackson's earlier acquittal, Davidovich was also acquitted of similar charges in March of this year.