Former Medical Marijuana Dispensary Manager Files Appeal

November 22, 2011

Dave Rice, San Diego Reader

The San Diego chapter of medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access announced today that it is appealing the 2010 conviction of dispensary operator Jovan Jackson on three charges of illegal possession and sale of marijuana.

During his trial, superior court judge Howard Shore ruled that California’s state medical marijuana law could not be used as a defense for Jackson and, according to the ASA, referred to marijuana as “dope” and state law as “a scam.”

“Jackson and other medical marijuana providers deserve a defense under the state's medical marijuana laws and these are issues for a jury to decide,” said ASA chief counsel Joe Elford in a press release announcing the appeal.

In addition to challenging the decision not to allow Jackson to defend himself under state law, the appeal challenges the notion that the “sale” of marijuana in itself is a crime. Some district attorneys have insisted — despite guidelines issued by the attorney general in 2008 — that a medical patient must take an active part in cultivation, “till the soil,” in order to be part of a collective.

Jackson, a Navy veteran, was convicted on his second trial, as district attorney Bonnie Dumanis had previously brought similar charges against him in 2009. That case ended in acquittal, as the judge allowed consideration of the state’s medical marijuana law during trial.

California attorney general Kamala Harris, rather than Dumanis, will defend the appeal. Harris previously served as San Francisco district attorney while that city was implementing one of the first dispensary licensing programs in the country.

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