Pages tagged "San Diego Americans for Safe Access"


San Diego's Higher Love Cooperative Sentenced to Summary Probation for Manufacturing Medical Marijuana Concentrates

San Diego, CA – Three medical cannabis patient defendants were sentenced on felony manufacturing and possession charges after butane canisters and hash oil were discovered in their home - the friends were free to go yesterday when the judge sentenced them to summary probation and a couple weeks of volunteer service. 

The case began when one of the defendants, Jason Lujan, member of the Higher Love Cooperative delivery service was pulled over by a San Diego sheriff deputy for “intermittent brake light failure.”  During the encounter, deputy Nicklo noticed a hemp bracelet on Jason’s wrist and questioned him.  Based on facts that came out later, it is believed that surveillance, such as trailing and viewing electrical usage at Higher Love Cooperative, began from that questioning.  

A search warrant was issued on the three’s Poway home but the affidavit used to obtain it was incomplete with regard to probably cause which was attributed to a “concerned citizen’s report.”  During the preliminary examination hearing in December, 2013, defense attorney Nathan Shaman attempted to get the warrant overturned base on the questionable probable cause but Judge Louis Hanoian bound the defendants over for trial. 

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Update: Victory for Defendants in Two Medical Marijuana Cases

San Diego, CA – Over a handful of weeks three state legal medical cannabis patient defendants have had charges dropped against them in two different courts.  Congratulations to Andrew Turner and his attorney, Mark Bluemel and Daniel Gregg with co-defendant, Donna and their attorneys Lance Rogers and Logan Fairfax.

Andrew Turner’s preliminary exam was heard before judge Herbert J. Exarhos in the El Cajon Courthouse on April 1st, but the legal patient’s ordeal began back in August of 2013 when a fire outside of his Santee residence brought the local fire department. After the fire crew was admitted to Andrew’s house for a safety check, the fire chief tipped off the San Diego Sheriff to Andrew’s medical cannabis grow of 83 plants in the garage. When Sheriffs demanded admittance to Andrew’s garage, Andrew demanded a search warrant.  After an hour the Sheriff returned with the warrant, the medical grow was discovered and Andrew was arrested on sales and cultivation charges.  The only evidence of sales was pure assumption based on the amount of cannabis plants found in Andrew’s garage. 

However, when the case came before the court for a preliminary examination of the evidence against Andrew, in an unprecedented decision, the judge found there was no evidence to show sales and the case could not move forward. Judge Exarhos declined to bind Andrew over to endure a jury trial, citing lack of evidence and clarity in the law. Helping the judge in his decision were defense expert witnesses, Eugene Davidovich and Michelle Sexton, ND. 

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Update: Jovan Jackson Case

In a significant loss for San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Jovan Jackson, a medical cannabis patient and former Answerdam Collective Operator, will serve only three years probation and a handful of months in a work furlough program in lieu of imprisonment. This is after a five-year chain of prosecutions at great expense to taxpayers.  Further, under a judge’s order, which came yesterday, Jovan Jackson will be allowed to use his medical cannabis throughout his probation.  This means that under scrutiny of the state’s parole board, Jovan will enjoy the court’s blessing to use medical cannabis.

Clearly there has been no gain to the public from this lengthy and expensive travesty perpetrated by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. The decisions made by our DA to squander precious resources on prosecuting medical cannabis patients are not in furtherance of public safety but are a political message from the DA.  Dumanis is using her office budget to further her political career, and it has come to the attention of voters and the law enforcement groups who refuse to back her re-election campaign.

In the hearing amid a packed galley of Jovan’s supporters, two local TV cameras and a couple of reporters, Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg – the prosecutor who for five years has doggedly pursued local jail time for Jovan – now argued for 365 days of prison time. For Jovan this would have meant state prison over the holidays, loss of his job and becoming a state expense for a year.  And, his life would be changed forever with the lifelong stigma of prison on his otherwise spotless record.  Prison priors, as opposed to simple county jail time, are rarely expunged.

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Fight on Jovan! Support our Veterans.

Fight_on_Javon.jpgJovan Jackson has fought a long and very hard battle in San Diego court for medical cannabis freedom. After a third trial concluded unfavorably in early November, he will now be sentenced at a hearing this Friday, December 13th.  

Jovan’s regrettable verdict will be appealed to a higher court, and he needs our help to carry on his fight.  Please plan to attend his sentencing hearing, and please consider donating to Jovan to encourage him to fight on.  

Who:       Jovan Jackson     
What:      Sentencing Hearing
Where:    Dept. 54, San Diego Superior Court – 220 W. Broadway, San Diego, 92101
When:     9:00AM Friday, December 13th, 2013

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San Diego Medical Marijuana Patients Beware

 The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) has re-launched a massive eradication effort against dispensaries, collective cultivation efforts, and medical marijuana patients. Those using cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation are not safe from the very law enforcement that’s supposed to protect them.

Since taking office a few months ago, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria has made eradication one of his top priorities. Gloria shifted the city’s course from protecting patients to eradicating safe access. The new Mayor with direction from District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has directed SDPD to do ‘whatever it takes’ to dismantle any and all medical marijuana locations in the city.

Last week, the medical marijuana community leaned the hard way about this new policy.

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Medical Marijuana Patient and Provider Jovan Jackson Found Guilty, Headed for Immediate Appeal

JovanJackson.jpgMonday, November 4 - In the retrial of San Diego medical cannabis patient and provider Jovan Jackson, the jury on Monday returned guilty verdicts on charges of possession, possession for sale and sale of cannabis. This marks Jackson's second conviction stemming from a 2009 raid that happened soon after he was acquitted of similar charges for operating the same patient collective.

Jackson and his legal team plan an immediate appeal. As was the case in the last guilty verdict appealed, Jackson will likely remain free pending appeal. Sentencing is in December. San Diego Americans for Safe Access will send updates as events unfold. Thank you to everyone who attended the trial and followed the case. 

You can read the day-by-day updates on this case here. Other articles on the two prior cases are here.

 

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Jovan Jackson Medical Marijuana Trial - Day 6

Terrie_and_Jackson_.jpgFriday, November 1 -- Jovan Jackson supporters were treated to some high drama in the courtroom today as the prosecutor, San Diego Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg, called Robert Asfari, a former employee of a financial firm named The Renaldi Group (TRG) to the stand.  Lindberg has been using evidence of a sum of money paid to TRG by Jackson's Answerdam Collective as indication Jackson was making profit.  By way of refuting this, Jackson had testified yesterday to being approached by Asfari in 2008 with an offer to use TRG’s business management services to help Answerdam  and that the sum was for those services, not an investment in TRG as the Lindberg implied. 

When Asfari got on the stand, he told a different story than Jackson’s.  Asfari minimized his own role at The Renaldi Group claiming Jackson was an investor and not simply a member of an organization seeking services for its business model. Further Asfari denied any knowledge of forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or a Trust on behalf of Answerdam.   What Lindberg and Asfari didn’t know was that a private investigator had been quietly gathering information corroborating Jackson’s accounting of the TRG/Answerdam relationship; information that when presented to the jury became Lance Roger’s finest Perry Mason moment so far.  

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Jovan Jackson Medical Marijuana Trial - Day 5

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Thursday, Oct 31 - Day 5 of the third Jovan Jackson trial in San Diego. At 9:00AM this morning, defense counsel Lance Rogers brought a motion to dismiss the case against Jackson, arguing that the prosecutor, San Diego Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg, had misrepresented the trajectory of the case by declaring a witness and discovery, which the defense had then built their opening statements and case around, that the prosecutor withdrew at the last minute on the grounds that the witness would take the Fifth Amendment on the stand. None of the discovery or statements from the witness to the police indicated the witness would plead the fifth, but the judge did not find enough cause to grant the motion, so trial resumed. 

As of last night, it was unclear just which witnesses would be called by the defense, but Jackson was called to the stand at 9:30AM for questioning that would last five hours, including three hours of cross-examination by the prosecution. 

The jury heard that Jovan Jackson is an honorably discharged Navy veteran who began work as a barber after leaving the service. He became a medical cannabis patient, and while practicing his barber trade during the years of 2005 through 2007, he came into contact with other vets whom he discovered were also medical cannabis patients -- all of them trying to solve the problem of getting safe access to medicine for themselves and several loved ones. 

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Jovan Jackson Medical Marijuana Trial - Days 3 and 4

Jovan_Jackson_courtroom.jpgTuesday, October 29 -- Day 3 of Jovan Jackson's third state medical cannabis trial in San Diego, California, Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg, the prosecutor through the last two trials, continued his questioning of a witness for the prosecution, ex-IRS Agent Rudolph Chesnik II, now a financial investigator contracted by the DEA.  Again, as yesterday, we saw up on a big screen the limited liability papers, bank statements and sales sheets for Jackson's collective, Answerdam, but today we also heard testimony by Chesnik concerning his attempts to reconcile sales with deposits and calculate total revenues based on sales from a handful of days.  

In cross examination of Chesnik -- who we learned is paid out of The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund -- Lance Rogers showed that the investigation did not provide a complete picture of Jackson’s financial situation, since Chesnik was not given key bank information or cost and expense information.  Chesnik testified that IRS financial investigations generally have the benefit of speaking with the target entity’s record keeper for clarification on how the entity operates. However, since medical cannabis is illegal under federal law - and all related financial operations are considered money laundering - Chesnik was not allowed to talk to the record keeper at Answerdam to get the missing information, however exculpatory. In the end, the defense got the the seasoned financial investigator to admit what we all know: profit cannot be determined from revenue without knowing the cost of goods and operating expenses.

Though the prosecution has not yet rested - having two more witnesses arriving from out of state tomorrow -- Lance Rogers graciously agreed to split his case and called two of Jackson’s witnesses to fill the gap.

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Another Medical Marijuana Defendant Being Bullied to Plead Guilty by Department of Justice

San Diego CA - Just days after legal cannabis patient RonnieChang’s federal incarceration came to an end freeing him to return to his elderly mother, Crispin Price sits in court with his attorney, federal defender, Bridget Kennedy and hopes he will not have to go to prison too - even though he also followed California medical cannabis laws and took all measures to comply with them.

I reflected on the report by Americans for Safe Access titled What’s the Cost? as I walked into the new 16 story downtown courthouse at 333 W. Broadway to attend Crispin’s hearing. The ASA report details how much of our federal tax dollars are spent on raiding, prosecuting, incarcerating and filing asset forfeiture suits against medical cannabis patients like Crispin - an average of $180,000 a day under the Obama Administration alone.

Cripin is married and a father to two one-month old twins. Going up to the 13th floor I was happy to see all of his friends and family there to support him.  They know Cripsin doesn’t belong in court fighting to stay out of prison because he chose to use and grow an alternative form of medicine legal under California law but illegal under the havoc-making federal government.

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