Drug Policy

State Medical Marijuana Acquittal in San Diego

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On Tuesday a San Diego jury acquitted the manager of a medical marijuana dispensary whom District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis accused of breaking state law by operating a for-profit cannabis business. Jovan Jackson, manager of the Answerdam Alternative Care Collective, was busted in September during a local sweep of 14 dispensaries that resulted in 31 arrests. The case against him, the first of this batch to go to trial, was based on two cannabis purchases by an undercover officer who presented a doctor's recommendation and paid a fee to join the collective. Dumanis, like Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, seems to believe that any operation where patients pay for cannabis is illegal. But the jury in Jackson's case, like California Attorney General Jerry Brown and local officials in jurisdictions such as San Francisco and Oakland, concluded that state law allows patient collectives to charge for marijuana to cover their costs. To convict Jackson of illegally distributing marijuana, therefore, it was not enough to show that Answerdam accepted credit cards or that it allowed patients with doctor's recommendations to buy pot. Jackson still faces sentencing for possession of 17 MDMA tablets and a Xanax that police found in his home. But the verdict is a significant rebuke to a legal theory that would make every storefront cannabis supplier in California subject to arrest and invite continued federal interference with the state's medical marijuana policy.

[via the Drug War Chronicle]