|Artwork by Jim Wheeler|
|Medical marijuana patients win another battle in San Diego|
The manager of a San Diego medical marijuana dispensary was acquitted today of five charges of possessing and selling marijuana for profit.
Jovan Jackson, 31, was convicted, however, of possession of ecstasy and Xanax, according to SignOnSanDiego News Services.
Jackson, who was arrested after a pair of raids at Answerdam Alternative Care in Kearny Mesa last year, began to weep quietly as the verdicts were read in the courtroom of Judge Cynthia Bashant.
The verdicts ended a weeklong trial in San Diego Superior Court. According to SignOnSanDiego, the jury foreman said afterward that the lack of clarity in California’s medical marijuana law was a major reason for the acquittals.
Medical marijuana advocates said the verdicts were a rebuke to San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and local law enforcement. Aggressive medical marijuana enforcement has been a priority for Dumanis’ office.
“Today is both a historic and victorious day for all patients and concerned citizens in San Diego,” said San Diego patient/activist Eugene Davidovich.
“We all extend a sincere thank you to Jovan for his fight and for his victory,” Davidovich said. “Medical marijuana is medicine and collectives and cooperatives are legal!”
|Courtesy Donna Lambert|
|Patient/activist Donna Lambert: “I hope this signals an end to the campaign of terror”|
”Many thanks to Jovan Jackson to risk jail time in order to stand up for the rights of medical marijuana patients in San Diego to collectively associate,” said patient/activist Donna Lambert.
“I hope this signals an end to the campaign of terror that has been waged against the sick, disabled and dying in San Diego,” Lambert said.
“I hope this verdict also signals a beginning to building a bridge between the medical marijuana community and those in government who have the power to set up regulations and guidelines which allow for the safe and affordable access to medical marijuana that the law prescribes,” she added.
|San Diego District Attorney’s Office|
|Prosecutor Chris Lindberg: “He was running a business”|
Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg had tried to convince jurors that the case against Jackson was not about medical marijuana, according to San Diego News Network. “This case is about making money, plain and simple,” Lindberg said.
During the raids, officers said they found credit card receipts for more than $150,000 in sales at Answerdam. “He [Jackson] was running a business,” the prosecutor told the jury.
According to Lindberg, an undercover San Diego police officer lied to a doctor to get a medical marijuana recommendation and then bought marijuana at Answerdam on two occasions. The prosecutor said the undercover officer paid $20 membership dues to join Answerdam and was immediately able to buy the pot.
Defense attorney K. Lance Rogers told the jury that the undercover officer signed up for the collective under false pretenses, using a fake name and getting a false medical recommendation.
The collective had 1,649 members according to its records.
An Aug. 5, 2008 raid at Answerdam turned up “five to six pounds” of marijuana. Agents also searched Jackson’s home and found 17 ecstasy tablets, according to the prosecutor.
Jackson, an eight-year Navy veteran, had faced up to five years in prison if convicted.
Two months ago, 31 people were arrested during raids at 14 marijuana dispensaries in San Diego County. D.A. Dumanis said the collectives were run by drug dealers trying to make a “fast buck.”