|Dispensary manager Jovan Jackson got probation today for possession of ecstasy and Xanax.|
The manager of a medical marijuana dispensary, convicted of illegal possession of Xanax and ecstasy but acquitted of marijuana charges, was sentenced Wednesday to probation.
Jovan Jackson, 31, was also fined $839 and ordered not to possess any controlled substances without a valid prescription or doctor’s recommendation, reports 10news.com.
Before sentencing, Jackson’s felony conviction for possession of ecstasy was reduced to a misdemeanor by Judge Cynthia Bashant, who said it would have been charged as such if not for the underlying medical marijuana case.
The judge also said Jackson’s lack of prior criminal record was a factor in his sentencing. Judge Bashant said there was no evidence that Jackson had the pills so he could sell them to others.
Prosecutor Chris Lindberg unsuccessfully tried to make the case that Jackson’s possession of ecstasy was not misdemeanor conduct. “Ecstasy is different,” Lindberg told the judge. “It’s a mind-altering drug. We wouldn’t have charged it as a misdemeanor.”
Jackson’s case was the first of its kind to go to a trial following a series of media-friendly law enforcement raids last September which resulted in 31 arrests and 14 San Diego dispensaries being shuttered.
The Jackson case began when Answerdam Alternative Care Collective in Kearny Mesa was raided on two occasions, in July and July 2008.
Jackson still faces similar drug charges from an undercover drug buy at the dispensary last year. A hearing on that case is scheduled for Monday.
Medical marijuana advocates interpret Jackson’s acquittal on marijuana charges, and, indirectly, his light sentencing on the other drug charges, as a rebuke to San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and local police officials.
Aggressive medical marijuana enforcement, to the point of irrationality, has been a puzzling priority for Dumanis’ office.
Deputy D.A. Chris Lindberg had tried to convince jurors that the case against Jackson was not about medical marijuana. “This case is about making money, plain and simple,” Lindberg said.
Jurors who spoke to reporters after the verdicts were read Dec. 1 said the laws were vague regarding sales from marijuana collectives, prompting them to find the defendant not guilty on the pot-related charges.