|Jovan Jackson, from YouTube.|
Just over one year ago, on October 24th, 2012, historical legal precedent was set in the state of California in regard to its ambiguous medical marijuana laws. San Diego based medical marijuana storefront owner, Jovan Jackson, had been tried in court twice, based first on entrapment style undercover buys in 2008 (acquitted of all charges), and then trumped up charges of possession and sale of marijuana after a raid on his shop in 2009, of which he was eventually found guilty.
Fortunately for him, and for many dispensary owners since him, the Fourth District Court of Appeal heard Jackson’s case and reversed the 2009 conviction. The court declared that Jackson’s rights under California’s medical marijuana laws had not been respected in the sales and possession case, and that he as a dispensary owner was entitled to the same protections as patients, growers and caregivers under CA Prop 215. That overruling has established relatively clear legal standing for marijuana collectives, and their owners, in California.
The initial acquittal was a huge slap in the face of San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, and then having her apparent victory stripped from her in the second trial must have been a bitter pill for her to swallow. So this week, one year after Jovan Jackson’s acquittal set ground-breaking legal precedent for those in the cannabis industry, Dumanis attacked a third time – again with the same old charges – and this time she was able to convince a jury to find Jackson guilty on all of them.
With a sentencing trial scheduled for mid-December, the race is on to initiate another appeal process for Jackson, a circumstance with which he is all too familiar. “I’m not surprised, “Jackson told reporters after the verdicts were handed down, “I’ve heard ‘guilty’ before, I’m not going to give up just because this particular jury found me guilty.”
The juror’s instructions, released by Americans for Safe Access, specifically told them that they must prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the defendant (Mr. Jackson) was “not operating within the State of California to collectively cultivate marijuana for medical purposes”. If they could not meet that burden, their instructions demanded, then they “must find the defendant not guilty of the charged offenses”.
Still, somehow, Jackson was found guilty right around 4:20 p.m. Monday afternoon by a jury of citizens who apparently did not see him as much of a peer.
Jovan Jackson, 35, collects his pay these days in a barbershop in Lemon Grove, and is expected to remain free pending appeal or sentencing- whichever comes first. Thankfully Jackson’s previous acquittal, now published case law under People v. Jackson, will not be affected by this week’s verdict, and will ironically still be a powerful tool used by other dispensary owners who find themselves caught up in cases similar to Jackson’s.
Below, watch a video of Jackson’s response to the verdict: