California Appeals Court Reverses Compassion Club Operator’s Conviction

Chalk up a victory for lawful medical marijuana patients today in California. If you get busted running a collective, you should be able to raise a medical marijuana defense in court.

According to a release from Americans for Safe Access, the Fourth District Court of Appeal for California issued a unanimous published ruling today that reverses the conviction of San Diego dispensary operator, Jovan Jackson.

Jackson’s storefront collective was raided in 2008, and he was tried for marijuana possession and sales in 2009, but was acquitted. Cops raided him again that year, and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis tried him again on the same charges. At that second trial, San Diego Superior Court Judge Howard Shore, who reportedly called medical marijuana “dope,” and Prop 215 “a scam,” denied Jackson a medical defense. Jackson was convicted and sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Today’s Appellate ruling reverses Jackson’s conviction and the lower court’s finding that Jackson was not entitled to a defense. Future medical marijuana-related defendants can use such a defense in future jury trials, Americans for Safe Access writes.

“This landmark decision not only recognizes the right of dispensaries to exist and provide medical marijuana to their patient members, it also grants a defense for those providers in state court,” stated Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, who argued for Jackson in court.

– Read the entire article at The San Francisco Chronicle.