"Landmark" Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ruling May Hurt Feds

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Fought the pot and the pot won
A court ruling in San Diego could hinder the federal Justice Department's war on California's legal cannabis industry.

In what cannabis advocates called a "landmark ruling," an appeals court in San Diego tossed out a dispensary operator's drug-dealing conviction. Jovan Jackson was found guilty of marijuana sales only after a judge refused to allow him to use state medical marijuana law as a defense, a tact pursued by Attorney General Kamala Harris' office.

But Harris lost, and Jackson won, on Wednesday when the court ruled that he should have been allowed to use state law in his defense -- a novel concept -- and that he was legal despite his large collective where not every member participated in the growing of cannabis, according to Americans for Safe Access, which argued Jackson's case.

Jackson will be retried in San Diego, where District Attorney Bonnie Dumais has been a helpful hand in the quest to quash all legal weed. But he'll get a defense -- and one that might be useful for the state's largest medical marijuana dispensary's looming battle in federal court.

Harborside Health Center, the largest cannabis collective in California -- and by extension, the nation, the world, the universe, etc. -- will appear in court on Nov. 1, when United States Attorney Melinda Haag will ask a judge to forfeit the dispensary's Oakland property to the government. Among Harborside's sins are its size, according to Haag. The fact that the dispensary has 108,000 patients means its somehow violating state law -- although Haag hasn't yet identified specific violations.

The Jackson case is relevant because it lays to rest a contention made by law enforcement: That in order to be a legal, bona-fide nonprofit collective, a dispensary must have each and every one of its members participate in the cultivation of cannabis. Such a requirement would lead to the ludicrous scene of wheelchair-users and wasting AIDS and cancer patients sticking shovels in soil or trimming fresh-cut bud. The court dispensed with that argument and ruled that collective members need not participate in growing.

The jury at Jackson's second trial may find that his collective, Answerdam, is not a nonprofit, but the collective's size will be irrelevant, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"That means a dispensary can sell marijuana to hundreds or thousands of patients without violating state law," the newspaper's Bob Egelko reported.

This case was noteworthy for Jackson's two trials -- he was acquitted in 2008 but convicted in 2009, on the same charges -- and for his outwardly hostile judge. Judge Howard Shore reportedly referred to medical cannabis as "dope" during the trial, called the state's medical marijuana laws "a sham," and sentenced Jackson to 180 days in jail.
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Being that this is a state case I don't see how this could  "hinder the federal Justice Department's war on California's legal cannabis industry."  The Feds could get around state law by filing in Federal Court. and using Federal Law to prosecute.   Also, other District courts in CA could ignore this ruling until the CA Supreme Court rules on the issue. At least that I my understand of how the system works.


BTW, for a State Judge to deny the defendant the right to use state law as his defense is ridiculous. I'm sure the Judge know his ruling would be appealed and overturn. It seems the judge was just trying to get a conviction regardless of the law.  



 @wqjackson It seems to me that last line should be revised to, " It seems the judge was trying to persecute a pot smoker..


Had some more thoughts about your article.


This case was prosecuted by District Attorney Bonnie Dumais of San Diego not CA State AG Kamala Harris or her office.  During the applet process the County would continue to handle their case. Are you sure the State AG handled the applet case? 

tonydfixer like.author.displayName 1 Like

Judge Howard Shore should be de-benched & dis-Bared. He is obviously partial & a walking conflict of interest.....Tonydfixer......Seattle.

muzzylu like.author.displayName 1 Like

The Feds won't stop human trafficking, but they are shutting down legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California! Marijuana should be legal! It might lessen the addiction to far more harmful drugs, like alcohol, tobacco, crack, and meth. Marijuana is a very healthy food if taken as an edible, not smoked. There is a great $2.99 e-book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Candies to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis, Second Edition. This book has great recipes for easy marijuana oil, delicious Cannabis Chocolates, and tasty Dragon Teeth Mints. 



keepin my fingers crossed and hopin for the best the feds had a field day pickin on stoners now we can defend ourselves  this might be used retroactively on recent pot dispensary convictions. the feds must be fumin  i say in your face


You should have the judge removed for being biased.  I think this should be a no brainer.



 @jose257 imagine other poor souls that ran into this sociopath of a  judge .disbarring just for starters


 @jose257 fuking wish we could get rid of mean spirited assl6les who call themselves judges .just offhand i'd say the judges parents failed

thraxz13 like.author.displayName 1 Like

  Well I go back for my second round of Court Tomorrow in Orange County because I got a 11-1 Mistrial.. Was denied an affiramitve Defense as well.. How will this effect current cases?




Getting rid of this judge is a slam dunk for anyone with a word processor and a printer.


C.C.P. Sec. 170.1 enumerates the specific circumstances under which a California judge


that there is a substantial doubt as to his capacity to be impartial, or that a person aware of all relevant facts might reasonably entertain a doubt about his ability to be impartial.


With the enactment of Sec. 170.1, however, a party seeking to disqualify a California judge for cause was no longer required to prove that the judge was actually biased.



 @thraxz13 get your lawyer to delay your case till he readies your new defense good luck man in rootin for ya


 @barbarian.bob1  @thraxz13 And keep disqualifying judges until you have one that you believe can be impartial.  Maybe your case will get dismissed for lack of a judge who can be impartial.

ZZardozz like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @thraxz13 I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that you should be allowed to use the defense this time.   Make sure that your attorney knows about this ruling, just be be safe.

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