In this uncertain reality of ours, the last place to look for a nugget of truth is the legally fuzzy world of medical marijuana. But the California Supreme Court gifted us all an unexpected dose of certainty this week by refusing to do anything.
Earlier, Attorney General Kamala Harris and other law enforcement officials tried to put a San Diego medical cannabis dispensary operator behind bars, on the grounds that a storefront dispensary can't possibly be legal. A lower court ruled against the AG, and this week, the high court refused to hear an appeal filed by prosecutors and the L.A. City Attorney.
In other words: Storefront collectives, buying and selling medical cannabis, are definitely legal. Good to know after they'd been in existence for a decade.
Jovan Jackson was the dispensary operator who ran afoul of city officials in San Diego. His collective was raided in 2008 -- and then again in 2009, after a jury declined to convict him. He was the same guy hauled into court and denied a defense based on medical marijuana law -- which allows patients to "assemble collectively," and has led to neon signs and advertisements in newspapers for $20 eighths -- by a judge who referred to cannabis as "dope" and called the state's medical marijuana laws a "scam."
Even then, it took two cases for Jackson to be convicted. And once convicted, Jackson became a top priority for medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, which successfully overturned his conviction on appeal.
District attorneys in Sacramento and Southern California and the Los Angeles City Attorney wouldn't give up, and attempted to overturn the appellate court ruling. They went further, though, also asking the high court to depublish the lower court's binding opinion. By not doing so, the California Supreme Court has affirmed that a storefront dispensary is legal, according to Americans for Safe Access's Joe Elford.
"Not only has the California Supreme Court rejected attempts to have it review the Jackson case, thereby affirming the legality of medical marijuana sales and distribution in the state, it also chose not to depublish this landmark ruling benefiting thousands of patients," he said. "Even though the appellate court decision garnered significant opposition, patients have prevailed in their struggle to protect safe access to medical marijuana."