Friday, October 26, 2012

California Appeals Court OKs Medical Marijuana Defense for Dispensaries, Rules Members do Not Need to Grow Marijuana

Americans for Safe Access (through the SF Weekly) announced that the Fourth District Court of Appeal for California unanimously affirmed medical marijuana as a legal defense for dispensaries and reversed the conviction of San Diego dispensary operator Jovan Jackson.

Jackson's dispensary was raised twice; once in 2008 and another in 2009. He was acquitted the first time around, but Howard Shore, the San Diego Superior Court Judge for the second case, called medical marijuana "dope" and described the proposition that legalized medical pot "a scam." Jackson was found guilty and spent 180 days in jail.

The appellate ruling overturned the conviction. It also allows future medical marijuana operators to use medical marijuana as a valid legal defense. More importantly, the court decided that members of the dispensary or collective did not need to have an active role in the growing the plants.

"...the collective or cooperative association required by the act need not include active participation by all members in the cultivation process but may be limited to financial support by way of marijuana purchases from the organization," the court stated. "Thus, contrary to the trial court’s ruling, the large membership of Jackson’s collective, very few of whom participated in the actual cultivation process, did not, as a matter of law, prevent Jackson from presenting an MMPA defense."

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