The California Supreme Court’s new ruling could have a big impact on medical marijuana distributors and patients throughout the state.
The Supreme Court has refused to take up the case of Jovan Jackson, a collective operator who was convicted of possessing and selling marijuana.
Jackson owned a San Diego collective called Answerdam. He was charged for illegal distribution because the majority of the patients who went to his collective just paid for their marijuana instead of growing it collaboratively. He was also targeted because of the volume of patients who frequented his collective. The judge felt that because of that, his establishment did not qualify as a collective under state law, and Jackson was charged.
The conviction was overturned last year when a court ruled that his conduct was protected under the state’s medical marijuana law. According to the appeals court, California law “permits retail dispensaries” and does not make stipulations about how large they can be member-wise. The appeals court felt his sentence of six months in prison should be dropped.
As a result, prosecutors from several counties throughout the state asked the Supreme Court to set the ruling aside and hear the case, but on Wednesday the Supreme Court unanimously decided not to review the case. That makes the appeals court’s decision the binding authority for trial courts in California.
The fact that the Supreme Court refused to take on the case could give medical marijuana dispensary operators a defense from prosecution statewide. Many collectives have been targeted by authorities due to the fact that they have received money for marijuana or because their operations are large. Harborside Health Center is one of those collectives.
Henry Wykowski, lawyer for Harborside Health Center, spoke to the press about the ruling. He stated, “Now that the California courts have ruled that size is not an issue, if that’s the reason that Melinda Haag chose to file a forfeiture action against Harborside, she should do the right thing and dismiss the action.”
Harborside Health Center has long been targeted, due to its reputation as “California’s Largest Medical Marijuana Dispensary.” Haag’s reasoning behind targeting Harborside is that she believes the larger the dispensary, the “greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana law.” The ruling in Jovan’s case could have a huge impact for Harborside and other collectives that have been targeted due to size.