Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, January 18, 2013

Storefront Marijuana Dispensaries Are Definitely Legal

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Definitely legal
  • Definitely legal

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."

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"