Pubdate: Sat, 21 Nov 2009
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Note: Seldom prints LTEs from outside it's circulation area.
Author: Dana Littlefield
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - United States)


In June of last year, an undercover detective entered a Kearny Mesa 
office suite looking to buy marijuana from a dispensary that 
purported to distribute it for medicinal purposes.

He spoke to a man inside the building, handed him $100 and came out 
with an eighth of an ounce. Mission accomplished.

But prosecutors say that instead of providing a therapeutic service 
to patients who needed it, the dispensary's operators -- specifically 
its manager, Jovan Jackson -- sold drugs for profit, a violation of 
California's medical marijuana law.

Jackson, 31-year-old Navy veteran, is on trial in San Diego Superior 
Court facing several counts related to the possession and sale of 
marijuana. He is also accused of possessing the drug ecstasy.

If convicted, Jackson could be sent to prison for more than five years.

His lawyer contends that the dispensary, called Answerdam Alternative 
Care Collective, operated legally and that the detective used false 
information to acquire the marijuana. People who came to the 
collective were required to provide a doctor's recommendation and 
sign a membership agreement.

On the first day of trial yesterday, i;?San Diego police Detective 
Mark Carlson testified that he had received complaints about "a 
marijuana store" on Convoy Court. Carlson said he conducted 
surveillance in the area and found a Web site titled Answerdam Rx. 
The site was registered to Jackson.

Another detective, Scott Henderson, conducted two undercover buys at 
the Answerdam collective. He testified that he bought $80 worth of 
marijuana and paid a $20 membership fee on June 12, 2008. He bought 
about a half-ounce during a second visit on July 24, 2008.

During the first visit, he provided a doctor's recommendation and 
signed a membership agreement with a false name.

In August 2008, authorities served a search warrant on the building 
and found several large and small bags of marijuana, some of which 
were labeled with prices ranging from $50 to $80, according to the testimony.

In a nearby office, authorities found more than 1,600 forms 
containing member information, digital scales and receipts for 
cashier's checks -- one of which was made out for $100,000 -- 
containing Jackson's name.

Many of the lawyers' questions yesterday centered on whether the 
marijuana distributed at Answerdam was "collectively grown" by the 
group's members for medical purposes, which is allowed by state law.

"What part did you play in collectively growing that marijuana?" 
asked Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg.

"No role whatsoever," Henderson said.

But defense lawyer K. Lance Rogers indicated during cross-examination 
that member fees could be used to aid cultivation. Rogers has said he 
plans to call San Diego County Deputy District Attorney James Pitts 
to testify later in the trial. Pitts has said in court that he is a 
member of the Answerdam collective.

Judge Cynthia Bashant ruled earlier this week that Pitts' identity 
could be released to the public, but would not be provided to the jury. 
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