The San Diego jury's decision in the Jovan Jackson case is sending a strong message to people on both sides of the medical marijuana debate. NBC 7's Candice Nguyen reports.
Navy veteran Jovan Jackson has been found guilty of running a “retail marijuana store” in San Diego.
Jurors announced three guilty verdicts Monday for sale of marijuana and two counts of possession for sale. Jackson and his attorney, Lance Rogers, told NBC 7 they plan to appeal the case.
In 2009, Jackson was accused of managing and profiting off Answerdam Alternative Care Dispensary in Kearny Mesa. The state’s medical marijuana law protects people from prosecution if they form non-profit collectives or cooperatives.
Prosecutor Chris Lindberg said Jackson broke the law.
“He grossed close to $160,000 in 75 days of operation, so by no means was it a non-profit. It went beyond that. He didn’t comply with the medical marijuana laws,” Lindberg said.
Outside the courtroom, Rogers said even after this five-year case, he and Jackson want to appeal the case to send a message.
“We are here to keep the fight going to show the local community and the United States as a whole do not support this failed war on drugs,” Rogers said.
However, Chris Lindberg said the guilty verdicts send a message of their own.
He responded, “If they follow the law, they’ll be fine. If they don’t and try to hide behind the law to make a lot of money, they may find themselves in Mr. Jackson’s shoes.”
In 1996, Prop 215 was passed in California making it legal to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Since then, the issues surrounding the sale of medicinal marijuana have been anything but simple.
While the California state law allows for medicinal marijuana, federal law does not.
Dispensaries were shuttered two years ago after the U.S. Attorney’s Office warned landlords to stop renting to dispensaries or risk losing their property.
However, in August, the U.S. Justice Department announced it would not block state laws legalizing medical marijuana.
"I think that society will decide if I'm guilty or not based off of how they feel about medical marijuana," Jackson said.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. According to Lindberg, Jackson faces a maximum of six years in prison, but will likely be granted probation.