Health Law

Calif. Appellate Court Says Med Marijuana Collectives Don't Have to Grow Pot to Sell It


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Shooting down a common prosecutorial argument regarding California’s medical marijuana laws, a state appellate court found Wednesday that nonprofit dispensaries can legally sell pot to members, even if the members did not play a role in growing it.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal opinion (PDF) grants a new trial for Jovan Jackson, a dispensary operator convicted of illegally selling marijuana. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson and five others grew and distributed marijuana to themselves and 1,600 members of San Diego’s Answerdam Alternative Care.

Previously, a trial judge found that it was not a collective under California law, because most members only paid for the product and had nothing to do with growing it.

“As we interpret the (Medical Marijuana Program Act), 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 appellate court wrote. “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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