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Name: People v. Jackson
Case #: D058988
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/24/2012

Reversal was required where operator of medical marijuana dispensary was denied a defense under the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA). Prior to Jackson’s trial on charges of marijuana sale and possession of marijuana for sale, the prosecutor filed a motion for an order preventing Jackson from offering evidence that he was entitled to the defense provided by the MMPA. At a hearing on the motion, Jackson testified that he and five others were engaged in cultivation for themselves and approximately 1600 other members of their medical marijuana collective. All members were required to show proof of a physician’s recommendation, and no profits were generated. The trial court granted the motion, finding that in light of the large numbers of members of the collective, Jackson could not establish that the collective was operated for the purpose defined by the MMPA as opposed to simply distributing marijuana, and prevented Jackson from offering his defense. He was convicted. The appellate court reversed. Jackson presented enough evidence to raise a reasonable doubt as to whether his organization was a collective or cooperative within the meaning of Health and Safety Code section 11362.775. The large membership of the collective who did not participate in the cultivation process did not, as a matter of law, prevent Jackson from presenting an MMPA defense. The court also held that in determining whether a MMPA defense has been established, the trier of fact must consider whether the organization operates as a for-profit enterprise. Where a collective has a large membership of persons who do not participate in cultivation and there is evidence of a high volume of purchases, a trier of fact could reasonably conclude that the collective is outside the scope of the MMPA. Therefore, on remand, the jury should be instructed regarding these issues.