DA dumps medical pot driver charges
January 23, 2013
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
All charges facing a cooperative’s medical cannabis delivery driver have been tossed out by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office despite efforts by some sheriff’s narcotics detectives to pursue felony prosecution.
Chance Everett Simmons, an employee of Ethnobotanica Patients Collective, was arrested Jan. 5 in Oceano after a sheriff’s deputy’s traffic stop for a cracked windshield on his vehicle.
When Simmons admitted he was transporting cannabis products and after consenting to a search of his vehicle, the deputy contacted detectives for guidance, according to the arrest report. He was then ordered to take Simmons into custody.
Charges were dropped Tuesday following discussions between Ethnobotonica’s attorney, Louis Koory of San Luis Obispo, and sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials.
Medical cannabis cooperatives are legal under California law, and as a result all of the medicines, products, and cash being transported by Simmons will be returned to him under an order issued Tuesday by San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge John Trice. Trice’s order said in part, “Good cause exists to return the property as the case has been dismissed and the property has no evidentiary value.”
Simmons was facing multiple felony charges of possession of marijuana for sale and possession of concentrated cannabis.
Ryan Booker, executive director of the Ethnobotanica collective, said Simmons was engaged in lawful activity at the time of his arrest, delivering physician-recommended cannabis to some of the collective’s 1,000 patients.
“The passage of the Medical Marijuana Program Act in 2003 exempted medical cannabis collectives and collective members from criminal sanctions under California Health and Safety Code 11357 and 11359,” Booker said.