Felony Transportation of Marijuana Charge Reduced to a Misdeamor

By Terrie Best – San Diego Americans for Safe Access Court Support Coordinator

San Diego, CA – Well-known medical cannabis defense attorney, Michael J. McCabe and his client Alexander Ayres were in the Vista courthouse in San Diego County today to accept a plea deal and bring an end to the months-long ordeal for Ayres, a legal medical cannabis patient.

Alex Ayres 24, suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder, a condition he seeks cannabis treatment for in lieu of the addictive, side-effect laden pharmaceuticals he has tried in the past.  His mother, Joyce, who has been by his side in court since his arrest, said Alex’s mental state is so improved by his cannabis use it was like a miracle for him.  Joyce, a pretty and articulate woman in her 50s said she began advocating for Alex to use medical cannabis, when, in his late teen years, she discovered how beneficial it truly was for Alex.  She says the stigma of cannabis is an issue but what really baffles her is why the District Attorney would drag her son through the courts when he is a legal patient.

San Diego District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis has exhibited a perplexing lack of compassion toward medical cannabis patients. Refusing to craft direction for her investigators and failing to honor patient status, Dumanis’ strategy has been to send all patients through the courts as drug offenders and let judge and jury decide their fates.  The difficulty with that is it is very expensive, clogs the courts with victimless cases, is cruel to sick and injured patients and goes against California state laws: Proposition 215, SB 420 and the CA Attorney General Guidelines.

Alex, a resident of Santa Barbara, CA, held a medical cannabis recommendation which expressly allowed him to possess 11 pounds of cannabis at a given time but when Border Patrol officers stopped him at a boarder check point on his way home from San Diego they confiscated 174 vaporizer cartridges, a ¼ pound of wax concentrate and his electronics. The County Sheriff was called and Alex was taken to jail for nine days, had to pay bail to be released and was charged with transportation of a controlled substance.

Defense Attorney Michael McCabe said he was fully prepared to take Alex’s case to trial and had a very good defense for the transportation charge. Mr. McCabe, cited California’s AB 721, passed this year, which made a change to the California Penal Code to re-define “transportation” to mean “transportation for sale” in the law. In other words, the District Attorney’s Office would be required to prove Alex had intended to sell his medicine in order for him to be found guilt of transportation of a controlled substance.

The Deputy District Attorney in the case,  Landy Spencer-Daly, apparently wasn’t so confident of a win in a jury trial and offered Alex a possession of marijuana misdemeanor charge with summary probation.  Wanting the nightmare behind him and worrying about the possibility of other charges being levied, Alex signed the misdemeanor deal today in Department 5 of the Vista County Courthouse.

Alex and his attorney will be seeking a judge’s order to allow Alex to continue using his medical cannabis while serving his probation term – a strategy which has been successful, according to testimony from probation officials in other medical cannabis cases.