On July 7, dozens of attorneys filled the seats of a small San Diego courtroom. The attorneys were attending a hearing for one of their own, Jessica McElfresh, a San Diego lawyer experienced in cannabis law.
McElfresh is facing multiple felony charges.
What drew most attorneys to court that day was something they consider sacred: the attorney-client privilege of McElfresh and her past clients was at risk. Prosecutors wanted to look through all of her records, not just the ones pertaining to the charges she was fighting. Prosecutors and the defense have agreed on a method that would protect the confidentiality of McElfresh and her clients, though Judge Laura Halgren has only dubbed the agreement a “starting point.” A lot of lawyers remain concerned about the direction of the case.
The prosecution comes at a time of increased uncertainty over how law enforcement will treat the marijuana industry in San Diego – and it’s being taken by some as a sign that it will not be permissive.
In late May, then-District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis filed a slew of criminal charges, alleging that James Slatic, a medical-marijuana entrepreneur, and his business partners sought to illegally manufacture and sell hash oil across the country. The defendants were also charged with money laundering and obstruction of justice.
The DA alleged that Slatic’s lawyer, McElfresh, was in on the scheme, saying that she hid evidence of the hash oil from city inspectors during an April 2015 inspection of Slatic’s Med-West facilities in Kearny Mesa.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
This should worry every person who has entered into a relationship with an attorney over this state's medical and recreational cannabis laws. When the Feds disrespect the wishes of the majority of American citizens, and the states must step in to form their own regulations, we already have a laughable dysfunctional system.
Those who will never accept the medical benefits of cannabis, and others who still think it's a gateway "drug" to harder substances, are hindering solutions to the opioid crisis in this country and rewarding illegal street dealers.
With proof that no one overdoses from cannabis and the fact that it helps with a multitude of disease symptoms and other medical problems, the reluctance of our San Diego City/County leaders to support positive opportunities for this county's citizens, displays a certain level of ignorance and favoritism towards city policing efforts, rather than the patients' needs and the will of the people who voted for Prop 64.
I know Jessica McElfresh from my days presenting my arguments to the City Council several years ago. She is supportive and caring, and is in no way a criminal!! This ugly attempt at delegitimizing this attorney is criminal all by itself! And if breaking attorney/client privilege is somehow legal in this City of San Diego, then we are all in trouble from here on out in this town.
This can also be seen as attorneys closing ranks around a bad apple, running whatever they can up the rhetoric flagpole.
I appreciate that attorneys have excellent verbal skills which they generally apply well to the law, but when they actually believe that "what's legal" is a decent moral system, we should worry.
Let the case proceed.
@Bit-watcher Let the case die! It is without merit and injures an American precedent. Hopefully you will never need an attorney you share private information with who is then forced by the government to reveal who you are and what you've done. This is not about cannabis anymore; it's about breaking morality.
You have presented no evidence whatsoever why the case shouldn't proceed. Ms. McElfresh was caught via incriminating evidence -- legally. It doesn't matter how caring or compassionate she is -- this isn't a movie -- she's done something that needs to be investigated.
Bonnie's disciples and heirs - a worthless lot-continue her practices. These are the people who persecuted the brother of a murdered daughter and his friends.