San Diego medical marijuana dispensary operator Joseph Nunes was sentenced to one year in federal prison on May 10.
"They took him right to jail," said a medical marijuana activist who was in the downtown courtroom to support Nunes.
"Joe, we won't forget you," exclaimed an emotional Donna Lambert after United States District Court judge Larry A. Burns delivered Nunes's sentence.
In September 2009 — as part of a multi-agency sweep of an undisclosed number of dispensaries across San Diego — authorities raided two dispensaries operated by Nunes. According to prosecutor Sherri Walker Hobson, at Nunes's Green Kross Collective in Mission Beach, agents found marijuana plants, marijuana in bags, several edible forms of marijuana, nearly $40,000 in cash, and two days of sales receipts totaling $16,000. At Nunes's dispensary on Sixth Avenue, the Downtown Kush Lounge Cooperative, agents found 89 marijuana plants.
Three months after the raids, Nunes pleaded guilty to manufacturing marijuana, maintaining premises to sell marijuana, and money laundering, all felonies. With his plea, Nunes asked for probation, arguing that he was operating in accordance with California laws, such as Proposition 215, which allows caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana if their patients have recommendations from doctors. Currently, federal law prohibits defendants from citing state medical marijuana laws as defense against federal drug charges.