Donna Lambert, facing seven felonies for selling marijuana to an undercover officer with a doctor's recommendation, accepted a plea deal on May 27 and will avoid jail time.
Lambert's case is the third of three medical marijuana prosecutions pursued by San Diego County district attorney Bonnie Dumanis's office in the wake of Operation Green Rx, a multi-agency sweep of San Diego collectives dating back to 2008. Defendants in the other cases — Jovan Jackson and Eugene Davidovich — were acquitted.
"It's not a victory; it's kind of a draw," Lambert told me outside the courtroom. She said she still believes she never broke the law. Lambert was arrested in her home in February 2009, after what she called "a SWAT-style raid."
A medical marijuana patient at the time, Lambert was operating a home-delivery-focused collective. On two occasions, she sold a quarter-ounce of marijuana to a man with a valid doctor's recommendation who turned out to be an undercover cop.
Charged with seven felonies, Lambert faced up to four years in jail. Per Lambert's plea deal, six felonies were dismissed immediately, and the seventh will be dropped at an October sentencing hearing, leaving only a misdemeanor possession charge on her record.
Lambert first took medical marijuana to relieve side effects from chemotherapy. Today, she suffers from chronic pain. She showed me a big bottle of oxycodone pills that doctors prescribed along with Ambien to help her sleep more comfortably (though she prefers marijuana brownies, finding them safer and more effective).