According to an agreement signed by the San Diego district attorney’s office on July 23, felony charges are expected to be dropped from Jessica McElfresh, an attorney focused on the cannabis industry.
Prosecutors agreed to dismiss 13 serious charges against McElfresh, which will keep her out of jail and allow her to potentially clear her name. Stemming from an incident in 2015, McElfresh was accused of helping one of her clients hide evidence of James Slatic’s cannabis operation, Med-West Distribution. Slatic pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors last year.
From there, things went from bad to worse. In May 2017, McElfresh, her mother and boyfriend were all placed in handcuffs while regional law enforcement combed through her personal belongings and computer.
According to the deferred prosecution agreement, McElfresh agreed to plead guilty to violating San Diego’s municipal code, which is only an infraction and carries no jail time.
Eugene G. Iredale represents McElfresh and was thrilled to hear of the news. “Jessica is a good and idealistic person. The law regarding marijuana is rapidly changing not only in California but throughout the nation,” he told the Associated Press. “Because of changing legal standards, it becomes very difficult for lawyers to advise their clients with absolute certainty as to what the law will be even the next day.”
Per the agreement McElfresh must pay a $250 fine, take a state ethics exam and complete 80 hours of service with a non-cannabis organization. She also, of course, must not break any laws over the next 12 months.
The National Cannabis Bar Association and other organizations banded together to file an amicus brief in support of McElfresh, claiming that law enforcement denied her the confidentiality of attorney-client relationships. In the event that McElfresh doesn’t abide by all of the terms of the agreement, the felony charge will still stand.