A Florida jury has acquitted a man of cultivating marijuana after he argued he needed the plant for medicinal purposes.
Man claimed marijuana was necessary to help treat his medical condition
A Florida jury has delivered a historic verdict by acquitting a Hollywood man who freely admitted that he was growing and consuming marijuana, according to NBC Miami. The man successfully argued that he needed the marijuana for treating a severe medical condition that often leaves him in pain and suffering from nausea. He had been charged with possessing and cultivating marijuana. Although the medical marijuana defense has successfully been argued before a judge before, this case is the first time a Florida jury has acquitted a person facing cannabis-related charges due to medical needs.
Cultivating marijuana plants
The man was arrested last year after police officers discovered 46 marijuana plants at his Hollywood home. Under state law, he was charged with cultivating and possessing marijuana which could have resulted in a sentence of up to five years in prison, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The defendant never denied possessing, cultivating, or even consuming the plants. He claimed he has suffered from severe anorexia since he was a child, which leaves him with little appetite and often subjects him to severe nausea. After rejecting a number of plea deals, he argued in front of a Broward County jury that the marijuana plants provided relief from his painful symptoms.
Future of marijuana in Florida
For the first time in Florida's history, the jury accepted the medical marijuana defense and acquitted the man. In the past, the medical marijuana defense had been used successfully in front of appellate judges, but the current case was the first time it had been argued before a jury.
Despite the verdict, the future of Florida's marijuana laws remains uncertain. While the case may discourage some prosecutors from pursuing cases against individuals who use marijuana for medicinal purposes, it does not actually change state law. Marijuana cultivation remains a felony in Florida and a ballot measure last year that would have legalized medical marijuana failed to pass. Nonetheless, medical marijuana advocates hope the case will provide lawmakers with the impetus they need to finally relax the state's tough marijuana laws.
Although the above case is a historic moment in Florida's legal history, it is imperative that people keep in mind that marijuana prohibition remains on the books in the state. Being charged with any drug crime should be taken seriously as it could easily result in prison time and a criminal record.
A criminal defense attorney can provide the help that people who are facing such charges need. With experienced legal representation, defendants will have the guidance they need when understanding how to deal with any drug or other criminal charges.
Keywords: drug crime, charges, marijuana