Florida Jury find man not guilty for Medical Marijuana
In Fort Lauderdale yesterday, a Jury found Jessie Teplicki, a 50 year old man, not-guilty of criminal charges, for growing 46 marijuana plants on his property. The plants were in various stages of growth, and Teplicki claimed he was not a drug dealer, he was growing them for his own medical purposes.
The family man has 3 adult children, and has been married for 26 years. He works on luxury yachts, repairing air conditioning units, desalination machines, and refrigerators. Unfortunately he suffers from extreme anorexia, and the marijuana stimulates his appetite and subdues the nausea.
The Broward County Sheriff’s office was tipped off anonymously in January of 2013, and Teplicki faced 5 years if convicted. However, defense lawyer Michael C. Minardi successfully convinced the jury Teplicki’s medical need is real, and that the he wasn’t planning to sell any of the pot he was growing.
“It was for personal use,” Minardi said. “That is consistent with the evidence.”
It is believed this was the first Jury Trial of this kind. However the defense has been used in other trials. In 1991 a northwest Florida couple used the defense in front of a judge, and they were found guilty. This ruling would be overturned in appeals court. Another man, also used a medical marijuana defense in 1998, but again in front of a judge, and was also found guilty. As in the first case, this ruling was also overturned in appeals court.
Medical Marijuana in Florida
Just last November the majority of voters did vote to amend the constitution in favor of Medical Marijuana. With 57.6 percent of the vote, the amendment failed by a mere 2.4%, as 60 percent vote is needed to amend the constitution. This case will be instrumental in getting Medical Marijuana back on the ballot in 2016, and lawmakers will probably use this jury’s ruling to get the 60% needed this time.
Last year, the Florida Legislature did legalize low THC strains, however this doesn’t help people like Teplicki or cancer patients, who need it for the decrease nausea and increase appetite. The organization, United for Care, is getting signatures to put medical marijuana back on the ballot in 2016, and full scale medical marijuana bills have been filed in the state House and the state Senate for the upcoming session that begins today, March 3rd, 2015.