Even though Florida failed to legalize marijuana in November, it still is legal in some forms for patients with certain conditions. That didn’t stop police from arresting a man last year for growing marijuana for his medical ailment. He took the case to court and yesterday, a jury found him not guilty. 50-year-old Jesse Teplicki is the first person in Florida to have a jury decide if he’s guilty or not of using marijuana as a medicine.
Teplicki was facing up to five years in jail for growing weed. He was growing the plant because he suffers from a severe case of anorexia that suppresses his appetite and makes him nauseous. But last year, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested him for the cultivation and possession of 46 marijuana plants.
According to an article in NBCMiami.com, “prosecutors had called into question the amount of pot plants for just one person, but jurors said it was a case about compassion.”
It took jurors just 30 minutes to return the not guilty verdict. Teplicki’s attorney explained that the “evidence showed he was using cannabis to help him manage a serious and painful medical condition which he has endured for years.”
Teplicki expressed to reporters outside the courthouse that he hopes his efforts will go a long way towards fully legalizing medical marijuana in Florida. He said, “This case is about medical marijuana and for the hundreds of thousands of patients who can use this medicine as an alternative. I hope this invigorates the State of Florida and all people who are being charged with cannabis to fight. That’s the only way you make change.”