Although the constitutional amendment that would legalize the use of medical marijuana did not sway enough voters last November, a recent verdict could be a sign of what is to come for medical marijuana in Florida.
A jury recently acquitted Jesse Teplicki of growing marijuana after finding he has a medical “need” for the drug. Teplicki, who is a 50-year-old marine mechanic from South Florida, suffers from chronic anorexia and says that marijuana is the only thing to successfully curb his nausea and increase his appetite.
When two detectives showed up at Teplicki’s Hollywood Florida home in 2013 after receiving a tip that he was growing marijuana, Teplicki was honest about growing marijuana for medical purposes. He was later arrested for the cultivation and possession of 46 marijuana plants.
Although Teplicki was never accused of selling marijuana and only grew the plants for personal use, he was facing up to five years in jail for cultivating and possessing the illegal drug. However, Tepllcki was found not guilty and acquitted of all of his charges after a jury found evidence showing he was using marijuana to manage a serious and painful medical condition.
This case is groundbreaking for the state of Florida as Teplicki is the first person to have a jury decide whether or not he is guilty of using marijuana for medicinal purposes. The need for marijuana has been used as a defense in Florida before, but it was never tried in front of a jury until Teplicki’s case.
The jury of six took less than hour before returning their ‘not guilty’ verdict. Although the verdict does not change Florida law, the verdict is being called a historic decision by the state of Florida.
A constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana was narrowly rejected last fall after only receiving 58 percent of the needed 60 percent of votes. While it is still illegal to grow, possess, and sell marijuana in Florida, Teplicki’s case may be a sign of what is to come for medical marijuana in the Sunshine State. Many Florida residents are hoping other prosecutors take note of this decision and will be less likely to prosecute similar cases in the future as a result.
Contact the Attorneys at the Khonsari Law Group for All of Your Legal Needs
Despite the outcome of this landmark case, marijuana is still considered an illegal drug in Florida. If you are caught growing, possessing, or selling marijuana, you could face serious repercussions if you do not have an experienced attorney on your side. The legal team at the Khonsari Law Group has represented many clients in drug crimes cases so we possess the necessary experience to defend your rights. If you would like more information on our practice, contact us today at (727) 269-5300 or schedule a free consultation.