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For those following the medical marijuana issue in Florida there was an important court case in Broward County that was celebrated by proponents.
On March 2, a jury found 50-year old Jesse Teplick of Hollywood, Florida, not guilty of manufacturing cannabis after his attorney, Michael C. Minardi, a partner in Kelley Kronenberg, successfully argued the marijuana was used exclusively for medicinal purposes. This was the first time in Florida history that a jury was allowed to consider the “medical necessity” defense argument in a possession case.
Teplicki grew marijuana at home to treat his severe anorexia, a condition that had made him nauseous and had suppressed his appetite. Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested him last year and confiscated 46 marijuana plants.
Minardi argued at trial that his client had a medical need for the marijuana. Minardi has experience in this area. He leads the regulated substances practice area for Kelley Kronenberg representing clients relating to individual purchases, uses, or cultivation cannabis for medical purposes.
The case sets a precedent in Florida case law, though it doesn’t change state law on marijuana possession.
“This is an historic decision in the state of Florida,” Minardi told the Sun-Sentinel. “Hopefully prosecutors heed the decision and are less likely to prosecute this kind of case in the future.”
The Tampa Bay Times called this “A small court case that might be a big sign for medical marijuana” in Florida.
This month, Florida lawmakers will consider new legislation legalizing many new forms of medical marijuana. A bill filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes (SB 528) addresses perceived loopholes in Amendment 2 that received widespread public support, but barely failed at the ballot box last fall.