February 23, 2015

Florida Marijuana Grower Asserts Medical Necessity Defense at Trial

legalize marijuana Florida

Last month I wrote an article on SouthCANN titled “Medical marijuana is inevitable in Florida, and there’s not a damn thing the state can do about it”.  In that article I pointed out the three elements necessary for a successful medical marijuana necessity defense in Florida, based on a 1991 case in which a Florida man successfully beat a conviction based on the fact that he grew the marijuana for his own medical needs. Those elements are:

  1. The defendant did not intentionally bring about the circumstance which precipitated the unlawful act
    The defendant did not intend to contract their medical condition
  2. The defendant could not accomplish the same objective using a less offensive alternative available to the defendant
    There was no treatment other than cannabis which could effectively relieve the defendant’s symptoms
  3. The evil sought to be avoided was more heinous than the unlawful act perpetrated to avoid it
    If symptoms could not be controlled, the patient’s life would be in danger

In that article I also predicted that “it only takes one police officer and one prosecutor willing to make a name for themselves, and given the wacky nature of local government enforcement in various parts of Florida it seems pretty likely that we will see a medical marijuana case brought to trial sometime before the 2016 election”.

Medical Marijuana Gets its Day in Court

Florida medical marijuana
Florida medical marijuana patient Jesse Teplicki has rejected two plea deals and plans to assert a medical necessity defense in court.

In January 2013 the Broward County Sheriff’s Office raided the home of Jesse Teplicki, a 50 year-old medical marijuana patient that suffers from severe anorexia. Deputies carted away 46 marijuana plants in various stages of growth from Teplicki’s home and charged him with manufacturing marijuana. Teplicki, who installs and repairs air conditioning units and refrigerators on yachts, has been married for 26 years, has three adult children, and has used medical marijuana for the last 33 years in order to be able to eat without becoming nauseous or vomiting. Without the marijuana, Teplicki says he has no appetite and suffers from severe stomach pain. But with the help of cannabis, Teplicki’s appetite is stimulated. The marijuana also reduces his nausea. Teplicki says his marijuana is medicine. And he is ready to prove that to a jury of his peers.

Teplicki previously rejected a plea deal offered by the prosecutor, saying he used the marijuana he grew for his own medical treatment and did not sell it to anyone. “Jesse didn’t want to take the prosecution’s offer because he’s a family man, not a criminal,” Teplicki’s attorney, Michael Minardi, told the Broward Palm Beach New Times. “He leads a good life and is a good family man. The marijuana is for medical reasons.”

Attorneys for Teplicki had originally hoped the prosecutor would drop the charges, based on a 2011 case where prosecutors declined to prosecute a Palm Beach County man who claimed to possess 26 marijuana plants for medical purposes.

This morning prosecutors offered Teplicki a plea deal that would result in 18 months of probation, which he again declined. Jury selection is currently underway. Stay tuned for updates on this important case.

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