The Battle Over Medical Marijuana
The battle over medical marijuana legalization hit a major milestone in Florida when a criminal jury acquitted a man who who was growing dozens of marijuana plants on his property. NBC News is reporting about the 50-year-old South Florida citizen who was charged with manufacturing marijuana. In 2013, Broward County deputies arrested him for the cultivation of his marijuana plants when a grow house was found inside of his residence. The defendant argued that the marijuana was being grown for his own personal medicinal purposes. According to the report, he lives with a severe form of anorexia that prevents him from eating and causes extreme nausea.
While the prosecution argued that the 48 discovered plants were too much for sole personal use, the defense argued that all of the plants were medically necessary to manage the defendant’s extensive pain. After a reported 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. A conviction could have resulted in up to five years in jail. The article explains that the case has added significance because it is the first time in the state’s history that a jury decided whether a defendant is guilty of “using marijuana as a medicine.”
What the Law Says
In the state of Florida, manufacturing marijuana, with the intent to manufacture or sell it, is a third degree felony with possible five-year imprisonment upon conviction. If the substance is manufactured within 1,000 feet of a designated drug-free zone, the crime is elevated to a second degree felony and carries a possible sentence of 15 years imprisonment.
In November 2014, the issue of medical marijuana was brought to a vote when Florida citizens voiced their opinions about the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative. Under the proposed amendment, medical marijuana would be legalized for qualified patients. In addition, doctors would possess the ability to prescribe marijuana to patients with certain serious medical conditions. Though the proposed amendment was unsuccessful, the argument over legalized medical marijuana is far from settled. The 2015 session of the Florida Legislature will consider proposed legislation on the issue.
Defending Manufacturing Charges
The successful outcome of the Florida medical marijuana case may provide defense lawyers with a viable new tactic for fighting marijuana manufacturing charges. The element of intent is necessary for a manufacturing conviction. The prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to sell the marijuana that he cultivated. By presenting evidence of personal use and medical necessity, your defense lawyer may successfully counter this element and secure an acquittal.
Securing the services of a capable and experienced lawyer is vital to this goal. Defendants should choose a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the latest developments in drug defense and Florida marijuana laws.
If you or a loved one is facing marijuana manufacturing charges, our Miami lawyers can provide you with the aggressive and comprehensive defense you need. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.