PARRISH, FL — Prosecutors in Florida are refusing to press charges against 64 year old Robert Jordan, who was growing marijuana to ease his wife’s suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Jordan’s 62 year old wife, Cathy, is the namesake to medical marijuana legislation, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, which is pending in Tallahassee but remains stalled in committee.
Just hours after the bill bearing Cathy’s name was introduced to the state legislature in February, a task force from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office raided the Jordan’s Parrish, Florida home, claiming a tip that the couple had two marijuana plants growing in their back yard.
Manatee County deputies did not arrest Cathy or Robert Jordan, 64, when they confiscated the plants but referred the case to prosecutors. Robert Jordan, not his wife, was listed in the case for potential cultivation charges.
The State Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that it believed Jordan could successfully mount a medical necessity defense in , and agreed to not file charges against the couple.
In a memo to the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, prosecutors explained their decision to take no action in the case, after weeks of reviewing documents and negotiating. The investigation confirmed that as Robert Jordan claimed, he was growing the cannabis exclusively for his wife’s use, they said.
“He didn’t have pounds of marijuana,” said Brian Iten, the assistant state attorney who reviewed Jordan’s case. “He certainly didn’t reach the criteria for trafficking.”
The Jordans kept meticulous records regarding Cathy’s medical cannabis treatment, demonstrating that she had no alternative treatment available and that not treating her illness would be worse than breaking the law in her case, said Iten in the memo, satisfying two main criteria of the defense.
Cathy Jordan’s doctor had argued that although it was breaking the law, continuing to allow her to use marijuana to manage her illness was “the lesser of two evils.”
The Jordans have lobbied in Tallahassee for marijuana legalization for years, and Cathy is the president of the Florida Cannabis Action Network.
Senate Bill 1250, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, would allow patients with certain qualifying medical conditions, or their officially designated caregivers, to privately possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow up to eight marijuana plants. It would also require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities.
The bill has been assigned to the Health Policy Committee, but has yet to be scheduled for a hearing, despite recent polls showing over 70% of Florida voters, including 56% of Republicans, in support of medical marijuana legislation.