A Broward County jury made history this past week by acquitting a man charged with cultivation of marijuana on the grounds that the man needed to grow marijuana for medically necessary reasons.
Cultivation of marijuana is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The man was a long-suffering anorexic who had been using marijuana for many years to help stimulate his appetite. The defense put on several witnesses, including psychologists and medical doctors who testified to the drug's healing qualities.
The accused himself also testified, a crucial moment in the trial as many jurors reported casting their not guilty votes on humanitarian grounds.
The defense attorney used a necessity defense. Necessity, as a defense to a crime, means that the commission of the crime was legally necessary.
It took the jury less than one hour to find the accused not guilty.
Hopefully this verdict will cause prosecutors' offices to look closely at marijuana cases to determine who should be prosecuted (the violent drug traffickers) and who should not be prosecuted (people who use marijuana recreationally without selling or distributing to others).
Eric Matheny is a Miami marijuana possession lawyer and a Broward marijuana possession lawyer.