It’s a sad day in Miami.
A man with no prior criminal history was convicted by a jury for operating a marijuana grow house in an upstairs bedroom in his Miami-Dade County home.
The man was convicted of trafficking in cannabis (marijuana) because the 15 plants weighed 103 pounds.
While 103 pounds of marijuana yields only about 30 pounds of actual smokeable marijuana, it takes 300 plants or 25 pounds to equal trafficking in Florida. He was well above the statutory threshold.
What makes this case unique is that the defendant was not selling or engaging in the distribution of marijuana. The defendant was growing marijuana for medicinal purposes to help treat his ailing wife’s cancer.
Marijuana has been scientifically proven to alleviate cancer symptoms and curtail the horrific side effects of chemotherapy drugs.
This wasn’t just conjecture. The defense put on testimony to support the defendant’s claims that the marijuana was being grown as a medical necessity to his wife. The wife testified, telling the jurors how her husband mixed the marijuana with her food to help quell the intense nausea brought on by the medications she was prescribed.
The defense even called experts to testify that the defendant’s grow was insufficient for sale volume and was a setup more commonly used by for people simply growing for their own use.
In the end, the State argued that 103 pounds of plant material was too much for one person and the jury believed it. In accordance with Florida state law, the judge had no choice but to sentence the accused to the three-year mandatory minimum prison term for trafficking in marijuana.
While the rest of the country is legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, we are still sending non-violent possession-level offenders to prison.