Miami Legal Tips Blog

Are Florida’s Medical Pot Laws Murky?

PotA pair of Florida statutes have become the subject of debate in a case involving a couple from St. Johns, Marcia and Scott Yarnell, who were arrested and charged with drug trafficking. Neither law, apparently, makes it clear whether what the Yarnells were engaged in illegal activity.

As FirstCoastNews.com reported, law enforcement officers raided the couple’s home and confiscated over 40 pounds of marijuana. Although the two were able to post bond and get out of jail, their landlord reportedly began eviction proceedings.

The Yarnells say that they haven’t broken any laws, referencing a state law that regulates alternative treatments for health care.

A different law, passed at the beginning of the year, uses more specific terms and seems to fly in the face of the law that the Yarnells have cited as part of their defense. That law says that a doctor must issue a prescription for medical marijuana and that the person who receives the prescription and makes use of medical pot has to be “suffering from cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms.”

And the law that the Yarnells are referencing doesn’t apparently distinguish between a minor medical ailment such as a painful hangnail or something more intense, such as a disease that keeps one confined to bed. Also, the alternative medical treatment specified in the statute can come at the direction of anyone who can claim the title of “health care practitioner.”

The Sheriff’s Office reportedly posted pictures on social media of the stash they recovered at the home of the Yarnells, apparently so that anyone who care to can see how much is being claimed as being harbored in the house for medicinal use.

As the Sheriff’s spokesman explained, “We’re going to let the people who are reasonable and prudent make that decision based off of those photographs, and that’s why those photographs were released.”

And, quite possibly, they’ve also been released to help undergird assertions that may not be able to stand up on their own under Florida’s murky medical marijuana laws.

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