Manatee deputies raid disabled woman's home, seize marijuana plants

Herald Staff WritersFebruary 26, 2013 

Deputies confiscated 23 marijuana plants from the home of a Parrish woman battling disease after receiving a complaint Monday afternoon, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

About 2 p.m., deputies arrived at the home of Cathy and Robert Jordan in the 4300 block of 98th Avenue East in the Beck Estates development

Authorities were alerted of suspicious circumstances by a real estate agent who was conducting routine inspections in the area.

“She called us when she saw something that looked funny with an extension cord, looked through the fence and saw marijuana plants,” said Dave Bristow, sheriff’s office spokesman. “Deputies responded and saw the same thing she did.”

Detectives with the Special Investigations Division were called to the residence.

“We had probable cause. It was in clear view,” Bristow said. “They gave us consent (to search the property).”

Robert Jordan, 64, told the Bradenton Herald on Monday that he had just awoke from a nap in his easy chair when he saw two deputies approach his house with drawn guns.

“I ran out and said, ‘What are you doing here?’ ” Jordan said. “They said, ‘We have probable cause. You are growing marijuana.’ I said, ‘It’s medicine for my wife. I know people use that as an excuse, but this is true.’”

Jordan said he finally agreed to sign a document allowing authorities to walk through to check if they were operating a “grow house.”

Cathy Jordan, who has had Lou Gehrig’s Disease since 1986 and is wheelchair-bound, uses the herb for medicinal reasons. She has advocated for the legalization of medical cannabis in Florida for 16 years.

A piece of legislation, called the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, is being proposed by Florida Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. And a poll, conducted for People United for Medical Marijuana showed 56 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats and independents support the amendment, the Miami Herald reported Monday.

Bristow said the sheriff’s office response to the Jordan’s home was unrelated to the proposed legislation, nor the couple's advocacy for medicinal use of marijuana.

“If we had not gotten a complaint yesterday (Monday) this would not have happened,” Bristow said. “Responding deputies were not aware of any legislation. Why would we want to get involved in that?”

Twenty-three plants, including two that were mature, were confiscated from the home. Bristow said fully developed marijuana plants are valued between $1,200 and $1,500.

No arrests were made. The case is being sent to the State Attorney’s Office for review, Bristow said.

“We had no choice as far as what we had to do here,” Bristow said. “They had marijuana. Marijuana is illegal. We confiscated the marijuana.”

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