Parrish couple won't be charged for growing medical marijuana

rdymond@bradenton.comApril 3, 2013 

MANATEE -- Charges of growing marijuana will not be pursued against Robert Jordan, the Parrish man whose wife suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and smokes it daily to relieve her ALS symptoms.

"No action will be taken on the charges," Assistant State Attorney Brian Iten announced in a memorandum Tuesday.

Jordan, 64, was referred for prosecution after the Manatee County Sheriff's Office discovered two mature pot plants and 21 seedlings on his Parrish property in February.

Jordan told deputies he grew the cannabis solely for medicinal use by his wife, Cathy.

Iten's memorandum stated a State Attorney's office investigation confirmed the truth of what Robert Jordan told law enforcement about the marijuana grown at his home.

"A review of Mrs. Jordan's medical records, supplied through counsel, and telephone contact with Dr. Denis Petro, a neurologist who last examined Mrs. Jordan, con

firmed ... that the defendant could not accomplish the same objective using a less-offensive alternative," Iten wrote in his memo.

Reached in Tallahassee Tuesday where he and his wife are lobbying the Legislature to pass a medical marijuana bill, Jordan was jubilant about the decision.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," he said. "Happy, excited, grateful, all of the above."

Asked if he would continue to grow marijuana at his Parrish home for his wife's needs, Jordan said he didn't know.

"That is an interesting question," Jordan said. "I have to defer to my lawyer about that."

The Jordan's Stuart-based lawyer, Michael Minardi, said growing marijuana is still illegal in Florida and he couldn't recommend that Robert Jordan continue to do it.

"I can't advocate anyone to grow cannabis," Minardi said. "Technically, it is still illegal. But if it does happen again, hopefully the state attorney will see it's for a legitimate usage."

Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube said he understands Iten's decision.

"The State Attorney's Office is making their decision based on current case law in the state of Florida," Steube said Tuesday. "We support their decision."

Minardi said possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana is still a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail but a medical-use defense eliminated convictions in some cases.

"The State Attorney's memorandum clearly shows the dismissal of the charge follows the medical necessity defense," Minardi said. "The bottom line is that the harm to society is less than the harm to her."

Steube said deputies came to the Jordan home in February because a real estate agent showing a vacant house next door saw marijuana growing in the Jordan's yard and called the sheriff's office.

Robert Jordan told deputies the marijuana was strictly for his wife but it had to be checked out, Steube said.

"We had no way of verifying, so we wrote the report and sent it to the state attorney who checked it out," Steube said.

Asked what might happen should Robert Jordan continue to grow marijuana, Steube replied, "I don't have a comment on that."

Robert Jordan said he appreciated the State Attorney's Office reached the same conclusions he has reached.

"There is no medicine for ALS," Jordan said. "Everything is experimental. This is the only thing that works."

Jordan previously rejected a plea deal from the State Attorney's Office, saying be believed he has done nothing wrong and that any other husband who loved his wife would do the same thing.

The plea deal would have forbidden him to grow marijuana for medical purposes for a year, he said.

Richard Dymond, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 6686.

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