'Precedent-setting' Manatee lawsuit filed for marijuana use

rdymond@bradenton.comMay 10, 2013 

MANATEE -- Robert Jordan said he wishes he and Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube could simply shake hands and agree Jordan can grow medical marijuana at his Parrish home for his ailing wife.

But Jordan knows Steube must follow the letter of the law in Florida, which means cultivating marijuana is a crime.

So, Cathy and Robert Jordan have filed a potentially precedent-setting lawsuit against the sheriff's office asking a judge to grant Robert Jordan relief from any future charges or arrests for growing medical marijuana.

Steube, for his part, said he would not speculate about the suit.

"I have no comment because it's a pending lawsuit," Steube said.

Jordan's lawyer, Norm Kent from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the suit will be historic.

"It's never been done before," Kent said. "This is the first time in Florida that anyone has ever filed a lawsuit to declare that they have a legal right to possess marijuana."

Robert Jordan, 64, wasreferred for prosecution after the Manatee County Sheriff's Office discovered two mature pot plants and 21 seedlings on his Parrish

property in February,

The State Attorney's Office, however, declined to file charges.

Jordan told officials he grew the cannabis solely for medicinal use by his wife, Cathy, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

"A review of Mrs. Jordan's medical records, supplied through counsel, andtelephone contact with Dr. Denis Petro, a neurologist who last examined Mrs. Jordan, confirmed ... that the defendant could not accomplish the same objective using a less-offensive alternative," Assistant State Attorney Brian Iten wrote in a memo detailing why charges would not be pursued.

Jordan said he and his wife were left in limbo because it failed to mention whether Jordan could continue to grow pot for his wife.

"If you read the way they wrote it, they said Cathy has a medical necessity," Robert Jordan said Thursday.

"But it doesn't say that we can possess it or grow itwithout being charged. The only way we felt we could remedy it is through the court."

Jordan said he would rather meet with the sheriff man-to-man and work out an agreement, but he knows that won't work.

"Steube says he has a job to do and I understand that," Jordan said. "We are filing this lawsuit to get something in writing to be left alone. A judge would have to declare that. The sheriff's office would then have no choice."

The lawsuit asks forseized pot plants to be returned, too. If the plants are unavailable, the Jordan valued them between $27,600 and $34,500 in his lawsuit, based on $1,200 to $1,500 per plant.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service