Florida: Lou Gehrig’s Disease Patient Sues for Cannabis Protection

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 8, 2013

    Longtime Florida activist Cathy Jordan, a 63-year-old woman who consumes cannabis to mitigate symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease), a debilitating condition that she has lived with since 1986, today filed a suit against Sheriff Brad Steube of Manatee County, FL.

    Ms. Jordan alleges wrongful conduct on the part of the sheriff’s department when, on February 15, 2013, they raided her home and confiscated 23 medical cannabis plants, which were being cultivated for her by Cathy’s husband Robert Jordan. The Jordans were both cooperative when the sheriff’s department arrived at their home, and they acknowledged they were growing medical marijuana for Cathy’s medical use. The police raid of the Jordan’s home came just days after lawmakers introduced legislation, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, which sought to authorize the physician-supervised use of cannabis for those diagnosed with serious debilitating conditions. (Florida lawmakers failed to hold hearings or vote on the measure.)

    After the Manatee County State Attorney’s office reviewed the facts of the case, they issued a memorandum on April 2, 2013 declining to prosecute either Cathy or her husband. The Manatee County State’s Attorney’s office found that they could not likely overcome a medical marijuana necessity defense, which would be raised by the defendant should a prosecution be initiated. However, the sheriff’s department has refused to return any of the cannabis that they confiscated from Ms. Jordan during the February 15 raid.

    With this lawsuit, the plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment finding that they have a legal right to cultivate and possess medical marijuana under Florida law; an injunction barring the sheriff’s department from making further seizures of medical marijuana from Cathy and Robert Jordan; and an injunction barring the initiation of criminal charges against either of the plaintiffs for their continued cultivation and possession of medical marijuana.

    The lawsuit has been filed by Norm Kent of Fort Lauderdale, Chair of the NORML Board of Directors. NORML intends to file a friend of the court brief in the case once the defendants are served.

    Kent stated: “This suit embodies NORML’S commitment to patients who have a medical need for marijuana, while simultaneously showing how the responsible use of cannabis by adults should not be restricted by law enforcement authorities. We intend to prevail in this suit so that seriously ill patients like Cathy no longer have to fear arrest or state interference for simply using their medicine.”

    Added NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup: “Cathy Jordan is a courageous woman who has been fighting for many years to legalize the medical use of marijuana for herself and other seriously ill patients. We are proud to stand with Cathy and Robert Jordan to challenge he senseless arrest of patients who use marijuana medically.”

    Florida is not among the 18 US states that presently exempt qualified patients from arrest for engaging in physician-authorized cannabis therapy.

    20 responses to “Florida: Lou Gehrig’s Disease Patient Sues for Cannabis Protection”

    1. Somedood says:

      Good For Her. There should be a thousand cases similar to this by now…

    2. Jeff says:

      Go girl go, Terrible thing they did to Cathy, she did not want to get anyone in trouble selling it to her so she grew her own. Her husband severed this country in Vietnam. Who cares if she smokes pot what the hell is the big deal….Maybe a law suit is whats needed to get the Florida senate to HAVE to legalize it. I mean Florida gets sooooo many seniors in the winter, I wonder how many have prescriptions in there home state and cant get there medicine here in Florida. WE ARE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA if one state lefalised it it should be legal in them all.

      my soap box

    3. Cat Cassie says:

      Good luck Cathy. I hope you win.

    4. Jeff Hoeffner says:

      She got robbed…florida wont legalize cause their #1 revinue is incarceration. …florida sucks…but lets fire out oxys to everyone..cause that poison is leagal….

    5. JC says:

      Cathy Jordan and her husband are heros! I hope someday soon they will get to see medical Marijuana legalized in Florida, and thru out the United States. I cant wait to see what the voters in Florida will say when medical or outright legalization makes it onto the next ballot initiative! Thanks NORML et. al.

    6. Gene Walls says:

      I wish Indiana would join the the cause, first youhear tthey’re talking about decriminalization then all of the sudden they talking about raising the punishment for use and possession. I have been an user for a long time and I use for medical reasons. I have very bad pain, respiratory, nerve damage, and no appetite most of the time. The best thing to help supplement with pain meds and instead of taking so much pain controlling chemicals. It also helps control my anxiety and adrenaline levels which causes me physically sick and vomiting. I’m think cannabis is the safest thing to consume than the chemicals I have been taking. I am a responsible 45 year old male and in February 2006 we lost my younger brother only 2 years younger from accidental overdose. I have a clean record and am a Christian. My dad’s a pastor since 2000 and I’ve been in church since I was born. I started using cannabis as recreation off and on and now I use for medical reasons. Recently I failed a urinary test and my general doctor stopped my narcotic meds for pain and anxiety, and now I have to see a pain specialist to get them back and I’ll probably will have to piss for them.I will have to use someone else’s to pass. I don’t drink or use tobacco and my wife accepts my use with understanding and she doesn’t use at all. I’m just really tired ofhiding it from everyone.

    7. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Meanwhile the other states are recovering from Richard Nixon’s Revenge.

    8. I have smoked marijuana for 40 years for severe muscle spasms from a spinal cord injury.To deny people marijuana who have a legitimate medical need for it cannot be an option. GOD gave us marijuana for so many medical problems Thank GOD.for marijuana!!

    9. Mike Richards says:

      As they say about Florida-“Come on vacation-Leave on probation”.

    10. Mr. Scott says:

      I lost my dad to ALS and I know for a fact that marijuana did ease some of his discomfort. ALS is one of the most horrendous diseases that I have had personal contact with. It kept him in good spirits considering he was totally unable to move in even the slightest little bit. I really think that because of marijuana that he got an extra year of sanity before his death. When the person whom you love is bed bound with a disease that affects everything except their mind, you will do anything to see that glimmer in their eyes again. in my dads case it was a few puffs and mp3 cd player with beatles playing… I really miss my dad..