Florida State Attorney Drops Charges Against Bob and Cathy Jordan

Today I share with you wonderful news from an all too conservative state, Florida, where the sun shines on everything but justice for cannabis users.

Just a few weeks ago, I announced that the ‘New NORML’ would have an active, working legal committeethat would make a difference for all of us.

Last month, State Senator Jeff Clemens in Tampa announced that he was introducing a medical marijuana bill in Florida, which would allow for the establishment of dispensaries in our state.

The bill was named the ‘Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act’, in honor of a woman who has beenopenly using cannabis as medicine for over a quarter century, championing our cause from her wheelchair while living with an incurable condition- ALS; Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Backed by her loving husband, Bob, who cultivates two-dozen plants on their farm for her personal use, Cathy has been a public advocate for cannabis law reform. Here she is:

One day after the state senator introduced the medical necessity legislation, publicizing her name and address, the DEA and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office paid her a not-too-polite visit, raiding her home, dressed in swat uniforms, armed with machine guns and wearing masks, seizing her cannabis and arresting her husband for cultivation. Her wheelchair was no defense.

One NORML lawyer from our NLC legal committee immediately stepped up to the plate to come to her defense. Florida CAN, the Cannabis Action Network, contacted Michael C. Minardi, of Stuart, Florida. He undertook the defense.

Michael had already prevailed on a medical necessity case on the west coast of Florida, and he at once met with Bob and Cathy Jordan. Both were adamant that they would take no pleas, but instead sought to fight for their right to use marijuana as medicine.

Based in South Florida, I volunteered with another NLC Committee member, my law office partner, Russell Cormican, and entered into a civil retainer agreement with Cathy Jordan, to prosecute a pro bono civil legal action seeking a declaratory judgment that Cathy’s possession of cannabis warranted a judicial order stating that such ownership was entirely medicinal and lawful.

I could not do it alone, so I contacted NLC Committee member Matt Kumin, who immediately agreed to join the cause on behalf of NORML, coming in as amicus curiae. “This is an impact case,” he concluded.

Together, we decided that we had a viable claim Cathy had a legal right to grow her medicine, and a court would conclude as much. Matt brought in two more NLC colleagues, Alan Silber and David Michael. These guys are already arguing tough cases in the Ninth Circuit. But we have a good plaintiff and a strong case.

This past Monday, the State Attorney dismissed all charges against Cathy and Bob Jordan. The decision by the State Attorney, explaining why he filed a ‘no information.” ratifies the defense of medical necessity for patients, and caregivers as well. The prosecutor’s determination goes beyond the customary and routine post of ‘case declined.’

The decision outlined by the chief prosecutor goes out of its way to acknowledge the legal basis of the medical necessity defense and the ‘progressive, neurodegenerative disease’ that Cathy Jordan deals with daily. The state attorney said he could not in ‘good faith’ proceed with a criminal prosecution against an individual with such a compelling medical reason to use marijuana. It was a courageous decision to see a prosecutor protect a pot patient.

The result came about in no small part to Bob Jordan, Cathy Jordan’s husband. He refused to accept a probationary plea offer. “If I could handle Vietnam,” he told me last week, “I can take whatever the State wants to try and hit me with. I am protecting my wife. No deals. No nothing. I want a trial. I want a jury to see my wife and try to convict her.”

Michael C. Minardi and his client even refused to cop a plea to a deferred prosecution. Matt. Kumin, who has never met Bob, called him, “my hero.” Armed with solid case law, a determined defendant, and a courageous lawyer- Michael Minardi- the good guys prevailed.

A talented team of NLC amicus curiae attorneys are now preparing to go to court and seek a judgment declaring that the use of cannabis by Cathy Jordan should continue as an exception to Florida drug statutes, based on her use being lawful, medically necessary, and legally protected. Hell, we might even get her pot back through a replevin action.

Unfortunately, Florida is a conservative state. I won’t mislead you. The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Bill is already ‘stuck like chuck’ in a legislative committee.

However, also due to the efforts of NLC Committee member, Michael C. Minardi, the criminal prosecution of Cathy and Bob Jordan is dead in the water.

Remember the TV show, ‘The Naked City,’ that ‘there are 8 million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them.’

My friends, there are thousands of Cathy Jordans across America who still need our help. There are hundreds of you capable of assisting so many of them. The spiritual rewards of engaging such tasks enrich your soul and make your practice so much more meaningful.

Please consider also asking a friend to help expand ranks by joining NORML today. In fact, this week we are promoting new memberships by offering up a NORML Hemp Baseball Cap. Wear it to the ballpark, and let everyone know that it is NORML to smoke pot. Cheer for your home team, but stand up for freedom.

Today, all of us throughout the country celebrate the victory of Cathy and Bob Jordan. We also thank the lawyer, Michael C. Minardi of Stuart, Florida, who stood up for them.

We are all cannabis warriors with stories of our own to tell, lives of our friends to illuminate. Never forget the cause you are fighting for is more than to torch up a joint. It is to light a torch for personal sovereignty and individual freedom.

Thank you.
Norm Kent
Chair, NORML Board of Directors

45 thoughts

  1. This makes me dance with joy and gives me hope. Bob and Cathy Jordan are heroes on SO many levels.

  2. i am a florida resident. i have watched the demise of many of my favorite people in the whole wide world get addictided to pill mill oxycontin, prior to oxycontin, they lived prosperous lives with a future ahead of them. now until they decide on their own to quit oxy’s they are losing everything. sad times in florida. the laws of the pill mills is murdering young men and women, babys are being born addicted. these patients are lead to believe they need this 90 mg of oxy a day, by actual docs. profits are through the roof for doc, and pharms.its a plague throught the east coast thanks to florida. to know these bright wonderful people who have turned into people someone who has nothing and may die is harming masses of people. its an all for profit plague on mankind created by mankind, not flee’s but dirty rat people

  3. I look forward to the time a year from now, when the laws in Washington and Oregon fully take effect. We will see a substantial brain drain, a movement of the most talented and creative people away from the more backward states and into those that allow medical and recreational use. When that effect becomes too obvious to ignore, it may hasten the process of the other states and eventually Washington D.C. repealing prohibition.

  4. As a former assistive technology professional I have worked with thousands of neuro and SCI patients throughout the years that have benefited from cannabis. This great drug helps these folks with tone and spasticity issues as well as stimulates appetites where there may be little to none. The ugly little secret is that doctors in Texas already recommend it to their patients. Why was the DEA at Cathy’s house? Because they don’t want to lose their money, or should I say “OUR MONEY” that they receive in their budgets. I have had it with these clowns. Keep up the fight anywhere and everywhere you can. Work on the elderly to understand this issue and push the conservatives to respect individual freedoms. Just because many enjoy their medicine doesn’t make it wrong!

  5. I was wondering if this type of defense could possibly be used in Pa.I have a recommendation to use marijuana from a doctor for chronic testicular pain that has also left me in a wheelchair.I was wondering if this could be a viable defense for someone like me in Pa where there also hasn’t been much movement in the mmj area?

  6. Asked my delegate-wv if law makers were human beings. Gave him this link then asked did he shed a tear.

  7. So glad to hear that at least one injustice has stopped. But there are so many more who need help. Free the weed, it is illegal only because of racist monopolistic men of power that got their way 70 odd years ago……..

  8. These people that arrested and raided her are nothing more than pathetic criminals. How can you get any worse than terrorizing the sick and elderly? That to me is the very definition of “terrorism” and that is what we are supposed to be fighting.

  9. I’m relieved that the authorities finally stopped screwing with them.

    I hope this legislation becomes law in Florida, because I’m damn sick and tired of waiting for Pennsylvania to legalize. When I retire in the not too distant future, I’m moving the hell out of Pennsylvania and taking all my retirement money with me to live in a state where marijuana is legal. I’m fine with an MMJ state that’s not so freezin-ass cold.

    Pennsylvania is poised to follow Washington state, but Governor Corbett isn’t through fucking up the state’s budget so badly that the public will ignore prohibitionists like Sharon Smith of MomsTell and Katie True.

  10. Wow, this is amazing!!!

    The best news since Colorado re-legalized. I mean, I was starting to think these guys in the executive branch are just a bunch of robots following orders. This is huge win and offical acknowledgment for Florida!

  11. Most floridians want medical marijuana but it is the state government that is backwards. These homegrown politicians want a big law enforcement machine as a source of employment and jobs. When a bill pro medical MJ was introduced it was answered by PROPOSING a ban on owning bongs. These people need to be voted out and do not deserve your vote. THANKS TO NORML, but do not give the state of FLORIDA to much credit for not putting a wheel chaired patient in jail. They probably did not want BAD national PR.

  12. Don’t get excited, they dropped it because they didn’t want the bad press. Florida is still moving in the other direction, as is most of the South. You want weed move to a blue state. Let the mosquitos have Florida.

  13. personal sovereignty and individual freedom.
    WOW! It’s been much too long since I have seen thoughtful people doing the right thing and talk of personal sovereignty and individual freedom. This blows my mind. I have been trying to ‘subscribe’ my whole life, but cannot seem to muster the courage to step out over the line publicly. You guyz rock.

  14. The ultimate way to control the use of guns against another is to promote individual happiness; in the sense of, one being angry/ financially low enough to do so.
    If you want people to live long, and live long peacefully, you will need their peace of mind…
    …Or is it the peace of their age?

  15. An old emperor can say if you win the generation, you won the age. I expect the name…of the person responsible for legalizing pot will be fought for.

    It is sounding like we now need guinea pigs for our fight. May I present myself as volunteer number 1?
    Not the doug benson way either. That guy is done.

    Instead analyze all physical effects on lungs, throat, brain, and mouth. Then, after 30 days of consumption, test immediate withdrawal effects for the next 30 days. Psychologically, what happens before, after and during?

    Secondly, I have now reason to believe that cannibis is not a drug, no.
    It is now a drug because of how rare the substance has become. I believe it became a drug after it was outlawed.
    However! Do not take my suggestion lightly; beyond my obvious chivalry to nominate myself, I believe we can learn much, and with hope…do greater.

  16. The DEA and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office must be so proud of their swat teams bringing down this dangerous woman in her wheelchair. Yes, so very proud!

  17. Nice job! We love Florida! Maybe Georgia will be one of the next medical marijuana states…. thanks to gacareproject.com!

  18. This case really sets precedence in our State. Florida is definitely a conservative state however, it also is one of the major hubs for marijuana distribution on an illegal basis. Florida is full of conservatives, but it’s also full of intelligent people who support this legislation not only because of the medical qualities, but also one of the largest tourist areas in the U.S and cannot afford on an economic standpoint to stand alone on the sideline. Conservatives are also educated in the economic advantages of medical marijuana and the potential tax dollars it could bring into the State. Florida is always looking for the best tourist offerings and if someone can go sit on a beach in another state and bring their medication with them they are more likely to book their vacations elsewhere. Florida can’t afford to look the other way.

  19. Congratulations! This is so monumental. I would literally starve to death if it weren’t for this plant, Florida must be legal!

  20. This is what happens with good lawyers. Anyone else would have lost everything and been sent to jail.

  21. it amazes that states that have not legalized can prescribe it in a pill…and that’s fine but nope sorry can’t grow your own…we want the $!!!!

  22. Oh just Legalize and Regulate Marijuana already not just for those Medical patients but just simply get the plant free. I cant understand how some states are only pushing for Medical where many others are looking to legalize and regulate. Can we all just Unite for once

  23. What hero’s these people are! It is always so interesting to listen to people who say it is addictive! It is, but so is my coffee, chocolate, salt, fat, sugar. A doctor on TV was saying some people will smoke it and off they will go…they will get addicted and he is right. Some people drink a drink, smoke a cig, have sex, gamble, internet porn, eat a McDonalds burger (which by the way has never passed through my lips in 64 years). Life is filled with ways to slip up and get hooked on things, lots of things. But the pharma’s truly want you to SLIP UP…get addicted.
    I have many physical issues even though I have been an athelete my whole life. I ran a marathan in my late 20’s when running wasn’t what many people did. I also smoked pot…not for pain but instead of drinking. I never did anything on pot I was ashamed of except eat a peanut butter jelly sandwich, hot, in the middle of the night. Alcohol on the other hand, well let’s not go there.
    I have been a meditator/and church leader for over 25 years…even so I was born into a family w/depressive issues. I would guess marijuana has helped me live a few times, when I saw anew just for that day. I don’t get to smoke a lot and don’t know what many of the people I know would think if they knew, but they might be too. There are a lot of us.
    Cathy and Bob, I will be praying for you every morning as I sit for my 30-45 min meditation. I think it is only when money is involved that it will change.
    Joe Scarborgh (sp?) sugggested this morning he wouldn’t want his youngest son to smoke when he went off to college. I wonder if he would/did feel that way about alchol.
    Blessings to all you who are working on this! People are praying everywhere for this help.
    Much love and blessings.

  24. It’s nice to finally see that the state has dropped the charges against the Jordan’s. Does anyone watch weed country, have you seen what other useful properties such as the CBE’s in the cannibas plant are producing. They’ve shown to reduce epileptic seisures in the child that was on the show from 10 to 12 seisures a day down to just 1 or 2 a month. If that alone doesn’t prove that it should be legalized for medical use and research then nothing will!!!!!

  25. “DEA and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office paid her a not-too-polite visit, raiding her home, dressed in swat uniforms, armed with machine guns and wearing masks”

    Why is the DEA involved? A Vietnam Vet is growing medicine for his wife who has Lou Gehrig’s disease. And gets treated like this.

    You DEA vet-haters make me sick.

    Manatee County Sheriff, you are a real hero. You are a real big man. You showed that Vietnam Vet who is boss!

  26. “DEA and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office paid her a not-too-polite visit, raiding her home, dressed in swat uniforms, armed with machine guns and wearing masks”

    Why is the DEA involved? A Vietnam Vet is growing medicine for his wife who has Lou Gehrig’s disease. And gets treated like this.

    You DEA vet-haters make me sick.

    Manatee County Sheriff, you are a real hero. You are a real big man. You showed that Vietnam Vet who is boss!

  27. That’s good news. But on the bad news front. They just passed SB 1140 in Florida. Which makes you an outlaw if you own a pipe or a bong. Sad part is, it passed 11 to 1. When are we going to wake up and see that what they’re doing is feeding more and more outlaws into a legal system that has people in certain professions raking in the bucks. Ever see the signs while crossing into Florida from Georgia? 9 out of 10 are lawyers. The more outlaws, the better.

  28. An uplifting story and another thorn in the capitalist story. The only reason marijuana is not legal in all states, for personal use, JUST LIKE ALCOHOL, is due to pharmaceutical companies being afraid to lose money to it, period.

  29. I have been waiting to get busted for 46 years. I did get a ticket at a Van Halen concert because the narc were gonna bust my nephew and stepson, and I took the roach and said it was mine. I said the boys are in scholl leave them alone. So I did get a ticket and kicked out of the show. But 2 younger kids stayed out of it, it was worth it. A total of about $800 to stay out of court. So everyone made out ok in my book. At least our state did pass the industrial hemp law.

  30. Judy, I’m sure they are ashamed. But that is part of their training, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. Part of the training is to turn yourself into a tool. But then they want “social credit” for being a “good tool”. Sorry, the saw doesn’t get any credit for a job well done; especially when it keeps cutting the user. Its just a crappy tool that needs replaced.

  31. It was encouraging to hear that the state dismissed charges. I applaud Cathy and her Husband for sticking to their beliefs and fighting this. I personally have had the unfortunate recipient of a brain aneurysm and subsequent stroke five years ago and due to extreme neuro pain left from the surgery and bleed I’ve been relegated to opiates. I hate them, and have even tried to free myself of them but sadly to pain is too overwhelming. I’ve been asking my Doctor for any advancements in medicine that would get me free of opiates. And yes, over the years I tried all the other medicines non-narcotic without success. The best I can currently do is cut my dosage to the point that alternatives like taking an extremely hot shower to pound on my head, or even take ice cubes in a wash cloth to ease the pain enough just to manage to get thru a day. At my Doctors office every month I report that I pray for a miracle healing and ask for support. I believe in miracles so strongly. I’ve heard of folks waking up from sleep and the symptoms have left them…nothing short of miracles. After 5 years I still pray daily for mine, and would give anything to try something natural like cannabis. I’m very encouraged at the success of so many others. I’d love to live a day free from pain without taking the horrible and addicting opiates. They will steal your soul and vision, but a sick type of necessity for folks like me and others relegated to this treatment for pain…

  32. The laws of the land must be followed unless the law has been changed. That may not be convenient to marijuana smokers but its the reality. I am for legalization but this “in your face” act that marijuana smokers use is not helpful to their cause. You are fighting pride on both sides when you do that.

  33. Douglas,
    I wonder if “pride” in this case really means “an authoritarian mindset”. The mindset that leads some to believe that it is up to them to tell me whether or not I can get high if I want to.

  34. Thank you for what you do.I see Kansas is not listed. We need help and prayers. I hope we can get medical cannabis. I need it, and so do many others. Thank you and bless you for all you and your members do. Show us how to prevail.

  35. As a postlaminectomy syndrome patient and lung cancer patient, with accompanying generalized anxiety disorder, I pray the State of South Carolina follow suit and legalize medical marijuana. I take an enormous amount of drugs,including Methadone, Percocet and Flexeril for the pain. If I could get off these drugs, and the prescription I am taking for the cancer, I would be “the happiest girl in the whole USA.”

  36. Congratulations on a great win for marijuana reform. It is inspiring to read about such a successful result. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you in Key West this year.

  37. Weed is God’s gift to us, more forgiving and less dangerous than alcohol and way less addicting than tobacco. The real crime is treating cannabis users like criminals. By the way, plenty of cannabis users are responsible gun owners. It’s time to lose the idiotic federal law that takes guns from good citizens who would otherwise stand up and fight for America in a terroristic or criminal situation. We’re taking guns from the wrong people! We are shooting ourselves in our collective foot by prohibiting gun sales to the law abiding average Joe’s who are often the first line of defense in a crisis. Many of us are the people who were forced to sign up for the military draft and no one asked about pot then, many of us are still soldiers in plain clothing and when bad things happen we are with law enforcement, not against them. Time to recognize and appreciate the soldier-citizens who walk among us and stop neutralizing them just because they happen to appreciate God’s gift of weed.

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