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

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 thoughts

  1. 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

  2. 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….

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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..

  7. Why does the federal government have the official position that weed has no medicinal value?

  8. I met Kathy and her husband at a North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network meeting and sat next to her. She’s a real activist.
    She said to us, “What are they going to do kill me ?”

  9. why cant the elected officials in Washington just say enough. If they were in your shoes they would do the same thing. I have seen the relief sick people get from marijuana and it is amazing. If you don’t live in m.m. state T.F.B. You get to suffer. Are we The (United) States Of America With freedom liberty and justice for all?

  10. Unfortunately Florida will be the last state for any sort of legalization……to conservative, hell we cant even get expanded gambling to bring much more jobs to the so called Sunshine State.

  11. The obvious thing is to “follow the money” to accurately determine why our government will not change its’ collective mind.
    1) Pharmaceutical companies (the ones that make the really scary drugs) are among the highest donors to representatives and senators in the form of lobbiests;
    2) Our country is a country of LAW. In order for the ‘law’ thing to work, you must have offenders who are arrested (keep the cops employed – hey, even a pot bust is revenue, and those are easy to pick up). The cops hand the offenders off to jailors, the courts keep employed (recorders, judges, BOTH prosecuting attorneys AND ((most likely)) public defenders). The prisons benefit from more beds being full. And…what’s the common thread in this sham? EVERY SINGLE ONE of the people that BENEFIT from pot busts IS DRINKING FROM THE PUBLIC TROUGH!!

    How else can you explain how some 475 representatives and 100 senators cannot read the Journal of the American Medical Association? Or hear the voices of their constituents? Or hear the pain of the people who NEED the medication that marijuana offers? Is it too much to ask of our elected officials that they get their collective heads out of the sand?

    Rant over.

  12. It is amazing what orally ingested cannabis in oil form will do for cancer patients and bone pain. I had to see it for myself, one week and my husband is off all opioids and all the side effects that go along with them…..couldn’t control the bone pain till now…walking 3x a day, enjoying the life he has left and praying there is something substantial to the prospect of cannabis causing apoptosis to the cancer cell…..We as Americans should be furious that our rights are taken from our loved ones in such dyer need of relief!

  13. I am 50 with a 25 year old schizophrenia diagnosis and I am living evidence of the benefits of cannabis. I live a life of service to others as best I can. The flower is a big help to my emotional health. I sing to the Creator for my life often when medicating. Life can be hard and this gift from the garden of God is fully intended to be for ma’s benefit. God bless NORML and all who desire to be free.

  14. johnny berg….right with ya on that my friend….many physical issues that herb is good for as well as, emotional and pyscological issues.it has brought peace to my life…my general mental health is improved with cannabis consumption. feel way more balanced,anxiety drops . not near as many high and low (the rollercoaster effect). i was a happy man untill my company of 35 years decided as a safety issue to hair test…they have the right to be in my back pocket 24/7.burns my big ass more now then 4 yrs ago…4 yrs now and things are changing and not for the good either…it really was a benefit to my personal health.
    how many others do it for the true peace of mind? ……

  15. Everyone should find out who did this to that poor women a week before the bill was to go in to effect. I think we should email that SOB sheriff who authorized this till the sun quits shining. They are drugging the whole country with hillbilly heroin(Oxycontin) is prescribed freely like no other state in this country legally and they go in and bust and take medicine for someone who a bill is named after. That sheriff and all of the police are so extremely corrupt. They all know they will be out of a job when this war on drugs(and a war on our families and communities)is over. I hope whoever authorized this drug bust gets fired!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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