Marijuana laws need to change in Florida.
A Florida man is facing felony charges because an anonymous tipster notified the Broward Sheriff’s Office that local man, Jesse Teplicki, was growing marijuana in his home. When police searched the home they found forty-six marijuana plants. Police arrested Teplicki and charged him with a felony count of possession.
Prosecutors offered Teplicki the opportunity to avoid jail time by accepting a probationary offer. Teplicki refused the offer because he claims he was not growing the pot to sell, rather for his own personal use to assist with healing. Jesse Teplicki claims the medical marijuana helps him to deal with severe chronic anorexia that he has dealt with since his youth.
The state of Florida does not allow marijuana use for medical purposes. Purchase or possession of more than twenty grams of marijuana, an amount that Jesse Teplicki easily exceeded, is a third degree felony. If convicted, Teplicki could face up to five years in prison.
Without the marijuana, Teplicki, 50, says he has no appetite and suffers from severe stomach pain. But with the help of cannabis, Teplicki’s appetite is stimulated. The marijuana also reduces his nausea. Teplicki says his marijuana is medicine. And he is ready to prove that to a jury of his peers.
“Jesse didn’t want to take the prosecution’s offer because he’s a family man, not a criminal,” Teplicki’s attorney Michael Minardi tells New Times. “He leads a good life, and is a good family man. The marijuana is for medical reasons.”
Teplicki says he was given anabolic steroids to treat the disorder as a child, which worked for some time. But continued use of the steroids caused liver scarring and cysts, as well as serious side effects. Teplicki then began using cannabis as a form of treatment instead, allowing him to live a pain-free, normal life. When all medicines either failed or made things worse, marijuana has helped and healed.
It is an indicator that we do not live in a rational society when a man faces potential prison time for the “crime” of growing a plant to treat a debilitating disorder. Sadly, a significant majority of people lack the compassion or education necessary to build a fair and prosperous society rooted in the defense of individual rights.
In a featured article published yesterday, I pointed out that the recently convicted Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht is NOT a Hero. My argument centered on the premise that creating a black market to sell narcotics, guns, or to evade taxes does not meet the qualifiers needed to achieve “hero” status. The “black market strategy”, also known as agorism, is not an effective philosophical construct to use for the advancement of liberty. Shifting transactions of prohibited items to the edges of society will not be effective in causing a paradigm shift in the hearts and minds of the people. This is not to say that libertarians should not support legalization or decriminalization of goods and services that thrive on the black market. They should oppose these regulation vehemently. This also doesn’t mean libertarians should not participate in black market transactions. That is a personal decision that is a calculated risk. In the article, I failed to mention these instances where black market activity should not only be defended, but should be used as an example to expose the disastrous violations of individual rights caused by prohibition.
The above charges against Jesse Teplicki provide an opportunity to point out the damaging rights infringing marijuana laws that still exist. In Jesse’s case these laws could cause harm to his health or even result in this death. If Teplicki is prevented from self-medicating with marijuana his debilitating disorder could kill him.
Teplicki has essentially created his very own self-contained black market to provide for his medical needs. This doesn’t make him a hero, but it makes him an example of the tyranny inflicted by a government and populous that does not respect or understand individual rights. He was doing nothing to harm other individuals. Hopefully, when this case goes to trial, the jury will see the illogical nature of laws that prohibit the growing of a plant. Perhaps the jury will acquit Mr. Teplicki by utilizing the tactic of jury nullification as discussed in a recent Lions of Liberty Podcast with guest activist James Babb.
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