Fort Lauderdale, FL – Kelley Kronenberg partner Michael C. Minardi successfully defended a 50-year-old Fort Lauderdale man who grew and used marijuana for medicinal purposes. It’s the first time in Florida the “medical necessity” defense was used in a jury trial. This defense was established by the courts back in 1991, but up until now it was only argued in bench trials.
“This was a groundbreaking case and we are very pleased that the jury acquitted Mr. Teplicki on all charges,” said Minardi who chair’s Kelley Kronenberg’s Regulated Substances Practice Group. “The evidence showed he was using cannabis to help him manage a serious and painful medical condition which he has endured for years.”
Teplicki suffers from chronic anorexia which causes nausea, vomiting, weight loss, insomnia and lack of appetite. After trying several prescription drugs to help him improve appetite and abate the nausea, he finally found relief with cannabis. He was arrested on charges of manufacturing of 46 cannabis plants.
The verdict comes at a time when Florida lawmakers are set to debate legalizing medical marijuana. Senate Bill 528 filed by Republican Senator Jeff Brandes would allow patients to use the medicine in different forms. The bill addresses many of the perceived loopholes in Amendment 2 by providing for strict licensing and use regulations. Last year, Senate Bill 1030 was signed into law which legalized an oil-based extraction from a non-euphoric strain of cannabis to treat patients with epilepsy and other debilitating conditions.
“I think more and more Floridians understand how cannabis can be used to help suffering patients in a compassionate way,” said Minardi.
Last summer, Minardi’s law firm, Kelley Kronenberg, formed a Regulated Substances Practice Group in anticipation of medical cannabis becoming legal in Florida.
“Our firm is poised to be at the forefront of the medical marijuana industry following all regulations and its evolution,” said Principal Partner and Chief Operating Officer Howard L. Wander. “We anticipate many of our business clients will be faced with multifaceted challenges and have questions as it relates to cannabis as a medicine. We want to be able to give them the best advice possible should medical marijuana become legal in Florida.”
Minardi regularly represents patients throughout the state who have been criminally charged for cultivating and possessing cannabis for medical purposes. These clients are arguing they are justified in cultivating and/or possessing cannabis to treat their debilitating conditions under the medical necessity defense. Under the proposed Senate Bill 528, these same patients would likely qualify for a doctor’s recommendation.
Over the years, Minardi has successfully argued and won many medical cannabis cases.
Click here to access video soundbites of Michael C. Minardi reacting to the verdict: