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Robert Jordan, Husband Of Florida Medical Marijuana Activist, Won't Face Charges For Pot Plants

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Robert Jordan, the husband of Florida medical marijuana activist Cathy Jordan, will not face criminal charges for a February raid on the couple's home that turned up 23 pot plants. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the prosecutor's office "announced that it believed Jordan could successfully mount a medical necessity defense in court."

The couple was raided in late February hours after the Miami Herald posted an article about rising support for legalized medical marijuana in Florida. The article noted that state Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth), was sponsoring a bill to legalize the drug that he had named in Jordan's honor. Jordan suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the degenerative, terminal nerve disease more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. She has treated her symptoms with marijuana, and credits the drug for her 25-year survival with the disease.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Department insisted that the raid was never intended to send a political message, but came only after a real estate agent sent police a tip after stumbling upon the plants while showing a house. The timing, the department has said, was coincidental. “We had no choice as far as what we had to do here,” spokesman Dave Bristow told the Bradeton Herald. “They had marijuana. Marijuana is illegal. We confiscated the marijuana.”

Initial reports of the raid in the Bradeton Herald -- including one excerpted in the Miami Herald -- described the police officers wearing ski masks and entering the home with guns drawn. The reference to ski masks was later removed from the article.

The couple kept meticulous records of Cathy Jordan's treatment, and documented marijuana's effects on her condition. Though Florida has yet to pass a law allowing the use of medical marijuana, state courts have allowed the drug to be used in cases of medical necessity. Cases have been rare, likely because the drug is illegal and patients that may benefit are either never informed of possible benefits, or are simply afraid to ask.

Attorney Michael Minardi, who represents the Jordans, told the Herald-Tribune, “From what I know about ALS, she's kind of a miracle. When a woman tells you she's outlived four or five of her support groups, let her continue the treatment.”

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Filed by Radley Balko