We had two
courageous, judiciously sound decisions in our courts of law,
recognizing the "medical necessity" defense. Unfortunately,
these decisions applied to the defendants only, but have been
successfully used to mitigate other prosecutions.
v In 1988
Broward County Circuit Judge Mark E. Polen (now seated in the
4th DCA) ruled that "medical necessity" was paramount
to the total prohibition of marijuana and claimed that "such
a sweeping, indiscriminate prohibition
appears on its face
to be irrational." State of FL v. Elvy Musikka 14 FL W 1
(January 27, 1989). He urged legislators to "correct the
anomaly which forces law-abiding citizens into the streets
to meet their legitimate medical needs." Ms. Musikka is one
of eight people currently using marijuana supplied by the federal
government to treat her glaucoma.
v In 1990
a Bay County couple with AIDS were arrested and convicted of cultivation
of marijuana charges. They were using marijuana to control their
nausea and stimulate their appetites. Their conviction was appealed
and overturned by the 1st DCA. Kenneth L. Jenks and Barbara J.
Jenks v. State of FL, 1991 Fla. App. LEXIS 3635; 16 Fla. Law W.
D 1070. Both Barbara and Kenny have since passed away, having
wasted the last few months of their lives fighting criminal charges.
our legislators and congress representatives have been remiss
in addressing this pressing, recurring problem, the medical field
has taken cautious steps towards supporting the medical use of
- In 1993
the Governor's Red Ribbon Panel on AIDS issued a report which
recommended the state "Facilitate greater access to drug
therapies for treatment and prevention therapy, including marijuana
when medically indicated".
- In June
1997 the Florida Medical Association approves Resolution 97-61
which calls for the re-opening of the Investigational New Drug
Compassionate Access Program (a closed program which provides
medical marijuana to only eight patients in the U.S.), and calls
for unimpeded access to marijuana for further research.
Use this information
to educate your legislators, the local newspapers, and others
about the medical uses and medical necessity of patients. Remember
the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead:
doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."