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07.29.1999 / news: Father and Son Convicted in Medical Marijuana Case. Jury Denied Crucial Evidence

Bronson, FL -- Father and son Joe and Michael Tacl were convicted today on felony charges of possession and manufacture of marijuana, as well as misdemeanor paraphernalia charges in spite of his apparent medical need. Tacl's attorneys have already vowed to seek an appeal and will provide their services pro bono. Tacl's trial, which began Monday in a Levy County Courthouse featured testimony from Dr. John Morgan, the noted professor of pharmacology, as well as pain management specialist Dr. Scott Lipoff. Additionally, a gastro-enterologist practicing in Gainesville testified that Tacl was facing a potentially life-threatening condition of malnutrition caused by the heavy regimen of prescription pain relievers on which he has relied since a van ran over him six years ago. Since doctors implanted a four 8-inch titanium rod, Tacl has endured severe pain every day. But after hours of testimony demonstrating how marijuana helped him, the jury was not convinced.

Kevin Aplin, a spokesperson from Cannabis Action Network who was in the court room
said, "Although the judge allowed Tacl to mount a medical necessity defense, the jury was precluded from hearing a vital elements of the defendant's entire medical history. Without that information, the defense was unable to make the case that Tacl had exhausted his other treatment options, a requirement for successfully proving medical need." Items of evidence that were not allowed included the long list of prescription opiates he had tried and his legal prescriptions for marijuana from California and the Netherlands.

The Tacls are scheduled for sentencing on September 1, 1999. Father and son face up to ten years in prison on the felony charges and another year for the misdemeanor. They remain hopeful they will find justice in the First District Court of Appeal, where Kenny and Barbara Jenks successfully appealed a lower Florida court conviction for the medical use of marijuana in 1991.

For more information contact: Kevin Aplin of the Cannabis Action Network at (352) 378-9836.

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