South Fla. man convinces jury he smokes marijuana for medical purposes

Jesse Teplicki, 50, says marijuana helps eating disorder

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A South Florida man who made history after becoming the first person in Florida to use the "medical necessity" defense in his drug possession trial has been found not guilty by a Broward County jury.

Jesse Teplicki, 50, was arrested in 2013 after police said they found 46 marijuana plants in his possession.

However, Teplicki claimed he grew marijuana solely for himself and said marijuana is the only thing that helps his eating disorder, stating it stimulates his appetite and keeps his nausea at bay.

Teplicki said he's been smoking marijuana for 33 years and has tried other medicines to help his eating disorder, but said none have worked thus far.

"This was a groundbreaking case and we are very pleased that the jury acquitted Mr. Teplicki on all charges," said Minardi, who chairs 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." 

Last year, the Florida Legislature passed a medical marijuana bill that legalizes certain strains of the drug, but these strains didn't help in Teplicki's case. Prosecutors said because of that, he is breaking the law.

Last week, the state offered Teplicki 18 months of probation for his charge, but he denied the plea deal.

Teplicki faced five years in prison if he was convicted.

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