Historic South Florida Medical Marijuana Necessity Trial Begins

By Steve Litz and Brian Hamacher
|  Monday, Jun 16, 2014  |  Updated 6:43 PM EDT
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Fla. Supreme Court OKs Medical Marijuana for November Ballot

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Jesse Teplicki

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Pot As Medicine Trial Underway

For the first time in Florida, a jury will decide if a man should go to jail for growing marijuana that he used to combat what he said was a brutal medical condition.

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For the first time ever, a medical marijuana bill made it out of a committee in Tallahassee. NBC 6's Steve Litz has the story.
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On the same day Governor Rick Scott officially legalized a form of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web, jury selection began in a South Florida trial for a man who said medical marijuana is a necessity for him.

Jesse Teplicki, 50, faces a felony count of possession of marijuana following his January 2013 arrest by the Broward Sheriff's Office. He said the pot isn’t for the buzz, but instead is the only thing that helps his severe eating disorder.

“Marijuana not only stimulates appetite, it reduces nausea,” said Telicki. “It reduces my stomach pains it allows me to live.”


Teplicki says he suffers from a severe case of anorexia which suppresses his appetite and makes him nauseous.

"I've been smoking it for 33 years, it works for me. This is the only source of relief that I have," Teplicki said.

Teplicki is the first person in Florida to have a jury of his peers decide if he’s guilty or not of using marijuana as a medicine. Teplicki said he’s tried other medicines and nothing else works for him.

“Our brains will tell us, and our stomach will tell us that we are hungry,” said Teplicki’s attorney, Michael Minardi. “His unfortunately does not work like that and again, this is severe, chronic anorexia from when he was a child.”

Prosecutors disagree and say that outside of the Charlotte’s Web strain of cannabis made legal Monday, growing and smoking marijuana is against the law.

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