A South Florida man charged with growing marijuana he claims he needs for a medical condition was found not guilty Monday.
Jesse Teplicki, 50, had been charged with manufacturing cannabis and was facing up to five years behind bars.
"This case is about medical marijuana and for the hundreds of thousands of patients who can use this medicine as an alternative," Teplicki said.
It took jurors just 30 minutes to return the verdict.
"A lot of suffering. I really felt here was somebody with a lot of issues, with a lot of suffering since he was nine years old," juror Mark Munzer said. "Everything was justified."
Teplicki suffers from a severe case of anorexia which suppresses his appetite and makes him nauseous. Broward Sheriff's Office deputies arrested him last year for the cultivation and possession of 46 marijuana plants.
Prosecutors had called into question the amount of pot plants for just one person, but jurors said it was a case about compassion.
"This was a groundbreaking case and we are very pleased that the jury acquitted Mr. Teplicki on all charges," said Michael Minardi, Teplicki's attorney. "The evidence showed he was using cannabis to help him manage a serious and painful medical condition which he has endured for years."
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.
"I hope this invigorates the State of Florida and all people who are being charged with cannabis to fight," Teplicki said. "That's the only way you make change."
Teplicki said he will resume life as he knows it.
"I go home this evening, I have a meal with my wife and smoke a fat one before it and that's it," he said.