Controversy remains after Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies seized 23 marijuana plants Monday from the home of Cathy Jordan, a wheelchair-bound woman.
Jordan, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 1986, said she uses the plant for medicinal reasons. She has been an advocate for the legalization of marijuana for 16 years.
It began when the Miami Herald’s Monday story cited Jordan as the namesake for a piece of legislation aiming to decriminalize the herb for medicinal purposes, called the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act.
Florida Senator Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) proposed the bill.
Later Monday, Manatee County deputies responded to a call reporting illegal activity – in this case, suspicions of someone growing cannabis.
Sheriff’s office spokesman David Bristow said a real estate agent was inspecting a house adjacent to Cathy Jordan’s property, located in the 4300 block of 98th Avenue East in the Beck Estates development. Jordan shares the property with her husband, Robert, 64, and their son.
According to Bristow, the agent noticed an extension cord plugged into the property she was inspecting. She followed the cord to find it fed back to the Jordan home. There, Bristow said she saw marijuana plants growing.
“She called the sheriff’s office to file a complaint, and we responded out there at that time,” Bristow said.
When law enforcement arrived at the property, Bristow said the growing plants were “in clear view,” giving them probable cause to search the home.
Bristow said the deputies did not initially speak with Cathy Jordan.
“Our interaction was with her husband and her son,” Bristow said.
After speaking with the Jordans, Bristow said the family gave officials consent to search their home. They then confiscated all the plants on the property.
Bristow said no arrests were made, and the case will go to the state attorney’s office for further review.
In light of the seizure, Sen. Clemens called for continued reform. Clemens said he questions the deputies’ actions and asked why they found a senior citizen in a wheelchair dangerous to society.
“Do we want to be the kind of state that raids the home of a woman in a wheelchair in order to enforce outdated laws?” Clemens said in an interview with the Bradenton Herald Monday night.
In response to Clemens’ comments, Bristow said there has been a lot of false reporting and misinformation on the case.
“I don’t know Mr. Clemens. . . but I’m sure he doesn’t know the facts of the case,” Bristow said. “That’s pretty obvious.”
Bristow reiterated that the Jordan case had nothing to do with the article earlier in the day or Jordan’s advocacy for marijuana legalization and decriminalization.
“We responded to a complaint from an individual saying that there was marijuana, and someone was apparently also using power from this residence,” Bristow said. “It was pretty much a black and white issue for us.”
“The concern is it’s illegal,” Bristow said. “It’s quite simple.”
Rachel Crosby wrote this story online.