Judge says St. Johns County went too far, allows couple charged with growing pot to go back to home and collect belongings

A judge ruled St. Johns County should not have immediately condemned the home rented by a couple now charged with growing marijuana.  The judge ruled this week the couple could return to their home for two weeks to gather personal items, as well as the fish living in seven aquariums that may or may not still be alive after not being tended to in a month, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The couple was arrested in February, charged with possession of marijuana, possession of equipment used to manufacture drugs and producing marijuana. All three of these St. Johns County Drug Crimes Charges are third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison, meaning both are facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The important point to note in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case is the defendants have only been arrested and charged. Neither one has been convicted of any crime. Both are out on bail while the St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case works its way through the court system. The couple maintains they were legally growing the marijuana for medical use and did not break any laws, the newspaper reported.  In order to legally condemn the house and remove the couple from the home, the county would have had to prove the home was an “imminent and substantial danger to life or health,’ the newspaper reported, and the judge ruled the county didn’t do so. Initial news reports indicated the couple was extracting oil from the marijuana, which could be dangerous and cause and explosion – which led to the decision to condemn the home. Instead of giving the residents time to respond or collect their belongings – including living beings such as the fish – the county immediately taped off the home and barred anyone from entering.

St. Johns County Drug Charges can be very serious and are generally based on the type of drug found and the amount the person is accused of possessing. Most manufacturing cases involve methamphetamines, and those charges carry more severe penalties that those involving marijuana. This St. Johns County Drug Case will be interesting because, although medicinal marijuana is not broadly legal in the state of Florida, there are some rare exemptions people can receive to grow the drug. It does not appear this couple had obtained one, but that will likely be played out in court over the next few months.  Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people accused of all sorts of drug crimes, including those involving cultivating marijuana. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly review your case, including the details of how the arrest was handled, and then provide you with information so you can make a decision on how to proceed.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.