In 1999, Miguel Valdes was convicted of beating and stabbing a man to death. Valdes, now out on parole, has suffered from schizophrenia for years. He was recently granted permission to be part of Florida’s medical marijuana program because of his condition. This is the first time in history a convicted Florida murderer has been given permission to use medical cannabis.
Prosecuting Attorney Not Pleased with Judge’s Ruling
When Valdes was found guilty of murder, he tested positive for cannabis. The State Attorney office tried using this argument when the ruling Florida judge determined it would be perfectly okay to grant Valdes permission to use medical cannabis to treat his schizophrenia.
Prosecuting attorney Gail Levine expressed to Miami-Dade Judge Teresa Mary Pooler that she didn’t believe medical cannabis was necessary for Valdes. She argued that the “plethora of medications” Valdes is currently prescribed is enough to keep his condition stable. Why on earth would he need anything else? According to Levine, “he doesn’t need anything else.”
Judge Pooler had conflicting thoughts about Levine’s arguments. His doctor after all, has already prescribed Valdes medical cannabis. According to Valdes, cannabis keeps him “mellow.” It helps him sleep. And, perhaps most importantly, he said that it quiets the voices in his head.
Cannabis has shown to treat schizophrenia just as well as antipsychotic medications…without any of the side effects. Apparently, this is something Pooler understands.
“If the doctor is prescribing this,” Pooler said, “I’m not going to go past his doctor. I’m not going to tell his doctor, ‘Listen, you can’t prescribe this stuff.’”
Medical Cannabis Use by Convicted Criminals is in Judges’ Hands
Although this is the first Florida case allowing a convicted murderer to use medical cannabis, similar cases have occurred across the country in states where medical marijuana is legal.
According to David Rudoi, a Michigan-based attorney, “some judges allow it.” Others however, aren’t as open to allow convicted criminals access to medical cannabis. The decision to let these convicted criminals use medical cannabis is really in the judges’ hands.
If they determine that medical marijuana is truly beneficial for a convict, they’re might give it the okay. There are still countless judges across the country however, that still hold strong to the federal ruling of marijuana, medical or otherwise. It is still a Schedule I substance after all.
In a state where medical marijuana laws are known to be some of the strictest in the country, Florida just took a huge leap forward. It’s also super exciting news for Florida convicts who have found relief using medical marijuana. The Florida Department of Corrections is even on board. As long as a convicted criminal is enrolled in Florida’s medical marijuana program, they won’t be tested for cannabis.
We’ll go ahead and take this case as a win. What are your thoughts on convicted criminals using medical cannabis? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.