Around 2pm Monday, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in Florida raided the home of Cathy Jordan, a survivor of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”). The detectives and deputies, wearing ski masks, made no arrests, but seized 23 marijuana plants Cathy and her husband were growing for her medical purposes.
Robert Jordan was approached by two deputies with guns drawn, claiming to have probable cause to investigate their marijuana grow. Robert, a disabled Vietnam Vet, angrily responded to the intrusion but cooperated with deputies by signing away his Fourth Amendment rights by allowing the search without a warrant.
In my interview with Cathy Jordan from 2009, she explained how she first noticed the symptoms of her ALS in 1985. In 1986, she was diagnosed and given 3-5 years to live — despite most people’s familiarity with famous ALS survivor Dr. Stephen Hawking, most ALS sufferers die within a few years of diagnosis. In 1989, as her condition worsened, she finally smoked a puff of a marijuana joint from a friend and discovered it worked better for her symptoms than anything she had ever tried.
Now after over two decades of medical cannabis use, she has outlived five of her support groups and four of her neurologists. The medical marijuana amendment proposed in Florida is named for Cathy Jordan and enjoys seventy percent support among the people in Florida in a recent poll.