Leniency for a man who grows medicine for personal use means high hopes for Florida medical marijuana laws. While Matthew Young will not be legally allowed to consume cannabis, he won’t face the extreme punishments suggested when he was arrested last year.
Young struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder from his time serving as a military contractor in Iraq. He experiences pain from broken bones and brain injury sustained while working under stressful conditions, and contracted HIV while working as a field medic. He was diagnosed with AIDS six years later.
The home of Young and his girlfriend was raided in November 2014. Sherriff’s deputies from Pasco County found cannabis plants growing in his home and promptly seized them. Young and his girlfriend believed they had a certification that protected their cultivation and consumption, presenting it to the officials during the raid. The two faced criminal charges regardless.
While Florida medical marijuana has not been fully established, a judge recently ruled that the Florida Department of Health will be allowed to cultivate Charlotte’s Web, a high-CBD, low-THC strain that is suitable for many medicinal purposes.
The medicine he cultivates helps alleviate the symptoms and allows him to lead a normal life. Other medications failed to provide the same level of relief that cannabis does.
“It calms everything,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “Without cannabis my head is like a tornado and a hurricane all at the same time.”
Let’s hope the Florida medical marijuana laws change soon enough for Young to continue finding relief through the miracle plant.