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Largo, Florida – Just because using marijuana for medical purposes is currently illegal in the State of Florida doesn't mean you will be prosecuted for doing so.

In a 1991 court ruling, Florida's First District Court of Appeals found that a man with AIDS could use the plant because it was deemed medically necessary and there was no other alternative.

"Florida courts, as you've indicated, have long recognized that defense," said John Trevena, a member of the legal committee for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML.

10 News spoke to a Brandon woman who has been giving her cancer-stricken child medical marijuana in Colorado, but wants to use the 1991 ruling as a reason why her child can use it Florida.

"We feel that it will be an option available to us, to grow her medicine today in the State of Florida," said Moriah Barnhart.

But Trevena said that such a ruling does not give anyone the legal right to use marijuana just because they need it medically, but rather it gives them a defense in court.

"It's not something that you can use to avoid being arrested or an excuse to get you out of trouble," he said.

In fact, you can still be prosecuted each time that you're caught using or cultivating the drug for medical purposes.

"Although I would think that would send a signal that you have a legitimate medical purpose for it. (It) might not be such a wise thing to keep prosecuting that person," he said.

Last April, 10 News told you about the case brought against Bob and Cathy Jordan.

Bob Jordan was arrested by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office for growing marijuana for his wife, who is sick with ALS, but the state declined to prosecute the case because they established a medical necessity defense.

Convincing a court that receiving medical marijuana is a medical necessity often is not easy.

"It's going to be always difficult to find physicians willing to say that," said Trevena. "Finding a credible, legitimate doctor who's willing to come in and testify that this person needs that marijuana and will suffer if not given that marijuana."

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