A Florida man who says he was growing 15 cannabis plants as medicine for his sick wife will spend at least three years in prison after a jury convicted him of marijuana trafficking and operating a grow house.
Ricardo Varona was arrested in July of 2014 after police found a cannabis grow operation in his second floor bedroom. Authorities say the 15 plants yielded over 30 pounds of useable marijuana — way too much for the needs of his wife in their eyes.
Because of the weight of the plants, prosecutors say Varona was not only helping his wife, but selling cannabis a well. Varona’s lawyers counter that the cannabis was infused in edibles so his wife could counter the side effects of her cancer medications. Maria Varona was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.
Now Ricardo will have to serve a minimum of three years in prison, but he could face up to 35.
“They want you to believe he’s Pablo Escobar or Walter White,” said Varona’s lawyer, Jose Aguirre, “but he’s just a man trying to help out his wife with the medicine she needs.”
You would think in a case like this more evidence would be needed, maybe evidence that Varona was actually selling weed. Police found no scales or anything else that would indicate Varona wasn’t simply helping his wife.
In the final analysis, even if he was selling some, who was he hurting? Why were so many police and court resources spent on a man with a sick wife and a grow-op in his bedroom? What is gained by society with this man behind bars?
Someday stories like this won’t need to be told, because the events described won’t happen. Too little, too late for someone like Ricardo Varona.