Scott and Marsha Yandell, residents of St. John’s County Florida, have challenged a medical marijuana case all the way to federal court. The Yandells were arrested on drug related charges in February after authorities reportedly discovered more than four dozen marijuana plants growing in the couple’s home.
The Yandells claim that they were exercising their right to have and grow medical marijuana, and that the county was overstepping its boundaries. After Mr. and Mrs. Yandell were raided and charged with drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and equipment, and producing marijuana, the county had electricity to their home discontinued. The county, in addition, barred the Yandells from entering the home and condemned the building.
The couple went before U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard on March 17. Ian Christensen represented the Yandells in court. Christensen claimed that his clients deserve to be released on bail. Christensen also requested that the Yandells be allowed access to their home.
Legal advisor Christopher Ralph opened up to local news crews outside, as they were not allowed to be present during the court proceedings.
“They are medical marijuana patients,”
Ralph told members of the media.
“They are not criminals.”
Christensen made requests based on previous actions of St. John’s County. According to the Yandells, the county typically holds a hearing regarding the status of condemned buildings, but that did not happen in this situation.
Susan Erdelyi, the attorney representing St. John’s County, backed the county’s actions. Judge Morales expressed concern, questioning the reason that a hearing did not take place. To which Erdelyi defended,
“Buildings where drug operations are usually condemned immediately, due to the potential contamination risk.”
Erdelyi also argued that the Yandells had previously been allowed back inside of the home. According to Erdelyi, the couple did not gather their pets or belongings during the police supervised return to their home, but instead videotaped the premises.
Mr. and Mrs. Yandell do not own the house located 248 Carolina Lane. They rent the property.
Judge Morales has asked for the Yandells and their attorney to provide further proof that greater harm has occurred as a result of the eviction. It is believed that the county would allow the Yandells to return to their home once the couple has had the home inspected by a certified industrial hygienist and the home is declared chemical free.
The Yandells are due back in court on March 18.