(MARTIN COUNTY) After a long two years, Bridget Kirouac will rest easier tonight.
Still in pain, she is now free of the stress of a trial and possible prison time after a jury found her not guilty of growing marijuana in her Martin County home. "It's been extraordinarily stressful...emotionally draining,” she said.
Kirouac testified at trial that her doctor in Maine gave her a recommendation to use cannabis.
She says she suffers from numerous medical issues and prescription meds weren't helping - but the marijuana did.
During the trial, the state argued what Kirouac did was not legal in Florida and that the defendant manufactured cannabis.
But Kitouac's attorney Michael Minardi, mounted a medical necessity defense - saying her need for the drug outweighed the law.
Friday the jury sided with Kirouac. “The people in the state of Florida do not want to convict people for this,” Minardi said.
Minardi was emotional after the trial. “We're talking about people's lives here. We're talking about suffering and dying people. And if you don't have compassion for that...you're not human.“
Kirouac was emotional as well, and said she wasn't alone in her fight. “Overwhelming support of people from all over this country that I don't even know.”
She is now hoping this decision provides hope to others in similar situations. “They should not be prohibited from using it, they should not be prosecuted, brought to court, brought to jail in handcuffs like I was for hurting no one. “
Her acquittal doesn't mean she's free to use medical marijuana, as the judge pointed out.
Kirouac and Minardi say that's why they're throwing their support and energy behind the upcoming vote in November in which Florida voters will decide whether or not to make medical marijuana legal.