Clearwater quadriplegic gets another break in marijuana case

LARGO — John Haring, the quadriplegic who was sentenced to 90 days in jail for illegally growing the marijuana he said he used for his own pain, turned himself in to the Pinellas County Jail early Wednesday morning.

But the 46-year-old Clearwater man likely won't stay there. Haring hopes the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will release him today and let him serve the rest of his sentence at home.

Sgt. Tom Nestor said Haring's medical condition and nonviolent offense will likely qualify him for alternative sentencing. That would allow Haring to do his time at home while wearing an electronic ankle monitor.

Haring was 24 when a 1989 accident in Ohio left the trucker with a severe spinal injury and limited use of his arms and hands. He said he learned to treat his ailments with marijuana he grew himself, which he said was less harmful than the powerful prescription narcotics he used after the accident.

But Florida doesn't allow medicinal marijuana. Haring was charged with growing it in his home in 2007 and 2009. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office determined that Haring's medical condition is legitimate, so after his 2009 arrest it offered this deal: 90 days in jail and three years of drug offender probation.

But that also means three years of drug testing. Haring must go back to using prescription painkillers.

Clearwater quadriplegic gets another break in marijuana case 06/02/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2010 12:50am]

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