WTF? FBI Behind Arrest Of Florida Senior For Single Cannabis Plant

The concerning plant was “submerged in soil and contained buds, flowers, and a root system”

Like any weed reporter on their grind, I get alerts for all kinds of cannabis news. Most of the articles are basic, updates on various efforts to legalize medical or adult use in some state or another that is years behind Massachusetts.

But sometimes there’s a headline that stands out, typically because it reads like something straight out of the 1950s. Stories like this one out of central Florida this week, as reported here by Ocala News:

A search warrant led to the arrest of a 68-year-old Belleview man after a marijuana plant was found in his backyard. On Tuesday, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a residence located in the 11700 block of SE 72nd Terrace in Belleview. According to the arrest report, the deputy was assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the execution of a search warrant for a home belonging to Steven Frank Nurek.

So first of all, what the hell is going on here? The FBI is hunting down home growers? Surely there is more to the story … 

The deputy made contact with Nurek and conducted a search of the property. In the MCSO report, the deputy noted that a white bucket containing a green leafy plant was observed in the backyard. The plant was submerged in soil and contained buds, flowers, and a root system.

Sounds like a dangerous fellow. The article continues, “Nurek admitted that he has grown marijuana plants in the past, and he mentioned that he uses marijuana ‘for recreational use in his everyday life.'” And to make matters worse, “the deputy noted in the report that Nurek does not possess a medical marijuana card.”

Nurek “was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail,” “where he is currently being held on $5,000 bond” and “facing a felony charge for cultivation of cannabis.” For all we know, authorities could actually be after him for something else, and are using his plant as an excuse to hold him. But that’s kind of the point of why these archaic laws are so damn problematic, isn’t it? When pot is outlawed, authorities can grind those who consume—or grow—into the ground with reckless abandon. All while traditional outlets report on this kind of thing as if it’s normal or acceptable for a sexagenarian to be arrested and jailed by the FBI for a plant in a bucket.

You would never know it from reading the gotcha headlines over stories with prominent mugshots of pot perps like Steven Frank Nurek, but horrific prohibitionist arrests like these aren’t occurring in a vacuum. The war on personal cultivation is real—especially in Florida, where major players including Trulieve are backing an adult-use initiative that would ban homegrow altogether. Should the Sunshine State proceed along those lines, it’s hard to see these kinds of arrests ending even after adult-use is legalized there.