August 18, 2022 – Samuel Ortiz-Velez was terminated from his job as a corrections officer for testing positive for cannabis during a random drug screening.  Mr. Ortiz-Velez is a Marine veteran who suffers from PTSD as a result of service in Iraq in 2017.  Mr. Ortiz-Velez holds a valid medical marijuana card pursuant to the Florida Constitution to treat the symptoms of his PTSD. Mr. Ortiz-Velez never consumed or possessed the marijuana on the employer’s premises and never attended work under the influence.  Mr. Ortiz-Velez is suing to be re-instated to his position and require the Department of Corrections to accommodate his off-site use pursuant to the Florida Constitution.

The Appeal has been filed in the First District Court of Appeal,  Samuel Velez-Ortiz vs. Florida Department of Corrections. The case could have statewide implications for the rights of medical marijuana patients in Florida.   “I fought for this country and for freedom for all Americans and suffered as a result.  Instead of helping people like me and doing all they can to reduce the number of veterans a day who commit suicide, they have labeled me unfit to work and taken away my livelihood and ability to support my family.  Just like I did for the country, I have to fight for my rights as a patient to use  the only medication that has helped me cope with my PTSD”.


About Minardi Law: Michael C. Minardi is the Senior Partner at Minardi Law. For over 19 years, Michael has dedicated his practice to fighting for clients charged with cannabis crimes. His passion has driven him to learning and understanding medical cannabis laws in the State of Florida and throughout the country.

Michael’s practice represents clients in corporate cannabis consulting, application preparation, lobbying, forfeiture matters, and criminal matters. He has won many medical cannabis cases, including several landmark high-profile cases in Florida. He won the first and second jury trials in Florida presenting the medical necessity defense to cultivation and possession of cannabis charges.

Michael C. Minardi, Esq.