Victoria Thomason, a Martin County, Florida teacher, and her son, Russell Thomason, were arrested after they were accused of growing cannabis at their home, news sources report. Victoria, 55, and Russell, 25, were booked into police custody on charges stemming from the cultivation of marijuana. It is unclear whether they qualified for bail. So far, a criminal defense lawyer does not appear to have spoken on either of the defendants’ behalf.
According to reports, Victoria teaches social studies to middle school students in the Martin County school district. Sources say she has been with the district for nearly a decade. Based on reports, Victoria and her son share a home in Martin County.
It is not presently clear what led police to the home, but reports say that the Martin County Sheriff obtained a search warrant for Victoria and Russell’s home recently. During a search, officers found 58 cannabis plants growing inside Victoria and Russell’s residence. The press did not say what stage of growth the plants had reached. It is also unclear whether officers found paraphernalia at the home.
Victoria reportedly told the officers that she grows the marijuana as a medical aid for Russell. “My sense would be that there’s more marijuana growing there than somebody would need for personal use,” a police spokesperson reportedly countered. “My impression and belief is that it was being sold.”
Following her arrest, Victoria has been suspended without pay from her teaching duties. “It is, I think, a little more onerous because we see a teacher doing it, somebody in a position of trust,” a police spokesperson reportedly told the press of the offense. “Parents are sending their students to her classroom in good faith, wanting the right message. And this is certainly not the right message.”
Over the years, marijuana has been legalized in several states on a prescription level. The drug, which can be smoked or reduced and eaten, has purportedly been shown to treat a number of chronic conditions, including anxiety, depression, anorexia, and persistent pain. While not addictive in nature, users may habitually use marijuana for its euphoric effects. It is unclear whether Russell suffers from any medical ailments that would require its use. Medical marijuana is not yet legal in Florida.
Marijuana grow houses can be found in a variety of South Florida neighborhoods. Earlier this year, Loxahatchee resident Yoelvis Reyes was apprehended for growing cannabis at his home, sources report. Reyes, 29, was taken into police custody on charges of possessing, manufacturing, and trafficking cannabis. An update on Reyes’ case is not currently available.
Police apparently had reason to believe that illicit activity was happening at the home. From April 9 to July 2, police conducted over a dozen surveillance operation near the alleged grow house. After picking up a powerful smell of cannabis near the home, police acquired a search warrant.
Inside, officers discovered 41 plants and an alleged “indoor manufacturing laboratory.” In all, the seized about 171 pounds in marijuana plants. Police also reportedly acquired a sketch of the design of the grow house on a Publix receipt.