VERO BEACH – A local veteran and Purple Heart recipient told police that the 14 marijuana plants growing in his bedroom is his medicine, reports show.
Detectives at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received a tip that 42-year-old Christopher John Field of Vero Beach was growing marijuana plants inside his residence.
Deputies say that when they went to the Vero Beach home and asked Field if he was growing marijuana, he first denied it.
“Ultimately, he admitted to having 14 plants growing in the master bedroom,” the deputy said.
Field cooperated with law enforcement and allowed them to conduct a search and removal, according to the affidavit.
“Upon entering the master bedroom, I located a black heatshield tent commonly used to grow indoor Marijuana. I noted a ventilation system installed leading from the A/C unit along with a humming sound common to the lights within the grow system,” the deputy said.
The marijuana plants were in an assortment of stages of growth; some were in the bloom stage, the report said.
Field told law enforcement that the marijuana was for personal use and that he was a Veteran and earned a purple heart in the military, the affidavit said.
“The defendant informed me that he is a Veteran of Somalia and a purple heart recipient. According to the defendant, he once had insurance, but due to Obamacare, could no longer afford it, so this is the route he took,” detectives said.
Field said he was self-medicating using the marijuana plants, according to the report.
Deputies found “no evidence to support any illegal sales” and only charged him with Cultivation of Marijuana instead of the more serious charges that could have been felonies.
Field has since been released from the Indian River County Jail after posting $1,000 bond. His court date is scheduled for October 31, 2018.
While many Veterans qualify for free healthcare services based on a VA compensable service-connected condition or other special eligibilities, they are required to complete a financial assessment.
Veterans whose income exceed VA income limits must agree to pay required co-pays for health care services to become eligible for VA healthcare services, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.