Delbert Mullins lifted his arm just above his shoulder to show how tall the marijuana plants were before they were confiscated last August.
“Careful, don’t hurt your shoulder,” his wife Karen said.
Delbert was arrested by the Columbia County Sheriff’s office on Aug. 10 after law officials conducting an aerial survey spotted two marijuana plants in his backyard in Fort White.
According to the arrest report, Delbert voluntarily showed the officers the location of the plants, where they also found three small seedlings, stalks from 15 marijuana plants and eight plastic gallon-sized bags full of harvested leaves.
He was offered a deal to attend drug court, but after accepting discovered that he was unable to attend because of a multitude of disabilities and a lack of income. Delbert earns $800 monthly.
The requirements of drug court were to take three to five drug tests each week, with a $20 fee attached to each one, as well as to attend three hour sessions a week in Lake City for individuals who are addicted to drugs.
He says he first began smoking marijuana after his insurance declined coverage for a prescription drug called Marinol after having covered the cost for more than a decade.
“He doesn’t have an addiction problem, he turns down pain meds,” Karen said.
Delbert says the reason he grew the plants, was purely out of necessity. He claims that he harvested the leaves before a bud had grown on the plants, taking away the intoxicating effects that ordinary result from its consumption. However, they help with the pain and nausea associated with his long list of ailments, including severe back and neck pain, heart disease, arthritis, Hepatitis C as well as other diseases, many of them degenerative.
“It’s not am I hurting, it’s where am I hurting the worst,” Delbert said.
The son of a Baptist preacher, it is safe to say that Delbert lived hard in his youth.
“My father had me carrying four-foot sliding glass doors when I was eleven,” he said.
Delbert’s history is intense. He spent a year in Korea during the Vietnam War, worked years in construction, suffered from alcoholism in earlier days and was a injured in several car wrecks–including one where he was hit by a drunk driver traveling 90 mph, according to Delbert.
Later years continued to bring tragedy to their lives. In 1996, their daughter died at age 13 when she was run over by a pick-up truck. Their lives were changed. They have spent years trying to recover, but even still well up in tears when they mention her name.
The circular house they live in now was built to remember her. It’s structure based on her favorite song, “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King, which the Mullins’ watched in a movie theater together just before she died.
Delbert and Karen now wait in their woodland home, hoping the case will be dismissed. A court hearing is set for Monday. Delbert faces charges for manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. If convicted, he could spend a possible 11 years in prison for these charges.
“I am terrified of how I am going to deal with the pain in prison,” he said.
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