A Philadelphia pediatrician and his wife appeared in court for a preliminary hearing Thursday after police say they discovered a marijuana growing operation inside their home.
Dr. Jan Widerman and his wife Annette were arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver.
On February 13 shortly before 4:30 p.m., police and firefighters responded to Widerman's home on Brookside Drive in Holland, Bucks County for a car fire that spread to the garage. As crews extinguished the flames and searched inside the home for occupants, they found 40 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, according to officials.
Respondents observed the plants, along with grow lamps and ventilation systems, located in a locked room inside the garage after doing a routine room-to-room check of the property, police said.
Police say they seized 40 marijuana plants, as well as other paraphernalia and more than $16,000 in a safe adjacent to the rooms.
Widerman's neighbors say he is a good man. According to the Pennsylvania State Medical Board, his medical license is still active.
"He did what he did to help his wife," said Lidia Zamkov, a supporter of the doctor. "We think that the laws should be changed. We think that medical marijuana should be absolutely legal. We think that it is unconscionable to put someone in jail because he was trying to cure his wife and help his wife feel better."
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Prosecutors say despite the recent passage of bills to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, it's still illegal to possess it.
Widerman's practice is located on Bustleton Avenue in Philadelphia. He is being represented in court by Louis R. Busico, Esq.