Many of you have been following the saga of the struggling medical marijuana program in Florida, either here in the pages of The Marijuana Times or on our video news show, Cannabis News. Delays, resignations, bickering and lawsuits have ground progress down to a slow crawl, restricting access for patients in the state.
One of the aspects of the legal battles is the fight over smokable medical cannabis being banned by the Florida legislature in 2017. Orlando lawyer – and major force behind medical marijuana’s legalization in the state in 2016 – John Morgan, went to court to overturn the ban. He won an initial victory in May – a victory the state of Florida immediately appealed.
Now a 57-page brief has been filed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in support of that appeal.
“Notably, the Legislature considered evidence of the health hazards of smoking and concluded that smoking marijuana constitutes a harmful delivery method,” the brief says, in part. “Time and again during debate, elected members of Florida’s Legislature emphasized that the amendment is exclusively about medicine, and that smoking is antithetical to good medicine. In considering these health-related factors, the Legislature reasonably determined that the harms caused by smoking — including harms to patients and those exposed to secondhand smoke — were ample reason to exclude smoking from the statutory definition of ‘medical use.’ The Legislature therefore acted under its general authority to regulate public health, safety, and welfare when it drew a reasonable line between the smoking of medical marijuana, and other delivery methods.”
Besides the fact that in May, Judge Gievers found that language in the original amendment “recognizes there is no right to smoke in public places, thereby implicitly recognizing the appropriateness of using smokable medical marijuana in private places consistent with the amendment,” we have the overall problem that lawmakers in the state legislature took it upon themselves to decide “that smoking is antithetical to good medicine.” We have become entirely too comfortable with vesting politicians with decision-making power over our everyday lives.
Why should lawmakers – most of whom aren’t even doctors – in Tallahassee, decide whether or not a 64-year-old medical marijuana patient in Miami should be able to smoke a joint if they prefer? At the very least, it should be the decision of the patient, in consultation with their doctor.
When you vote to give politicians ever-increasing power over what you can and cannot do with your own life, you invite overreach in all kinds of areas and it never leads to a place of freedom and happiness. Now, the courts in Florida will decide whether or not the legislature was right to ban smokable marijuana, when the only people involved in the decision should be a doctor and their patient.