Florida Judge to Hear Case Against the State’s Smokable Cannabis Ban

Florida Judge to Hear Case Against the State’s Smokable Cannabis Ban

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When voters passed medical marijuana in Florida in the 2016 election, many celebrated the victory as it would finally mean gaining access to a needed medicine. However, when lawmakers finally passed laws earlier this year to implement the voter-approved law, they made the decision to ban smokable medical cannabis. This immediately became an issue between the state and the group who helped make the initiative become a reality, People United for Medical Marijuana, and lawyer John Morgan, who wrote the initiative.

Before the bill regulating medical cannabis was passed by lawmakers, Morgan had promised he would sue the state if they followed through with their proposed ban on smokable cannabis. The hope behind the amendment was that it would open access to medical marijuana for as many Floridians as possible – but since so many rely on smoking for the most immediate benefits of cannabis, the state’s smoking ban goes against the intention of the amendment.  

“By redefining the constitutionally defined term ‘medical use’ to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of ‘a licensed Florida physician’ and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process,” the initial lawsuit filing states.

Months later, a court date has finally been set, and Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers will be hearing the case on January 25th. The state has filed a motion to dismiss the case, but Morgan believes that there is definitely grounds for their case – which means this is likely the first of many court dates before the judge will determine whether it was unconstitutional for the state to ban smokable forms of cannabis.

Part of the argument is that the initiative language allowed legislators to make decisions regarding smoking in public places – but not about its use in private residences or the sale of whole-plant smokable cannabis in dispensaries. Lawmakers argue that allowing whole-plant cannabis to be sold would create a “backdoor” to recreational legalization.

“If something is not allowed in public, it is allowed in private,” Morgan said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit in July. “It’s as clear to all of you as it is to any first-grader taking first-grade logic.”

While there is no telling how long the courts will drag this case out, if Judge Gievers sides with Morgan and his co-plaintiffs (all medical marijuana patients), a whole new set of rules and regulations would have to be written to include smokable forms of medical cannabis. The Florida Department of Health would be responsible for creating these new rules in a timely manner to ensure that patients don’t wait any longer than they already have for the medicine they need.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Amendment 2 was about getting cannabis to those who need it it was not about anything else like stopping adult use, once again they ignore the will of a majority of the voters in Florida and think that they know better when they do not even know that cannabis is biologically a plant botanically a herb and biblically food the legislature needs to be replace with the exception of 2

  2. It’s entirely possible to blame the various “no smoking” rules—in Florida and other states—on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who arrogantly demanded the first such rule before he signed NY’s 2014 (Un)Compassionate Care Act. Cuomo publicly expresses scorn for all smokers, in general, but it’s really none of his damned business. The current dismal situation in New York—where a tiny group of “legal” cannabis growers are selfishly suing the state to halt licensing of new growers, all because Cuomo’s ridiculous demand vastly diminished sales—proves that no smoking rules cause direct harm to patients. Simply put, they block patient access by smothering a state’s medical cannabis industry. So thanks for nothing, governor, along with every one of your “marihuana”-smoker-hating ilk. None of you will ever understand how ‘life, liberty and pursuit of happiness’ truly work.

  3. I would be willing to bet that the companies that make edible marijuana products & the pharmaceutical corporations that make THC pills made some serious reelection campaign contributions to the Florida legislators who put this restriction into the law. Follow the money. This restriction makes no sense and forces users to buy the state approved edibles & pills. Florida’s legislature is corrupt beyond words. The list of past corruption is long

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