Two years ago, the Florida legislature took it upon themselves to ban the smoking of medical cannabis for patients in the state. A long battle ensued, both in the state government and in the courtroom.
Now, two years later, Florida has a new governor – one with a very different opinion on the medical cannabis smoking ban than his predecessor – and the ban on patients smoking medical marijuana is no more.
“Over 70 percent of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement that accompanied the signing of the legislation that ended the ban. “I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld. Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”
The new law included some other changes, like allowing patients to receive 2 and a half ounces of flower cannabis every 35 days. Those under the age of 18 are allowed to smoke medical marijuana if they have a terminal condition and get a second opinion from a doctor.
When voters in Florida approved Amendment 2 in November of 2016, there was no talk of not allowing smoking. In fact, as attorney John Morgan pointed out, the law explicitly prohibited public smoking, implying that private smoking was okay. After all, if private smoking wasn’t okay, the language of the law would have just banned all smoking.
So in the end we have almost two years of a lot of wasted resources, energy and time. There was no medical marijuana smoking ban in early 2017, and there is not one now. But this two year battle is just a symptom of a larger disease.
At some point, lawmakers and other government authorities got comfortable telling people they will never meet what they are and are not allowed to do in their own home. Too many of us got comfortable with that as well. The notion that some people in Tallahassee can get together and decide whether or not an elderly woman in Miami can smoke a joint in her house is ludicrous when you think about it logically, yet here we are.
If you’re not hurting anyone, why is it anyone else’s business what you smoke or don’t smoke?