Ban on Smoking Medical Marijuana Lifted in Florida
Two weeks ago, the cannabis news out of Florida was that Judge Karen Gievers ruled in favor of John Morgan’s lawsuit against the state for banning the smoking of marijuana. After Florida voters approved a referendum question in 2016 that would create a broad medical marijuana program in the sunshine state, Florida lawmakers decided to ban all smoking of medical cannabis for health reasons which prevented the state’s medical marijuana treatment centers from selling any cannabis flower. The judge found that the ban was unconstitutional, but the department of health immediately appealed her decision.
Judge Gievers considered the appeal for a week before throwing the appeal out again and once again lifting the ban citing the appeal would cause irreparable damage to Florida patients. The ban will be officially lifted on June 11th forcing the state to restructure its medical marijuana program to make room for the sale of cannabis flower.
“First, they cannot legally access the treatment recommended for them. Second, they face potential criminal prosecution for possession and use of the medicinal substance,” she wrote.
Morgan asked Gov. Scott on Tuesday via social media to drop his appeals.
“Every day you waste taxpayers’ money with this frivolous appeal sick people, veterans, cops, firefighters and cancer patients suffer!” Morgan wrote on Twitter. “Where is your compassion man?”
As of last Friday there were 117,522 patients and 2,644 doctors in the state’s medical marijuana registry. The Department of Health also says that 94,023 patients have received their ID cards, which allow them to receive cannabis at state-approved treatment centers.
While there is still potential for further appeals, it seems unlikely that a judge would rule against Judge Gievers at this point. Once the ban is lifted on June 11th, it will likely take months before the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use and Department of Health will be able to construct new rules for cultivation, distribution and sales of cannabis flower.