Smokable medicinal marijuana just earned a hard-fought victory in Florida. In a recent decision, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers ruled that the state's ban on smoking medical marijuana is unconstitutional.
Back in 2016, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 which allowed the use of cannabis in food, oils, sprays, and tinctures. In 2017, however, the Florida legislature included an addendum that prevented the smoking of medical marijuana. The ban was signed into law last June by the Goc. Rick Scott, according to a USA Today report.
Just a month after the ban, a lawsuit was brought against the state by Orlando attorney John Morgan, one of the key individuals who led the push to get medical marijuana legalized in Florida. He is also listed as one of the plaintiffs in the case against the state.
The suit was filed on behalf of Diana Dodson, a patient with HIV and neuropathy, and Cathy Jordan, who has Lou Gehrig's disease. Both plaintiffs state that their survival is partly due to the fact that they can grow their own cannabis. Two advocacy organizations also involved themselves in the fight against the government's ban.
According to the plaintiffs, the amendment that Gov. Scott signed into law only mentioned a ban on smoking medicinal cannabis in public. With this in mind, users of the plant should be allowed to smoke the plant in private.
The plaintiffs' win did not come easy, however. As noted in a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the trial last Wednesday lasted three hours, with Gievers promising a quick ruling on the case. The two plaintiffs also delivered an impassioned appeal to the judge, expressing how smoking medical marijuana helps them deal with their disease.Cathy Jordan, for one, described how the plant has helped her survive with her disease, despite being given three to five years to live back in 1986. Jordan noted that due to her illness, she is unable to consume edible cannabis, nor is she comfortable with vaping. She further stated that for her, smoking the plant "just makes (her) life more bearable."
Ultimately, the plaintiffs' appeals appear to have swayed Judge Gievers just enough.
"The defendants' toxicology expert's opinion about whether smokable marijuana is a good way for those with debilitating conditions to get relief is, quite frankly, irrelevant. Floridians have already given the rights of qualifying patients Constitutional protection," Gievers wrote.
Kim Rivers, the CEO of Trulieve, a medical marijuana provider, issued a statement about the plaintiffs' hard-fought victory.
"Trulieve stands ready to provide Florida patients flower and the medical benefits the entourage effects that full flower cannabis provides. We look forward to guidance from the Department of Health on next steps to approve this next form of medicine for patients," she said.