To Smoke or Not to Smoke: That’s the Cannabis Question in Florida

When voters passed Amendment 2 in Florida in 2016 by a whopping 71%-29% margin, they approved the use and possession of medical marijuana. But since the election, there’s been a debate over whether the law should allow patients to smoke their medicine.

In June 2017, the Florida legislature passed a bill that prohibits combusting marijuana with a flame. John Morgan, who led the Amendment 2 effort, promptly sued the state, writing:

“Inhalation is  a medically effective and efficient way to deliver THC and other cannabiniods to the bloodstream. 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.”

Amendment 2 amended the Florida constitution.

This past May 25, Circuit Court Judge Karen Grievers ruled in Morgan and the Amendment’s favor that the state ban on smoking medical marijuana is unconstitutional. She determined that “smoking in private” is allowed by the Amendment.

Illustration by Andy Marlette for News Journal

However, on July 5, the 1st District Court of Appeals overruled the lower court’s decision. The court also rejected Morgan’s request to “rush the case” to the Florida Supreme Court.

“This is not surprising and why it should go to the Supreme Court now,” Morgan tweeted. “It’s not a matter of when. So why waste taxpayers money… This issue will haunt Gov Scott in November.”

Republican Governor Rick Scott is up for reelection in November.

Florida’s medical-marijuana program has yet to be implemented. Several other states—Minnesota, New York and Ohio—ban smoking. In April, Pennsylvania lifted its ban on smoking.

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