TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Leon County circuit judge Karen Gievers heard arguments Wednesday in a challenge to a 2017 law that bans patients from smoking medical marijuana.
Challengers say the smoking ban violates a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana, while supporters contend that smoking is a health hazard.
The prohibition on smoking was included in a state law passed last year aimed at implementing the amendment.
However, John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who largely bankrolled what was known as Amendment 2 and initiated the lawsuit, is among those who maintain that the smoking ban runs afoul of the Constitution.
“Enough is enough. Let’s stop the politics," said Morgan. "Let’s let these people live their final years with dignity.”
“The duty of the state is to facilitate the safe availability of medical marijuana, not to restrict particular types of medical marijuana which they chose, like smokable,” said Attorney John Mills.
However, Senior Assistant Attorney General Karen Brodeen argues that lawmakers enacted the prohibition largely to protect the public from the ill effects of smoking.
“Smoking should never be a rout of administration for any medicinal product," said Brodeen. "In fact, the FDA has not approved any medicine to be delivered through the smoking form.”
“Smoking is a crude delivery system that delivers harmful substances. It is associated with various respiratory symptoms," Brodeen continued. "It contains many of the same toxins as does tobacco smoke.”
In a separate marijuana-related lawsuit, Gievers telegraphed how she is likely to rule in the smokeable pot case.
Gievers last month gave the go-ahead to Tampa strip-club owner Joe Redner to grow his own marijuana for use in juicing. The 77-year-old Redner’s doctors ordered the juicing treatment to keep his lung cancer in remission.
The state has appealed Giever’s decision in the Redner lawsuit, and Redner has asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on the case.