Judge weighs Florida ban on smoking medical marijuana
Cathy Jordan and her husband, Bob that have spent good five years in pleading the Florida Legislature to legalize medical marijuana, have now returned to Tallahassee to plead another issue that affects the medical marijuana users. The Bradenton couple showed up in a Leon County courtroom, appealing to the judge to overturn a state law that bans the patients who qualify for the medical marijuana treatment, from smoking marijuana.
It has been two years since Florida voted a constitutional amendment allowing patients with debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana as a treatment. Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan who is an ardent supporter of medical marijuana use as treatment financed this legislature.
The law however banned smoking of medical marijuana that Morgan, Jordan and their lawyers considers against the constitutional amendment. On Thursday, Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers heard arguments that discussed state request to have the case dismissed. Jordans with their lawyers Jon Mills and George Coe, other patients and People United for Medical Marijuana, the political committee headed by Morgan, are suing the state over the smoking prohibition.
State representative in the case, State Deputy Solicitor General Rachel Nordby informed the judge that the ban was within the legislature’s domain.
“The plain language of the medical-marijuana amendment authorizes the Legislature to enact laws consistent with the amendment. Here, the Legislature has enacted a law that embodies reasonable health and safety concerns in compliance with the amendment,” was Nordby stance, adding that in the amendment there was nothing mentioned that suggests that smoking has to be allowed.
According to Mills, a former House speaker and former dean of the University of Florida Law School, the legislature no doubt does not require to mention it as Constitution itself allows smoking. Constitution has legalized use of smokable marijuana in variety of ways, which includes the definition of marijuana.
He argued further that according to the definition of marijuana in Florida criminal law passed in 2014, “all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether grown or not,” which includes whole flower marijuana that is used for smoking.
State argued against the case also claiming that plaintiffs lack standing. Mills, on the other hand, countered this argument by stating the fact that Jordan has standing to sue as she is suffering from life threatening illness that qualifies her for marijuana use under the Constitution and she has been authorized by her doctor to use smokable marijuana as treatment. “The Constitution was designed for people like Cathy Jordan. Cathy has ALS, and she has been treated with medical marijuana. I believe that’s plenty,” Mills told reporters.
After Thursday’s hearing, Gievers informed that she would try to issue ruling this issue as soon as possible. Cathy Jordan has consulted more than 30 neurologists of which none has advised her against smoking marijuana. This process of treatment has kept her illness at bay for about two decades, according to Cathy’s husband.
There is a serious need for looking into this matter with the fact in mind, that smoking cannabis is more effective than taking it in any other form, according to experts. Therefore, if the definition of Genus Cannabis considers whole smokable marijuana flower as its part, there should not be any ambiguity in the case.