Florida’s new medical marijuana law is just six days old and it is already facing its first challenge in the courts.
The man challenging the law is the same person who led the drive to pass the constitutional amendment allowing the use of medical marijuana in Florida.
Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan claims the Legislature violated the will of the voters when it passed the implementing legislation last month prohibiting the smoking of marijuana for medical purposes.
Morgan and his attorney, Jon Mills, filed the lawsuit Thursday morning in Leon County Circuit Court. Mills is a constitutional attorney and a former Democratic House speaker.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Florida for Care, Inc., the non-profit group that led the campaigns to pass a medical marijuana effort in 2014 and 2016.
It claims inhaling medical marijuana is one of the most efficient ways for a patient to receive its benefits and that by imposing a ban, the Legislature is putting itself in the position of making medical decisions for patients.
“Inhalation is a medically effective and efficient way to deliver Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids, to the bloodstream,” the lawsuit states. “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.”
The lawsuit goes on to claim that the amendment approved by more than 71 percent of the voters last November, specifically states that smoking medical marijuana in public places would be prohibited.
“The statement unambiguously says that smoking medical marijuana in a private place in compliance with the provisions of the amendment is legal,” the lawsuit goes on to say.
Under the implementing bill passed last month during a special legislative session, lawmakers voted to allow patients to ingest medical marijuana through edibles, vaping, oils and other means.
Legislators who support the ban say smoking medical marijuana is unhealthy. They argue the wording of the amendment does not preclude the state from imposing a total ban on smoking it. They claim that if supporters had wanted to allow patients to smoke medical marijuana in private they would have clearly stated that in the amendment
Morgan threatens that if smoking medical marijuana isn’t allowed in Florida, he might start a new constitutional amendment that would call for the complete legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.