On May 25, 2018, Leon County Circuit Court Judge, Karen Gievers, ruled
that the states ban on smoking medical marijuana is unconstitutional.
However, the celebration did not last long as the Department of Health
(“DOH”) appealed the ruling only ten minutes after it was
announced. Unfortunately, this prompted an automatic stay. Although this
means a longer battle on this specific issue, this was a great victory
for the cannabis industry as it was a step in the right direction.
In her ruling, the Judge specifically stated patients in Florida “have
the right to use the form of medical marijuana for treatment of their
debilitating medical conditions as recommended by their certified physicians.”
People United for Medical Marijuana; Florida For Care, Inc.; Diana Dodson;
and Catherine Jordan, v. Florida Department of Health, Order and Final
Judgment, Case No. 2017-CA-1394 at 22.
The Department has taken the position that the ruling goes against what
the legislature outlined when they wrote and approved the law to implement
the constitutional amendment that was approved. However, many do not agree
with this as the language of the 2016 constitutional amendment specifically
stated that the legislature had the right to ban smoking in public areas
but not cultivation, sale, or use across the board.
Then, a year after the constitutional amendment, the Florida Legislature
passed laws that barred the sale of smoking products due to health risks.
The laws allowed patients to use medical cannabis only by vaping, edibles,
oils, sprays, and tinctures.
Shortly after Governor Rick Scott signed this bill into law, banning smoking
products, cannabis advocate and attorney John Morgan filed suit challenging
the ban as unconstitutional. Florida For Care along with two patients
joined Morgan in his claim against the Department of Health and the Florida
It will be interesting to follow the development of the appeal and we will
keep you updated.
If you are in the cannabis industry and need assistance in staying compliant
or have an existing issue with a state or local agency contact us. We
can help you continue your services to the patients that need you!