As discussed in our prior blogs, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen
Gievers ruled that the state law prohibiting smoking marijuana is unconstitutional.
Only ten minutes later, the Department of Health (“DOH”) appealed
this decision to the First District Court of Appeals (“DCA”).
The DOH’s appeal caused an automatic stay which meant the ban on
smokable flower in Florida continuing until a final order was issued in
the appeals process. Then, the challengers, Florida for Care joined with
John Morgan and two patients, filed an appeal of the automatic stay.
On June 6, 2018, Judge Gievers ruled that the stay should be lifted because
delaying her ruling any further would create irreparable harm to patients.
Further, the Judge pointed out that the stay being lifted returns the
law to its previous form the way voters intended it to operate at the
time it was voted on. On June 11, 2018 medical marijuana would be smokable
in Florida, giving the DOH a few days to finalize rules on the issue.
This came as very positive news for both patients as well as nurseries
that cultivate and dispense medical marijuana. Patients have taken the
logical position that smokable flower is sometimes what is best for their
treatment plan as we are all not made the same. While the nurseries are
happy to be able to offer new products to their patients.
However, the DOH then also appealed the Judge’s decision to lift
the stay in the First District Court of Appeals. From there, the DCA gave
the Plaintiffs 3 days to respond. The Plaintiffs then responded by filing
a “Suggestion that the Judgment be Certified as Requiring Immediate
Resolution by the Florida Supreme Court.” This would give the DCA
the power to send the case straight to the states supreme court. The rules
of appellate procedure allow the DCA to certify circuit court orders as
requiring immediate resolution by the Supreme Court when the issues “are
of great public importance or have a great effect on the proper administration
of justice throughout the state.
Judge Gievers is a favorite of the medical marijuana industry as she also
recently ruled in favor of Joe Redner, in that he can cultivate his own
marijuana, which he uses in a raw form for juicing. Judge Gievers ruling
applied specifically to Redner, however, this is another step in the right
direction. The DOH has also appealed this decision, and Redner’s
attorneys followed suit in requesting the court to hand the case over
to the states Supreme Court.
It will be interesting to follow how the DOH and the legislature handle
the effects of these rulings. As the legalization of medical marijuana
is fairly new to the Florida it has been a trial and error process. If
you are a nursery that is applying for an MMTC license or has been wrongfully
denied an MMTC license contact us as we can help you attain your license
and serve Florida’s patients. We can also help you stay compliant
on a going forward basis. Lets face it, there are so many regulations
set in place by the DOH and the state’s legislature it is hard to
keep up while running your business. Let us handle that side of your business
for you, so you can be even more successful in serving Florida’s patients!