The people of Florida approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 allowing the use of medical marijuana. The language of the bill passed into law only had a ban on smoking in public places. Otherwise, the language did not mention any other type of ban on smoking. In 2017, the Florida legislature took it upon itself to ban the sale of medical marijuana in the smokable form across the board. The laws passed by the legislature state that the product can only be sold and used in a form for vaping and in food including oils, sprays, and tinctures. The bottom line is, this is not what the people voted for. The original language that the people voted on clearly laid out that private use of smoking products was not illegal.
So, of course came lawsuits as many patients have stated that the administration of medical marijuana in the smokable form is most effective. The main issue here is if the Constitution allows it then the legislature cannot pass laws that are inconsistent with the Constitution. The Florida legislatures outlawing of smoking medical marijuana is clear evidence that the Constitution permits it. The legislatures reasoning for outlawing it in smokable form is to protect the public from the adverse effects of it. The states position is that the constitutional amendment does not expressly allow smoking. The state also has stated that it has broad authority to regulate health, safety, and welfare of the public.
The Plaintiff’s main argument is that the laws banning the sale of and use of medical marijuana smoking products is inconsistent with the intent of the people and Amendment 2 of the Florida Constitution. Additionally, the Plaintiffs have pointed out that the definition of marijuana used for purposes of the language placed on the ballot was: “all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not.” This definition clearly includes whole-flower marijuana, which is used for smoking.
Leon County Circuit Court Judge, Karen Gievers, will soon make a decision on the issue. However, this most likely will not be the end of the road for this case as the losing party will most likely appeal the decision.