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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

John Morgan: Gov. Rick Scott is playing with 'political wildfire' by not allowing smokeable medical cannabis

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2018 at 3:36 PM

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Orlando attorney and medical cannabis advocate John Morgan thinks Gov. Rick Scott is making a political miscalculation by not giving the go-ahead for smokeable medical cannabis in Florida.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Morgan called on Scott to drop the state’s decision to appeal a ruling issued last week that said the ban on smoking medical cannabis in the Sunshine State is unconstitutional.

“What everyone needs to understand is that Gov. Scott could remove that appeal today if he wants,” Morgan told reporters. “Gov. Scott should say enough is enough: ‘I am going to allow the people’s will to be done.’”

He adds: "I believe Gov. Scott has a political chance to make a huge dent. Imagine the headlines tomorrow: 'Great Scott: Gov. Scott drops medical marijuana appeal.' I think he could gain five points overnight."

On Friday, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Giever ruled that Floridians have a constitutional right to smoke medical cannabis, and that the Legislature's ban on smoking medical cannabis conflicted with voters' approval of a constitutional amendment that legalized the use of cannabis as a form of medicine in 2016.

"The defendants' toxicology expert's opinion about whether smokeable marijuana is a good way for those with debilitating conditions to get relief is, quite frankly, irrelevant," the judge wrote. "Floridians have already given the rights of qualifying patients constitutional protection." 

Within an hour of the ruling on Friday, though, the state filed an appeal.

The suit was filed on behalf of two patients – Diana Dodson of Levy County, who has HIV and neuropathy, and Cathy Jordan of Manatee County, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, both of whom say they’re alive today because they grow their own plants, albeit illegally, according to Morgan.

Smoking as a method of medical treatment was originally excluded by lawmakers, who argued that smoking would be a "backdoor attempt" at eventually allowing recreational use.

Almost three-quarters of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 allowing the use of medical marijuana.

However, last year, the Legislature passed laws that were signed by the governor banning the sale of smoking products for, as they put it, health risks. Under current law, patients in Florida can use cannabis through vaping or as oils, sprays and tinctures.

Morgan said on Tuesday, referring to how smoking medical cannabis is the most reliable form of consumption for some patients: "This is plain old meanness."

The governor, whom Morgan said he is typically friendly with, has a few weeks to follow his advice and drop the appeal, Morgan said.

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