May 29, 2018

Florida Judge Rules Ban on Smokeable Medical Marijuana is Unconstitutional

May 29, 2018
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Attorney Jon Mills argued that the definition approved by voters included "all types of medical marijuana."

In a 22-page order, County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers said that the Legislature’s ban on smoking medical marijuana conflicted with the intent of a constitutional amendment that legalized MMJ in 2016 when 71 percent of Florida voters approved it.

The Judge concurred with arguments made in one-day trial by Jon Mills, an attorney for the plaintiffs, who argued that the definition approved by voters included “all types of medical marijuana,” including smokeable forms.

Attorney Mills also argued that the amendment implicitly recognized smoking in private by recognizing there was no right to smoke it in public places.

In striking down the smoking ban, Judge Gievers invoked both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in her decision and highlighted Washington’s characterization of the constitution as a “sacred obligation.”

“Just as no person is above the law, the legislature must heed the constitutional rights Floridians placed in the Constitution in 2016,” she wrote.

She referred to the 2017 statute that limited MMJ consumption to oils, sprays, tinctures, vaping and edibles, as “overreaching,” which should not be allowed “to overrule the authority of the people to protect rights in the Constitution.”

Judge Gievers heard arguments in a one-day trial last week for the case, which was brought against the state last July by John Morgan, an Orlando attorney who also financed the campaign for MMJ legalization.

Ben Pollara, who managed the political campaign that helped push the constitutional amendment for legalization, said the ruling was a victory both for Florida patients and for voters who supported the amendment.

“The court reaffirmed the will of the voters pretty explicitly,” he said, in the Tampa Bay Times. “There’s no reason the state should continue to expend resources on [an appeal].”

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