Florida Man Sues Over State Ignoring Marijuana Law

A Florida man suffering from epilepsy is suing Gov. Rick Scott and the state of Florida for it's slow implementation.
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Michael Bowen Files Lawsuit Demanding License

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— A Florida man suffering from epilepsy is suing Gov. Rick Scott and the state of Florida due to the governor and his administration’s slower than molasses completion of Florida’s medical marijuana legislation. Medical marijuana was approved by voters in 2016.

Michael Bowen filed a lawsuit along with co-plaintiff Bill's Nursery, a medical marijuana farmer, on Tuesday. The suit requests the judge to order that licenses be granted by the Department of Health to treatment centers now. As of October 3, at least 10 licenses were supposed to be given but so far just 6 have been granted.

Bowen has severe grand mal seizures and other traditional treatments have failed him. He used to take up to 600 mg of barbiturates on a daily basis which left him clumsy and did not allow him to function. He says that with medical marijuana he can live a functional life. A spokeswoman for Florida’s Department of Health, Mara Gambineri, said that they are "diligently" working to implement the new law.

The lawsuit disagrees, stating that "Having allocated six of the ten MMTC licenses required, the DOH is obligated to issue four more MMTC licenses by October 3, 2017. But it has not done so. More egregiously, the DOH has no intention of complying with this mandate in the near future."

Bill’s Nursery is a family business run by Steve Garrison and his two son’s Donovan and Rusty. A third son, Matthew, was an Iraq war veteran who was disabled with severe brain injuries as a result. He died in January. The Garrison’s were inspired by Matthew’s disability prior to his death and are even more motivated now. “It’s personal for us — it hits home. We cared about this issue before, but after Matthew’s death, it’s so gut-wrenching because we want to help but are being held back.”

This isn’t the first time Florida has had an issue with administering medicine to patients in need. A woman residing in a nursing home was denied her medicine last October.

Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.

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