Floridians push for right to smoke medical marijuana

Published: May. 15, 2018 at 9:53 PM CDT
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A Bradenton woman who says her suffering from ALS is decreased because of smokable medical marijuana gets her day in court Wednesday.

She and other plaintiffs are challenging the state's ban on smokable medicine.

As lawmakers debated the rules for medical marijuana, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was adamant.

“We don’t think there should be smokable marijuana,” Gualtieri told lawmakers in January 2017.

Fast forward five months, and John Morgan, the man who bankrolled the amendment, filed his “No Smoke is a Joke" lawsuit.

He argues people knew what they wanted.

“The vast majority, if not 100 percent knew that smoke was included,” Morgan told reporters.

The constitutional amendment mentions smoking just once; it says smoking can’t be in public.

In a January hearing, advocates argued that means it can be smoked in private.

Jon Mills is the Amendment 2 Author.

“There’s no question that the definition of marijuana in this constitutional provision includes smokable marijuana,” said Mills.

The state says otherwise.

Rebecca Nordby, the attorney for the Department of Health said, “There is no express requirement that smoking medical marijuana has to be allowed.”

Plaintiff Cathy Jordan and her husband Robert say that smoking marijuana has kept her ALS at bay for more than 20 years.

“Noticeable difference,” Robert told us when it came to vaping or edibles.

Jeff Sharkey of the Medical Marijuana Business Association says it will likely come down to what doctors recommend.

“If the amendment didn’t say it was prohibited then, implicitly, it’s allowed,” said Sharkey.

The same judge in this case recently ruled that a Tampa man could grow his own marijuana based on a doctor’s recommendation.

The state opposed that, just as it opposes this.

And no matter how the judge rules, the loser is likely to appeal.