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DeSantis Sets Deadline for Smokable Medical Marijuana

January 17th, 2019 by Jake Stofan

Nearly 170,000 medical marijuana patients in the state may soon have a new option for how they take their medicine… smoking.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced Thursday the state will drop its appeal of a court ruling that threw out the state ban on smoking medical cannabis if the Legislature doesn’t change the law during the first two weeks of March.

When 71% of voters approved medical marijuana in 2016 many thought smoking would be an option for patients.

The Legislature had other ideas.

“They voted for medical marijuana. They did not vote specifically for what form it comes in,” said then Representative Elizabeth Porter at a committee meeting in 2017.

Lawmakers’ decision to outlaw smoking spurred Amendment Author John Morgan to file his ‘No Smoke is a Joke’ lawsuit.

“There are 400, 500,000 people, sick people today that are counting on this,” said Morgan in July of 2017.

A circuit court agreed with Morgan, ruling the Legislature’s ban on smoking was unconstitutional.

The state appealed, blocking the ruling from taking effect, but now that may change.

Governor Ron DeSantis says he will drop the appeal if the Legislature doesn’t change the law to allow smoking by mid-March.

“Whether they have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that? I want people to be able to have their suffering relieved,” said DeSantis.

Senator Rob Bradley, the author of the law says DeSantis is on the right track.

“It was put into law for some very good solid policy reasons, but it is starting to get the feel of an issue that we probably need to move past,” said Bradley.

Medical marijuana advocates agree, but only if the change actually happens.

“People can say all kinds of things, so I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic,” said Josephine Cannela-Khrel with the Florida Cannabis Action Network.

The announcement has Medical marijuana business advocates rejoicing.

They believe it’s a first step toward dropping appeals in other cases like the limitation on the number of growers licenses.

Calling the current distribution system a cartel, DeSantis also wants lawmakers to change the state’s seed to sale requirement opening the market and creating more access.

The issue is at the center of another lawsuit being appealed by the state.

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