Florida judge lifts stay on smokable medical marijuana
Updated: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Florida judge has lifted a stay on smoking medical marijuana.
Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers on Tuesday upheld her May 25 ruling that the Florida Legislature’s provision banning smokable medical marijuana is unconstitutional. The stay will officially be lifted on Monday. Gievers wrote that delaying her ruling any further would create irreparable harm to patients.
The Florida Department of Health had filed an appeal of Gievers’ original ruling, which automatically put it on hold.
Even with the stay being lifted, smokable medical marijuana will not immediately be available for sale at treatment centers.
That’s because FDOH must come up with rules for cultivation and distribution, which could take several months.
The department provided Channel 9 with the following statement Tuesday:
“We are reviewing this ruling. The use of medical marijuana is outlined in state law, which was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of the Florida legislature. DOH is working every day to implement the law. To be clear, patients in Florida have access to this treatment in many forms outlined in state law.
“Our focus remains with ensuring that patients have access to medical marijuana, and the Florida Department of Health has made significant progress in making this treatment available. In fact, there are more than 117,000 patients who have access to medical marijuana and over 1,300 doctors are licensed to order this treatment. There are dispensaries located across the state and patients have access to home delivery.”
Christina Cusack, of Winter Park, said she uses medical marijuana to treat her multiple sclerosis.
“If the oils had a benefit to them, then I’d be all pro-oil,” she said. “Let’s keep it, but it’s not enough.”
Danielle Bailey said smoking marijuana makes a big difference for helping her with her muscular dystrophy.
“It got me off pain meds, and it got me to be able to go back to work,” she said.
Attorney John Morgan, who is behind allowing smokable marijuana, has urged Gov. Rick Scott and the state to not appeal the judge’s decision.
No other lawsuits have been filed in other jurisdictions in the state on the issue.
Channel 9’s Samantha Manning contributed to this report.