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Judge Considering Overruling Florida's Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban

While medical marijuana is legal in a handful of states, there are often restrictions on how to use it. One of the most popular restrictions is a ban on smoking medicinal cannabis. But if you're living in Florida, you may be able to toke up in the near future.

A judge in Florida is considering overturning the state's ban on smoking medical marijuana. In 2016, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment creating a medical marijuana program in the state. Then last June, the state legislature approved a bill implementing the law, but instituting a ban on patients smoking their medicinal cannabis. A lawsuit filed by Cathy and Bob Jordan says that ban violates the constitutional amendment passed by voters.

Smoking bans in medical marijuana laws are not that rare. A similar ban is in place in New York state. The state of Florida argued in court that the amendment says the Legislature is allowed to pass any law that is in compliance with what voters passed, and since there was no requirement that smoking marijuana be allowed, the ban is therefore legal. 

The lawyers for the Jordan family say that the law didn't need to require smoking because it was already allowed. The 2016 amendment used the definition of marijuana as it's stated in the Florida criminal code, which says "all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not." That includes the flower of marijuana, which is used for smoking.

Another argument being made is that the ban denies patients access to their medicine. According to the Jordan's, Cathy is unable to use a vaporizer to use cannabis because it makes her gag. But the smoking ban prevents her from using a more comfortable consumption method.

The judge in the case says she will issue a judgment quickly.

The same judge is also considering a separate lawsuit from another Florida resident who says the state's ban on growing marijuana is also unconstitutional.

(h/t Tallahassee Democrat)


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