Lawsuit Filed in Florida Challenging Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban

The Orlando attorney behind Florida’s 2016 successful Amendment 2, which passed with over 70 percent of the vote, has filed a lawsuit that would give patients the right to smoke marijuana in their homes.

John Morgan, who largely financed the medical marijuana campaign, filed the lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court on Thursday, challenging a smoking ban included in the medical marijuana implementation measure passed by the state legislature earlier this year.

Amendment 2 prohibits patients from smoking medical marijuana in public, but the state legislature took that one step further and banned smoking marijuana altogether, including in the privacy of one’s own home.  At least five other states with comprehensive medical marijuana programs prohibit smoking cannabis.

Morgan says the amendment approved by voters implied that smoking marijuana by patients would be allowed.

“The amendment said smoking was not allowed in public places. I don’t think you have to be too much of a scholar to understand that that means it is allowed in private,” says Morgan. “I don’t know how much simpler it can be than that.”

According to the lawsuit, by passing a law banning smoking of marijuana by patients, the state legislature violated the amendment’s definition of “medical use” because lawmakers were making medical decisions on behalf of patients instead of their doctor doing so.

The lawsuit cites a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found marijuana smoking increased lung capacity and did not impair lung function.

Morgan says he is confident his lawsuit will be successful, but if the smoking ban is allowed to stand, he’ll up the ante.

“If they piss me off too much, I’ll address the smoking issue by having a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana,” he said. “If I lose in court, I’ll go through all the marijuana people I know, it won’t take a lot of money, and we will move to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Then they’ll really be sorry they pushed me.”

Florida’s medical marijuana program is required to be operational by October.

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