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Florida lawyer and advocate sues state for banning private smoking of medical cannabis

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Florida lawyer and advocate sues state for banning private smoking of medical cannabis

Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

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A lawyer in Florida known for advocating the right to medical cannabis is now suing the state’s decision to ban smoking the plant.

In 2016, John Morgan successfully financed the campaign to get medical cannabis on the ballot, which passed under the context that smoking in public would be illegal. The bill did not state whether the illegality would extend to private use.

Currently, the amendment allows patients in the program to purchase cannabis as edibles, tinctures, oils, and sprays. A reversal of this ban would result in cultivators expanding in product offerings, moving beyond edibles and tinctures, to the realm of physical flower.

Opponents of the amendment are claiming the lack of clarification was an attempt to deceive the voter base to get the legislation passed. Organizations like Drug Free America are defending the ban, by admitting the legislation isn’t perfect, but an attempt to strike a chord of balance between those who need medical cannabis and protecting the health of all Floridians.

If Morgan succeeds with his lawsuit, the power of writing new legislation for the updated amendment would be passed to the Florida Department of Health.

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

He also cited a 2012 University of California San Francisco study that deemed cannabis less harmful than tobacco, with minimal long-term health effects.

Yet House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues said the exclusion of text in the case of private use does not protect the amendment from adding a private smoking ban addendum.

“If smoking was their intent, they should have declared it,” Rodrigues said.

John Morgan is bringing the battle to social media, where the hashtag #NoSmokeIsAJoke promotes the idea that if the Florida lawmakers truly cared about harm associated with cannabis smoke, tobacco taxes would be hiked.

 

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Florida lawyer and advocate sues state for banning private smoking of medical cannabis