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JJ the Gardener

Judge Halts Florida's Attempt to Stop Patients From Smoking Medical Marijuana

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Judge Halts Florida's Attempt to Stop Patients From Smoking Medical Marijuana

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TALLAHASSEE - In a second stinging blow to Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature, a Leon County Circuit Court judge Tuesday lifted an automatic stay on her ruling that the state's ban on patient access to the smokable form of medical marijuana is unconstitutional.

Judge Karen Gievers gave the state until June 11 to put into action a process that will make smokable marijuana available to patients at marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. She said that the state's attempt to delay the implementation of her May 25 ruling created irreparable harm to patients, particularly two women who challenged the law which prevents them from being prescribed smokable marijuana to treat their chronic diseases.

"First, they cannot legally access the treatment recommended for them,'' Gievers wrote in the four-page ruling. "Second, they face potential criminal prosecution for possession and use of the medicinal substance."

Diana Dodson of Levy County, who has HIV and neuropathy, and Cathy Jordan of Manatee County, who has Lou Gehrig's disease, testified that the only cannabis delivery system that works for their symptoms is smoking, and they are alive only because they break the law and smoke marijuana.

The Florida Department of Health, which is charged with regulating medical marijuana in the state, said it was reviewing the ruling and would not answer questions about whether it will move forward with rules related to smoking marijuana. Instead, the agency released a statement focused on the existing law, which Gievers has ruled was unconstitutionally inconsistent with voters' intent.

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