ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando attorney John Morgan during a news conference Tuesday morning called on Gov. Rick Scott to end the state's legal battle to prohibit smokable medical marijuana.
Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers on Friday ruled that a state's ban on smokable cannabis is unconstitutional. Within an hour, Morgan said, the Florida Department of Health, which Scott oversees, filed an appeal.
“Gov. Scott could remove that appeal today if he wants,” Morgan said.
Voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 allowing the use of medical marijuana. The only mention of smoking in the amendment's language and in an intent document during the 2016 campaign was that the legislature and local governments could restrict it in public places.
The legislature last year passed enacting laws that banned the sale of smoking products, citing a health risk. The laws, signed by Scott in June, say patients can use cannabis through vaping and in food, oils, sprays and tinctures.
Morgan, who led the fight to legalize medical marijuana in the Sunshine State, said that for some severely ill people the only real relief is from smoking.
"It is for many people the most direct and effective mechanism for immediate relief," Morgan said.
He said providing them with that option could help reduce the negative effect opioids are having across the nation.
“Marijuana in all of its forms is the best fight against opioids,” Morgan said.
The Orlando attorney said it's now up to Scott to withdraw the appeal. If not, Morgan plans to take the legal battle to the state Supreme Court.
“We will win, I believe, if we go all the way through it," Morgan said.
Morgan urged Floridians to call, email or take to social media to express their opinions on the issue to Scott and his office by calling 850-488-7146, tweeting @FLGovScott or going to Facebook.com/ScottforFlorida.
Dispensaries with Orlando area locations said they would begin offering the smokeable products soon.
Truleive has multiple locations in Florida, including one in Orlando on Orange Blossom Trial.
“Trulieve stands ready to provide Florida patients flower and the medical benefits the entourage effects that full flower cannabis provides," a spokesperson for Trulieve said. "We look forward to guidance from the Department of Health on next steps to approve this next form of medicine for patients."
Knox Medical, the first company to open an Orlando dispensary, said it would continue innovating by offering new products to the market. Perla, "offering one of the highest CBD concentration on the market," will be available as early as next week, Knox Medical said.
"Knox Medical is reviewing Judge Gievers’ order and is following the matter on behalf of the health and safety of our patients," a spokesperson said. "As an industry leader, we are committed to furthering innovation in medical cannabis by introducing new legal, safe, and consistent medications and delivery systems."