Attorney Sues Florida over Ban on Smoking Medical Marijuana

Attorney Sues Florida over Ban on Smoking Medical Marijuana

John Morgan, the trial lawyer who spearheaded the effort to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, filed a lawsuit July 6, 2017, against the state’s decision to ban smokable forms of the plant. [1]

The attorney argued during a press conference outside the Leon County courthouse that smoking marijuana is the best way to administer the medication to some patients with debilitating conditions, including Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.

He asked reporters:

“Do we give a rat’s ass if a person dying from ALS smokes instead of vapes? I don’t.” [2]

In June 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law implementing the constitutional amendment. Under the law, however, smoking marijuana is banned, because lawmakers concluded that smoking isn’t healthy. The law does permit vaping, and the use of edibles, oils, sprays, and tinctures. [1]

Morgan said he believes it’s ridiculous that the government is concerned about the health effects of smoking marijuana in patients who are terminally ill. He took aim at Republican State Representative Ray Rodrigues, who said he is confident the bill will remain as-is.

Rodrigues, who sponsored the bill, also said lawmakers studied the science of medical cannabis and crafted a law that provides all the benefits without the health risks, saying that if smoking pot had been lawmakers’ intent, “they should have declared it.”

Morgan said:

“For Ray Rodrigues to say he’s concerned about a cancer patient smoking a few hits of marijuana so that they can kill the nausea is ridiculous. Do we give a rat’s ass if a person dying from ALS smokes instead of vapes? I don’t, and I trust the doctors to figure out what’s best for that patient, not Ray Rodrigues.”

Morgan took exception to the wording of the amendment, arguing that it should be assumed that smoking marijuana in private is legal, because the ballot amendment states that smoking medical marijuana in public could be banned. [2]

He opined:

“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if smoking is not allowed in public, it must certainly be allowed in private. That’s the intent. That’s what we said before we started.”

According to Rodrigues, however, other states that permit smokable medical marijuana made it clear in the proposals that went before their voters.

Rodrigues said:

“If you look at those other states, their constitutional amendments declared that it could be smoked and that it could be self-grown. If that’s what John Morgan wanted for Florida, he should have declared it in the amendment.”

An acid-tongued Morgan said he thinks efforts to clarify the bill’s language will eventually spark a move towards legalizing recreational marijuana in the state, and he’s ready to lead that effort, too.

“If they piss me off too much, I’ll address the smoking issue by having a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana. 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.”


[1] The Washington Post

[2] Orlando Sentinel