Orlando lawyer John Morgan filed a lawsuit against the state Thursday over a smoking ban on medical marijuana that he says violates the intent of Florida voters who approved the constitutional amendment last year.
Morgan, who bankrolled the Amendment 2 ballot initiative, filed the suit in Leon County, days after new laws regarding the state's medical marijuana program went into effect. The lawyer says the intent of the ballot amendment approved by 71 percent of Florida voters in November makes clear that while smoking cannabis could be banned in public, it should be allowed in private homes.
"If something is not allowed in public, it is allowed in private," Morgan told reporters Thursday. "It’s as clear to all of you as it is to any first grader taking first-grade logic."
Florida lawmakers banned smoking medical marijuana but allowed patients to use vaporizers for the product. Medical cannabis advocates have argued this limits the way patients can consume the medication, and that doctors, not legislators, should decide what type of medical cannabis is right for patients' treatment.
"The people of Florida knew exactly what they were voting on, when they voted," Morgan told reporters Thursday. "When they were voting on it, the vast majority, if not 100 percent, knew that smoke was included. The fact that we are here today is really unnecessary, but here we go."
Legislators have argued that smoking marijuana can be bad for patients' health and have deemed it as "backdoor attempt" to recreational marijuana in Florida. State Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, one of the primary backers of the smoking ban told the News Service of Florida that the ballot initiative wasn't clear regarding whether medical marijuana could be smoked. Morgan rejected this idea, saying instead that state lawmakers "kicked the door wide open for recreational use of marijuana" by limiting medical cannabis.
"They thought that this was their way of stopping people from backdooring the recreational use of marijuana," Morgan said. "All they did, in the process, was to hurt the patients who need it the most."