Florida appeals court rejects request to speed up smokable medical marijuana case



An appeals court Tuesday rejected a request to quickly send a major medical-marijuana case to the Florida Supreme Court.

The case focuses on arguments about whether a 2017 law improperly bars patients from smoking medical marijuana. Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers last month ruled that the smoking ban violated a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida.

Attorneys for the state appealed Gievers’ ruling to the 1st District Court of Appeal. Plaintiffs in the case, including the group People United for Medical Marijuana, filed a motion June 8 asking that the case be “certified” to the Supreme Court —- a move that would effectively lead to bypassing the 1st District Court of Appeal.

The plaintiffs argued, in part, that the ban on smoking marijuana “presents an immediate threat of irreparable injuries to those patients for whom this medical (smoking) treatment is currently prohibited.”

But attorneys for the state disputed that the case should go immediately to the Supreme Court.

“(There) are various other forms of medical marijuana presently available and approved (or permitted) … in Florida for qualifying patients,” the state argued in a June 12 brief. “For example, vaping or vaporization of marijuana flower is permitted for medical use, so long as the flower is in a sealed, tamperproof receptacle.”

The appeals court Tuesday issued a one-sentence order rejecting the request to certify the case to the Supreme Court, though the order did not explain the reasoning.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.