Court hears arguments on Florida's ban on smoking medical marijuana

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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
January 25, 2018


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- The state's ban on smoking medical marijuana came before the court Thursday, as patients argued the ban is unconstitutional and is hurting them.

Cathy Jordan has legally smoked marijuana as a medical necessity since April of 2013. She says it's the only drug that has kept the symptoms of her ALS at bay.

Cathy is one of three patients suing the state, hoping to overturn Florida's ban on smoking medical marijuana.

"We're fighting for her right to life. Really, that's what it boils down to,' her husband, Robert Jordan, said in court.

The constitutional amendment approved by voters says smoking pot in public is not permissible. Cathy's lawyers say that means in can still be smoked in private.

"There's no question that the definition of medical marijuana, in this constitutional provision, includes smokable marijuana," Jon Mills explained.

The state argues the constitutional silence gives it the power to ban all smokable marijuana.

"There is no expressed requirement that smoking medical marijuana has to be allowed under the amendment," contested Assistant Attorney General Rachel Nordby.

The judge promised a quick ruling. Cathy's husband says her life depends on it, saying "Cathy would die," if she can't smoke her prescription.

The same judge earlier this week refused to throw out a challenge to the state's ban on growing marijuana.

The smoking ban was sought by many law enforcement agencies, who argued to lawmakers that medicine isn't smoked and second-hand smoke could impact others in the home.

Advocates say vaporizing or eating marijuana doesn't capture all of the 400 cannabinoids contained in the original plant, which makes smoking it more effective.

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