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Politics

Tallahassee Judge Tosses Smokable Medical Marijuana Suit -- For Now

January 26, 2018 - 3:45pm

A Tallahassee judge has ruled to throw out a People United for Medical Marijuana suit over smokable medical marijuana -- for now -- but said three Floridians had the standing to sue and left the door open for an amended lawsuit in the future, according to court documents released on Friday.

In a two-part ruling, Tallahassee Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers granted the state’s motion to dismiss the claims of People United for Medical Marijuana (PUMM), which argued the state’s 2016 constitutional amendment expanding the use of medical pot includes the smoking of the drug. 

“The pending amended complaint lacks sufficient allegations relative to the association’s standing,” Gievers wrote, adding the ruling was conditional based on PUMM submitting an amended pleading.

State attorneys as well as attorneys representing PUMM and patients who use medical marijuana made their initial arguments in the case Thursday morning.

Attorneys for PUMM and the plaintiffs argued Amendment 2 implicitly allows patients to smoke the drug since smoking is only explicitly banned in public. 

“If you’re the Legislature, why would you pick out smoking and say no? Because [this amendment] allows it,” attorney for the plaintiffs Jon Mills said. 

Plaintiffs also said they believed the Florida Legislature was acting erroneously and placing limitations on suffering Floridians looking for relief. 
 
“The Legislature’s taking the place of the doctors, telling us what we can and cannot do,” said Bob Jordan, whose wife Cathy, a plaintiff, suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease. “We voted for the constitutional amendment so we wouldn’t be prosecuted for smoking cannabis.”
 
State attorneys disagreed. 
 
"The plain language of the medical-marijuana amendment authorizes the Legislature to enact laws consistent with the amendment,” said State Deputy Solicitor General Rachel Nordby. “Here, the Legislature has enacted a law that embodies reasonable health and safety concerns in compliance with the amendment.”
 
Nordby said there was no “express requirement” that smoking medical marijuana should be allowed.

On Thursday, state attorneys also told Gievers to throw out the suit because they believed plaintiffs had no standing to sue since they are not “qualified patients” who have undergone the process to receive medical marijuana in the Sunshine State. 

Gievers’ Friday ruling denied the state’s motion to dismiss the case based on lack of standing, saying plaintiffs and their argument met the criteria to bring the case to court.

“The pending complaint contains sufficient allegations to meet the standing and active case or controversy criteria for the Court to have jurisdiction over this declaratory judgment action,” Gievers wrote in denying the state’s motion to dismiss. 

Gievers said the plaintiffs could file an amended pleading for the case within 10 days if they wished. If PUMM does not submit an amended complaint, the case will be thrown out. 
 
Florida voters overwhelmingly supported an amendment to expand the use of medical marijuana in 2016, but while the amendment provided for wider use of medical pot, it did not allow for the smoking of the drug.
 
Under current law, Floridians can use edibles, vaping, oils and pill forms of medical cannabis. 

View the ruling here. 

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates. 

 

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen

 

 

Comments

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I believe there is an error in this report. The case would not be thrown out, it would just proceed without PUMM as a plaintiff.

"QUALIFIED" is the word EVERY 'participant' involved in this "issue" should get out their dictionaries (you remember those, don't you boys & girls before "Google & Wikipedia" arrived on the scene"?) and closely re-familiarize themselves with;... "Language" IS INDEED important !

Misleading headline to say the least; The law suit was not “tossed”; even for now. Only one of the plaintiffs, the organization, had its complaint dismissed for failing to have sufficient standing allegations, yet it was granted leave to amend to pled sufficiently to do so. The motion to dismiss as to the individuals was denied, as their standing allegations were sufficiently pled, as well as the cause of action itself. Your reporter should consult w a lawyer about the Rules of Civil Procedure before writing the next headline on this or any other legal proceeding.

Don't neeeed no steenkin lawyer; just a good "reading comprehension" course... TRY one "Anonymous" counselor !

With all due respect, I think this article is incorrect. The association was denied standing, but the three patients were granted standing.

The motion to dismiss was denied, not the standing was denied.

It always amazes me how some people can milk a situation for the most profit. The state lawyers are on the state payroll/dole and the tax payer is shelling out tax dollars to watch these buffoons make a mockery in public. The state should completely get out of the pot business.

Unfortunately, everyone "on every side" gets PAID nowadays: That's what comes of a 'litigious society'...which is what we have become (at the hands of "trial lawyers" infecting & affecting every vestige of our modern existence) !

Unfortunately you are correct, lets hope there is some special place in Hell for these lawyers, let them look over their shoulders for that creeping darkness that comes to snatch them away.

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