Florida Officials Seek to Uphold MMJ Smoking Ban

The office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a 57-page brief on Friday arguing that an appeals court should rule in favor of the legislature’s decision to ban the smoking of marijuana products under the state’s new comprehensive medical cannabis regime, the News Service of Florida reports.

The memo argues that the Legislature “considered important health and safety factors” when it approved the ban, which medical cannabis advocates — and at least one judge, Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers — have declared unconstitutional.

The memo is the state’s first step toward challenging Judge Gievers’ decision.

“Notably, the Legislature considered evidence of the health hazards of smoking and concluded that smoking marijuana constitutes a harmful delivery method. Time and again during debate, elected members of Florida’s Legislature emphasized that the amendment is exclusively about medicine and that smoking is antithetical to good medicine. In considering these health-related factors, the Legislature reasonably determined that the harms caused by smoking — including harms to patients and those exposed to secondhand smoke — were ample reason to exclude smoking from the statutory definition of ‘medical use.’ The Legislature, therefore, acted under its general authority to regulate public health, safety, and welfare when it drew a reasonable line between the smoking of medical marijuana and other delivery methods.” — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office, in the brief

In 2016, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program.

Since then, the Legislature has repeatedly taken steps — including the smoking ban and a ban on home grown cannabis — to circumvent the voter-approved constitutional amendment. Several lawsuits have ensued.

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