The state’s Department of Health says a trial court made an “erroneous conclusion” that Tampa strip club mogul Joe Redner “has a constitutional right to homegrown, juiced (medical) marijuana.”
But Redner’s attorney says the state simply continues to argue – also erroneously – that the state’s constitutional amendment on medical marijuana doesn’t mean what it says.
He won a decision, now under appeal, from Tallahassee Circuit Judge Karen Gievers last month that Redner — a 77-year-old lung cancer survivor — has an immediate right to ‘home grow.’ His doctor says juiced marijuana is the best way to keep his cancer in remission, though the state countered he “also acknowledged the lack of scientific research to support this claim.”
But the state appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal, which reinstated a delay of the effect of the ruling while the case is under review there. Redner asked that court to expedite the appeal.
The Health Department regulates medicinal cannabis through its Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
In its response, the department’s lawyers in part argued that under the “definition of ‘medical use,’ a qualifying patient is not entitled to cultivate (i.e., grow) or process marijuana because the words ‘cultivate’ and ‘process’ are not included” in the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2016.
“Instead, the right to cultivate and process medical marijuana is reserved for” authorized medical marijuana providers, it says.
But the state’s definition of “cannabis” says it’s “all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not (and) the seeds thereof,” which Redner says bolsters his case.
While he awaits the appeal, he’s also asking Gievers to order the state to reimburse his legal costs — including $16,000 for PowerPoint presentations — because he won the lawsuit. The state later asked that the costs request be held “in abeyance” pending the appeal.
Health spokesman Devin Galetta has said the agency “fully expects Judge Gievers’ ruling to be reversed on appeal.”
Luke Lirot, Redner’s attorney, said he “disagrees with the department’s arguments” and said the stay should be lifted.
“We have an important constitutional issue that will invariably be before them, coupled with (Redner’s) emergent medical condition,” he said. “… Time is of the essence.”
Redner, owner of the Mons Venus nightclub, also is a vegan. Gievers’ order limits him to no more than eight ounces or raw marijuana daily, based on his doctors’ recommendations. It applies only to Redner and allows him to “possess, grow and use marijuana” only for juicing.
Friday’s full 22-page filing is here.