Judge allows medical marijuana ‘no smoke’ case to go forward


What looks like a loss at first blush is a win for John Morgan in his legal effort to overturn the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana.

A Tallahassee judge on Friday granted the state’s motion to dismiss as to People United for Medical Marijuana, the association-plaintiff, saying it didn’t have the legal standing to be in the case.

It’s the political committee behind the constitutional amendment on medicinal cannabis approved in 2016. Morgan, the Orlando attorney and entrepreneur known for his ubiquitous Morgan & Morgan law firm advertisements, championed the amendment’s passage.

But Circuit Judge Karen Gievers allowed the lawsuit to move forward for the three other patient-plaintiffs, who qualify to use the drug. (Her order is here.)

They are Diana Dodson of Levy County, a cancer patient; Roberto Pickering of Leon County, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder; and Catherine Jordan of Manatee County, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease. Jordan and her husband attended the hearing on the motion Thursday.

“This is a win for the patients; it specifically recognizes their rights,” plaintiffs’ attorney Jon Mills said in an interview. “I spoke to the Jordans and they are delighted. She’s a hero and I am glad to represent her.”

Gievers gave Mills 10 days to amend the complaint, which he said he “may or may not” do, now that the patient-plaintiffs won the day. 

The state has two weeks to file an answer to the complaint, including any affirmative defenses. A request for comment from the Department of Health, charged with regulating medical marijuana, is pending.

Last year, lawmakers approved and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law an implementing bill (SB 8-A) for the amendment that does not allow marijuana to be smoked.

The suit seeks a declaratory judgment that the smoking ban runs counter to the amendment’s language, which does not expressly permit medicinal cannabis to be smoked.

House Republican Leader Ray Rodrigues of Estero, who sponsored the implementing bill, has said “we don’t believe you smoke medicine.” Edibles and “vaping” are permitted, however.

Mills, arguing against the ban at Thursday’s hearing, said the amendment’s definition of marijuana includes the smokeable kind.

Updated at 6 p.m. — Morgan tweeted later on Friday, “This is a win for patients who are sick and who are dying. The Florida Legislature should save the taxpayers money and enact smoke NEXT week!! But then the pharmaceutical giants would not like that. #NoSmokeIsAJoke” 

In another tweet, he said, “Today was a GREAT day for patients’ rights. We will amend for this one plaintiff. This judge’s rulings today puts us one step closer to the right to smoke and to fight illness and death with dignity!! #NoSmokeIsAJoke”

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Chris

    January 26, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Thank You

  • Christopher M. Kennard

    January 26, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Congratulations to Cathy and Bob Jordan, our former FLORIDIANS FOR FREEDOM who are our particular heroes, for the many decades of advocacy and educational attempts they have made to encourage Florida legislators to “see,” “hear” and “acknowledge” the many medicinal values and treatments that cannabis provides . . . yet few ever have.

    Now, the people of Florida have filed suit in state court against our own state government who continues to ignore thousands of years of medical evidence and the will of the greater majority of Florida citizens who have repeatedly demanded our politicians to legalize cannabis use over the last couple of years . . . yet patients continue to be denied and left for dead when many millions could be cured, healed and/or relieved of much of the pain and discomfort they experience, yet need not to if cannabis were made fully available to them.

    While FLORIDIANS FOR FREEDOM have long led the campaign in Florida, arising from the state wide group, Florida Cannabis Action Network in 2015 to introduce the first full legal cannabis constitutional amendment ballot initiative after all other efforts failed and it became obvious that the more corrupt elements of our current elected politicians who are controlling Florida until our next election in November, 2018 still intend to muddy the waters and deny citizens of Florida full medical use of cannabis, despite the clear, unambiguous medical evidence that pours in from around the world.

    For that reason, Cathy and Bob Jordan are not only on the witness stand testifying to protect and assist all others who have the same or similar medical issues but lead the FLORIDIANS FOR FREEDOM to propose the RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS [Initiative Serial # 15-20] which provides all adults in Florida over the age of twenty-one to possess, use and grow your own cannabis on private property . . . for medicinal purposes as well as to just relax and enjoy within the sanctity of your own home or backyard, or even down the street at a adult friend’s home in the neighborhood.

    Once Florida voters sign around 975,000 more petitions and mail them in over this next year, then we, the people, will decide by our vote whether or not to legalize cannabis use.

    We vote in the 2020 national and state election, and once over 60 % of us vote to approve this RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS — it becomes law! Two months later, in January of 2021 you can go and grow your own to smoke or use as you may wish on private property.

    Please join Cathy and Bob Jordan and all the citizen volunteers who are signing these petitions to create and pass this new Florida state law, RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS so we can vote to approve legalized cannabis and full use of all plants of the genus, Cannabis, including commercial hemp crops, medicinal cannabis and all other varieties.

    While we are at it, we ought to be asking everyone running for elected local, state and federal office in Florida whether they have signed a petition and will back the law to the full extent as provided under this constitutional amendment law. If not, find another candidate who is honest, intelligent and will follow the will of the people, not the money crumbs given to our current politicians to betray the American people.

    It is time, folks, for us to engage and enact our people’s peaceful “political revolution” and this time, elect Bernie Sanders or someone else good, and avoid all the corrupt politicians who work for the mega-wealthy but have not protected best interests of the American
    people. Let’s get moving!!!
    Once approved by 60% or more of Florida voters in 2020, corrupt or misguided Florida politicians cannot delay, derail or deny the RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS. This very simple, clear and concise constitutional legal terms becomes the “Golden Grail” for all other states to follow who have yet to pass and enact their own legal cannabis laws.

    I will not be surprised to see Independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders once again led the way to new federal law ending the federal prohibition of cannabis and thereby enable citizens, themselves, to determine whether to legalize cannabis on a state by state basis across the United States of America!

    • carye mchargue

      January 26, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      This is progress…..slow….but progress
      I’m medical mj. The n Fla….
      And yes the should put flowers in Dispensary… And we should be able to grow own buds

  • cathy adams

    January 26, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    my name is cathy diagnosed stage 4 lung cancer nov.2013 went to moffit cancer center 2014 got biopsy of liver it had 2or3 tumors cancer colon 1tumor kidney 2 started on 5 bouts of radiation then chemo it did not work put me on taxetere did not work ask me if I would like to see if I qualify for a 50 50 chance at astudy drug sad sure gt nothing to lose found out I was the only one in the nation out of 687 people that got this drug that it worked on that’s almost impossible I have been smoking ajoint every night for 2 yrs. and believe its the cure my doctor says don’t stop what I’m doing I’m still here iwill be a witness

  • Melissa Choquette

    January 28, 2018 at 2:44 am

    My name is Melissa and i have lupus and am in a lot of pain and i need smokeable cannibis for very quick relief I thank all for getting Florida Where we’re supposed too be

  • Ralph Waters

    January 28, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Free the one drug that never has harmed anyone, helped millions, and can be grown at home.

  • Johnny Perez

    January 29, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Im an Iraq war combat vet. VA rated 100% service connected. I use medicinal cannabis as a medicine to treat my condition. Absolutely nothing else besides de cannabis has worked for me. Thats all I can say…

  • Christina Musella

    February 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    I was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) 15 months ago. At that time riluzole was prescribed. I found I could not tolerate it. did very little to help me. The medical team did even less. My decline was rapid and devastating. The psychological support from the medical centre was non-existent and if it were not for the sensitive care and attention of my primary physician, I would have died. There has been little if any progress in finding a cure or reliable treatment. My ALS got significantly worse and unbearable because of my difficulty catching breath. Last year, i started on a natural ALS Herbal therapy from Green House Herbal Clinic, i read a lot of positive reviews from patients who used the treatment and i immediately started on it. I had great relief with this herbal treatment. I am doing very much better now, no case of shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing,, my ALS condition is totally reversed. Visit Green House Herbal Clinic website

Comments are closed.


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