Judge lifts stay in Joe Redner ‘home grow’ marijuana case

Joe Redner

A Tallahassee judge on Tuesday lifted an automatic delay of the effect of her earlier ruling that Tampa strip club mogul Joe Redner can grow and make juice of his own medical marijuana.

An attorney for the Department of Health said it would immediately appeal Circuit Judge Karen Gievers‘ decision to lift the ‘stay‘ to the 1st District Court of Appeal. (A copy of the judge’s order is below.)

“It is solely Mr. Redner who will be harmed if the stay is not promptly vacated; each day he is kept from accessing the recommended marijuana juice increases the risk of irreparable harm to him,” she wrote.

Redner is a lung cancer survivor who is in remission. His doctors say juiced marijuana is the “optimal” way to keep his cancer in check.

The department, on the other hand, “has provided no evidence of the harm it will suffer” by lifting the stay, Gievers wrote, adding that medical marijuana regulators have not “complied with (their) constitutional duties as to determining dosage.” Her prior order limits Redner to no more than eight ounces daily, based on his doctors’ recommendations.

During a morning hearing, Redner attorney Luke Lirot reminded Gievers of her previous ruling that Redner has a constitutional right to possess growing marijuana plants. Redner did not attend but was listening in by phone.

But being in remission is “both certain and terrifying,” Lirot said in court. “This is a medical necessity,” he added, saying Redner showed a likelihood of irreparable harm if couldn’t immediately start juicing and drinking his marijuana.

“Every day he misses, every day he cannot consume his medicine, that’s a day we don’t get back,” Lirot said. “This is a real emergency, a sincere emergency.”

Jason Gonzalez, the Health Department’s outside counsel, said automatic stays of cases should not be lifted but for “rare exceptions.”

“This is not the case for an exception … This simply maintains the status quo,” he told Gievers, saying such motions should be granted only in the “most compelling circumstances.”

“What could be more compelling than the health of a human being?” Lirot countered.

In last week’s ruling, Gievers wrote that her decision was supported by the “clear language” of the state constitutional amendment OK’d by voters in 2016, and the “lack of any credible evidence” to the contrary.

Her order, which applies only to Redner, allows him to “possess, grow and use marijuana,” but only for juicing.

The department “fully expects Judge Giever’s ruling to be reversed on appeal,” said Devin Galetta, Health’s interim communications director.

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]


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