Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers on Tuesday upheld her May 25 ruling, lifting a stay on her decision that the Florida legislature’s statewide ban on smokeable medical cannabis products is unconstitutional, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Judge Gievers said that the state has until June 11 to enact a process to allow smokeable cannabis products on the market.
According to Judge Gievers, who is no stranger to standing up for the medical cannabis community, the state’s attempt to stifle the industry has led to irreparable harm to patients.
“First, they cannot legally access the treatment recommended for them. Second, they face potential criminal prosecution for possession and use of the medicinal substance.” — Judge Gievers, in her ruling
In April, Judge Gievers ruled in favor of a stage 4 lung cancer survivor who was suing to grow and juice his own cannabis plants.
Florida‘s medical cannabis law was approved in 2016 by a 71 percent supermajority of voters. As written, the law should have operated as a fairly average, comprehensive medical cannabis program — but lawmakers stepped in to block some of the program’s basic functions, including smokeable products and the right for patients to grow their own medicine.
The Florida Department of Health, which has appealed both of Judge Gievers’ recent pro-MMJ rulings, would not disclose whether or not it would move to allow smokeable products.
“The use of medical marijuana is outlined in state law, which was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of the Florida legislature. Our focus remains with ensuring that patients have access to medical marijuana, and the Florida Department of Health has made significant progress in making this treatment available. In fact, there are more than 117,000 patients who have access to medical marijuana and over 1,300 doctors are licensed to order this treatment.” — Devin Galetta, DOH spokesperson, in a statement