Two patients with debilitating diseases have gone to court to push for the legalization of smoking medical marijuana in the state of Florida. The two patients, both women, suffer from incurable illnesses that they manage by smoking the drug illegally, even though they qualify to receive legal forms of marijuana. The reason they don’t: smoking is the only way the medicine helps them cope.
Fighting Marijuana Laws that Put Lives in Jeopardy
Diana Dodson of Levy County and Cathy Jordan of Manatee County urged the court to overturn the state ban on smoking medical marijuana. Dodson suffers from HIV and neuropathy, while Jordan manages Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS. They provided compelling testimony in front of Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers; they argued that the treatments the state currently allows don’t help them manage their diseases.
Jordan testified that she was given up to 5 more years of life in 1986 and that she illegally grows marijuana in her yard. Legal forms of medical marijuana like edibles cause her “terrible muscle pain.” Vaping makes her gag.
Smoking, she said, “increases her appetite, dries her excess saliva, and calms her muscles.” Her doctors do not worry about the health risks of smoking marijuana because of how far she has come since her diagnosis.
Dodson also testified that she used all forms of cannabis to treat her HIV and neuropathy; out of the different forms, smoking works best because she can get the amount she needs.
Making Medical Access to Cannabis a Constitutional Right
Jordan and Dodson are part of a lawsuit against the state brought by an Orlando trial lawyer who has financed the campaign to make medical access to cannabis a constitutional right. He filed suit on behalf of Dodson and Jordan and advocacy groups against a law that he claims “violates the intent of the constitutional amendment voters approved” in 2016.
Amendment 2 passed to allow patients to use cannabis as medicine for debilitating conditions. Afterward, Florida lawmakers limited the scope of Amendment 2 by reducing options for how patients take the drug. Currently, patients may only use oils, vaping devices, and edibles.
The Future of Smoking Medical Marijuana
For now, smoking marijuana for any reason is strictly prohibited. Lawmakers fear that the push to permit smoking medical marijuana is a back-door attempt to allow recreational use; however, others believe that banning smoking medical marijuana will only serve to encourage efforts to legalize recreational use.
Marijuana Crimes Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach
If you face charges for marijuana offenses in West Palm Beach, turn to attorney Brian Gabriel for help. From minor charges like simple drug possession to federal drug trafficking, Brian Gabriel can guide you through this uncertain time and employ his experience in criminal defense to seek the best possible outcome. The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has stood up for people facing criminal charges in Florida for over 30 years. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation.