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Lawsuit: State of Florida Ignoring Medical Marijuana Law

November 21, 2017
(zxvisual/iStock)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida nursery and a man who suffers from epilepsy filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Gov. Rick Scott’s administration that contends that state officials are flouting the state’s new medical marijuana law.

It’s the latest legal challenge against the way Florida officials and state legislators have acted since voters approved medical marijuana a year ago.

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Bill’s Nursery, located in Miami-Dade County, and Michael Bowen want a judge to order the Department of Health to hand out new licenses for treatment centers that were promised in a law passed by the Legislature this past summer. Treatment centers are the only businesses allowed to grow, process and sell medical marijuana.

“Medical marijuana is literally the only thing that can control my seizures and keep me alive.”
Michael Bowen, plaintiff and epilepsy patient

The state was supposed to hand out a total of 10 new licenses by October, but so far has only approved six. Officials have blamed the delay on a separate lawsuit challenging another provision of the new law.

Bowen said the department is blocking patients from getting access to medical marijuana.

“In cases like mine, medical marijuana is literally the only thing that can control my seizures and keep me alive,” Bowen said in a statement. “But the Florida Department of Health’s inexcusable foot-dragging is keeping patients like me from getting safe, reliable access to these lifesaving treatments.”

Mara Gambineri, a spokeswoman for the department, said that the state is working “diligently” to implement the new law.

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“We remain committed to moving this process forward, and will do so in an expedient and thoughtful manner,” Gambineri said in an email.

Patients who suffered from epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms, cancer and terminal conditions were allowed under laws Scott signed in 2014 and 2016 to receive either low-THC cannabis or full strength medical marijuana. The amendment passed by voters last year added people with HIV and AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and similar conditions.

But the implementation of the amendment — and the subsequent law legislators passed to carry it out — have come under fire from the backers of the initial amendment. John Morgan, the trial lawyer who led the charge for the amendment, sued in July because legislators banned smokable forms of the plant.

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  • lovingc

    It is time to rethink who is supposed to be representing you in the state government. These people think that you work for them rather than them working for you.

    • iRaHuman

      And it will stay that way until ‘We the People’ start electing people who will be judged on their actions or dismissed, start cutting back on the dollars being spent on elections. What if that money were matched dollar-for-dollar and put into social advancements, would that cut back on some of the ridiculous amounts being used to buy US?

  • MissV

    Prohibition has no place in a free society, nor even in the total surveillance police state of the USA.

    L-E-G-A-L-I-Z-E!

  • Nick

    Rick Scott is the worst GOV. we ever elected, and he’s is making it personal , he don’t like it so he’s making it as hard as possible for this to get off the ground. He needs to be taking out of ruling this state the way he wants and LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE. Oh by the way Rick, your a D… !