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Florida: Lawsuit Filed Challenging Medical Cannabis Smoking Ban

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 6, 2017

    cannabis_pillsRepresentatives of Florida for Care filed litigation today challenging a statewide ban on medical cannabis smoking. The suit was expected after lawmakers approved legislation (SB 8A) in June amending Amendment 2 — a voter initiated constitutional amendment permitting the use and distribution of medical cannabis. Seventy-one percent of voters approved the amendment in November.

    Senate Bill 8A amends the definition of medical cannabis in a manner that prohibits “marijuana in a form for smoking” and that bars the personal possession of herbal cannabis flowers, except in instances where they are contained “in a sealed, tamper-proof receptacle for vaping.” The Florida for Care suit argues that these changes inconsistent with the constitutional definition of marijuana, as passed by voters, and therefore should not be implemented.

    The lawsuit argues, “Inhalation is a medically effective and efficient way to deliver tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids, to the bloodstream. … By redefining the constitutionally defined term ‘medical use’ to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of ‘a licensed Florida physician’ and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process.”

    Under the revised law, patients diagnosed with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis — or who suffer from chronic pain related to any of these diseases — are eligible to receive a 70-day supply of cannabis-infused oils or edible products from a limited number of state-licensed dispensing facilities.

    NORML has long argued against regulations that limit or prohibit patients’ access to whole-plant cannabis in lieu of cannabis-derived extracts or pills. Cannabis inhalation is not associated with increased instances of lung cancer, COPD, or other tobacco-related adverse effects on pulmonary function. Inhaled cannabis is fast acting and permits patients to accurately self-regulate their dose. By contrast, non-herbal forms of cannabis possess delayed onset and their effects can often be far less predictable than those of herbal cannabis. Many patients seeking rapid relief of symptoms do not benefit from pills, tinctures, or edibles, and such restrictions unnecessarily limit patients’ choices.

    If the court invalidates SB 8A, the task of writing the rules for implementing the initiative — which must be operational by October — will fall to the Florida Department of Health.

    21 Responses to “Florida: Lawsuit Filed Challenging Medical Cannabis Smoking Ban”

    1. Mark Mitcham says:

      There may be benefits to vaping over smoking for some medical patients, and I wouldn’t discourage those who choose to go that route.

      On the other hand, there is no reason to dictate that vaping is so much better than smoking for one’s health, that smoking cannabis should remain illegal while vaping is allowed. I call bullshit on that. Smells like more Corporate Fascism! As the article above indicates, smoked cannabis is NOT associated with an increase in cancer, or emphysema, or other tobacco-related illnesses. The risks of vaping, a relatively new phenomenon, are still largely speculative.

      Restricting marijuana use to vaping-only is a bogus political move by Corporate Power to restrict human rights and to protect corporate profits.

      • mexweed says:

        No doubt regarding your good intent, but I would like to clarify this issue as follows:
        1. Vaping is present in all smoking procedures and is the basis of any merit they possess. Both in pipes and “joints” vapors are released from a downwind zone of flowerbud contingent upon the part already burning, which zone is heated to vaporizing temperature by the burning that occurs next door to it.
        2. The harms from $moking result from heat shock, carbon monoxide and 4221 combustion toxins, but as we know too well, have been falsely attributed to the cannabis or to the THC over recent fascist decades.
        3. The key to VAPING with a “pipe” utensil is to have a NARROW enough crater, or screened chamber (as in devices known as “one-hitters”), that in-drawn air temperature is easily controlled even though one uses a butane lighter as has been customarily associated with smoking. Holding the lighter a sufficient distance below the opening at the top while sucking air slowly and steadily through a long enough drawtube to assure you can see what you’re doing is the way to deliver vaporizing temperature air in upon the herb.
        4. If after several seconds of this procedure glowing does start, it is likely not to involve cannabinoids which have already been drawn out as vapor but rather some remaining cellulose which many find pleasant-tasting.
        5. Wherefore even if a long-flexible-stemmed one-hitter can wind up being used for $moking by impatient inexperienced beginners, it should be urged that this Florida statute and others everywhere define the one-hitter (or ONEHEATER) as a Vaporizing Utensil and provide encouragement for educating users in its use as such rather than for wastefully expensive, unnecessary AND healthhazardous $moking which is obsolete for cannabis, tobacco or any other herb.

        • mexweed says:

          6. Accordingly the Vapetoke Technique Doggerel Mantra is offered as an easily comprehended instruction device:
          Hold flame 2″ below,
          suck smooooooooth, slow,
          don’t start any glow
          till after 19
          seconds or so.”
          .
          Previously sift herb to 1/16th inch particle size, providing max surface area for vaporizing; turn utensil upside down and suction-load 25 mg into the crater; turn crater almost right-side up; serve the toke as described above; afterward breathe 30 warm wet W’s in and out of a Breathbonnet (“Luftspielhaus”) i.e. any breadbag or equivalent.

          • Julian says:

            Agreed with both of you on both your good intents. Although here are my directions when someone cool gives you some weed while youre traveling in DC but you need to consume it quick before the flight home;
            Go into the closest supermarket, buy a bbq lighter and a six pack of beer. Shotgun one of the beers. Crumple the can into a bowl. Find a nail and punch out a screen in the bowl and a carb hole for where your thumb goes. Put some weed in there, light it up and smoke it. If you get real desperate use some aluminum foil to make a pipe, but this is only for emergencies, like getting stoned before taking your kids to the Smithsonian. Let the little fu€kers tear the place up. Daddy’s happy!

            Bottom line is we should be able to choose how we consume our cannabis. I dont care if people start making weed supositories ad shoving them up their back door… it’s disgusting… I dont want to know about it… but that is one’s individual choice and we have to respect the right to choose what we consume… even if we have to question our friendships over it. (Supository for marijuana! God I hope thats not a thing…)

            • Mark Mitcham says:

              Marijuana suppositories will change the entire meaning of the phrase “pot party!” Social conservatives better be careful what they ask for…

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          @ mexweed,

          I take issue with your assertion that cannabis smoking is obsolete. And, we who support marijuana legalization must not fall into the trap of “either-or”, which plays right into the prohibionists’ hands.

          Surely you wouldn’t support arresting marijuana consumers who choose not to vape? But this is what the lawsuit is about.

          Secondly, the science is not yet in on the safety of vaping. Your views are reasonable, and may be correct, but have not yet been confirmed with epidemiological studies. But, the science is in regarding the safety of smoking cannabis, and the epidemiological studies DO NOT support the prohibionists’ assertions that pot smoking is as bad, or worse, than tobacco smoking. (See links above.)

          Liquid bleach is toxic to drink because it is bleach, not because it is liquid! Similarly, tobacco smoke is bad for you because it’s tobacco, not because it’s smoke. Same would be true if you tried to smoke shredded car tires from the landfill — be prepared for health and respiratory problems! Prohibitionists like to say “Smoke is smoke.” A moment of careful thought reveals how foolish an assertion that is.

          But cannabis is different. Facts may be obvious, or they may be shocking and hard to accept and believe. But either way, facts are facts!

          • mexweed says:

            1. Agree: against arresting any cannabis consumers even for a joint with yuk tobacco mixed in. In fact Wikipedia mentions “One-hitter” as a smoking device (a handful bigoted pro-joint editors voted onto my username “Tokerdesigner” a topic block against editing cannabis-related articles because I was accused of being a “Single-interest editor” on one-hitters).
            .
            2. Disagree: tobacco $moke is bad for you mainly because of the typical trillion dollar adverti$ed monoxide combustion overdose rather than the tobacco or the nicotine. A MICRODOSE of tobacco never killed anyone.
            .
            3. Disagree: no, the science IS in on safety of vaping, see 2007 U.Calif.SF study involving the $600 Volcano! My point is you CAN save money and vape pretty good with a quarter-inch-i.d. one-hitter that has a flexible extension tube on its butt end, total cost less than $1.29 (little sneak reference to Genesis there) and a few minutes handwork.
            .
            4. Hey, Julian, watch out for that aluminum (Alzheimer healthhazard), and what the hell does “shotgun (a whole 12-oz. of beer)” mean? Just carry a screened quarter-inch-hex-end socket wrench and a foot of quarter-inch-o.d. pvc tube and slip them together at the appropriate time. “Microdose uber alles!”

            • Julian says:

              Haha… Mexweed I think you just called out your age. “Shotgun” a beer means you pop a hole in the can and chug the whole beer down. Completely unnecessary way to make a carb-hole for a beer-bong, (depending on who you are and what time it is) but I was simply making a point there are several state-legal ways to consume marijuana without permanently harming ourselves. And yes, smoking out of aluminum is harmful as it can produce noxious chemicals. I dont shotgun a beer-bong that often… but when I do… I drink Modelo.

              My recommendation was a rather sarcastic example of what one will do when we would like to enjoy some weed visiting a legal state (or DC) but cant travel with paraphanalia. (Hence, cant keep a screen with any residue going through TSA… although Im sure they let all kinds of paraphanalia slide through security all the time just to avoid delays. I have kids. Im not trying it).
              My major point is sometimes we gotta get McGuyver on the spot just to get our smoke on. Whats right for me may not necessarily be right for everyone else. But what we know for a fact is smoking weed is easier and more accessible than carrying a vaporizer, much less a rosin-press when were traveling outta state.

              And what we damn sure know is that BECAUSE producing marijuana oils is more involved and therefore more expen$ive than smoking the flowers of the whole plant Big Pharma is going to push harder to REschedule (not DEschedule) marijuana in order to kill the whole plant market and force more price-hiked, no-grow, oil-only mmj laws state to state.

              So while I respect your healthy integrity on vaping please be careful not to disparage smoking the sacred herb because Big Pharma will use that argument to maintain a quasi-prohibition.

            • Mark Mitcham says:

              @ mexweed,
              Good safety tip regarding aluminum. I used to smoke out of aluminum cans on a regular basis, it never occurred to me that the aluminum was giving me alzheimers. Good lord. But that is just another example of how prohibition does more harm than good!

          • Mark Mitcham says:

            @ mexweed,
            The nicotine in tobacco induces human cells to become cancerous, whether or not it is is smoked — this is why chewing tobacco is no safer than smoked tobacco, and will cause lip and gum cancer! With respect, I believe you are mistaken regarding that aspect of the dangers of tobacco.

            • mexweed says:

              You are right, nicotine can kill, my point is, that happens mainly from overdosing, and truly there are chewing-tobacco format heavy overdosers. According to Dr. Wilhelm Reich, Freud would chew on cigars a while before lighting them up, and after 83 years of such a life he died of mouth cancer.
              .
              Anyway, from the article title “One-hitter (smoking)” it can be surmised Wikipedia and its millions of editors and readers think one-hitters are $moking devices, but YES you can vaporize (reread the doggerel) with it too. Don’t forget to multiinflate the bread(th)bag after your microtoke.

        • Eric says:

          Except that vaporizing doesn’t equal smoking. In my experience, it is a totally different feeling.

          The best example I can give for the difference comes down to “It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown.”

          Charlie Brown picks the most awful looking tree in the lot.

          This is vaping.

          His friends determine that all the tree needs is a little love, and they decorate the tree, making to look like those from our childhoods.

          That is smoking or eating cannabis.

          Vaping is for millennials who don’t know much about cannabis\, which by the way, did not appear suddenly in 1996, as these millennials were about to start using cannabis.

          And then there is the crown that says, “I only do it for the taste.” Aaaugh.

          I have spent 2 decades trying to find a vaporizer which comes anywhere close to a bong hit, and I cannot.

    2. Tiffany Wellington says:

      Its a shame that marijuana is federally illegal. We can only get so far with state legalization and it will take a federal legalization for marijuana to truly grow as a medicine. The federal restrictions make it so we can’t devote resources to marijuana research and this places a severe disadvantage on the advancement of marijuana. Fortunately, I recently discovered a company that is taking matters into their own hands and will be a huge asset in the fight to make marijuana a true medicine. The company is called Quanta and they are the first company to go in and change marijuana on a molecular level. They claim that they are able excite only desired molecules in marijuana, blocking out the undesired inconsistencies that are present in marijuana today. In other wards they are able to standardize the effect of marijuana. This sounds very similar to what big pharma today is doing with current prescription drugs. If this becomes a thing then it will become very difficult for the federal government to overlook.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ Tiffany Wellington,
        As I said to you before, cannabis doesn’t need hi-tech corporate tinkering in order to be perfect, because it already is perfect. Nor does cannabis need the fake trappings of Corporate approval, patents, and proprietary control for legitimacy, because cannabis is legitimate in it’s own right.
        Are you sure you’re not a Corporate shill?

      • Julian says:

        In other “wards…” You mean like prison wards?

        Between the CSAct, the US Patenting system and the “molecular” profit model of Big Pharma, our current legal standard of “medicine” is patently toxic and unhealthy. You should try your commercial in a room full of homeless vets and everyone in America who cant afford health insurance. Youre talking right over the inherent problem with the high cost of ineffective, patented synthetic molecules.
        Basic chemistry reveals that any time we break plant extracts into molecules or raw elements they want to bond with more stable compounds; hence, side-effects.
        Plants have us figured out. They keep smaller dosage of the opposite effecting active compounds in order for our liver, thyroid and hypocampus to restore homeostatic balance to the endocanabinoid system. In marijuana, the two most familiar molecules that achieve this goal are CBD and THC.

        The concept here with Florida, Pennsylvania and New York making smoking illegal is all about Big Pharma… and the people consuming, lobbying and selling their products… keeping the “magic” of growing and creating our own medicine out-of-reach of adult-children. We stay dumbed down on pills and lack the nutritive neurogenesis that cannabis provides, so we spend more on what we could cheaply grow and consume ourselves.
        There is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana. Its cheaper and easier for people to smoke weed than find out how to make hash oil with a hair-straightener.

        There is a way to relatively cheaply produce our own resins and oils from cannabis with a properly ventilated room;

        https://www.leafly.com/news/strains-products/walmart-selling-rosin-press-we-bought-one

        Walmart is competing with Amazon to the point of looking the other way at selling what is clearly a rosin-press for marijuana. $299, free shipping. Grow your own garden. Hows that for a commercial?

      • Eric says:

        Alcohol prohibition was broken by the states, not withdrawn by the Federal Government.

    3. Ben says:

      They also need to add MIGRAINE prevention and remediation.

      Nothing comes close, except zonk meds-
      and I can still achieve useful results in activities with cannabis, as can many of the people it benefits.

      • Cc says:

        I do benefit from it and cannot say anything about this plant, along with millions others human beings here on earth and that :
        Since a while.

    4. MR.CC says:

      Arkansas passed MMJ along with Florida, the first comment from our lawmakers was this was not supposed to happen, the people do not understand what they voted for. Then it was you can not have any until it becomes legal on a federal level nationwide. Then it was okay you can have it but you can not smoke it or eat it. Then it was okay you can smoke it or eat it but if you do you have no work place protections, not only that but Arkansas Law on MMJ encourages that ALL employers terminate or demote anyone who is a MMJ patient. So if an employer/business owner who has no one to fire or demote them becomes a patient then that is okay?, I can but you can not, because I have more education/money than my employees, B.S.

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