- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Florida attorney sued the state on Thursday after its legislature passed a law prohibiting medical marijuana patients from smoking weed within their own homes.

John Morgan, an Orlando trial attorney who spearheaded effort to pass last year’s successful medical marijuana amendment, filed the lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court early Thursday in response to the state’s decision last month to limit how patients can legally consume cannabis.

When Floridians voted in November’s general election, 71 percent approved an amendment giving residents the right to treat certain medical conditions with marijuana. When the legislature passed a law implementing the amendment last month, however, it removed language that would have allowed medical marijuana patients to smoke pot in private.

Lawmakers who support the restriction argue the amendment would have let patients toke up anywhere if the legislature didn’t intervene, but Mr. Morgan and others opposed to law’s current language say the voter-approved amendment already explicitly prohibited smoking pot in public.

“The amendment said smoking was not allowed in public places. I don’t think you have to be too much of a scholar to understand that that means it is allowed in private,” Mr. Morgan told the Miami Herald. “I don’t know how much simpler it can be than that.”

His lawsuit cites a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that said smoking marijuana didn’t impair lung function as widely claimed.

“Despite decades of marijuana being used for smoking in the United States, there have been no reported medical cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana,” his lawsuit said.

Critics aren’t as keen on combustible weed, however, and argue there’s a reason behind the state’s revised language.

“There’s a reason why every single major medical association opposes the use of the raw, smoked form of marijuana as medicine: smoke is not a reliable delivery system, it’s impossible to measure dosage, and it contains hundreds of other chemical compounds that may do more harm than good,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a non-profit opposed to legalization.

Mr. Morgan’s lawsuit, he added, is “nothing more than a smokescreen designed to bypass the FDA and open the doors to a new for-profit, retail commercial marijuana industry in Florida.”

If the court rules in Mr. Morgan’s favor, it could invalidate the current law and force the Florida Department of Health to rewrite the state’s medical marijuana law, the Herald reported.

Thirty-nine states and the nation’s capital have passed laws letting doctors recommend marijuana to patients suffering from certain conditions, and 10 of them including D.C. have passed additional laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Five states currently have systems in place for recreational retail pot sales. The federal government has categorized cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, meanwhile, placing the plant in a category reserved for narcotics with no known medical value.

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