In an attempt to strengthen Florida’s newly designed medical marijuana program, a Tampa strip club entrepreneur has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Health in hopes of being given the freedom to grow cannabis plants at home for personal use.
It was just weeks ago that state lawmakers finally came to terms during a special session on the regulations connected to the state’s medical marijuana law.
But now strip club owner Count Joe Redner, a man no stranger to battling it out in court over unconstitutional issues, wants health officials to take it up a notch by allowing patients qualified for participation in the program to have permission to cultivate their own weed.
Although more than 70 percent of the voters stood in support of medical marijuana in the election last November, the ballot initiative known as “Amendment 2” did not come with a home cultivation provision. In fact, in addition to a ban on home grows, the details of the latest medical marijuana bill prohibits patients from smoking the herb.
Redner, who suffers from Stage-4 lung cancer and is a registered medical marijuana patient, says he is not at all interested in the state’s concept of medical marijuana, which only allows the herb to be ingested in edible forms. He told the Tampa Bay Times that he wants “to grow plants… 20 of them.”
“I’m doing research right now and I want to be able to use it in juicing,” he said. “To be effective enough, I need to grow 20 plants.”
Incidentally, this is not the only lawsuit expected to emerge as a result of the state’s apparent disdain for all things marijuana.
Orlando Attorney John Morgan, who spearheaded the campaign to legalized medical marijuana in 2014 and 2016, said he would be filing a complaint against the state in the near future in a fight to bring smoking back into the mix.
“I’ll go back and fix that,” Morgan said. “It’s in my amendment four separate ways. They got into the purview of medical use, which they’re not allowed to do. And so I will win on that issue, but it’s going to take me a little bit more time.”
Specifically, Redner’s complaint maintains that patients should be permitted to cultivate cannabis because the state’s definition of medical marijuana includes “all parts of the plant.”
Redner’s lawyer, Amanda Derby, says it is necessary, at this juncture, to apply pressure by way of the courts.
“New legislation calls for new litigation, unfortunately and fortunately,” Derby said. “I think the amendment is pretty clear on its face, but the way it’s set up gives the Department of Health so much power. I think if more patients find that growing their own provides better treatment, you’ll see more litigation in the future.”
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