Attorney General Pam Bondi's office is asking a judge to toss out a challenge to a new law that bars patients from smoking medical marijuana.
A 39-page motion filed last week in Leon County circuit court argues that a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana did not require smoking to be allowed — and that lawmakers had good reasons to approve a smoking ban.
Orlando attorney John Morgan, who largely bankrolled the medical-marijuana legalization drive, filed a lawsuit in July contending that lawmakers violated the constitutional amendment by barring smoking.
The disputed law was passed during a June special session, as the Legislature took steps to carry out the constitutional amendment. The law allows medical marijuana to be used in other ways, including by allowing patients to vaporize, or “vape,” marijuana products. The motion to dismiss the lawsuit said lawmakers pointed to health reasons for approving the smoking ban.
“The Legislature considered several significant health-related factors and reasonably determined that the harms caused by smoking were ample reason to exclude smoking from the definition of `medical use,’” the motion said.
It also contended that the constitutional amendment did not specify that smoking would be allowed.
“Had the framers or the voters intended to legalize smoking by adopting the amendment, they could have done so,” attorneys in Bondi's office wrote. “There was ample opportunity for smoking to be specifically provided for or required in the amendment. But however hard plaintiffs may look for it, a smoking requirement is not in the amendment.”
Circuit Judge Karen Gievers has not scheduled a hearing in the case, according to an online docket.