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Patient's Right To Grow, Use Pot Challenged

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A Leon County circuit judge has scheduled a hearing Tuesday to consider lifting a stay in a case in which Tampa businessman Joe Redner seeks to grow marijuana as part of his treatment for cancer.
Judge Karen Gievers last week ruled that Redner, who made his fortune as a strip-club owner, should be able to grow pot under a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Attorneys for the state Department of Health, however, immediately took the case to the 1st District Court of Appeal, a move that placed an automatic stay on Gievers’ ruling.

Redner’s attorney, Luke Lirot, filed a motion Thursday arguing that Gievers should vacate the stay, leading to Gievers scheduling a hearing Tuesday.

Redner’s doctor ordered a juicing treatment that uses live marijuana plants to prevent a relapse of stage 4 lung cancer, according to court documents.

State rules prohibit Florida medical-marijuana businesses from selling whole plants or flowers, spurring Redner to seek to grow his own plants.

“As it pertains to the department, there is simply no harm that would befall this justifiably castigated state agency if Mr. Redner is allowed to consume medication deemed by his doctor to be medically necessary,” the motion to vacate the stay said. “Under the scenario where the stay remains in effect, there will be even more of a delay, for a totally unknown period of time, in Redner having access to a medical necessity, the deprivation of which cannot be corrected or ‘made up for’ under any theory. The importance of Mr. Redner’s medical and health interests cannot be overstated.”