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DeSantis Asks Court For Stay On Smokable Marijuana Decision, Wants Legislature To Make Changes

Ryan Dailey

Governor Ron DeSantis wants the Florida Legislature to change the current law on smoking medical marijuana. DeSantis is asking courts to hold off on a decision in the lawsuit challenging a smoking ban.

The Governor made his announcement flanked by high-powered attorney John Morgan, who led the charge against the smoking ban, as well as Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, who helped craft Florida’s current marijuana laws. DeSantis, in his second week on the job, is asking the court for a stay on its decision until mid-March, when the Legislative Session is underway.

“I want to have the elected representatives write the law in a way that the people intended,” DeSantis said. “So we’ll give them a couple of weeks in session to address the smoking issue.”

DeSantis says if action isn’t taken on the smoking ban, he’ll do it himself.

“If they don’t do it, we’re going to dismiss the case, and we’re going to move on,” DeSantis said.

On the campaign trail, DeSantis said he wanted to follow the will of the voter on smokable marijuana. During his press conference in Winter Park Thursday, he commented on other ongoing, high-profile lawsuits concerning medical marijuana.

“I also reserve the right to resolve some of the other litigation that surrounds this issue,” DeSantis said. “You know, this thing passed two years ago. We need to have the people’s will represented in good law that is doing what they intended.”

Attorney John Morgan says he didn’t vote for DeSantis – but is encouraged by the move.

“He’s read the constitutional amendment, he’s listened to the will of the people – 71 percent, and the comments he’s made have been so encouraging to me that the people’s will should be the most important,” Morgan said.

While in the Florida House, Congressman Matt Gaetz was instrumental in writing the state’s current marijuana laws. Now, he says he sees things differently.

“I wrote into the law initially that smoking should not be a part of the medical marijuana program,” Gaetz said Thursday. “Now, based on the information I’ve reviewed and based on the court rulings that have already been made, I’m not confident that that current provision of the law can pass constitutional muster.”

Florida’s Legislative Session will kick off March 5.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.