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Medical Marijuana User Fights For Right To Grow His Own

Non-euphoric marijuana was supposed to be available January 1 of this year.
Nick Evans

Does Florida’s medical marijuana amendment give people the right grow their own plants? That question is now before the First District Court of Appeal.

Joe Redner’s doctor says drinking the juice of young marijuana plants could help him keep his lung cancer at bay. The Tampa strip club owner says following that advice means he needs to grow his own plants. And under the state constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2016, Redner’s lawyer, Luke Lirot, says Redner should be able to. The amendment gives a qualifying patient, like Redner, immunity for possession of marijuana.

“And marijuana is defined across the board in the language of the criminal statute which specifically includes possession of a growing plant. So if you’re a qualifying patient then you have the constitutional right given to you by the state of Florida to possess a growing plant for medical use,” Lirot said.

But Jason Gonzalez, a lawyer representing the Florida Department of Health says the amendment is specific about who can do what when it comes to the drug.

“It’s an amendment that granted state law immunity for certain activities and it set out four categories of individuals or businesses and they say exactly what activities those four categories have immunity for. So you don’t read the law by pulling a provision out in isolation, ignore everything else and say voila I found this loophole,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez argues the right to “cultivate and process” the plant is given directly to medical marijuana treatment centers.   

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Regan McCarthy covers healthcare and government in Tallahassee, Florida. She is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.