An appeals court has refused to indefinitely put on hold a challenge to the state’s prohibition on smoking medical marijuana. The case is centered on whether a 2017 law that banned patients from smoking medical marijuana ran afoul of a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized the cannabis treatment for Floridians with debilitating medical conditions. After a Leon County circuit judge sided with the plaintiffs, the state — under former Gov. Rick Scott — appealed the ruling.
Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wanted the Legislature to do away with the ban, and he gave lawmakers until mid-March to address the issue, saying they failed to properly implement the voter-approved amendment. “I want to have the elected representatives write the law in the way that the people intended. We’ll give them a couple weeks in session to address the smoking issue. And if they don’t do it, we’re going to dismiss the case. We’re going to move on,” the governor said Thursday. Shortly afterward, lawyers representing the Florida Department of Health and the plaintiffs filed a joint motion asking the 1st District Court of Appeal to put the case “in abeyance” until the issue is resolved. On Tuesday, the appeals court refused to grant the open-ended request but allowed the parties to seek a stay “specifying the amount of time needed for the movants to discuss potential resolution of the appeal.”