Judge Karen Gievers of the Florida 2nd Judicial Circuit ruled in favor of a 77-year old cancer patient requesting the right to grow his own medical marijuana. While the ruling is very specific to only the one patient, it may set a legal precedent for a possible expansion the state’s controversial laws regarding legalized pot.
The man behind this legislative coup is Tampa resident Joe Redner, a strip club owner suffering from stage 4 lung cancer for over seven years. When his physician recommended a strain of medical marijuana that is not legally available in the very few marijuana dispensaries across the state, Redner sued the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) for the right to grow his own. Judge Gievers agreed by stating the following in her official ruling.
"…under Florida law, Plaintiff Redner is entitled to possess, grow and use marijuana for juicing, solely for the purpose of his emulsifying the biomass he needs for the juicing protocol recommended by his physician.”
The judge is also allowing Mr. Redner to consume 8 ounces of juiced or vaporized marijuana per day. However, the FDOH has already appealed the decision, which means that the judge’s proclamation has been legally stayed. Until the appeals process is complete, Redner is still disallowed from growing his own marijuana. Since his health condition is so dire, Redner wants to take the appeals process directly to the Florida Supreme Court. However, many legal experts believe that his chances of winning this argument are highly unlikely.
"The appellate process takes a long time, and in this case, it’s going to affect Redner’s life exclusively…Because this issue is big enough, no matter who loses in appeals, the case will go on the state supreme court after this. You can bet on that."
- Jay Wolfson, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, via the Tampa Bay Times.
Even though the state of Florida officially legalized medical marijuana through the passage of Amendment 2 last year, the patient approval process has been mired in controversy and bureaucratic red tape ever since. The entire process seems to fall under the direction of a single, unelected political official named Christian Bax.
Florida marijuana industry faces allegations of corruption
Even though Bax has no previous experience in the marijuana industry, he somehow was mysteriously appointed to the position of Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use for the Florida Department of Health by the Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip. In this role, Bax is solely responsible for determining which patients and aspiring business owners can legally grow, sell, purchase, or distribute marijuana throughout the entire state. As thousands of patients continue to wait several months for state-issued permits to purchase medical marijuana, multiple lawsuits are now pending alleging issues of political corruption and abuses of power.