Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

'No smoke is a joke' lawsuit could change Florida cannabis laws

Under Florida's current medical marijuana laws, patients are able to use just about any form of cannabis that works for them, including sprays, tinctures, oils and edibles. They just can't smoke it.

Advocates for medical marijuana say that the "no smoke" rule is "a joke" and needs to be changed -- along with laws that prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries from selling the items that people would need to smoke the drug, like papers and bongs.

The state's constitutional amendment that allows medical marijuana only prohibits patients from smoking it in public. The amendment passed with 71 percent of the popular vote in Florida, and it seems likely that voters believed it would allow patients to smoke the drug if they wanted. However, the law signed by the governor designed to enact the new constitutional mandates included a ban on smoking marijuana.

Advocates for medical marijuana say that their lawsuit is about more than just personal choice -- it's about the need to make medical marijuana as widely available as possible. Some patients respond better to the drug when they smoke it instead of consuming it in other forms. In addition, all other forms of the drug require additional processing -- which increases the cost of the drug for everyone and limits the supply unnecessarily.

If the challenge to the law is successful, law enforcement will face some new wrinkles as they seek to enforce marijuana laws. As it stands, it's fairly simple for police to determine if a marijuana product came from a dispensary or not. That won't be a simple task if the dispensaries start selling whole cannabis for smoking.

Many people believe that it's only a matter of time before public sentiment changes the laws to allow even recreational marijuana use, no matter what state you are in. However, until that happens, it's important to remember that the possession of marijuana in any form without a medical marijuana card is still a crime -- and is still prosecuted as such. If you are charged, don't take the situation lightly.

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