“Unless we get our friggin’ medicine, we’re not going to be able to get well and stay well.”

marijuana plant
man protesting at Capitol
Michael Krehl protests at the state Capitol

Marijuana activists called on Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday to drop the state’s challenges over two lawsuits related to medical marijuana.

The 2016 constitutional amendment legalizing pot for medical purposes has faced multiple challenges to implementation — but activists are not giving up.

“Unless we get our friggin’ medicine, we’re not going to be able to get well and stay well,” said Joe Redner, an adult club entrepreneur, progressive activist and businessman from Tampa.

The legendary Redner joined a crowd of activists Wednesday who sat under a tent under broiling heat and humidity in front of the state Capitol.

Redner is a registered medical marijuana patient in Florida and uses cannabis products to treat conditions related to his lung cancer. He filed a lawsuit last year after the Florida Department of Health denied him the ability to grow his own pot.

Redner won his case in Leon County earlier this year, but an appeals court later blocked that effort, and in May the Florida Supreme Court refused to provide emergency relief.

“We want anybody who is qualified just like any other business, a brewery, a pharmaceutical, that is qualified to do the job to be able to get in the business. Why not?” Redner said to the crowd.

“Grow, Joe, Grow!” chanted the activists.

Redner is in the state capital this week with his attorney and business partners regarding another lawsuit he has filed against the state – this one about his marijuana business known as Florigrown.

The suit claims that the state denied allowing Florigrown to be a medical treatment center.

Another iconoclastic personality, Orlando attorney and entrepreneur John Morgan, sued the state immediately after Scott signed the medical marijuana law that prohibits smokable pot.

Leon County judge Karen Gievers’ ruled in May that the 2016 constitutional amendment allowed for medical marijuana to be consumed in smokable fashion. But last week, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the state of Florida. Morgan has said the issue should go to the Florida Supreme Court.

The rally in Tallahassee and similar events in Orlando and West Palm Beach were organized by medical cannabis activist Gary Stein.

“These laws must be overturned!” Stein bellowed to the crowd.
Stein referenced the case of Cathy Jordan, a plaintiff in the Morgan case, who has credited her daily intake of marijuana with keeping her alive for decades after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“For our governor to say she can’t have it….is giving Cathy Jordan a death sentence,” Stein said. “It is up to us to respectfully ask our governor to retract those appeals. Respect the will of the people who voted for this amendment.”

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was listed as a speaker at the event but did not attend. However, his chief-of-staff and a candidate to succeed him this year, Dustin Daniels, did address the crowd.

He called the issue of medical marijuana “deeply personal” to him after his mother was diagnosed years ago with stomach cancer.

“It is absolutely unthinkable for anybody in government or elected office to make somebody choose between their livelihood and their health and some arbitrary law that quite frankly the people have already decided on,” Daniels said.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Another good reason to vote out the party that wants to limit our rights, and limit our healthcare! You would think that the voters saying YES would be enough for these elected officials to understand this is what we want. I think the only way to send a successful message at this point is to fire them. Vote in November!

  2. Why oh why does no one ever question the history of marijuana laws, or simply ask why is it illegal. Medical organizations have long disagreed with government on prohibition, calling for it to be reclassified. President I’m not a crook’ Nixon had it prohibited as class 1 to undermine the black civil rights movement, and anti-war hippies protesting for peace. It’s all on record, and tape, to be able to raid and arrest blacks and hippies as drug addicts to invalidate their cause in nightly news, social media of the time.

    Scientific American – on the DEA war on marijuana
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-behind-the-dea-s-long-war-on-marijuana/

  3. What about the Florida ‘sick tax’ requiring payment of a medicine registration fee just to be able to get certain medicine, medical marijuana. A fee not imposed for any other medicine on the market including the synthetic class 3 marijuana derivative Marinol approved in 1980’s. There is some precedence in courts that a fee cannot be imposed to exercise a constitutional right. In Florida, the medical marijuana is a constitutional right.

    Can’t afford the Florida ‘sick tax’ medical marijuana registration fee. Just ask the Department of Health about hardship relief for low income, like other states have simply provided. The DOH will provide information about the Administrative Procedure Act, APA, Florida Statute 120.542, petition process for low income hardship relief but will not actually follow their rules or the law.

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