Winter Park, Fla. – Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis made a major announcement regarding medical marijuana policy where he called on the Florida Legislature to pass a bill that would allow Amendment 2 to be implemented as originally intended by 71 percent of Florida voters in 2016.

Governor DeSantis also announced he has filed a motion with the First District Court of Appeal, requesting a stay of opinion on People United for Medical Marijuana v. Department of Health. If a legislative solution is not sent to the Governor within the first two weeks of the 2019 Legislative Session, he announced he will drop the state’s appeal and the decision of the lower court will stand, ruling that the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana is unconstitutional.

“Florida voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana in 2016, and I believe the subsequent legislation has been inadequate,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Voters intended for medical marijuana to be dispensed in a way that would best benefit the patient, smoking included. That is why I am calling on the Legislature to provide me with a bill within the first two weeks of Session that will fix this issue and allow the voices of Floridians to be heard.”

Please see the statements below from legislative and industry leaders regarding the announcement:

“Implementing the voter-approved constitutional amendment that authorized medical marijuana more than two years ago has been an ongoing problem mired in complex and protracted legal challenges. Governor DeSantis has indicated that he prefers a legislative solution rather than a judicial order to bring the issue of implementation of the amendment to a conclusion. A legislative solution has always been my preferred course of action, and we will certainly honor the Governor’s request to bring a bill forward early in session that addresses both his concerns and those raised in litigation. Many Senators share these concerns and have ideas they are interested in advancing, which include smokable forms of treatment. I look forward to continuing those important discussions in the coming weeks,” said Florida Senate President Bill Galvano.

“We are encouraged by the announcement the Governor made yesterday and accept the challenge he has laid before us. Since being sworn in the Governor has acted swiftly on many issues and the Florida House will work with equal speed, in conjunction with our Senate colleagues, to bring a bill to the floor early in session. The Governor’s willingness to engage with us is appreciated and the House will work with the Governor on his priorities, including ensuring patients have options and our kids remain protected,” said Florida House of Representatives Speaker Jose Oliva.

“As the author of Florida’s first medical cannabis laws, I am glad to see that Governor DeSantis is committed to executing the will of the people on medical marijuana. His announcement shows that the Florida Legislature must be equally committed. The protracted legal battles over legal ‘forms’ of cannabis have infringed on Floridians’ constitutional rights, while denying patients across the state treatment methods their physicians recommend. I’m glad that Governor DeSantis is giving the Legislature an opportunity to act,” said United States Congressman from Florida Matt Gaetz.

“This was a great day for Florida. Governor DeSantis announced he will stay our lawsuit and I have agreed to that stay. He is going to send it back to the Legislature. This was a great day for Floridians who are really sick and really hurt, including our veterans and first responders. I have the greatest gratitude for Governor Ron DeSantis. He did a great thing for Florida right here in Winter Park. Thank you, Governor,” said John Morgan, attorney and prominent medical marijuana advocate.

 “Governor DeSantis’ announcement showed us that he stands with the patients of Florida and that a person should be able to take their medicine however they and their doctor see fit. We thank the Governor for his compassion and commend him for the actions he has taken. Hopefully the Legislature will be able to find a solution that better incorporates the will of the voters that passed the amendment in 2016,” said Karen Basha Egozi, President and CEO of Epilepsy Florida.

 “I am very pleased to see that Governor DeSantis is moving in the right direction to implement the will of the people of Florida. This is not a republican or democrat issue, but rather a medical health issue that 71 percent of voters approved of in 2016. I look forward to seeing the changes that are coming and thank Governor DeSantis for taking this important first step in changing medical marijuana policy in Florida,” said Dr. Joe Dorn, Director of Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida.

 We strongly support Governor DeSantis’ statement that he believes the ban on smoking medical marijuana is unconstitutional. His statements proved again that he is willing to act boldly in his first weeks as Governor to ensure the will of Florida’s voters is respected. This is not only a significant development for medical marijuana – which Floridians have already made clear that they overwhelmingly support – but it gives the Florida Legislature an opportunity to revise the current statute to more accurately reflect the constitutional amendment,” said Taylor Patrick Biehl, Policy Director of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.



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