Florida Appeals Court Says No to Homegrown Medical Pot

(CN) – A Tampa, Florida-based stage-four cancer patient and prominent strip club owner has no constitutional right to grow and process marijuana for his own medical use, a Florida appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Joe Redner, a self-proclaimed strip club king and supposed inventor of the lap dance, said in his 2017 lawsuit against the Florida Department of Health that he should be allowed to grow and cultivate his own marijuana-infused oils, butter and juices to help him avoid a relapse.

Redner argued in court papers that a 2016 voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing medicinal weed – approved by more than 70 percent of voters – also granted him authority to possess and use the entire plant, including the seeds, for medical purposes.

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers agreed, ruling in 2018 that the state could not block Redner from growing medical marijuana to treat his prostate cancer and lung cancer.

But a three-judge panel of Florida’s First District Court of Appeal reversed Gievers, finding in an 8-page per curiam order that the amendment grants only limited authority to qualified patients to use medical marijuana.

“There is no language contained in the ballot summary that would have allowed the voters to surmise that the passing of this amendment would permit qualified patients to cultivate and process their own medical marijuana,” the panel held, adding that if the amendment ”intended for qualified patients to be able to cultivate or process medical marijuana, that language would have been included in the definition of medical use; it was not.”

The panel – consisting of Judges T. Kent Wetherell, Scott Makar and Associate Judge Monica Brasington – found the amendment never defined the term “use” and didn’t intend to mean that growing and processing was authorized.

They found the amendment gave the department the duty and ability to regulate legal weed and set standards for cultivation, but didn’t grant, as Redner had argued, patients to grow their own.

“Even if we found the language contained in [the amendment] unclear and/or ambiguous, we would still hold that the constitution does not allow a qualified patient to grow, cultivate, and process marijuana,” the judges wrote.

An attorney for Redner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Florida Department of Health, which appealed Gievers’ ruling, also did not return a request for comment by press time.

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