Prominent Tampa strip club owner Joe Redner is asking the Florida Supreme Court to reverse a lower-court ruling barring him from growing his own medical marijuana.
Redner’s attorneys Kristen Fiore and Ari Gerstin of the Akerman law firm filed a “notice to invoke discretionary jurisdiction” early Wednesday. That means the court isn’t required to take the case.
The notice, as usual, does not offer argument but says the 1st District Court of Appeal’s decision “expressly construes a provision of the state constitution. The decision also expressly and directly conflicts with Supreme Court of Florida precedent.”
The 1st District last month declined to reconsider the decision or to itself send the case to the Supreme Court as a “question of great public importance.”
A three-judge panel in April overturned a ruling by Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge Karen Gievers, now retired, who last year gave Redner the go-ahead to grow marijuana for juicing purposes.
Redner’s doctor ordered a juicing treatment that uses live marijuana plants to prevent a relapse of stage 4 lung cancer, according to court documents.
Emulsification, or juicing, of the “biomass of the marijuana plant” was determined to be “the most effective way” for Redner “to get the benefit of medical marijuana,” Gievers decided.
The lawsuit was based on a 2016 constitutional amendment that generally legalized medical marijuana. But, the April ruling said, “the term ‘use’ is not defined by the amendment.
“However, it is clear, when one examines the entire amendment, that ‘use’ does not mean ‘grow’ or ‘process,’ as Mr. Redner argues,” it added.
The panel included Judge T. Kent Wetherell II, whose nomination by President Donald Trump for a federal judgeship in north Florida is pending with the U.S. Senate. The other judges are Scott Makar and Associate Judge Monica Brasington.
Brasington is a circuit judge in the 8th Judicial Circuit, made up of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties. Circuit judges can temporarily sit as appellate judges on individual cases by designation of the district’s chief judge.
A request for comment is pending with the Department of Health, which regulates the drug through its Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
Background provided by The News Service of Florida, republished with permission.
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