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

By: - July 12, 2018 8:00 am
marijuana plant

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.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.