GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- Medical marijuana patients in North Central Florida may soon be able to light up after an announced major policy change by Governor Ron DeSantis.
The governor asked the state legislature to drop a legal appeal challenging a court ruling in favor of smokable medicinal cannabis Thursday. In 2017, the legislature passed a law meant to carry out the intention of the legalization amendment passed in 2016, however that law also banned smokable medicinal marijuana.
"It was purely politically motivated," said Dr. Justin Davis, Head Physician at Florida Marijuana Doctors. "It put a big stressor on patients. It limits access to marijuana in a form that is its God-given form."
Under the ban, dispensaries can only sell cannabis in forms like vape cartridges, creams, or oil extracts and concentrates.
Davis, who runs a practice in Gainesville, said without the ban, people could eventually even own their own plants.
"When you distill it and concentrate it, you lose some of the properties and you also increase the strength, which is not always a positive thing," Davis said. "This will give better access to people, as well as a little bit more freedom in what the people voted for."
In his announcement, the Governor said the state has been "foot-dragging" on implementing medical marijuana.
"Whether they have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that?" DeSantis said. "I want people to be able to have their suffering relieved. So I don't think this law is up to snuff."
Governor DeSantis said he also wants to open up the market, possibly signaling an increase in the number of dispensaries allowed.
Whether the ban is lifted will depend on the legislature's action to drop the appeal. Governor DeSantis said he expects action within the first two weeks of March.