The Supreme Court issued
decision reversing their intent to review the State's challenge
to the medical necessity defense.
"Patients across Florida
are relieved the High Court has dismissed this attempt to overturn
a long standing common-law defense," said Greg Scott, Executive
Director of the Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana. "Thousands
of seriously ill people who find marijuana the only medicine that
helps them will rest a little easier tonight."
Florida courts had
previously exempted glaucoma and AIDS patients from criminal prosecution
because they demonstrated a bona fide medical need to use marijuana.
The defendant in this case, George Sowell, cultivated marijuana
to treat glaucoma and combat nausea.
In March 1999 the Institute
of Medicine released a report which concluded that there is enough
evidence to warrant further research into the medical benefits
of marijuana. This helped prompt new federal research guidelines
allowing greater access to marijuana to conduct research. Previously
legal access to marijuana was summarily denied to researchers.
In the late 1970's
the Florida legislature enacted medical marijuana research programs
into its use for glaucoma and to aid cancer patients. However
these statutes were "sunset" in the mid-1980's.