www.medicalrights.org - Floridians for Medical Rights

06.04.1999 / news: Supreme court of Florida allows Medical Necessity Defense to stand.

The Supreme Court issued a brief 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.



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