'Who am I to judge that?': DeSantis wants to end ban on smokable medical marijuana

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Newly inaugurated Florida governor Ron DeSantis came to Central Florida Thursday afternoon to call for an end in Florida's ban on smokable medical marijuana.

DeSantis appeared with Lieutenant Governor Jeanatte Nunez and Orlando attorney John Morgan at Kraft Azalea Park in Winter Park.

The Republican governor, who took office earlier this month, said he is asking the legislature to repeal part of the state's medical marijuana law that prohibits smokable forms of the plant.


"I look at someone who has Lou Gehrig's disease or terminal cancer or Multiple Sclerosis -- I think the Florida voters who voted for that wanted those people to have access to medical marijuana under the supervision of a physician," DeSantis said. "Whether they have to smoke it or not -- who am I to judge that?"

DeSantis gave the legislature a mid-March deadline to act or else he said he will drop an appeal by former Gov. Rick Scott, who wanted to keep the ban in place.

DeSantis also wants to loosen limits on treatment center licenses.

In 2016, more than 70 percent of Florida voters approved an amendment that allowed medical marijuana.

DeSantis' move was quickly praised by Democrats and Republicans in the Florida legislature. New Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat that ran on a platform of opening up medical marijuana, also praised DeSantis' announcement.

Florida currently has medical marijuana dispensaries that provide a variety of oils, pills and edibles.

Also read: 9 facts about CBD oil

Depending on how the March deadline goes in the legislature, Florida could have more marijuana growers, dispensaries, and options for patients by this summer.

"It's going to be easier for the existing medical marijuana treatment centers to integrate that into their product lines. All of them are already growing the flower product. Now they just have to turn it into a concentrated oil product and to make medication for patients," said Tara Tedrow, an attorney with the Lowndes law firm.

It's not clear if a cap will remain on the number of licenses more medical marijuana dispensaries.

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Watch the full announcement below:

WATCH LIVE: Gov. DeSantis in Winter Park for "major policy announcement"

Gov. Ron DeSantis is in Winter Park to make a "major policy announcement." MORE: at.wftv.com/2Hiobss

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Thursday, January 17, 2019