The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday quickly asked an appeals court to review a decision that could clear the way for patients to smoke medical marijuana.
Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers on Tuesday lifted a stay of her earlier ruling that said a ban on smoking medical pot was unconstitutional.
Attorneys for the Department of Health on Wednesday filed a motion asking the 1st District Court of Appeal to review Gievers' decision and to give the issue "expedited treatment," according to an online docket.
The appeals court late Wednesday afternoon gave plaintiffs in the case, including the group People United for Medical Marijuana, until 3 p.m. Friday to respond to the motion for review, a court document said.
The flurry of activity involves a challenge to a 2017 law that was designed to carry out a voter-approved constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.
The 2017 law included a ban on smoking marijuana, which drew a challenge from plaintiffs including People United for Medical Marijuana and two patients. Gievers ruled May 25 that the smoking ban violated the constitutional amendment, but the state appealed, a move that placed a stay on her ruling.
The plaintiffs then returned to Gievers and asked her to lift the stay — a request she granted Tuesday. But with the state making clear it would appeal, Gievers said her order will not take effect until Monday.
John Morgan, who filed the lawsuit against the state for the ban on smoking, challenged Gov. Rick Scott to debate the merits of their respective positions.