JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Voters will soon decide whether to approve Amendment 2, but a local law firm claims medical marijuana is already legal in Florida.
Monday night, Action News spoke with attorney Ian Christensen, whose practice, Health Law Services, is already setting up patients with ID cards for medical marijuana.
“It helps or aids the officer in their investigation so they can determine whether there’s probable cause to make an arrest,” said Christensen.
Christensen claims under Florida’s “Doctrine of Medical Necessity,” medical marijuana is already legal if your doctor approves and you meet specific criteria. He said it comes from the case law precedent of Jenks vs. Florida.
“You didn’t cause your illness yourself or intentionally to obtain the controlled substance,” he said. “That there isn’t a safer medicine available for your condition to treat your illness and that the benefits you would receive on using it would outweigh the harm that it would cause to you.”
Christensen said Health Law Services charges $799. He said the fee covers legal services, gathering medical records and setting up the patient with a physician who can determine whether the patient qualifies.
Health Law Services referred to several prior Florida cases, including an appellate court decision from 1991.
Action News asked Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson to weigh in on the legality of the ID cards.
“Know that possession of marijuana, which is a controlled substance, is illegal,” Carson said. “And the mere possession of a card certifying you as being able to use medical marijuana in Florida doesn’t have any legal standing.”
Carson said the case law Health Law Services is using is technically correct. However, Carson believes it is very case-specific and may not apply in other situations.
He said only a judge would be able to decide.
“It is true medical necessity may be an absolute defense but it’s what is known as an affirmative defense, which it means it works in a courtroom, not on the street,” Carson said.