ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Dozens of medical marijuana advocates gathered at Lake Eola Park Wednesday and made it very clear who they blame for the continued fight over the topic: Governor Rick Scott.
The crowd called out Scott for not putting an end to state legal appeals currently blocking medical marijuana from being smoked.
"I shouldn't be a criminal; I'm a veteran! I did my time, I did something, I shouldn't be a criminal if I want to go smoke a joint at the end of a hard day,” said Retired Marine Brett Puffenbarger who was among the crowd.
Medical marijuana was legalized in Florida by a more than 70% majority, but shortly after it passed the State Legislature imposed a ban on the smokable form. At the time some argued that allowing pot to be smoked would just be a backdoor to recreational use.
Since then a lawsuit has moved through the court system, brought on in-part by attorney Matt Morgan, calling for an end to the ban on the smokable form. One judge did overturn the ban, but as the process continues appeals judges have refused to allow medical marijuana to be smoked.
In a press conference last month Morgan called out Governor Scott on the topic, saying the agencies appealing the decision ultimately answer to him and he alone can end the process and allow smokable medical marijuana anytime.
The governor’s office has stood firm that they will follow the state law on the matter. In a statement Wednesday, representative Mara Gambineri said that “medical marijuana is available to patients across the state, there is even a home delivery option. The Legislature outlined how to implement this law and more than 130,000 patients have access to this treatment by more than a thousand doctors. It’s disingenuous for this political protest to say otherwise.”
Advocates at the rally though questioned the governor’s lack of action in the lawsuit and continued to call on him to end the ban.
"He's proven time and time again that he doesn't want us to have access to our medication,” said Puffenbarger.
Similar rallies were held in Tallahassee and Palm Beach Wednesday afternoon.