Tampa’s Joe Redner wants to grow his own cannabis plants, says … – Tampabay.com
Count Joe Redner, Tampa’s outspoken strip club entrepreneur and a lung cancer patient, among the first to challenge the state’s medical marijuana laws in court. Less than two weeks after lawmakers put in place new laws governing growing, manufacturing and selling medical marijuana, Redner’s lawsuit claims the state is not following the will of the public, which voted overwhelmingly last year to legalize it by passing a constitutional amendment.
Specifically, Redner wants to grow his own marijuana plants. But under Florida Department of Health rules, Floridians are barred from growing cannabis plants for their personal use, including those who are legally registered as medical marijuana patients. Redner’s lawsuit is challenging those rules. Those in Florida’s expanding medical marijuana industry say Redner could be one of many to challenge the state’s laws on pot.
Lawmakers have limited the selling and growing of marijuana to seven companies. The number will grow to 17 this year, based on last-minute legislation that came about during a special session in Tallahassee earlier this month.
That legislation also allows patients to use cannabis pills, oils, edibles and “vape” pens with a doctor’s approval but bans smoking. Redner’s lawsuit is based on how the state constitution amended by voters defines marijuana. He suits claims that the definition includes “all parts of the plant.” Under the current rules, he said the dispensaries are left to decide what parts of the plant to use in its products. He said he wants to grow his own plants because he says he has no idea what he’s getting from the state’s licensed growers and distributors.
“I don’t know if they’re using pesticides or doing what’s good for the plant,” he said. “I’m a raw vegan. I am