The general election isn’t until November, but the fight to legalize medical marijuana is already gearing up to be costlier than ever.
Two years ago, the same constitutional amendment to green light medical pot fell short of the 60 percent to pass by only three points -- so this year, groups in support of and opposed to the measure will be putting everything they’ve got into their efforts.
To put it in perspective, the supporters and opponents of the amendment raised over $14 million in 2014.
The Drug-Free Florida political committee was the primary force working against the medical marijuana amendment in 2014, and the group is back for round two to make sure the amendment doesn’t pass.
Mel Sembler, a prominent Republican fundraiser, raise over $7 million of for Drug-Free Florida’s anti-Amendment 2 efforts in 2014.
Sembler has pledged to raise over $10 million for the campaign’s efforts this year.
That pledge was the subject of harsh criticism from Orlando attorney John Morgan, who has been one of the biggest supporters of the amendment.
Morgan worked hand in hand with People United for Medical Marijuana (United For Care) to push the vote to pass medical marijuana in 2014 and the duo has teamed up once again to pass the amendment this year.
Morgan says compassion and a true desire to help needy Floridians are why he supports the amendment. In 2014, he put millions of his own money into the campaign to legalize medical marijuana.
Morgan’s massive personal donation was the subject of a recent email attack against Sembler, where he slammed Sembler for not donating as much of his own money to the cause against medical marijuana.
“I made a commitment to see compassion come to Florida in the form of medical marijuana, and I’ve put over $7 million of my own money towards fulfilling that commitment,” said Morgan in a recent fundraising email. “Mel the Moocher announced he was going to raise $10 million to defeat medical marijuana in Florida. He raised $7.5 million last time. Guess how much Mel the Moocher put in of his own money in 2014? Only 1.3% of the $7.5 million he raised. $100,000.”
Morgan also accused Sembler of “bullying” the sick and suffering people of Florida from receiving care via medical marijuana.
“If there is one thing in the world I can’t stand, it’s bullies,” Morgan wrote. “I’ve made my living beating up bullies. Mel the Moocher is a bully.”
To retaliate against Sembler and other high-profile donors who will undoubtedly fight tooth and nail to stop medical marijuana, Morgan has pledged to match any contributions to United for Care this year. In 2014, Morgan made the same pledge.
United For Care has already raised nearly $4 million for their campaign this year, but it spent around $3 million to collect petition signatures to get the constitutional amendment back on the ballot this year.