Politics

John Morgan: Medical Marijuana is about Morality, not Politics

By: Margie Menzel News Service of Florida | Posted: August 3, 2013 3:55 AM

John Morgan

Credit: myfoxorlando.com

Orlando attorney John Morgan -- whose personal-injury firm employs former Gov. Charlie Crist -- said Thursday he's driving a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana out of passion, not to boost turnout for the Democratic candidate in next year's gubernatorial race.

He told the Capital Tiger Bay Club he learned about marijuana's therapeutic power when his father was dying of esophageal cancer 20 years ago.

"I know it works because I have seen it," Morgan said. "Are we going to do what's right, or are we going to get hung up on the word 'drug'?"

Although his father was "the most anti-drug guy in the world," Morgan said marijuana helped him tolerate chronic nausea. "He got to sit at the table and have a meal and a conversation," Morgan said.

Morgan said medical marijuana is natural, but painkillers such as Oxycontin are "poison" that ruin people's lives and kill them.

"There is no drug in America that cures the nausea from chemotherapy," he said. "They say there is, but there's not."

Morgan has committed to spending up to $3 million to get a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the November 2014 ballot. Passage would require support of 60 percent of the voters.

Crist, a former Republican, is widely expected to run for governor next year as a Democrat.

Before making his case to the club, Morgan told reporters he didn't think the ballot measure would affect a Crist run much at all.

"We don't know if there's going to be a big pushback or not," he said. "The cartels in Mexico may oppose it. But it's a huge revenue source for the state of Florida."

He also said Florida's regulation of medical marijuana ought to be "the opposite of whatever they're doing in California."

"This is not a wink and a smile and a psychologist prescribing marijuana," he said. "It's much more regulated. It's really for the terminally ill, the critically ill, the chronically ill. It's not for someone who's having a bad hair day."

University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus said the measure is a good way to get nontraditional voters to the polls in a midterm election.

"Anything with the word 'marijuana' in it grabs young people's attention," she said. "They're going to be very important, because the difference between a midterm election and a presidential election is turnout, and nontraditional voters -- their turnout usually plummets in a midterm election, like we'll have next year."

However, MacManus said, putting hot-button issues on the ballot as constitutional amendments can be very mobilizing.

"And that's why, historically in Florida, both parties have often turned to some of these kinds of issues to get nontraditional voters -- and we're spelling out here, young voters -- to the polls," she said.

Getting younger voters to the polls would help Democrats, according to MacManus, but Republicans also can use medical marijuana to motivate voters.

"Conservative voters are very wary of that kind of an issue," she said. "Some feel that Florida already has a big drug problem and this would contribute to it."

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant was among the attendees at Morgan's Tiger Bay speech, but said she didn't know if the constitutional amendment would make a difference

"It doesn't detract from my job, which is to get as many people to the polls as I have to, no matter what," she said.

State Republican Chairman Lenny Curry said he plans on turning out voters based on Gov. Rick Scott's success "on the issues that they care most about, which are jobs, schools and cost of living. Those issues are what overwhelmingly drive Floridians, and therefore will be the issues that we focus most of our attention on."

 


Tags: News, Politics

Comments (9)

Inge Kerster
12:04PM JAN 15TH 2014
Why not go all the way? Make it legal!
The tax money it will generate will pay a lot of state bills

How can I and others help?
elba miranda
8:40AM DEC 13TH 2013
I am a veteran that's is in pian all the time and also am maor severe depression y bipolar an glaucoma and osteoporosis and asma medical with help me with every realyn need your help thank you so much
elba miranda
8:40AM DEC 13TH 2013
I am a veteran that's is in pian all the time and also am maor severe depression y bipolar an glaucoma and osteoporosis and asma medical with help me with every realyn need your help thank you so much
M. Bradley
1:51PM AUG 15TH 2013
yes I believe that you are on the right track I have seen wonders for people who are going through cancer treatment be able to EAT which is awesome and SLEEP not hurt anyone not become Drug Addicts and are very calm not aggressive, its a shame to me that they the DEA or whomever makes a decision that this is a drug that makes you a drug addict , also when I was younger here at one time it was legal to smoke what the hell happened, to reality.

Thanks just me beachtoes2
knowa
12:14PM AUG 6TH 2013
Do your part end this madness
Mike
9:35AM AUG 6TH 2013
What a hypocritical society we have. How can cigarettes be legal when there is overwhelming evidence of their negative effects and not so for marijuana. Either legalize marijuana or make cigarettes illegal.
knowa
12:28PM AUG 4TH 2013
We need it in Florida
unitedforcare {dot} org
Rick Steeb
11:04AM AUG 3RD 2013
Here in California, the law says "any condition for which 'marijuana' provides relief" is qualifying. "The opposite" is what you have NOW in Florida; get over it.

Whether for relief of terminal cancer symptoms or as a non-toxic alternative to beer or a cigarette-- LEGALIZE it, yesterday. What part of "Liberty and Justice" confuses you?
LDouglas
8:24AM AUG 3RD 2013
"State Republican Chairman Lenny Curry said he plans on turning out voters based on Gov. Rick Scott's success "on the issues that they care most about, which are jobs, schools and cost of living."

He needs to add health to that list. (And while he's at it, realize our health is related to the health of that thing called the "environment". Jobs are too, and while the ag industry might be adding illegal immigrant jobs in some areas and other industries might be adding a few jobs due to less "environmental" regulation, it's destroying jobs in other areas- like in the communities along the Indian River Lagoon.)
In any case, I'm grateful John Morgan is taking up legalizing medical marijuana but I'd like to see it go a step further and at the least, decriminalize it for others.

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