It was a beautiful evening for a New Year’s Eve celebration in Southwest Florida as the winds off the water blew a balmy 60 something degrees through the streets of revelers consisting of FGCU college students, families and retirees sitting on the sidewalks praying for the clock to strike midnight so they could go home and go to sleep. It was every thing you’d expect for a nice evening out except for having to utter the words, “no I don’t want to sign your medical marijuana petition” every single time you turned a corner.
All entrances in and out of the blocked off streets leading to the downtown party included tables sponsored by the Florida law group Morgan & Morgan and their founder, John Morgan’s organization United for Care, pushing for state legislation to legalize the use of medical marijuana. The group must have 700,000 signatures by February 1st to add the initiative to the ballot this year. John Morgan has stated at least a million signatures must be added for safe measure to account for any ineligible signatures or other mishaps.
John Morgan is a Florida trial lawyer and well-known state Democrat who was a large financial supporter of the Obama campaign as well the former boss to one Charlie Crist, the man with a political identity crisis, or quite possibly just an identity crisis in general.
For some time John Morgan has advertised on the local 92.5 Fox News radio station touting his affiliation and support for organizations like the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor union federation and not surprisingly, large democratic supporters. I often wonder how many of those tuning in to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity understand it’s being brought to them by one of the most liberal participants in the state of Florida.
His recent ads touting the benefits of the legalization of medical cannabis seem to imply it’s also what G-d wants for the state of Florida. Evidently John Morgan speaks for G-d proclaiming, “I believe that God put this plant into nature for us.” In interviews he’s likened the contribution from G-d as to being similar to him giving us the aloe plant. But I don’t know of anyone who smokes aloe plants not to mention it wouldn’t be illegal if they did.
Critics of the initiative include Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi who filed a challenge to the proposed ballot initiative in October, calling it “deceptive”. In a letter filed with the Florida State Supreme Court Bondi wrote, “The ballot title and summary suggest that the amendment would allow medical marijuana in narrow, defined, circumstances, and only for patients with ‘debilitating diseases.’ But if the amendment passed, Florida law would allow marijuana in limitless situations.”
“So long as a physician held the opinion that the drug use ‘would likely outweigh’ the risks, Florida would be powerless to stop it,” she explained.
In his radio ads, John Morgan has lashed out directly toward the Attorney General mentioning Pam Bondi by name.
The signature gatherers said they were being paid for their participation at the New Year’s Eve event but declined to say how much. It’s being reported John Morgan has pumped a million dollars of his own money in to his crusade and it’s estimated it could cost $3.5 million to pay for activists to gather the signatures. But money apparently is not an option. “I can get the money. I have the money. I will be joined by people with money who will help,” Morgan bragged to the Tampa Bay Times last March.
The pro-cannabis site, High Times, cites a poll claiming 82% in Florida support legalizing the use of medical marijuana with currently 20 states having already legalized the use.
On his United for Care website they’ve published a piece on how the National Football League should be allowed the use of marijuana after games as a pain reliever and “therapeutic alternative.” The article cites it as “immoral” to deny football players the use of the drug, “because football players deal with pain management more acutely than athletes from other sports, a more virtuous and forward-thinking approach for the NFL would be to stimulate discussion of marijuana use. This is a league in which the locker room culture still demands that athletes play through it all. And given that marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever — especially for the migraines that can be a byproduct of head trauma — and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin, it is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.”
Obviously, United for Care and John Morgan have their sights set on more than just legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the state of Florida. But from the looks of the pages of signatures filling up from the New Year’s Eve event, I’d say they are well on their way to accomplishing their first goal.
I understand the use of medical marijuana is up for debate. The initiative which is being presented is vague at best and obviously needs better definition because it could easily get out of control as Pam Bondi states. Not to mention it’s illegal on a federal level she includes.
I can’t help but be cynical and leery of John Morgan knowing his extreme liberal leanings not to mention my disdain for his penchant for over-advertising. This includes his holiday billboards where he dresses up like Santa Claus. Anytime a liberal is this laser focused I look for the agenda behind their initiative understanding fully it’s not just simply “for the people” as he likes to claim. It looks as if this Santa would like to add a little something smoke-able in your stocking this coming year. It’s going to be an interesting year for elections on many fronts.