Lawyer John Morgan's support of medical marijuana is based on his father's cancer
Morgan says Florida is ready for medical marijuana
5:53 PM, Nov 22, 2013
8:37 PM, Nov 22, 2013
ORLANDO - If you watch any TV at all, you've seen the ads for Morgan and Morgan. "For the people!"
Now co-founder, John Morgan is using his familiar name and image to back the controversial issue of legalizing marijuana for medical use in Florida.
"I believe that God put this plant into nature for us. He didn't put oxycontin growing on trees. He didn't have Xanax berries and Darvocet berries. But in the backyard he put marijuana. And aloe!" said Morgan with a chuckle.
It's not surprising that one of the most successful lawyers in Florida has a colorful way with words. But many are surprised the co-founder of the powerful Morgan and Morgan law firm is using his powers of persuasion and hundreds of thousands of his own money to advance the cause of medical marijuana.
Morgan's group, 'People United' is more than halfway to collecting the 700,000 signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot in November of 2014.
A Quinnipiac University poll released this week shows a full 82% of Florida voters would likely approve such a measure.
But there is organized opposition.
"I think a lot of people simply want to have this medical marijuana legalized so they can jump on the bandwagon and be able to possess and use marijuana recreationally" said Robert Alfonso a retired Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy and volunteer for the group 'Drug Free America.'
Alfonso warns of a rampant black market and widespread abuse by people with no medical issues. Morgan calls those scare tactics.
"The only way it can be abused is if our doctors abuse it. Now if we can't trust the doctors to do what they're supposed to do, then God help us all," said Morgan.
Morgan also dismisses the suggestion that he wants medical marijuana on the ballot to draw younger, left leaning voters to the polls to the benefit of his friend and colleague, Charlie Crist, now running for governor as a Democrat.
Instead, Morgan says the issue became personal after his father, dying of cancer and in pain reluctantly tried marijuana.
"He didn't want to, but he did. He had his appetite back. His nausea was gone. His anxiety disappeared and his pain was reduced. So we saw it," Morgan said.
If the constitutional amendment is approved by at least 60 percent of the voters, it would make Florida the 20th state in the union and the only southern state to decriminalize medical marijuana. But already, legislative leaders and attorney general Pam Bondi are challenging the law in court.
"They've miscalculated here because the people of Florida want this," said Morgan.