John Morgan says the medical marijuana initiative will pass in Florida because "it works"

Posted by Mitch Perry on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM

For the people: John Morgan meets the press before his speech at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club
  • For the people: John Morgan meets the press before his speech at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club
Often hilarious, sometimes profane, occasionally long winded — Orlando-based personal injury attorney John Morgan was all that and more in a bravura appearance before the Tampa Tiger Bay Club at Maestro's at the Straz Center on Friday afternoon.

As the man who has invested $4 million of his own money to give Floridians the opportunity to become the 21st state in the union to have medical marijuana, Morgan's hour-plus speech was focused almost exclusively on the proposed constitutional amendment, whose presence on the ballot this November was only made certain within the past month after surviving a challenge in the Florida Supreme Court.

A skilled public speaker, Morgan, who has become a household name in Florida due to the ubiquitous television ads that refer to his legal practice, drew laughs immediately when he said, "If you've been injured in an automobile accident or hurt on the job," the opening line of those Morgan & Morgan commercials.

Mixing pathos with biting humor, Morgan often worked the crowd like a stand-up comic, and a crude one at that. Reflecting on how politicians are held in such low esteem for good reason, he blasted the bromide from legislators that they run for office to provide "public service."

"Every time I hear 'public service' I say to myself, ''s about vanity.'"

But he grew emotional talking about the two people in his family — his father and brother Timmy — who both grew so ill that pot was the only medication able to improve the pain they were suffering, if only temporarily.

Morgan's father died of esophageal cancer. When he was in the hospital dying, he was on a "cocktail of narcotics" that wasn't improving his condition, Morgan said. He pleaded with his father to indulge in smoking marijuana, which he finally agreed to do. He said after days of withering away, a meal consisting of a roast, carrots and potatoes was prepared for his father. Morgan says he'll never forget that night; shortly after consuming cannabis, his father was sitting up in his hospital bed with a Miller Lite in front of him. "He said, 'John? This shit works.'"

He then went on to assail the prodigious consumption of Oxycontin in this country, quoting reports that 16,000 people die every year from it. "You tell me one person who ever died from a marijuana overdose."

Although every major poll taken in recent months shows that the measure would pass this year, Morgan acknowledges that getting the 60 percent majority required for passage will not be easy. But he's extremely confident that it will become law.

He's also sensitive to, if not a bit irritated by, the fact that some critics believe there will be marijuana dispensaries on every block in every city, as critics described as being the case initially in California.

He then challenged the audience to name one of the 18 states other than California or Colorado where marijuana is prescribed legally. He said they might be hard pressed to do "because it ain't a problem out there! We just decided to take the state where it's totally legal and make that the whipping tree." He mentioned that that medical marijuana is also legal in Arizona, which he described as one of the most conservative states in the country. "They're not worried about medical marijuana in Arizona. They're worried about illegal immigrants in Arizona."

(Speaking of Colorado, a House Democrat from Orlando, Rep. Randolph Bracy introduced legislation today legislating recreational marijuana use in Florida.)

He said the resistance to pot in the U.S. has always been exaggerated, though he's never condoned its recreational use in his own family. He said the much of the opposition came from the 1936 film Reefer Madness. and that anti-drug laws in this country were rooted in racism, hatred and fear, which are the same arguments he hears today.

And he says it's unfortunate that, in Florida, support for the measure has come down to a partisan issue, with most Democrats supporting it and most Republicans opposed. He believes that if Rick Scott and Pam Bondi could do it over again, they would be neutral instead of being so vocal in their opposition, in particular Bondi, who was on the losing end of the battle to have the proposal struck down by the courts.

"If we had to polygraph every Republican legislator in the state, how many of them do you think have smoked marijuana illegally? I mean the hypocrisy is beyond the puke factor."

Part of the problem for Morgan is that he has become the face and voice of the movement to pass medical marijuana, though he's hardly steeped in understanding of every aspect of what will happen in Florida if the measure passes, something he complained about on Friday. "A lot of people are calling me like I'm going to be the guy who's going to be laying out the plots of land and dealing out the franchises," he surmised.

So far, there have been no major group(s) declaring they will actively oppose the medical pot initiative, though the election is still more than eight months away. Morgan doesn't envision that happening, though he did say "Big Pharma" might attempt to block the legislation.

Although it was mostly a love fest, there was one man in the audience who asked Morgan to comment on the rumors that his whole effort was simply designed to help elect his personal friend and now co-worker Charlie Crist, one of two major Democrats running for the nomination for governor this year.

The (unproven) theory is that there will be a greater turnout of Democratic voters than is normally the case in an off-year election because of the pot initiative, which will benefit Crist. As he has in the past, Morgan swatted down such rumors.

"Look. You would have to think [it was] back in February (of 2013) that I dreamed it all up ... that Bill Nelson wasn't going to run. That Charlie Crist was going to run. That I was going to go through all these obstacles to get there. I would love to tell you that I'm that smart and Machiavellian and conniving. But I'm not."

He went on to say that disease that does not choose a political party, and that he doubts anyone whose lives have been affected by a loved one benefiting from medical pot would change their vote.

And then with a slight pause. "But I like being credited with being conniving."

Comments (11)

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That explains why 20 states have MMJ programs to anyone but the people making a living from or through prohibition,,you will never convince someone that is protecting their rice bowl to understand.

It works and it works for so many health issues you will understand why it is being kept illegal,,,if any man could have owned it in 1937 it would have never been made illegal,,even now the rich industrialist that bought the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act are attempting to keep hemp production and medicine production choked back,,protecting the profits they have enjoyed for nearly 8 decades now.

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Posted by Norman Gooding on 02/21/2014 at 5:10 PM

Rock on, John Morgan! End Prohibition NOW✊

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Posted by Drew Bright on 02/21/2014 at 5:28 PM

Go John Morgan! This is not just a fight against ignorant laws, but against the multi billion dollar greedy RX companies.

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Posted by Dee on 02/21/2014 at 8:02 PM

How frustrating it is to have 82% of Florida in support and KNOW that Tallahassee is NOT listening. ~~
Rick Scott serves the Private Prison Owners and any healthcare scheme that will make money. ~~
What he DOESN'T know is that most of this majority has been ridiculed, taunted and put down for years by the self-rightous judgmental types. and they are about to have their day. all 82% of us, come on ~~

~~ I can't believe Rick Scott/Pam Bondi don't see this coming _ LOL

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Posted by Scott Houston on 02/21/2014 at 8:26 PM

It always ends the same way; Prohibitionists like Rick Scott and Pam Bondi eventually get to experience utter loneliness, also known as “the sadomoralist condition”—a form of existential despair as they begin to finally realize the utter futility and destructiveness of their entire life’s work. This is ultimately compounded by the deep realization that it’s simply not possible to prove any of the nonsense they’ve been zealously propagating for many long decades. It’s this type of loneliness that often turns their attention to a higher power, the one that usually comes in liquid form. This is a serious terminal affliction, and not one that a psychologist, philosopher, or priest can help with. Eventually they become trapped in a very dark place, where they have literally nobody left to relate to. In such situations, it is our civic duty and moral obligation to point their festering, lonely souls to the nearest very high bridge.

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Posted by Malcolm Kyle on 02/22/2014 at 5:17 AM

The dilemma is that AG Pam Bondi has the power in her own signature, she can reschedule cannabis in Florida.

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Posted by Knowa Knowa on 02/22/2014 at 8:22 AM

The real, "hidden" reasoning behind the Florida GOP's resistance to legalizing medical marijuana, even though 82% OF VOTERS ARE FOR IT, can be explained, at least from one angle, by legal marijuana in Florida being a "clear and present danger" to ALCOHOL industry sales and profits, and also a potential loss of GOP party and candidate campaign financing from the entrenched alcohol industry in Florida, which is dominated by GOP-aligned owners and corporations - Industry lobbyists are surely putting the pressure on the GOP to take a "tough stance" against this issue, with will surely affect their quasi-monopolistic industry for the worse..

The upside for Independents and Democrats in Florida will be a huge turnout of younger, liberal-minded voters in the next election, due to having the medical marijuana (and future legalization for all) issue on the ballot, which should also ensure Charlie Crist being elected
as a by-product.

Again we see the reluctance and short-sightedness of the GOP to embrace legalization as yet another GREEDY, SELF-SERVING move by party officials who DO NOT REPRESENT the wishes of the majority of their constituents, and a decision that goes against even the most basic common logic.. (But whoever said logic was a core competency of Republicans in general?)

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Posted by AlcoholLoversInFL on 02/22/2014 at 7:48 PM

every one of you needs to shut your faces and read the real research over this amazing thing called cannabis because for one thing, although you get high, it is not a drug. what this extremely unique thing is a sole source of nearly over 200 chemicals all over our bodies NEED, that is every cell, system and organ NEEDS in order to function and when they took it first out of our food chain in 1937, then out of our medicine-diets in 1942, within 8 more years we saw the already then alarming rise in two distinct groups of diseases, neurological and cancers. and now a third, autoimmune disorders. that is exactly what you would expect when over 200 vital nutrients are no longer being provided. In micro groups where this remained in the food chain, those groups all live longer and healthier lives and there are many. Funny, that these are the two predominant disorders we are seeing it fix~DUH! ..and still none of you are getting this, that cannabinoids(at least 80 of them) and terpenes (about 120 listed), constitute an entire new CLASS of vital nutrients we are finding out are responsible for cell health and regeneration, as well as in the case of cancers their death and evacuation! Everything we see them doing to disease, they also do to prevent them from even happening, without any, ANY ill side effects. This is NOT the activities of drugs, rather meet the precise definition of vital nutrients and if you all werent so mentally lazy, you would have read 7,000 of the well over 35,000 available research abstracts, summaries and reports already available at the NIH website. NUTRIENTS an entire CLASS and larger than all know nutrients combined!! wake tfu, you idiots. THIS is exactly why our bodies are diseasing. in 1950 1 in 16 of us was getting diagnosed for cancer. today the number will be closer to about 1 in every 2 of us. modern medicine and pharma are total pseudoscience ...a blatant murderous lie! Emperical medicine is being shown the fraud it is, by the old tried and true alopathic-homeopathic science of medicine. of course none of you understand this, that though you can get a certain high, it is not the same as any narcotic or drug, and b. this is an entire and major class of nutrients. You had better get off your asses and start reading, because none of your politicians have and how are you ever going to get them to get this if YOU dont even get this. READ! or they will play games with you and modern med, the cops and the pharmas will screw you again.

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Posted by Robert Ireland on 02/23/2014 at 6:24 AM

... i think we're all on the same team here, Robert

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Posted by Mr_Saturn on 02/23/2014 at 2:48 PM

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...

love and freedom forever


Posted by Immortal Illumined on 02/24/2014 at 10:41 AM

this is the most comments i've ever seen on c/l on line
what does that say about this rag?

anyway....follow the $$$

Posted by pltctytc on 02/25/2014 at 6:37 PM
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