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John Morgan and Ray Rodrigues Spar Over Future of Smokeable Medical Marijuana

July 12, 2017 - 4:15pm
John Morgan and Ray Rodrigues
John Morgan and Ray Rodrigues

Both the legislation to regulate Florida’s booming medical marijuana industry and Amendment 2 might be in the rearview mirror, but House bill sponsor Ray Rodrigues and Orlando attorney John Morgan aren’t done sparring over medical marijuana just yet. 

On Monday, Florida House Majority Leader and primary sponsor for the bill to regulate Florida’s medical marijuana industry, Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, took a swipe at Morgan’s newly-filed lawsuit to allow smokeable medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.

Citing studies showing smoking is an ineffective way to ingest the drug, Rodrigues said the majority of Florida voters don’t support recreational medical marijuana -- and neither does he.

“It’s clear that the citizens of Florida supported legalizing marijuana for medical purposes,” said Rodrigues. “They did not support marijuana for recreational purposes. We were polling the entire time. Medical marijuana was frequently above 70 percent… recreational marijuana was never above 50 percent in the polling we were doing. It consistently polled in the 40’s.”

Under Florida’s new medical marijuana law, vaporizing, edibles and oral capsules are some of the ways patients can ingest cannabis, but smoking is prohibited. 

When Amendment 2 author John Morgan caught wind of the comments, he wasted no time firing back, addressing Rodrigues directly in a series of tweets posted Wednesday morning.

“Your constituents will need #MedicalMarijuana more than most,” Morgan wrote. “I'm fighting for them while you're fighting against them.”

Morgan questioned whether the state would emerge victorious in his lawsuit, which asks Florida to declare the new medical marijuana law unenforceable because it lacks one key way for patients to ingest the drug: by smoking it.
Morgan also disagreed with Rodrigues over whether or not smoking was an effective way to take the drug and has repeatedly criticized any legislation prohibiting it as “a joke.”
“Inhalation is a medically effective and efficient way to deliver Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids, to the bloodstream,” wrote Morgan in the suit. 
Amendment 2, which passed with 71 percent of the vote last November, prohibits the smoking of medical marijuana in public places. 
Morgan says the underlying implication is that medical cannabis can be smoked in private.
Morgan continued to prod at Rodrigues, questioning whether he would support the newly-minted law all the way through the court system.
“If the state loses will [Rodrigues] personally reimburse the state for his folly?” Morgan asked. “Money talks. Bullsh*t walks. Put your money where your mouth is fella.”

Rodrigues has not responded to Morgan’s tweets and had not returned Sunshine State News’ calls at the time of this article’s release. 


Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.



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You'll never convince ray of anything he can't hear you because his head is too far up his own a___ Ray"30 pieces of silver" Rodrigues has been brought and paid for by special interest groups that control his vote without thought of the sick and dying in Florida. Ray how much in donations have you recieved from Faye, Sembler, current licensees, big pharma and the agriculture association. Never in over 60 years have I seen such corruption and to think I was a republican and now independent because of corrupt politicians like you Ray. John spend a couple of dollars to investigate Rodrigues, Bradley and they rest that pushed and supported this awful bill.

we moved because of the bad laws of florida to colorado where people live free the economy is great my friends says we are marijuana refugees because of the weed her son has epilepsy my man was addicted to oxycotten prescribed by Dr.s now hes free from addiction has medical card he & smokes just weed no other vices praise the Lord . The economy is great the laws are working here I feel sorry for the children that are being neglected that cant move I hope somebody sues for them before they die.

Rick Scott is a eco-terrorist that hates disabled people.

Let's not forget what the House bill introduced by Ray Rodrigues looked like....... No smoking, no vaping, no edibles. Remember THAT? The House version of the bill was written by Calvina Fay and her merry band of ignorants at Drug Free American Foundation. She even thanked the House for passing "sensible" legislation. (DFAF is funded by at least five pharmaceutical corporations) This "no smoking" debacle is all about appeasing ignorant, deep-pocketed prohibitionists. And the years of stalling tactics (Charlotte's Web legislation of 2014, for example) were simply to preserve the profits of the pharmaceutical industry - the very same industry that hands out all sorts of campaign contribution money to your politicians. Any person in 2017 who still tries to make a comparison between opiates and cannabis are ignorant fools. The only cure for ignorance is education, so to those prohibitionists out there, why don't you Google how in States where cannabis is legal (either medical or recreational), opiate and heroin overdoses are down as much as 25%. How about facts regarding smoking cannabis? Science has already proven that smoking cannabis does not cause cancer. Science has already proven that cannabis slows and sometimes stops forms of cancer. Science has already proven that the human body has an endocannabinoid system that works synergistically with the hundreds of cannabinoids in cannabis. Science has already proven that cannabis is a neuro-protectant. Science has already proven the "gateway" theory is a myth. For those of you thinking about dropping the "Well the FDA doesn't recognize it as medicine" statement, do your own homework on who heads the FDA, and the revolving door policy that exists between the FDA and Big Pharma. And while you're doing that homework, Google patent # 6630507. That's the federal government's patent on medical marijuana. The FL legislature came up with 68 pages of over-regulation on medical cannabis - a plant that has never, EVER killed a human being in all of recorded history. Had they put that level of over-regulation into prescription opiates, perhaps there wouldn't BE an opiate epidemic.......

Excellent well written comment.

Very well spoken good sir/mam. I really want to add something. When the drug enforcement agency continues to tell high school students that marijuana is bad. And Jeff Sessions wants to reinstate programs like D.A.R.E.. And the government absolutely refuses to acknowledge that heroine is more addictive than marijuana. WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE IS THAT SENDING TO THE KIDS? I hear all this talk about how fearful marijuana prohibitionists are about kids getting the wrong message, that drugs are ok. BUT WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE ARE THEY SENDING WHEN THEY KEEP INSISTING THAT MARIJUANA IS DANGEROUS? The kids know they are lying. The kids know they are full of it. Maybe the kids might think the government is lying about the dangers of heroine too. What kind of message is that sending?

Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Almost every major civilization has it in it's records. Nobody has ever died of an overdose. The"gateway" theory has been debunked. Only a full and fair implementation of A2 is acceptable. Allow Doctors to decide who uses Medical Cannabis and let Patients decide how they medicate including smoking flowers.

Opiods are the #1 problem in our country right now - smoking marijuana for a time just doesn't get it for some people so they go for something more powerful and that is the start of the climb up the drug ladder. Our prescription drugs aren't under control and I don't know how people think this will be under control either. America needs to sober up - life is too short to live it under that terrible cloud of smoke - we are headed to 3rd world status. Stop this movement now!

Really? Marijuana has no lethal dose, has never killed anyone, is not addictive, cures nausea, increases lung capacity, increases well being, stimulates appetite, helps with glaucoma and the list goes on. The original laws have roots in the paper industry (the constitution was written on hemp), tobacco, alcohol, big pharma and private prisons, and racism against blacks and those of Mexico. Nobody in the DEA or drug enforcement agency can give a straight answer when asked if heroine is more dangerous than marijuana. For example. "is heroine more dangerous than marijuana?" Sais the good senator. To which the head of the DEA replies"Baseball, window, computer, field, car, wheel, truck, ram, dodge ram, tires, everywhere like such as....but the puppies. In a study, 125 dogs consumed pot edibles and 2 of them died of asphyxiation" Please look that up on youtube. END PROHIBITION NOW!!!!! IT IS POINTLESS. IT IS A WASTE OF TAX PAYER DOLLARS. IT DESTROYS LIVES OVER SOMETHING NOT ONLY HARMLESS, BUT BENEFICIAL. IT IS A VIOLATION OF MY RIGHTS. STOP MCDONALDS. STOP TOBACCO. STOP BURGER KING. STOP POTATO CHIPS. STOP MARLBORO. STOP BUDWEISER. HYPOCRITES

Marijuana is still schedule 1. Until that is changed there is no path to making it legal in any form, all the medical marijuana claims are invalid until that time.

That's just crazy. Changes need yo be made.

Congress acknowledged that it did not know enough about marijuana to permanently relegate it to Schedule I, and so they created a presidential commission to review the research and recommend a long-term strategy. President Nixon got to appoint the bulk of the commissioners. Not surprisingly, he loaded it with drug warriors. Nixon appointed Raymond Shafer, former Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, as Chairman. As a former prosecutor, Shafer had a "law and order," drug warrior reputation. Nixon also appointed nine Commissioners, including the dean of a law school, the head of a mental health hospital, and a retired Chicago police captain. Along with the Nixon appointees, two senators and two congressmen from each party served on the Commission. The Shafer Commission -- officially known as the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse -- took its job seriously. They launched fifty research projects, polled the public and members of the criminal justice community, and took thousands of pages of testimony. Their work is still the most comprehensive review of marijuana ever conducted by the federal government. After reviewing all the evidence, these drug warriors were forced to come to a different conclusion than they had at first expected. Rather than harshly condemning marijuana, they started talking about legalization. When Nixon heard such talk, he quickly denounced the Commission -- months before it issued its report. in the end, the Shafer Commission issued a report that tried to correct the "extensive degree of misinformation," to "demythologize" and "desymbolize" marijuana. They reported finding that marijuana did not cause crime or aggression, lead to harder drug use or create significant biochemical, mental or physical abnormalities. They concluded: "Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it." The most important recommendation of the Commission was the decriminalization of possession or non-profit transfer of marijuana. Decriminalization meant there would be no punishment -- criminal or civil -- under state or federal law.

As it stands, the schedule 1 status is invalid. The scheduling of marijuana is a catastrophe. 1. It has medicinal value. 2. It is not addictive. 3. It does not have potential for abuse. The bottom line is that corrupt organizations are lobbying to keep the substance illegal and prevent research. Medical professionals in the 1930's advised against making it illegal. Just as they did in the 70's and currently today. The state of marijuana has an awful lot to do with Nixon. A crook. Really?

Then it is time to change that. Let us follow the process that maintains this schedule 1 lie and vote them out.

We have to wipe the federal gov with progressives in order for that to happen, which isn't happening.

Regarding Mr. Rodrigues comment---“It’s clear that the citizens of Florida supported legalizing marijuana for medical purposes,” said Rodrigues. “They did not support marijuana for recreational purposes. We were polling the entire time. Medical marijuana was frequently above 70 percent… recreational marijuana was never above 50 percent in the polling we were doing. It consistently polled in the 40’s.” @@@@@Maybe it's time to take a closer looks at those numbers, maybe it's time for another amendment on the Novembers ballot, full recreational cannabis. This boomer says legalize it.

Regardless of how any of us feel about med pot is irrelevant. 71% voted for it, and to legislate to make it more difficult for people to get is simply not the will of the people.

More difficult and more expensive.

When the politicians stop trying to get re-elected, there will be a change. However , time will change the opinions of many....The older Baby Boomers are dying. Younger ones are more likely to embrace pot, vote, and be elected.

As usual the "Reefer Madness" brainwashing done by the federal government of the 1960s still has a far reach. Cannabis is not habit forming. It has so many possibilities. From chemo, chronic pain, and hereditary diseases like muscular dystrophy. But, without the research we may never know what its full potential could be. The federal government needs to reclassify marijuana as a schedule 2 drug. Then some real research can be done. It has helped me with my rheumatoid arthritis and the chronic pain I suffer from it. I have had allergic reactions to every medication given to me by doctors except opiates. Even ibprophen has caused reactions. I have other underlying health problems, kidney calcification due to alcohol consumption in my younger years, gall bladder disease, pancreatitis, on top of numerous autoimmune diseases. But, smoking marijuana helps me, especially with my body wide chronic pain. Vaping has it's issues we may not know everything about. I believe if a patient is will to smoke it and the doctor is willing to prescribe it to be smoked there shouldn't be any question there. It should be allowed. In the privacy of one's home. People are worried that someone stoned will be driving down the road. Well, it would fall under the same laws as driving under the influence. Can anyone actually say they know someone that has died from an overdose of smoking marijuana? No, because it has never happened. Can someone possibly die from vaping marijuana? Possibly, we dont know what vaping and marijuana will actually do. Besides, smoking marijuana has helped thousands of people with chronic lung disease. How, we dont know because the federal government will not fund or allow any research. Reclassify marijuana as a schedule 2 drug. Allow it to be administered as the doctor patient relationship deems appropriate for each case and quit meddling in the lives of people suffering needlessly when we have something that actually helps witj out endangering lives.

Let's be real. The motive for John Morgan to get marijuana passes was to make it look like it would help people with illnesses that could not be taken care of by regular medicine. Follow the money trail, I'm already getting tons of e-mails asking to buy into the marijuana business as it is guaranteed to make tons of money. Of course John Morgan wants it to be smoked, because he's not interested in medical cures, he wants recreational drugs. Look at all the problems going on in Colorado and Calif. and how it is affecting our youth. This is what we will get. We have enough problems going on with our youth now because of liberal ideas. Bradenton is experiencing many deaths due to illegal drugs and marijuana is the gateway drug to this, I don't know what it takes for people to wake up and accept the truth.

Let's be real? Florida has consistently been 10 years behind California in any political changes. California is a model for true democracy for the whole nation even New York. When a person thinks he is a standard for everybody elses lifestyle, that is know as ignorant. That's what were dealing with here in Florida. The tight right wing conservatives need new stomping grounds.

Cannibis is not a gateway drug at all. Get those lies out of your head. You are brain washed. People are dying because of OPIOTS! nothing to do with cannibis at all. In fact, most people that smoke, do not do opiots. And California and Colorado are booming way more than they were before. Schools are getting way better, and crime is going down. And less minors are Doug drugs. (These are facts btw) do your research before you spew nonsense

To Say Smoking Cannabis Has Know Medical Benefit Is False..First Studies I Read In 1971 About Cannabis Cleansen Nicotine From Ur Lungs,,Cannabis Is A COPD Treatment From Experience...Should Be Legal!!!

Wow. Rodriguez is so unequivocally and irrefutable wrong. He is in wreckless disregard for the scientific process and also s scientific facts. It is extremely transparent to me that he is getting kickbacks at the cost of interfering with florida freedom and rights

Why doesn't Florida want part of a $22 billion a year industry? Florida with a pill popping culture, killing people with opiates in the name of "healthcare." Instead you are inhibiting a much safer alternative that NO ONE has ever died from. So, people would rather see pill addicts and others suffering in pain, then make a natural "God-given" solution legal? Let me get this straight, you would rather keep people addicts, keep people non-functioning and keep the state poor instead of embracing a complete solution?.....$22 billion a year industry that is going to NOT see drop or a decline for a very very long time...not to mention the jobs and businesses this will create...lower unemployment is another benefit. I see a state that wouldn't be struggling financially or a state that has to "bend over and take it" just so corporations will come to Florida by giving tax breaks. I think it's time for everybody to forgets all the "reefer madness" propaganda and learn the facts and get down to the truth and benefits of what the cannabis industry truly is... Green is the new gold. Cannabis is safer than alcohol, pills, fire ants, most foods you eat and even coconuts...which have killed more people than cannabis ever will I support Medical Cannabis in all forms and a person's right to choose in the form they want to ingest their medicine.

There are NO surprises here. The "Goal" always was to sneak-in through the back-door to get "Smoking Marijuana" acceptable in Florida, with the eventually "New-Amendment" or Legislative Bill passed to make All Marijuana Recreational . This is BIG Money. ........Smoking Marijuana is detrimental to one's Health as it contributes to Lung Cancer. It also victimizes others to "Second-Hand" smoke. The "JOY" of those who want to smoke, is the High THC content of todays Marijuana. This is NOT a Gateway Drug anymore, with THC content of as much as 35% THC content. This drug alone will "Take you where No Man should go anymore". In an America where so-called Freedoms are used as a Shield for NOT being Responsible, this would just be another step closer to our own "Sodom & Gomorrah"

Comparing the use of native plants to soddomy is quite a stretch. Maybe you didn't get the memo; google 6630507. That is the US government's patent on Cannabis' use as a neuroprotectant and cancer treatment. Yes, the US government both holds a patent (as in they pulled the patent) on it's medical use and also says that it doesn't have one. While you're at it google Cathy Jordan smoking is the only way it can work for her disease and it has kept her alive for years.

Second hand smoke from cannibis? Are you serious?! It's on the same level as alcohol! There is no public smoking, just like there is no public drinking. Unless you are in a bar or club. The same rules apply. It is not a gateway drug and has never been a gate way drug. That is 100% lie. And is proven. Do some damn research! And contributes to lung cancer?! Are you kidding me? There are absolutely NO cases at all proving your theory true. Your statements are desperate and uneducated. Please do research. This is embarrassing! Cigarettes should be illigal, not cannibis. Talk about second hand smoke, cigarettes are disgusting and kill more people than any drug, besides prescription drugs of course!


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