Does anybody besides John Morgan believe Richard Corcoran saved the day for Amendment 2 in Florida?
Does even John Morgan believe it?
I'm going out on the world's shortest limb to say, no way on God's green earth.
Not 24 hours had passed after last week's special session ended when attorney Morgan, creator of Amendment 2 and its financial backer, told the world the speaker of the House deserved all the credit for medical marijuana's success during the session and to show his gratitude, he would reward the speaker with a fundraising party in Orlando on Thursday to benefit his Watchdog PAC.
“We’ll show you our deep thanks for A2,” Morgan tweeted. “You made it happen. Plain & simple! I'll bring Makers Mark & Caymus."
"Made it happen?" He did?
I guess if you count that the House appeared to grudgingly consent to take up medical marijuana in the special session, Corcoran did make it happen.
But under Corcoran's leadership, that position was to low-ball amendment voters' expectations, even get a more permissive Sen. Rob Bradley in the Senate to go along with the stricter House rules.
So what's going on?
Amazing how fast after Friday's medical marijuana deal between the House and Senate Morgan was able to zip up his fundraiser arrangements so quickly, like a magic trick, getting Zander and Carmen Clem to open their home and to have the invitations printed up so fast they could be shown in a tweet. But then, there's always been a bit of the magician in John Morgan.
Why didn't Morgan make Sen. Jeff Brandes the session MVP? Be honest, who is philosophically closer to Amendment 2, who worked harder to get it done, than the St. Petersburg Republican?
So, now I'm wondering, could it be that Corcoran saved the day, not for Amendment 2, but for Morgan's lucrative class-action lawsuit?
Is this what the two of them planned all along?
A lot of deals were going down in secret during the regular and special legislative sessions. Did the most prominent personal injury attorney in Florida, who happens to be a Democrat, and the Republican House speaker who just four months ago promised us a more ethical and transparent state government cook up a deal together -- I make money for you, you make money for me ... we're going to need each other later?
Think about it. If a Corcoran-led House had allowed medical cannabis to be available in a smokable form, no lawsuit. No need for one.
But without a smokable product, Morgan may figure to use the same argument the Everglades Foundation buy-the-land-move-the-water-south crowd took to court over Amendment 1: Spending the majority of doc-stamp money on land may not be etched in stone in the amendment, but voters clearly thought it was intended.
Right now Morgan is hot-to-trot, claiming voters clearly expected to be able to smoke marijuana as a treatment when 71.2 percent of them supported the measure in November and nothing is going to stop him from putting together a class action -- even though there is no language in the amendment that requires either the Legislature or the Health Department to allow smoking the treatment.
“I don’t know why they would object to anyone on their death bed wanting to use what they wanted to relieve pain and suffering,” Morgan said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Friday night. “If they were really concerned about smoking, why don’t they heavily tax cigarettes?”
Morgan said he plans to file the suit in Leon County and has enlisted constitutional law expert Jon L. Mills, the dean emeritus of the University of Florida’s Levin School of Law, to help in the legal battle ahead -- the man he calls "the brains behind the final product of the constitutional amendment."
So, did Corcoran play ball with Morgan to keep the suit alive?
I'm not saying this is what happened, but you have to admit, it's fishy. Though Morgan didn't reply to my email asking the same questions I pose here, he did tell one of our reporters over the weekend he and Corcoran met for dinner a few weeks ago.
Another Capitol reporter suggested this might not be as nefarious as I imagine, that it's probably just a couple of guys with giant egos who figured out a way to be the talk of the town for a few days.
Morgan has said he wants to play. And to that end, he's prepared to invest $1 million in a medical marijuana business. “I believe that this is going to be a gigantic industry for a very good purpose and I like the idea now, after shilling it for all these years, I like the idea of being in it. And I’m a capitalist,” Morgan told Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida.
Whether Morgan still intends to run for governor is still up in the air. Right now it looks as if he's in a comfortable position in front of the cameras to do it all at the same time -- invest his money in cannabis, sue the state and run for governor.
"I think I could make the case better than most [to be governor]," Morgan told Sunshine State News reporter Allison Nielsen, "because what I do for a living is make cases. I have the ability to simplify things where people can understand it in real terms."
I expect the media soon will turn to a closer, more forensic look at Amendment 2.
Attorneys interpreting the amendment from Day One have said it was drafted to set a general policy, to make sure a patient with a debilitating medical condition could obtain, have and use medical marijuana under the watch of a physician, to treat that condition. What it doesn't do is specify a particular delivery method for the marijuana -- smoking, for instance.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith