Ever since the Special Session ended, the mainstream media in Florida have been breathlessly reporting that John Morgan, the Orlando attorney, who financially spearheaded both amendment drives to install medical marijuana in our state Constitution, is going to sue the state because the Legislature didn’t allow the smoking of marijuana.
So, he’s going to sue the state. The state has plenty of lawyers that work for us taxpayers and most likely, the state will retain an outside firm to handle the litigation.
To hear Morgan tell it, his intent always was for medical marijuana patients to be able to smoke pot to resolve their pain.
Morgan even went so far as to report that “smoking” is mentioned four times in the amendment language. If it is, I’d sure like him to point it out because I can only see it cited in one sentence in the amendment.
In a Sun Sentinel article, he went on to say that a 3-year-old “can figure out if you’re not allowed to smoke in public, what does that mean? You are allowed to smoke in private.”
Well, actually, no it doesn’t. It means just what it says: that you can’t smoke medical marijuana in public.
I guess Morgan has been toking too much and forgot to exhale.
He says, “A judge and a jury will understand this perfectly.”
Of course, if he does litigate this issue, we will find out just what they think the amendment says.
But, you’d think that after spending millions of dollars on a failed amendment attempt in 2014, and going back to re-write the amendment language, that Morgan could have made this entire issue moot.
By succinctly saying that smoking of medical marijuana is allowed in private quarters.
But, clearly, he didn’t do that.
Moreover, in all their pro-advertisements, proponents never put up an ad that told Florida patients they would be able to smoke medical marijuana.
If that was Morgan’s intent as one of the authors, he easily could have done that.
But he didn’t.
I believe I know why.
Because vagueness in the amendment language allows him to now claim that smoking was indeed intended for all medical marijuana patients.
Since he’s a trial lawyer, he’s comfortable in a courtroom, and he knows that win or lose, he still gets what he wants most -- the publicity of defending the right of these patients to smoke their dope.
We all know Morgan is toying with the idea of running for governor. Even if he doesn’t decide to run, he loves the publicity it gives him, and it helps his law firm get even more clients.
Morgan’s a capitalist, and by the way, so am I. I don’t begrudge him the publicity, I just think his antics are a tad apparent.
If he’s not threatening to sue, he’s talking about investing a million dollars in a medical marijuana treatment center.
It’s really all about the publicity. It will make him even more rich, and I still don’t begrudge him that either.
Good for him that he’s parlayed his actions to become so well-known.
Except, when he had the chance to show his true colors about his real motives in the 2014 campaign, he didn’t take his Pot Bus Tour to ALF’s, or nursing homes, or hospice centers, where the sick and dying might be, he took it to college campuses, Young Democrat meetings and to every other youthful meeting that he could locate.
To suggest that Floridians voted for A2 because they would be able to smoke it, well, that’s just pot luck.
I’m certain many voters voted because they wanted to smoke it, but so far, no doctor in America, of any repute, has suggested that smoking any medicine is the best way to take a drug.
Every day, all of us, watch countless commercials on television about the vast number of new drugs available for every possible ailment from arthritis to impotence.
Not one of them suggests smoking their drug.
That’s why Republican leaders in the House and Senate opposed any possibility of smoking pot as a so-called medicine.
But they did allow marijuana as edibles, it can be used as an oil, a patch or even a tincture. And they even allowed vaping of pot.
What’s the difference between smoking and vaping?
I can’t tell you, and it appears that most everyone else can’t either. At least those who don’t want to admit to vaping pot.
However, when future research studies in Florida, as promised by our elected leaders, produce the outcomes to document some scientifically-proven health benefits from medical marijuana, then we’ll all know once and for all that there is a benefit.
Until then, we’ll all just have to wait for that proverbial day in court.
Barney Bishop III, is the president and CEO of Florida Smart Justice Alliance, a conservative criminal justice reform group that is law enforcement-centric and which has lobbied the legislature to implement Amendment 2 in the most reasonable fashion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org