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John Morgan Could Have Authorized Smoking of Medical Marijuana, but ...

June 14, 2017 - 6:00am

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.

Big deal.

Who cares?

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


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Morgan is a capitalist. Barney is a wannabe.

"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." So the taxpayers, who havr already voted to allow medical marijuana, now get to PAY to have a politically connected law firm fight to make the most common way to use it forbidden?

Oh come on Barney. You were against A2 and one of the stated reasons​was that it would allow smoking. You, the Semblers, DFAF and the rest of the prohibitionists need to get over it. Let Doctors decide who uses Medical Cannabis and let Patients decide how they medicate including smoking and vaping flowers. Anything less is unacceptable.

Barney is a skilled wordsmith. He used every trick in the book. I especially like the one where he claims the reason the creatures in Tallahassee swamp opposed smoking because no respectable dr or pharm recommends smoking their poisons based on all the commercials barney and the creatures have seen. This is way way bigger than pot, dope, marijuana, mary jane or any other slur you want to call it. A constitutional amendment for freedom in our medical decisions hijacked by the creatures of Tallahassee . Usurpers and thieves. When the government fears the People we have Liberty When the People fear the government we have Tyranny!

The self proclaimed party of small government is sold based on an obvious lie. It is time for an amendment that prohibits state and local government interference in marijuana cultivation, transportation, sales, and use.

Just like "anonymous" has NO balls by using the overused moniker of "anonymous". Continue vaping, anon.

Barney, how'd you get lost and go on the wrong team?

Barney has always played on the wrong team....certainly NOT for Florida

John you'll need to call him names to get a timely response otherwise all you'll hear is CRICKETS!

Meaningful, verifiable, peer-vetted research is going to be nearly impossible as long as marijuana is a Schedule I drug under Federal Law. Even if they do reschedule it to "III," there is complex web of laws, rules, and policies that need to be adapted to make research and FDA involvement allowable and viable. The fact that Congress has not weighed in on the topic has led to incredibly confusing policies within the alphabet agencies of the Federal government, where even under the Leftist/Progressive Obama Administration, agencies were in sharp disagreement and about how to handle state-adopted medical marijuana laws. While some federal agencies look the other way, while others will put you through the legal grinder for having a nexus to medical marijuana. If you want to read some interesting think tank studies on the topic, google "Brookings Institute marijuana," and you'll find several very informative and well done papers on the topic, and though it is from a left-leaning perspective, their work is certainly informative.

If you expect us 'we those people to believe that 'we those people who went through all this effort to get this amendment on the books never intended to smoke cannabis then you are clearly not firing with all your pistons. Smoking cannabis is like Love and Marriage they go together like a Horse and Carriage.

He has no response to facts because common sense eludes him. He'd rather sit here and pretend any of what he is saying has any merit. He says it's about what the amendment says and what the court interprets it to mean. Why would the amendment define marijuana as all parts of the plant? And if we were not meant to smoke it, what would we need all parts of the plant legalized?!? You can vape and make edibles without whole flower, the only reason to have whole flower other than to eat it raw(which most people do not) is for consumers to smoke!

Good morning Barney. First I wish you would refer to the plant as cannabis and not "pot" during your diatribes. It makes for more an adult conversation, but as you support Drug Free Florida and the Semblers, I understand that your consistent use of the word pot is to keep the use illegitimate. Regarding the differences between vaping and smoking. Vaping is the use of an electrical device to heat the plant matter or oil to an adjustable point where cannabinoids are released. These devices, some of which the temperature settings are adjustable, allow the user to set certain settings. The THC uptake with vaping is around 45%. Smoking is usually with plant matter, and the combustion takes place. There are no settings as compared to vaping. THC uptake is roughly 25%. Barney when you have a chance ask the Semblers why they have not disparaged Israel, which has a medical marijuana program. Sembler, a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition has repeatedly attacked Florida's medical marijuana program, but neve ever said anything disparaging about Israel's program. In all the trips to Israel why is it that Mel Sembler has NOT once called the Israeli's and the rabbis a bunch of potheads. Barney, do you believe that Israel is filled with potheads? The directed attacks towards Florida's medical marijuana program, while disregarding Israel's program tells me there is an agenda at work. Especially when Israel is exporting cannabis based medicines to America.

'Old' Barney has absolutely no idea which to call it; Mary Jane, Marijuana, Pot, Weed, cannabis, whichever. His head is scrambled! Barney, please take your retirement more seriously.

They call it "pot" and "marijuana" because of all the stigmas associated with those terms. Harry J. Anslinger begin calling it marijuana because during the 1930's-1940's no one knew what marijuana was and it made it easier to sound more Hispanic to demonized Mexicans and blacks.

Anonymous, unfortunately for you it isn't about what patients's what the amendment says and what the courts interpret it to mean...and you should work hard to have civil discourse - it never helps to call people names...if you have a good argument, then you don't have to call folks names

Barney, Your previous article said smoking was not even mentioned in the amendment.your legal knowledge is questionable at best. The courts will look at what he language in legal he amendment and the reasonable intent and understanding of the voters . It would be superfluous to say you can ban smoking in public if all smoking could be banned. The voters clearly expected and intended that smoking would be allowed and that all parts of the plant even whole flower would be available.

Hi Barney, I enjoyed your article, and I think you are correct in your assessment of Morgan. As for these criticizing your article, . . . .. . they evidently want to smoke recreational pot and are upset with the Legislature.

Recreational pot? This is about Fl medical marijuana policies buddy, meaning to legally consume whether by vapong or smoking it would be deemed for medical purposes. And being that I am a patient, I could care less about recreational policies. And if you're trying to imply vaping a higher concentrate oil is anymore medical than smoking the flowers, then that just shows how uninformed you are walker.

youre right there she no need to state the obvious, people that still call Cannabis "marijuana" and "pot" don't realize their already brainwashed and already are lost causes. RESEARCH DONT REGURGITATE

Smoking was not identified by the legislature, simply because law enforcement didn't have a clear line with which to determine legal and illegal AND the politicians were concerned about the next election. Don't make up stories or muddy the waters of this situation. It is POLITICS that gave us what we got.

Screw law enforcement because less than half of them actually know the law and what is means. And besides that it absolutely makes no sense that most cities and counties in Florida have decriminalized under 20grams of marijuana. Which is ironic because legislatures try and make it seem like smoking is so dangerous and a problem when most of the state obviously disagrees. So in essence depending on where you live police won't care if you smoke or not. Really it's not that hard for a cop to identify legal and illegal users, check for a medical card or the registry! This was never about helping the police or public safety, it's all about the money!!!

Barney, you are on tape campaigning against amendment 2 because it would allow smoking.

Once again he has no response to that fact that he himself spoke out against amendment 2 because it would allow smoking, but now he insists that the language made no indication?!?! Just like other opponents tried saying dispensaries are going to market edibles to kids, and that "pot shops" will Ben on every corner! It's all hogwash propaganda no different that "Reefer Madness" #DonaldTrumpNumber2

"I think we need to stop the semantics and focus on what "Patients" want, and at this point it is clear." Actually, Anonymous, both you and the author miss the point -- being that we, the public, don't want ANY smoking in public.

The reality is that people smoke publicly everywhere! But patients aren't trying to argue for public use at all, just the freedom to smoke period. We don't want accomendations, we want freedom of choice. I don't think we miss the point the people don't want smoking in public because it is already happening legally. The point is that is if this is all about compassion for patients, then it should be about expanding access not choosing how we administer or meds.

Cannabis has been smoked for more than 6,000 years, and has never killed one person EVER! And not once has it ever been linked to cancer or any potentially fatal conditions. Smoking over a long period of time may cause bronchitis, but can easily be reversed overtime by simply stop smoking. Can legislatures say the same about alcohol or tobacco? In fact is there any heavily used pharmacuetical that can produce as much medical results, with so little or harmless side effects? Don't let politicians fool you into thinking they care at all what is good for the people, or even care what we want for that's matter. At the end of the day most still have no real knowledge or formal research into medical cannabis. Just research the propaganda that was used to outlaw cannabis in America in early 1930's, before then it was in most medicines and products. First they said it would make white women have sex with blacks and make blacks think they're equal to white men. Harry J. Anslinger is the man who was behind all this idiocracy then, so don't be fooled now. Knowledge is power!!

I think Morgan & Morgan should be under investigation for trying to manipulate elections and start with an IRS Audit.

And yet no Republicans have those feelings when it pertains to Donald Trump?!? Ignorance is bliss!

You're an idiot and obviously have no common sense. If a law restricts people from drinking alcohol in public one is safe to assume, that "drinking" alcohol is legal within the private conveyance of a person home. You wouldn't then try and say you can only inject, or ingest rectally when it is understood that most people drink alcohol because that is the norm. Besides why else wouldn't that make all parts of the plant legal if they only intended for patients to vape or eat edibles? I think we need to stop the semantics and focus on what "Patients" want, and at this point it is clear. There's already scientific proof that smoking cannabis does not cause cancer, and legislation couldn't even tell you the difference between vaping and smoking but want us to think somehow it's more harmful?

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