John Morgan Sues Florida Because You’re Supposed To Smoke Medical Marijuana

Orlando attorney and medical marijuana amendment backer John Morgan has sued the state of Florida to allow suffering patients to smoke medical marijuana.

Morgan filed the suit in Leon County Circuit Court Thursday morning.

In the lawsuit, Morgan 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.

“Inhalation is a medically effective and efficient way to deliver Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids, to the bloodstream,” wrote Morgan.

Former Democratic House Speaker and attorney Jon Mills joined in the suit as well, which Morgan had been talking about filing for months should the state legislature not allow medical marijuana in its latest proposal to regulate the state’s new, booming industry.

The current proposal to regulate medical marijuana allows patients to ingest the drug via edibles, oils or vaping, but prohibits smoking the drug — an issue that has pro-medical marijuana supporters up in arms.

Morgan says state lawmakers didn’t quite understand the intent of Amendment 2, which he largely crafted with other pro-medical marijuana advocates.

State lawmakers, the suit alleges, have crafted their own definition of the constitutionally defined term “medical use” to exclude smoking — and that’s a big problem.

“By redefining the constitutionally defined term ‘medical use’ to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of ‘a licensed Florida physician’ and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process,” Morgan wrote.

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.

“In the amendment, it is very, very clear that it says smoking is not allowed in public and that’s the only place smoking can be addressed by the Legislature,” Morgan said in a press conference Thursday morning. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out if smoking isn’t allowed in public, it must be allowed in private.”

Critics have slammed the idea of smokeable medical marijuana as just another way to legalize recreational marijuana and questioned whether it was a medically viable way to ingest the drug.

“There’s a reason why every single major medical association opposes the use of the raw, smoked form of marijuana as medicine: smoke is not a reliable delivery system, it’s impossible to measure dosage, and it contains hundreds of other chemical compounds that may do more harm than good,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, President of nonprofit medical marijuana organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

New medical marijuana regulations are still fresh on the books in Florida. Just two weeks ago, Gov. Rick Scott tacked his signature onto a bill regulating Florida’s medical marijuana industry into law.

If the Leon County court agrees with Morgan, though, it will be up to the Florida Department of Health to regulate the drug.

“They’re making it a health issue like someone in chemotherapy is taking a few tokes,” Morgan told Sunshine State News. “It’s a bunch of people who don’t understand what they don’t understand. When you’re dying the last thing you care about is the smoke from marijuana.”

Morgan said the real threat of medical marijuana came to the opioid industry, which has boomed in recent years as the nation has fallen into an addiction crisis with high instances of opioid abuse.

“Every person using medical marijuana is a person who will not go to CVS…and buy their opioids which hook us, kill us and destroy our families,” he said.

The firebrand attorney wasted no time laying into House Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, who sponsored the latest bill to regulate the medical marijuana industry in Florida — but banned smoking in the bill.

“If Ray Rodrigues is so concerned about smoking, why doesn’t he tax cigarettes $5 a pack?” Morgan asked. All of a sudden Ray Rodrigues is a doctor in the state of Florida? No!”

To Morgan, Thursday was just another step on the already long and winding road to legalize medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.

“I started this thing in 2014 and this is the last promise I made to the people of Florida,” he said. “Promises made are promises kept.”

Medical Marijuana Makes It To Florida’s Ballot Again

Voters will get another chance to decide whether to allow medical marijuana in Florida after backers of a proposed constitutional amendment finished submitting enough valid petition signatures to get on the November ballot.

Prominent Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, who has pushed the medical marijuana citizen initiative, sent an email to supporters Wednesday announcing that the petition drive was successful.

According to the Florida Division of Elections website, supporters of the proposal have turned in 692,981 valid signatures, almost 10,000 more than needed to get on the ballot.

“This effort cost millions of dollars — but it needed to happen. … Medical marijuana is coming to Florida,” Morgan wrote in his email.

A similar amendment was on the 2014 ballot but fell short of getting support from the 60 percent of Florida voters needed to approve constitutional amendments.

The proposal was rewritten to address arguments by opponents that the 2014 measure was too broadly drawn and could allow easy access to the drugs.

If passed, the amendment would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for people with “debilitating conditions” such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy or multiple sclerosis.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson is behind 85 percent of Florida’s anti-pot campaign

Floridians will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use in their state next week and, whatever the outcome, two men will deserve most of the credit (or blame) for bankrolling the fight.

The single largest contributor on either side of the fight over Amendment 2, which grants patients with “debilitating diseases” access to medical marijuana, is billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who, new campaign finance filings show, added $1 million to the $4 million he’s already spent in support of the campaign to defeat the measure. Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands and America’s 12th richest person, is responsible for 85 percent of the $5.8 million raised by Drug Free Florida, the organization leading the charge against the measure and headed by former Reagan drug czar Carlton Turner. For Adelson, that amount of spending is roughly equivalent to a person worth $1 million writing a $157 campaign contribution check.

The man largely behind the yes campaign is personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who mostly through his law firm has contributed more than half of the $7.6 million raised by People United for Medical Marijuana. Morgan has toured the state and participated in debates to advocate for the measure, which he says he supports so people like his brother Tim Morgan, a quadriplegic, can get legal access to marijuana for pain relief.

Because of Adelson’s outsized influence, only about 15 percent of the money raised by the no campaign has come from within the state. In contrast, about 91 percent of the money raised by the yes campaign was raised in-state. Nineteen out of every 20 contributors to People United for Medical Marijuana listed a Florida home address. A review of campaign finance data shows about 80 individuals or organizations have contributed to the no campaign, while roughly 5,600 have donated to the yes campaign. (Note: some may be double-counted due to typos or slight differences in how their names were entered.)

While the results of more than a dozen polls compiled by Ballotpedia and conducted over the last year have all shown support for the measure outweighing opposition, Amendment 2 must receive 60 percent of the vote next Tuesday to pass.