JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Those who watch television in north Florida are familiar with the Morgan & Morgan law firm.
“For the people!” is the motto.
On Thursday, the firm’s co-founder, John Morgan, will go before the Florida Supreme Court and argue for the people of Florida to vote next year on legalizing medicinal marijuana use. He says he already has more than half of the 683,149 required voter signatures to get it on next year’s ballot.
Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office says they will argue before the court that Morgan’s amendment could lead to marijuana stores cropping up in strip malls and neighborhoods.
There is also dispute over the amendment summary, which says it would authorize “the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating disease as determined by a licensed Florida physician.”
John Morgan tells WOKV News that he knows a lot of doctors in Florida.
“I decided I have got to trust these doctors,” he says. “I know this. And for those who abuse that license, that’s what Pam Bondi’s there for. She’s there to crack down on ‘em, and arrest ‘em, and throw ‘em out. And that’s what the disciplinary boards are there for.”
“So I can’t just worry about a few bad apples that could destroy the hopes of five hundred thousand sick people. Really sick people.”
Morgan says he’s not a scientist, but he knows marijuana works because he saw what it did to his father who was dying of cancer. He was in pain and couldn’t eat.
“He was literally in fetal position, and within one day all of a sudden he’s up. He’s pain free, he’s nausea free,” Morgan says. “The anxiety’s gone and he’s sitting at the table and was eating a pot roast. It was miraculous.”
Morgan argues people who study marijuana and read about it know it works.
“Sixteen thousand people die every year from Oxycontin type medicine,” he says. “No one dies from marijuana.”
There’s already a pill form of marijuana that doctors can prescribe called Marinol, which many people refer to as the “marijuana pill.” It contains a synthetic version of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
But Morgan says it doesn’t work and compares it to drugs given to treat nausea for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
“The nausea drugs don’t work.”
WOKV listener David from Julington Creek Plantation says he’s okay with medicinal use, but he worries that people will abuse it, resulting in a Florida more like Washington and California.
“It’s just ridiculous for them to use that for an excuse for all these people who use it on an everyday usage…they’re just gonna have it open to, ‘well, I’m gonna go ahead and continue to use it.’”
David says he thinks it will open up a pathway for younger children to start using it.
“I think the availability is gonna be there for them. More access than it is now.”
Morgan says there won’t be a marijuana store on every corner just because people want it. He says legalizing the medicinal use is the first step, and regulating it is the second.
“Just because it passes doesn’t mean we’re gonna become California,” he says.
And he says those who argue that marijuana is a gateway drug and leads to more harmful drugs are using “scare tactics.”
“All drugs can start you down a road if abused,” Morgan says.
Morgan is the chairman for People United for Medical Marijuana and says he’s contributed $1 million of his own personal money towards the cause. He has until February to gather the 683,149 required voter signatures, but tells WOKV they’re going for at least 900,000.