John Morgan expects legalized weed amendment drive, offers help

John Morgan
"I don't think this will be hard to pass," Morgan predicted.

Orlando lawyer and medical marijuana champion John Morgan said Tuesday he believes there is time to get a marijuana legalization amendment on the 2020 ballot and he’s offering to help, though stopping short of leading the effort.

Morgan, who is convinced legalized recreational marijuana is inevitable, said he is not ready to lead the fight, wanting to remain focused on his own latest ballot initiative, to put a $15 an hour minimum wage before voters on the 2020 ballot.

Still, the man who refers to himself as #PotDaddy on Twitter believes the marijuana industry is strong and committed enough to accomplish a fast and costly push to develop a recreational marijuana amendment for Florida voters to consider and to gather enough signatures in time for what is essentially a Feb. 1, 2020, deadline for that task.

He wouldn’t say whom he’s counting on as the “industry.” But his comments, beginning with a tweet he put out Tuesday morning declaring “Let’s do this maybe, forget Tallahassee!”, come days after a new political committee called “Make It Legal Florida” registered Friday with the state, That committee has ties to powerful lobbyists and Republicans.

It’s chaired by Nick Hansen, the veteran operative who has worked on campaigns at all levels and is a former longtime adviser to GOP state Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg. Hansen is now Southeastern Director of Government Affairs for MedMen, a Los Angeles-based medical cannabis chain with locations and delivery service in Florida.

Moreover, his committee’s treasurer is Tampa-based CPA Nancy Watkins, once described by Florida Trend as “the GOP’s go-to accountant” who has specialized in campaign accounting for more than 35 years.

Morgan bankrolled, chaired, was the primary spokesman for, and the public face of the 2016 campaign that legalized medical marijuana in Florida, through a Constitutional amendment. Now he’s attempting to do the same for an amendment to increase Florida’s minimum wage.

“I have been approached by many in the industry about doing this. How fast can it happen? Could it happen if it’s possible at all? And I believe, like I’ve said all along, that if the industry comes behind something like this with the resources, which they want to do, then I’m all in,” Morgan said Tuesday. “And I told them I’d help them both strategically and financially.

“Instead of playing the trombone by myself, I’d be marching in the band with them,” he said.

By industry, Morgan said he was referring to a maturing marijuana business community with full lobbyist support, a clear understanding of the money that would become available through legalization, and large-scale investors.

Morgan said he is a general partner with the Coral Reefer brand, licensed by Jimmy Buffett’s business empire.

Here’s what Morgan tweeted Tuesday morning:

“I have decided that I am too old to care.

“I believe that #marijuana should be legal!!

“I think we have time and I think there is money to get it done. I already have the minimum wage signatures.

“Let’s do this, maybe forget Tallahassee! #ForThePeople.

— #PotDaddy

Morgan said he does expect it to be difficult to gather enough signatures by February but said it can be done if the industry spends “a lot of money fast.”

“I don’t think this will be hard to pass. I don’t think it will be hard to get people to sign. I think people basically are saying, ‘What are we waiting on?'” Morgan added.

“One of these days it’s going to be like gay marriage,” he said. “You know, it was like, everybody was against it, everybody was against it, and one morning we woke up and gay marriage was allowed in America. That’s what’s going to happen. It’ll be an avalanche. It will be like: What the hell were we thinking all those years?”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


10 comments

  • Lisa

    August 6, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Wow, a lot of people have actually given tons of their time and personal money to this cause to get the support and thousands upon thousands of signatures! We are already at Supreme Court review! I’m confused who Morgan thinks did all this work?!

  • MARK RUSSELL

    August 6, 2019 at 11:30 am

    The New Prohibition is a lot like the old prohibition. “Cannabis industry” is not like your stoner friends who will share what they have; it’s actually just like the law enforcement officers, who want to take your money, and your freedom. For cannabis to be legalized, arrests must stop. The way to do that is to make cannabis a right. All adults should have the right to grow, possess, and use cannabis, as they choose. Please join our Facebook group, and sign the petition https://www.facebook.com/FloridaFreedom/

  • Karen Goldstein

    August 6, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Any effort that does not support home cultivation should be a non-starter for us in Florida. We don’t need another cartel scheme that will continue to oppress patients and non-patients alike and which will continue to keep prices artificially high while continuing to restrict the available strains to whatever they want to offer us. Regulate Florida has the best plan for Florida, with limited home-growing and a horizontal system to allow for independent growers, retail shops and more. RegulateFlorida.com/sign is where you can find the petition that will benefit us all, not just the few.

  • John Bucholtz

    August 6, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Why not just support RegulateFlorida? Support HomeGrow and small businsses.

  • Cogent Observer

    August 6, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Despite all of the money he spends on tacky ads, Morgan’s business must be down. This is an apparent attempt to encourage more people to drive while impaired, cause collisions, and stream to him and his paralegals to settle the injury claims quickly and cheaply.

    • MARK RUSSELL

      August 6, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      Let’s hope John Morgan’s posturing for legalized cannabis is pure. Mr. Morgan, can you please call the Floridians For Freedom organizer, Colby at 941 896 7465 Thank you!

  • Owen Wadleigh

    August 8, 2019 at 11:10 am

    When medical marijuana became legal the system jumped in and turned it into another way to rape the system. People had to get approved by a doctor who went through a state training. Reputable doctors wanted nothing to do with it so the lowest level doctors took the class and then demanded $350 in cash from every patient seeking approval for an appointment and then they had to be approved twice a year ($700). Then you had to pay the state for a license ($100). Then you had to buy from approved VAPE dispensaries and could not grow your own (High retail prices). The average pain patient can’t afford all that just to get to the point where they could purchase the high priced vape. Then pain doctors threatened patients that if they tested positive for marijuana they would drop them as a patient. So where did this law get us?? Make it legal for all and that will kill the system rapists and will benefit everyone. I hope Mr. Morgan will change his mind and champion this cause as well since it effects the ones he fought for before, the pain patients.

  • Cogent Observer

    August 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Mr. Wadleigh–Responding to your comments and those of Mr. Russell on 8/6, it would be refreshing if Mr. Morgan publicly announced and implemented in his office a policy of rejecting certain legal matters. Specifically, in the interest of intellectual honesty, the policy should be that his band of lawyers, paralegals, and other clerical staff will not accept matters, however minute the supposed injury, that resulted from the negligence of a person who was legally impaired from ingesting or smoking marijuana. It is only in that way that his show can be interpreted as other than an advertising gimmick.

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