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Barney Bishop: Some unsolicited advice for Amendment 2 crusader John Morgan

Now that Amendment 2 on medical marijuana has been defeated and relegated to the trash pile of poorly worded constitutional amendments, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Well, not really.

You see, John Morgan, the lawyer who spearheaded the drive to adopt Amendment 2, can’t stay silent even for a nano-minute.

It’s just his nature, which shouldn’t surprise any of us.

In an email to his pothead supporters, he wrote: “This fight begins tonight. Tomorrow we go to Tallahassee.”

Good, because that’s where this fight belongs, in the halls of the Florida Legislature.

He tried to soothe the wounds of his potheads by claiming that med weed did better than previous governors and presidential campaigns.

But let me address John Morgan directly:

John, that’s called a moral victory.

You really didn’t win anything because it takes 60 percent to put something in our Constitution and, until you hit that magic threshold, you can crow all you want. However, they are hollow words intended to make your defeat somehow look like it was worth fighting.

The mainstream news media – and you — believe that the Legislature now has an obligation to respond to 57 percent of the folks who supported med pot.

No, they don’t.

They already did what they thought was responsible by passing Charlotte’s Web legislation.

Now I wonder how the Legislature — which was willing to take a chance and pass CW –is going to feel after hearing that parents who advocated for Charlotte’s Web aren’t happy with that law’s parameters and now want med weed instead.

It seems to me to be a “bait and switch” maneuver that may not go well in Tally.

No one wants to deny compassionate care to the parents of children with seizures.

However, we don’t even know yet what the consequences of Charlotte’s Web are.

Instead of throwing the gauntlet down for a fight, join with me to support changing state law so that researchers can do their work without fear of being arrested.

Join with me to support more state dollars to research CW in controlled, double-blind studies so that we can ascertain what, if any, medicinal benefits there are to this popular drug, and why it works.

But come on up because the more the merrier.

It’s also conventional wisdom among you and the news media that 2016 will be different — that another stab at a constitutional amendment will pass with better Democratic voter turnout.

But hold on. The fatal flaw in your thinking is that more Floridians voting next time will give you the cushion you seek.

And that’s where you’re wrong, because every election is different.

If you want to think that all you need is 3 percent more of the electorate to pass your amendment, you’ll be sorely disappointed when it fails again.

First, you have to get a new amendment written. If your last attempt is your benchmark, good luck on the next version. Hint: It might not be bad to disallow children ever getting med pot.

Then you have to spend the money to get the signatures collected and verified. Money for you and George Soros is granted, never a concern.

But you’ll then have to get the Supremes again to say it’s OK for the folks to vote on it – not that it’s OK to include in the Constitution, an important distinction that your campaign leadership missed.

Then you’ll have to wage battle again with Consensus Communications, the brilliant folks who directed the VoteNo2.org campaign. John, let me share something with you. They’re the very best. I hate to tell you this but they even got an amendment on the ballot with just volunteers – the only firm ever to do that!

Then you’ll need to get a new polling firm. Quite simply, your polls sucked! They were an outlier with every other poll. And then you have to face the fact that you and your team misled your pothead troops on the real polling so that they wouldn’t give up the fight.

Nicely done. You got close. But you still lost.

What if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio decides to run for president? Florida will support them unflinchingly. And since your employee, Charlie Crist, isn’t going to be in the Governor’s Mansion, Florida will likely go red in the next presidential race supporting one of its favorite sons.

That will change the dynamics of the next campaign like nothing before.

John, I know that you wanted to make this fight about compassion.

And it should be.

But you couldn’t make that argument effectively with all of the stunts that you pulled in the campaign.

So your advisers will tell you to stay the hell out of the way. To not let this campaign be about you. You’ll probably listen this time.

You also say that the will of the people will not be denied a second time.

The Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot Coalition that defeated you this time will still be around and we’ll be even better organized next time. You see, we’re committed, too.

John, bring your best game because we’ll be ready and waiting, and I predict that Florida will once again reject the idea of putting such an ill-conceived amendment in our Constitution.

Barney Bishop III is the president and CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting, LLC. Barney can be reached at barney@barneybishop.com. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

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