Florida's medical marijuana battle - WFLA News Channel 8

Florida's medical marijuana battle

Posted: Updated:
Moriah Barndhardt, pictured with her daughter, 3-year-old Dahlia, says she believes cannabis can help her daughter combat brain cancer. Moriah Barndhardt, pictured with her daughter, 3-year-old Dahlia, says she believes cannabis can help her daughter combat brain cancer.

John Morgan may be one of the best known attorneys in the state of Florida.

His image appears in ads on the internet, on billboards and he is frequently seen in television ads. Morgan also appears in some of the ads with his family. He seems an unlikely candidate to advocate the use of marijuana for medical purposes, but he is doing just that.

Morgan says he will spend millions of his own money for the cause.

Morgan says there are several reasons he became involved in the effort, "This is a matter of compassion and mercy. This is for people who have really, really bad injuries, really bad diseases and many are terminal."

RELATED STORY: Fla. AG challenges medical marijuana measure

Morgan says he's never smoked pot and even had his children tested for drugs when they were in college.

His opinion on the issue changed when his father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

" My father was a guy, who, I never smoked marijuana in college because I didn't want to disappoint my dad. He was a guy that this would break his heart if I smoked marijuana.", said Morgan.

As his father's condition worsened, Morgan says he watched as he became increasingly ill and could not leave his bed.

"We had a caretaker and a hospital bed, but the nausea was unbelievable, he had no appetite, the anxiety was crazy.", said Morgan.

A family member suggested they try marijuana to help with the nausea and Morgan says his father’s condition was so bad, they were willing to try anything.

"One day I said, Daddy, I know you're not a marijuana guy, but I think this would help you."

Morgan says his father agreed and his condition improved, that night his wife made dinner for his father.

RELATED STORY: New poll finds majority support legalizing marijuana

"I came in to visit him that night. Delores had made him a pot roast, he's sitting there drinking a Miller Lite and it was like transformed."

Morgan's father lived for another seven months.

"His life ended, but the quality of life at the end was one of peace and mercy and so I saw it there."

Critics of marijuana say it's more carcinogenic than tobacco.

Morgan says every drug has its drawbacks.

" First of all, nothing is more poisonous to us than OxyContin, you know everything has a down side. Every drug has a risk."

Moriah Barnhardt has another reason for the use of medical marijuana.

She hopes a divertive of the plant can be used to cure her daughter's brain cancer.

Moriah Barnhart says her three year old daughter Dahlia was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor on May 5th of this year.

Barnhart says she took her daughter to five hospitals and was told it was a stage two brain cancer.

Barnhart says she eventually took her daughter to St. Jude Hospital in Tennessee where she learned the cancer is much more aggressive than originally thought.

Barnhart says, " From that moment that they came back and said she had a mass in her brain, from the day forward, your entire life, everything your life meant, all of your goals and aspirations, your education, your income, all of that becomes completely meaningless."

Barnhart says she wants to take her daughter to a state that will allow doctors to inject cannabinoids into her daughters brain to cure the cancer.

While John Morgan fights to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, Barnhart says she doesn't have time to wait.

"Unfortunately, I've now been put in a situation where I'm now going to have to move to a legal state if this is an option that I want available to me. So, in that respect, any state that would legalize it, is at least a step forward."

John Morgan says he's fighting for the future.

"I'm going to fight to give those people a chance and I'm not going to be scared by people who just want to lock people up and scare us by saying it's a gateway drug."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:15:46 GMT
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
  • NewsMore>>

  • TPD - house fire on Ida St. deliberately set

    TPD - house fire on Ida St. deliberately set

    Saturday, August 30 2014 2:26 PM EDT2014-08-30 18:26:55 GMT
    Crews with Tampa Fire Rescue arrived at this residence on Ida St. just after 2 am Saturday.Crews with Tampa Fire Rescue arrived at this residence on Ida St. just after 2 am Saturday.
    Timothy Mendenall spent the day cleaning up, after his rental home on Ida Street in Tampa caught fire. "All I know is when I got up the living room and the bedroom were burning," Mendenall said. "So we got the hose and buckets of water and then the Fire Department got here."
    Timothy Mendenall spent the day cleaning up, after his rental home on Ida Street in Tampa caught fire. "All I know is when I got up the living room and the bedroom were burning," Mendenall said. "So we got the hose and buckets of water and then the Fire Department got here."
  • Man struck, killed on US 41 in Tampa

    Man struck, killed on US 41 in Tampa

    Saturday, August 30 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-08-30 16:08:23 GMT
    The fatal crash is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol. The fatal crash is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.
    A 43-year-old Gibsonton man was struck and killed Friday night while walking along US 41 in Tampa.James Warfle was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 10:30 pm.
    A 43-year-old Gibsonton man was struck and killed Friday night while walking along US 41 in Tampa.James Warfle was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 10:30 pm.
  • Missing New Port Richey couple rescued from Gulf

    Missing New Port Richey couple rescued from Gulf

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-30 15:39:40 GMT
    The Coast Guard towed the couple's disabled sailboat back to land early Saturday.The Coast Guard towed the couple's disabled sailboat back to land early Saturday.
    A Bay area couple that failed to return from a boating excursion in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued early Saturday approximately 10 miles northwest of Anclote Key.A friend of Bogdan and Elizabeth Makowski contacted the United States Coast Guard Station Sand Key on Friday after not hearing from the couple for several days.
    A Bay area couple that failed to return from a boating excursion in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued early Saturday approximately 10 miles northwest of Anclote Key.A friend of Bogdan and Elizabeth Makowski contacted the United States Coast Guard Station Sand Key on Friday after not hearing from the couple for several days.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.