Medical marijuana backers declare victory for amendment - WFLA News Channel 8

Medical marijuana backers declare victory for amendment

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - (By Jeff Patterson & Peter Bernard) - John Morgan's face is on TV Ads and Billboards across Florida.

He is well known as a civil injury trial attorney, but Morgan is fighting a new battle that might be surprising to some.

Morgan is spending millions of his own money to back an amendment for the approval of the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Florida.

Morgan says he watched as his own father was dying of cancer and saw the benefits of marijuana for his father.

Morgan is the head of a group called United for Care, which is spear-heading the effort to gather enough signatures on petitions to put the proposed amendment to a vote.

Morgan says his group has now gathered 1.1 million signatures.

Related content: Medical marijuana supporters claim victory

"I'm cautiously optimistic. We have, we've got a million one signatures," said Morgan.  "They have to be, you know we have to have 670-some thousand to be valid, registered voters, not duplicates, not out of state. So, I think we could still lose 37 percent and be okay, so I'm guarded, but optimistic."

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is opposed to Morgan's efforts, and has filed a motion with the State Supreme Court to block the proposed vote.

Morgan says the opposition doesn't understand the potential benefits of marijuana.

"They're out of touch with what Florida wants, and what is happening in the medical community," Morgan said.

Complete coverage:  Florida's medical marijuana fight

Calvina Fay is the executive director of Save Our Society from Drugs, a national organization that is based in St. Petersburg.

Fay's group is opposed to Morgan's amendment and has filed a petition with the State Supreme Court to block it.

"Whether a person thinks marijuana is medicine or not, this ballot initiative is not the way to go about it, it's very flawed, that would force the voters to accept one thing with the other," said Fay.

Fay says marijuana does more harm than good.

"It is our position that crude, smokable marijuana is not valid medicine," Fay said.  "It's not the way we go about getting medicine in today's modern world."

Parrish resident, Bob Jordan, is very happy with news about the petition drive.  His wife, Cathy, suffers from Lou Gherig's disease, and he says marijuana is the only thing keeping her alive. 

"We're reasonable people, intelligent people and this is an issue, when you've exhausted all other means and there's nothing else that helps. And you find out this plant can help you, something's got to break lose here soon," said Jordan.

Jordan has a court case later this month about 23 pot plants Manatee County deputies confiscated from him last February. He intends to fight the charge by saying the marijuana is medically necessary.

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