John Morgan's plan to legalize medical marijuana? Thousands of volunteers

"I am hoping to put together what I'm calling an army of angels," Morgan said on Monday. "I want to do something that's never been done in Florida before. I want to have thousands and thousands of volunteers that will help me collect as little as one or two signatures, or as many as a thousand signatures."

The effort to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures is considered an expensive proposition in Florida, and up until now, PUFMM has not had a major, respected figurehead with a proven record of raising money helping the cause.

Though Morgan said he intends to submit a "significant gift," he think it's people like himself, who have seen their loved ones suffer without having legal access to marijuana, that will volunteer their time and energy.

"I think there's going to be an uprising and it's going to surprise all the political people who think you gotta do things the way they always were because they always will be, but this is different, this strikes a real nerve to a lot of people," he said.

Morgan said he's believed in medicinal marijuana going back 20 years, ever since he saw how pot helped his late father deal with emphysema and esophageal cancer.

Advocates for legalizing weed were excited by a new Pew Research poll, which found that for the first time in the four decades that Pew has been asking the question, American adults support the outright legalization of pot by a 52-45 percent margin. But John Morgan said that's not what this initiative is about, so he prefers to not even think about it.

Morgan is thinking about passing a medical marijuana law. And if that were to happen, it would make Florida the first state in the South to do so. He wishes the Legislature would do it first, but nobody thinks that's going to happen any time soon (a bill proposed this session in the House by Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, was declared last week as "all but dead").

Morgan said there would be no reason to conduct a major campaign if legislators were more interested in their next door neighbor than their next election.

"You sit back and ask yourself, in all the time I've lived here, what bill has ever been passed or signed that I remember saying, 'now that was helpful' unless you were Walt Disney World or an oil company or an insurance company or somebody whose up there stuffing their pockets full of money and their mouths full of lobster," he said angrily.

  • John Morgan

The campaign to make Florida the next state to allow medicinal marijuana got a huge shot in the arm a few weeks ago when Democratic party uber-fundraiser and trial attorney John Morgan said he would lend his support to the effort.

Morgan has become the chairman of United For Care, which recently changed its name from PUFMM (People United for Medical Marijuana).

PUFMM's founder Kim Russell admitted the group "struggled" with getting such a constitutional amendment on the ballot, and in "a political environment that was not as open to medical marijuana as it is now."

Struggled is an understatement. In the past, PUFMM hasn't come even remotely close to gathering the 100,000 signatures needed to get on a ballot, much less the 683,149 signatures required to get there for 2014.

Enter John Morgan. The Orlando based attorney told CL that even though he will cough up a substantial amount of money to go toward the effort, it's all about volunteers helping to collect signatures that will make the difference.

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