Mitch Perry Report 7.15.14: Arms race on medical marijuana initiative heats up

Recently a Democratic Party political consultant told me that every day it appears that the battle over medical marijuana to be voted on in November  is becoming more and more a  "swinging dicks" fight between John Morgan and Sheldon Adelson, the two big money men involved with Amendment 2.

Yesterday Morgan said he has "at least $6 million committed as of today" in additional campaign contributions to the medical pot cause, without more money coming from him. Morgan himself has contributed $3.75 to People United for Medical Marijuana, the political action committee pushing for the amendment. 

Adelson is the Las Veags-based conservative casino magnet who has contributed $2.5 million to the Drug Free Florida Committee that is working against Amendment 2's passage. That's the group formed by another prominent GOP fundraiser, St. Pete's Mel Sembler (who spent money trying to fight the legalization of recreational weed in Colorado).
CL has written recently about so-called "ganjapreneurs" who are flocking to the Sunshine State to educate Floridians on how to get into the medical pot business, but the always colorful Morgan says he has no use for them, telling Dara Kam with the News Service of Florida that "It looks like a bunch of cockroaches that just got sprayed with Raid. They're spinning around going nowhere fast."

Morgan went on to say that "there's a lot of people who think this is their way to get out of their coat and tie and walk around in their Jimmy Buffett outfit all day long," adding that he gets calls all the time from people "thinking I'm going to be the way and the light."

Although some initial polls showed support for the initiative in the almost unheard-of 80 percent approval range, some recent polls show the margin in favor of medical weed to be much closer to 60 percent, the minimum needed for approval (though admittedly those polls came from conservative-leaning institutions like the Florida Chamber of Commerce). 

In other news...

Family members and supporters of 15-year-old Tampa resident Tariq Abu Khdeir are unhappy with Congresswoman Kathy Castor. Khdeir is still under house arrest in East Jerusalem following the beating he took from Israeli police officers over a week and a half ago, and they'd like the Congresswoman to more forceful in condemning what happened to him and call for his return to Tampa. 

Bill Nelson is co-sponsoring a bill that would ban all television ads for e-cigarettes. 

Perry Thurston and George Sheldon are squaring off for the Democratic nomination for Florida attorney general six weeks from today. But at a candidates' forum the other day in Tampa, a discerning voter would have a hard time distinguishing between them, as they have the same perspectives on most of the major issues in the race.

And this isn't really news to us, but Rick Scott failed to answer a direct question he was asked yesterday. The videotape of his lack of response was widely circulated among Democrats, however.

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