Although the amendment proposal allowing the medical use of marijuana narrowly passed the state Supreme Court, it made the ballot for Florida voters to decide upon in November.
The vote was a 4 to 3 decision in favor of the medical marijuana petition, and a major victory for the personal injury lawyer, John Morgan, who has spent $4 million collars on the petition drive, as well as a defeat for the Attorney General, Pam Bondi (R), who fought to keep it off the ballot.
Morgan had just recently secured enough signatures for the ballot measure just three days prior to the vote. His final massive push in December and January to beat the Feb 1 deadline, rather than gamble waiting for a Supreme Court decision, paid off.
"In our businesses, our cases are against the tobacco industries, pharmaceutical industries, big car companies, so we're used to gambles, but we take calculated gambles," Morgan said. "We like to win and we don't just go down a rat hole unless we think we can win."
Bondi said the matter is now up to voters.
"I encourage every Floridian to read the full amendment in order to understand the impact it could have on Floridians," she said in a statement issued by her office.
Other state officials, including Gov. Rick Scott, who is the former CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz, all Republicans, backed Bondi's effort to keep the question off of the ballot.
However, according to Morgan, "The people of Florida don't like when their vote is tried to be suppressed," he said. "Unfortunately there's some politicians in the state who did not want the people to have the say and they forgot that the power is in the people and democracy is based in the people."
Legalized marijuana for medical use is now legal in 20 states, and Colorado and Washington state have legalized recreational use. It might be time to stop fighting this measure.
Polls have shown strong support for legal medical marijuana in Florida. It must receive 60 percent approval from voters, and Morgan said his attention now turns to the campaign to get the measure passed.
"Now the people of Florida get to do what the Florida Legislature refused to do, which is to hear evidence, to see testimony, to hear real life stories, to read scientific journals, to talk to real people and then vote on it," Morgan said.
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