‘Follow the money’: John Morgan advocates for legalized marijuana, lambasts corporate lobbying against measure

by | May 29, 2024

Attorney John Morgan endorsed a ballot initiative to legalize adult use of recreational marijuana, noting its potential to reform outdated marijuana laws, reduce opioid reliance, and generate significant tax revenue.

Attorney John Morgan held a press conference on Wednesday to endorse Amendment 3, which would legalize recreational cannabis for adults in Florida.

Morgan, speaking from his Morgan & Morgan Law offices, described the amendment as a necessary reform to address what he sees as unjust and outdated marijuana laws.

“I believe — and I know — that marijuana laws in the United States of America have been the most unjust, most unfair, most draconian laws, and so many people have been incarcerated,” said Morgan. “As time goes on, we all know it’s nuts.”

Amendment 3 would allow adults 21 and older to possess, purchase, and use up to three ounces of marijuana.

Morgan stressed the amendment’s potential to reduce reliance on opioids and other prescription drugs, calling for the expungement of records for those convicted of marijuana-related offenses.

“If I was the governor of this state, I would pardon every single person who’s ever been arrested for marijuana. I’d expunge all their records,” he remarked.

Morgan, known for his contributions to the 2016 medical marijuana initiative that saw its use authorized in Florida, drew attention the social and economic benefits of legalization. He subsequently criticized the declared opposition from Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican Party, claiming that the resistance is predicated on corporate interests.

“Follow the money. Always follow the money. Ron DeSantis is not against this because he’s against this,” Morgan said. “He’s against this because the pharmaceutical industry sees marijuana as a legal challenge to their business. The liquor industry sees marijuana as a legal challenge to their business. And I can promise you this — the pharmaceutical industry sure doesn’t want that. They’d rather sell us opioids.”

Morgan also addressed claims from DeSantis that legalization would lead to pervasive marijuana odor in public spaces.

“That’s a f***ing lie,” Morgan stated, asserting that regulated sales do not lead to public consumption issues.

The amendment has been heavily funded by cannabis retailer Trulieve, with more than $50 million contributed as of March 31. If ratified, state economists estimate the initiative could generate between $195.6 million and $431.3 million in annual sales tax revenue. When revenue associated with new tourists drawn to the state by legalized marijuana is taken into account, state economists forecast an additional $43.6 million per year.

Morgan notably stated that he would not provide financial support to the campaign.

The Republican Party of Florida took a formal stance against the legalization of recreational marijuana during the party’s Executive Board meeting in Orlando this month.

The amendment requires 60 percent voter approval to pass.

A University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab poll published in November suggests strong support for the amendment’s approval, with 67 percent of respondents in favor the purchase and possession of small amounts.


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