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John Morgan: Hillary Clinton, Democrats ought to ease up on medical marijuana

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If things shake out in the right way, Florida medical malpractice tycoon and Democratic adviser to the stars John Morgan may end up being the only person in America to have both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton over to his house before the 2016 election cycle is over, writes Betsy Woodruff in the Daily Beast.

What he will tell both of them, particularly his fellow co-partisan Clinton, is no surprise to those who know the direction of his recent advocacy, such as it was in 2014.

When Hillary Clinton heads to Florida this week, she can expect to talk pot. And she can expect a bit of profanity.

That’s because she’s stopping by the home of John Morgan, a powerful trial lawyer who’s one of the state’s most influential Democratic donors.

Morgan’s sizable bank account and extraordinary candor have made him one of the Sunshine State’s most powerful politicos — and one of its most formidable. Democratic candidates line up to kiss his ring, and Democratic presidents swing by his house when they’re in town.

And, unlike gaffe-shy political candidates, Morgan seems to have zero qualms when it comes to speaking his mind.

So Clinton might get an earful.

Clinton wouldn’t be the first to get a profane earful about medical cannabis emanating from Morgan’s direction. He caught flak from some quarters for his appearance in a deep-blue tirade in favor of marijuana before a room full of college students last fall.

Morgan doesn’t apologize for that (“The people who are aghast about me raising hell in a country-western bar are a bunch of tightasses that I don’t give a shit about at all,” he says) and he doesn’t seem to be backing down from the tense intra-Democratic debate on the medical marijuana fight anytime soon.

For Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has publicly sparred with Morgan on the issue — and perhaps for Clinton depending on which side of the issue she comes down on — that could be a thorn in the side of the Democratic establishment, as both parties agree Morgan is an influencer par excellence in Florida, and that doesn’t appear to be changing in the foreseeable future.

He’s the go-to guy in our state,” said Charlie Crist, who ran against Republican Gov. Rick Scott in his 2014 re-election bid (and lost to him), and now works for Morgan’s law firm. “That’s why I think Secretary Clinton’s going to his house next week.”

“It’s always great to be in his presence,” Crist added. “Always.”

Crist said he wouldn’t miss the Morgan/Clinton fundraiser for the world.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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