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John Morgan: I’m still suing the Legislature

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Where there’s no smoke, there’s a John Morgan lawsuit.

Morgan—attorney, entrepreneur and main backer of Florida’s medical marijuana amendment—Wednesday said he still plans to sue the state despite lawmakers brokering a deal to include implementation of the measure in this week’s Special Session.

Mainly, Morgan’s hair’s on fire that Florida doesn’t allow smokeable medicinal cannabis. Morgan first said he planned to sue last month.

“Done is better than perfect and this is far from perfect,” he said in a statement to FloridaPolitics.com. “I will be suing the state to allow smoke. It was part of my amendment.”

The marijuana amendment refers to allowing smokeable cannabis only obliquely, however.

It says in one section, for instance, the state can’t “require any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any correctional institution or detention facility or place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.”

The amendment also uses the state law definition of marijuana that includes “every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin,” seeming to suggest smokeable cannabis is included. 

“These legislators don’t understand capitalism because almost all of them have never run a business or made a payroll or made money,” Morgan added. “Some are so broke they need a cosigner to pay cash.

“The free market will sort this all out,” he added. House Speaker RichardCorcoran was right. Cream rises. Price and service dictate who wins and who loses. Just ask Kmart, Sears and J.C. Penney. And ask Wal-Mart about Amazon.”

Lawmakers reached agreement early Wednesday, hours before the start of this week’s Special Session, to include medical marijuana implementation in the call.

The deal calls for 10 new growers to be licensed this year, in addition to the seven existing ones. Five new growers would be added for every 100,000 patients, and a limit of 25 retail locations per authorized grower will be OK’d. That cap will “sunset” in 2020.

The 2017 Legislative Session ended without a bill to implement the state’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment. An implementing bill gives guidance and instructions to state agencies on how to enforce state law.

The medical cannabis constitutional amendment passed in 2016, with just over 71 percent of statewide voters approving the measure.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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