Why I am for medical marijuana but against Amendment 2, Orlando Lawyer John Morgan’s deceptive campaign to legalize pot smoking across Florida

by John Stemberger

This past year has been a real learning curve on the whole topic of medical marijuana.  Thanks to a good friend of mine, who is a respected physician, I learned there really are some valid and legitimate medical uses for marijuana.  Prior to this, I thought most of the medical marijuana talk was just an excuse to smoke dope by leftist potheads.  But it is clear to me now that there are some very debilitating and painful conditions which only seem to respond to the active ingredient in cannabis.

In fact, earlier this year the Republican dominated legislature and also recognized this fact and passed a special bill to specifically legalize a special strain of marijuana called “Charlotte’s Web.”  The drug isolates the helpful medical essence of marijuana and allows it to be taken in a non-euphoric, non-smoked form to treat various seizures in children and other serious conditions.  The bill was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott and became effective June 2014.

Knowing this, you may also want to know why I am so adamantly against Amendment 2 and am encouraging everyone I know to “Vote No on 2”, the so-called medical marijuana amendment on November 4th.  Here are at least ten reasons why this is one of the worst ideas in Florida’s history, and why it’s not what is seems on the surface.

1. The Amendment will allow minors to smoke pot without parental knowledge or consent. There are no restrictions on Amendment 2 for age, and those street corner dispensers will be able to give pot to minors without their parent’s consent or even notice.  As a father of four children under the age of 13, this alone, frankly enrages me as a parent.

2. There are no restrictions on where in your neighborhood these “pot shops” can be placed.  Based on where they have set up pot shops like “pill-mills” in California and Colorado, and based on the language of this Amendment, you can expect “dispensaries” to pop up across the street from junior high schools, near churches, restaurants and other small businesses.

3. The only requirement for a so-called “caregiver” marijuana dispenser is that he or she be 21 years old.  Also “caregivers” are not required to have background checks, they could be convicted felons, and have no requirements for medical training.  We used to call these people drug dealers and put them in jail.  The opponents of Amendment 2 are appropriately calling it the “Drug Dealer Protection Act.”

4. Pot will be “dispensed” for any “other conditions” under Amendment 2.  While the ballot summary (the only part you will see when you vote) says that the drug is supposed to be given for “debilitating medical conditions,” the full text of what becomes law in the Florida Constitution (which you will not see on the ballot) says marijuana can be sold for any “other conditions.”  So fatigue, insomnia, nausea or back aches will qualify you to smoke dope.  This is the functional equivalent of legalizing pot for recreational use.

pot tarts5. Amendment 2 expressly allows for “medibles” which are marijuana-laced candies, cookies, baked goods, soda pop and other foods attractive to children.  To really appreciate how bad this Amendment would be, look no further than to the states where this dangerous game has played out in California and Colorado.  Just Google search images of the word “medibles” and you will find the hundreds of candies, cookies and baked goods laced with marijuana.  And who did you think these “edible treats” will be marketed to?  You guessed it–our children and grandchildren.

6. Amendment 2 gives complete civil and criminal immunity to all caregivers, growers, distributors and doctors selling pot.  Under the Amendment’s language, everyone in the process of growing, handling and distributing pot would be given complete civil and criminal legal immunity and allowed to operate free of liability.  So if a caregiver hurts someone, there are no lawsuits or arrests that will come from the harm.  It almost seems unbelievable but it’s true.  How would you, as a small business owner, like to have complete immunity from law suits?  But we are going to give unbridled constitutional immunity to everyone involved with dispensing pot?

Crist Morgan billboard7. The Amendment is strategically being used to try and help turn out voters on the far left for Charlie Crist. Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is also a lawyer with John Morgan’s large personal injury firm based in Orlando.  So, naturally having a law partner become Governor (again) could do quite a bit to help his law firm.  In much the same way as many extreme conservatives don’t vote because they are fed up or don’t like the choices, the same thing happens with voters on the far left.  Those voters who chose Ralph Nader instead of Al Gore are exactly the kind of voters that the “medical marijuana” Amendment will drive to the polls, who may not have otherwise come out-and who are more likely to vote for Democrat Charlie Crist.  Morgan knows this and knows that in a tight race, like the one we have for Governor, having pot on the ballot could just make the difference in voter turn-out on the margins swaying a win for Charlie Crist.

8. John Morgan will most likely financially profit from this Amendment.  Why do you think John Morgan is pouring tons of money and untold amounts of time into this campaign?  To create an “army of angels” to do acts of compassion?  Guess again.  This video of John Morgan “unhinged” is really all you need to see to understand who and what is really behind this Amendment.  WARNING: This video is highly vulgar, raw, and not suited for children to view.

9. We are within clear striking distance of defeating this Amendment.  A lot of people who don’t agree with this Amendment think it will probably pass because of some early polling showing a high percentage favorable to the idea of medical marijuana and so they are not taking serious actions to defeat it.  When the campaign started, the issue was polling at 88% in favor of passage.  Since then support for Amendment 2 has dropped a whopping 40% as people learn more about the dangers, loopholes and real motives behind those who are driving this Amendment.  One of the latest polls from the Bob Graham Center shows those in favor of it are now at only 48% of the 60% needed to pass a Florida Amendment.  We only need 41% of voters to vote NO to defeat this very bad amendment.  The undecided votes could go either way and the deceptive ads are about to flood the airways and so this is going to be a very close vote.  But we can defeat this if we all work hard to get the word out!

10. Virtually every major daily newspaper in Florida has come out against Amendment 2 in addition to the Florida Medical Association, and seven former Florida Supreme Court Justices.  Some of the most liberal newspapers in the state like the Tampa Bay Times have taken official positions against this dangerous Amendment and are encouraging a NO VOTE because they know this is really not a medical marijuana amendment but an attempt to allow the full blown legalization of marijuana for recreational use.  The Orlando Sentinel has said “politics is coloring the debate,” and to vote No.  The Tampa Tribune says it’s a “Trojan Horse.” The Jacksonville Times Union said it’s a “Stalking Horse for recreational use.”  The Lakeland Ledger and the Bradenton Herald also recommended a “No Vote on 2.”

The bottom line is that everything about Amendment 2 is deceptive.  And, if we are able to tell enough of our friends and family about this in the days we have left before the election, we can defeat this effort and save our state, our communities and our children a lot of heartache and problems that would not be easily reversed for years to come.  Please – do not let Florida go to pot!  For further information go to www.VoteNo2.org.

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John Stemberger is an Orlando Attorney, president of Florida Family Action, and one of the leading pro-family advocates in Florida.

9 thoughts on “Why I am for medical marijuana but against Amendment 2, Orlando Lawyer John Morgan’s deceptive campaign to legalize pot smoking across Florida

  1. Decriminalize marijuana to better understand it– and Florida needs to lead the way!
    It happened before when alcohol consumption was legalized by Congress in December 1933, and the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol beverage was repealed.
    A major shift in U.S. public opinion came during the Great Depression when opponents to Prohibition argued that: Prohibition deprived people of jobs and governments of revenue. Following repeal, liquor control became a state function. And, the effects of alcohol consumption on the common good could now be openly monitored. After the potency of an alcoholic drink was determined, laws to protect people followed, like: No underage drinking allowed! Driving and drinking prohibited!—just to name a few!
    Currently, the federal prohibitions on marijuana has helped to discourage marijuana research in the U.S. Retired Professor Raphael Mechoulam, Hebrew University Medical Campus, Jerusalem, in an article that appeared on September 13, 2013, in NO CAMELS, complained that the National Institutes of Health once was rejecting requests to grant awards on marijuana research on the grounds that, “marijuana is not an American problem.”
    Hence, much knowledge about the medicinal benefits of marijuana is being treated like other medicinal usage of herbs—the medicinal research has originated outside the U.S because the U.S. Medical establishment only recognizes Pharmaceuticals.
    James A. Duke, PhD., in his 1997 classic, The Green Pharmacy, wrote: “The reason herbs are not more popular in the U.S. is that drug companies can’t patent them, by pulling medicinally active molecules out of herbs and then tinkering with them, until they are chemically unique. The companies can then patent their new molecules, and give them a brand name to sell back to us for a profit.”
    In Europe, for example, it is not unusual for a physician to recommend herbs to alleviate aches and pains.
    Dr. Duke concluded, “There is a need for more research that tests herbs against pharmaceutical drugs. Until that happens, we simply won’t know which is better. That leads me to the rather shocking conclusion that Americans are not necessarily getting the best medicine.”
    It is not surprising, then, that the medical establishment (in Brevard County, the Brevard County Medical Society) was moot in their endorsement on Amendment-2 and the potential legitimacy of marijuana—after all, marijuana is just another herb.
    That’s too bad!

  2. I have heard every argument you all put out and sorry but none of it including that it’s written badly is false and misleading. First off the rules have NOT been established and won’t be unless it passes. No drug dealers are going to be caregivers because of current laws of abuse and most family members who will be the caregivers they are talking about aren’t drug sellers. You tell the people that there are pharm-drugs to handle all the problems. I have tried many and I mean more than I can count. They haven’t worked yet and I don’t think you should be allowed to lied about a health issues. I KNOW for a fact that it works. Now why do you want to take my life?

  3. I took the liberty of reading the article and responding to each point: 1) no responsible doctor is going to prescribe it to a child without parental consent. You can’t even see most doctors without parental consent nowadays if you’re under 18. 2) Dispensaries will be regulated by cities like anything else. And if they’re really concerned about this, I hope they go after all the smut shops that openly advertise to the point that I have to distract my kids by pointing out something on the other side of the road so they won’t see them when we drive by. 3) Why would you need a background check to administer medication? Not seeing why that matters; it should be up to the patient who administers it to them. No medical training is needed; it’s a plant… smoke it or put it in food. 4) It’s up to a doctor to decide if it’s appropriate to prescribe. Let’s let doctors do their jobs. And it’s not oxycodone, so that comparison is not valid. 5) Such marketing, which I’m guessing is rare, is indeed in poor taste, but not enough reason to deny something to people who medically need it. Just like alcohol that is packaged in a fun way, you keep it away from kids or CPS will come knocking. 6) Marijuana isn’t potent/dangerous enough to cause real harm, so not a concern of mine. 7) Politics- nothing new there. Morgan also have a stake in it because he’s a cokehead and is hoping cocaine legalization will be next. Either way, I don’t care what this lawyer’s motive is. It’s still a worthy cause. 8) Lawyers profiting from stuff… nothing new there. That’s where we get the term ‘ambulance chasers.’ It’s capitalism, and our country supports that. 9) Not really an argument against it, just the author stating an opinion about some polls he’s seen. 10) So, when the media or politicians say something he agrees with, they’re reputable people with no ulterior motives. Would he have the same opinion of them if they were for the amendment?

  4. Only a dr can recommend it to a child and I think they deserve safe treatment just like adults. Dont no why you republicans are so hard on the children.

  5. back in 1968, Joey, a recovering heroin addict, spoke to our youth group. He said that marijuana was the drug that he first used , A few months later Joey relapsed back into heroin use. Some young people then were saying,”It’s natural!” They were believing that it was not addicting. Research showed then that it WAS psychologicallyaddicting. Research now shows that it causes brain damage.
    This bill will effectively legalize unlimited marijuana use in Florida.
    Teens that have never used it, would now use it.
    Baking it into cookies, ect. would make it appealing to children. Unlimited access to our children and teens with no legal way to stop them, would make the pot providers rich. It would also make Charlie Crist, Mr, Morgan, and Jimmie Buffett richer. It would make more of our children and grandchildren addicts,

  6. The purpose of this message is to clear the misinformation contained in this post.
    I want to break this down into a few parts as it relates to medical marijuana (MMJ), the proposed amendment, and marijuana use in general.
    All, please watch two movies before you vote (both independently funded at international film festival)!
    The union: the business behind getting high
    http://youtu.be/jT-UIe7l3-Q
    And, The culture high
    http://youtu.be/P2IL7sgaTBY

    On the links arguments against the proposed amendment:
    1. The amendment will allow minors to smoke pot w/o parental knowledge or consent. It seems the concern is there is no age restrictions for who can obtain MMJ.
    Let us begin with, the current state of marijuana use amongst minors.
    As it stands, minors using marijuana is already going on behind their parents back.
    And to clarify the law, under the amendment, no one can obtain MMJ w/o the recommendation from a Doctor.
    This little topic could split into “it’s none of your business what a doctor prescribes” to their patient.
    I would also like to add that since the laws passed in Colorado, MMJ use amongst minors is in decline.
    When MMJ is legal, it is regulated, like alcohol, and thus harder to obtain for minors (or people w/o proper documentation).
    When MMJ is legal and kids see old, sick, people going into the stores, the whole glamour goes away.
    http://sensiblecolorado.org/marijuana-use-down-among-teens-in-colorado-since-regulations-took-effect/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/07/marijuana-usage-down-in-t_n_1865095.html
    No dispensary is going to risk its business by selling to undocumented/minors.
    If they do, shut-em down, like regulated alcohol stores.
    The beauty with MMJ being legal, is that the business is transparent and people can vote on how its regulated.

    2. There are no restrictions on where in your neighborhood dispensaries can operate…across from schools…
    I would like to see the source of how that conclusion was made?
    It should also be known that counties/cities have the authority to vote dispensaries out of their county/city. Still I want to reiterate, the beauty with MMJ being legal, is that the business is transparent and people can vote on how it is regulated.
    http://www.wptv.com/news/region-s-palm-beach-county/boynton-beach/boynton-beach-agrees-on-temporary-ban-for-medical-marijuana-businesses

    3. Caregivers are drug dealing criminals with no medical training.
    If someone is arrested for selling marijuana to elderly (with medical conditions), were they really a criminal to begin with?
    With legal MMJ, people who need substance abuse help will receive it, not to be locked away.
    We can save so much by not incarcerating people for possessing a plant or selling a plant to help someone with a medical condition.
    On the basis of medical training…how can someone have former medical training on a substance which was consider schedule 1 and no place offers MMJ training (no medical benefit)…. sounds like a great job venture to get trained MMJ professionals.

    4. Pot will be dispensed for any condition.
    It is nobody’s business why/what a doctor prescribes to you.
    Clearly MMJ does have medical benefit; therefore it should not be schedule one.
    Rick Scott, being from the pharmaceutical industry, can appreciate the doctor patient confidentiality.

    5. Edible MMJ is targeted to kids.
    Edible MMJ is targeted to MMJ patients. The dispensaries are just issuing MMJ in a form which their patients find appealing, an alternative to harsh smoking.
    Again, with regulated MMJ in Colorado, countless debates and legislation are going around to up packaging requirements and deter kids.
    The fact that we can actually regulate and control packaging is a plus over the current state; quality control.

    6. Caregivers have no accountability.
    As a regulated substance, we the people can vote on how to make said individuals accountable.

    7,8,9,10 can be summed up by….US (Republicans) vs. them (democrats)…ahh now we finally get to the real point behind the post. BTW john morgan is acting to rally people, it is an act. I find it sad that the public cannot read the comments on that video.
    This amendment cannot be about us vs. them. It is about compassion for your fellow man. To allow individuals and their doctors decide what they should be prescribed to help them cope with an illness.
    Steve, I persuade you to vote yes on 2.

    Some other points I would like to bring up on the topic:
    People loose respect and trust for law enforcement when a good part of their budget comes from seizures of these MMJ criminals…not to mention all the disturbing videos of SWAT teams shooting family pets (in the owners face) over a pipe and gram of weed.

    CCA is a corections corporation making money off keeping people incarcerated.

    Rick Scott had a business interest to keep MMJ illegal because of his pharmaceutical ties, his drug testing ties….

  7. Is John Morgan buying farmland in central Florida ? Could be planning to grow pot and using his political commercials to enhance his bank account.

  8. Unfortunately, this opinion piece is wrong and is filled with fear-mongering propaganda which I will address below point by point. I am only refuting your first 6 points Mr. Stemberger because your final four are mere conjecture.

    1. The Amendment will allow minors to smoke pot without parental knowledge or consent. There are no restrictions on Amendment 2 for age, and those street corner dispensers will be able to give pot to minors without their parent’s consent or even notice. As a father of four children under the age of 13, this alone, frankly enrages me as a parent.

    WRONG – If you read the full text of the amendment, you will clearly see, that this law would not have any effect on current federal or state laws already on the books. One of which, is a law prohibiting minors from possession of marijuana. This amendment STRICTLY deals with medical marijuana and not recreational use. The age restrictions you are referring to and are using to try and scare people that we are creating a law that says anyone of any age can just roam the streets smoking pot are ACTUALLY intended for doctors; doctors who wouldn’t be limited by an age on who they can prescribe medical marijuana to. So, if a 4 year old girl is having multiple seizures a day, this doctor wouldn’t be bound by the law into not being able to prescribe it for her.

    2. There are no restrictions on where in your neighborhood these “pot shops” can be placed. Based on where they have set up pot shops like “pill-mills” in California and Colorado, and based on the language of this Amendment, you can expect “dispensaries” to pop up across the street from junior high schools, near churches, restaurants and other small businesses.

    PARTIALLY WRONG – Again, if you read the amendment, the proposed law actually calls on the Florida Department of Health to regulate and monitor this entire process. Likening a medical-marijuana dispensary to a “pill-mill” is similar to saying a CVS is just like a liquor store. Pill-mills operate in violation of federal and state laws, again this amendment makes no changes to current laws on the books.

    3. The only requirement for a so-called “caregiver” marijuana dispenser is that he or she be 21 years old. Also “caregivers” are not required to have background checks, they could be convicted felons, and have no requirements for medical training. We used to call these people drug dealers and put them in jail. The opponents of Amendment 2 are appropriately calling it the “Drug Dealer Protection Act.”

    WRONG – Read the amendment people, it clearly says, a caregiver must be issued an ID card by the FL Dept of Health. Do we think a drug dealer is going to walk into a state institution with cameras, records, and law enforcement and apply for a card? Easy way to catch “drug dealers” if you ask me. On second thought, this would actually help eliminate a lot of the drug trafficking that currently goes on, because people who need it would now have a legal way of accessing it, thus cutting some of the dealers.

    4. Pot will be “dispensed” for any “other conditions” under Amendment 2. While the ballot summary (the only part you will see when you vote) says that the drug is supposed to be given for “debilitating medical conditions,” the full text of what becomes law in the Florida Constitution (which you will not see on the ballot) says marijuana can be sold for any “other conditions.” So fatigue, insomnia, nausea or back aches will qualify you to smoke dope. This is the functional equivalent of legalizing pot for recreational use.

    WRONG AGAIN – None of those conditions you mentioned will automatically qualify you to smoke “dope”. What you are failing and conveniently forgetting to mention is, anyone who gets medical marijuana has to have been prescribed from a licensed, practicing doctor!

    5. Amendment 2 expressly allows for “medibles” which are marijuana-laced candies, cookies, baked goods, soda pop and other foods attractive to children. To really appreciate how bad this Amendment would be, look no further than to the states where this dangerous game has played out in California and Colorado. Just Google search images of the word “medibles” and you will find the hundreds of candies, cookies and baked goods laced with marijuana. And who did you think these “edible treats” will be marketed to? You guessed it–our children and grandchildren.

    PATHETICALLY WRONG – While medical marijuana is available in multiple forms, it is for the convenience of patients, preventing them from having to light up a joint in order to receive the medical benefits. Again, it MUST be prescribed by a doctor. Nobody is going to be marketing pot cupcakes to your children, unless the FL Dept of Health says so! (This isn’t Amsterdam people, calm down)

    6. Amendment 2 gives complete civil and criminal immunity to all caregivers, growers, distributors and doctors selling pot. Under the Amendment’s language, everyone in the process of growing, handling and distributing pot would be given complete civil and criminal legal immunity and allowed to operate free of liability. So if a caregiver hurts someone, there are no lawsuits or arrests that will come from the harm. It almost seems unbelievable but it’s true. How would you, as a small business owner, like to have complete immunity from law suits? But we are going to give unbridled constitutional immunity to everyone involved with dispensing pot?

    WRONG – As stated above, this amendment does not effect laws on the books, meaning anyone who does violate those would not have any immunity. For example…
    -The amendment does not “affect laws relating to non-medical use, possession, production or sale of marijuana.”
    -The amendment does not authorize “the use of medical marijuana by anyone other than a qualifying patient.”
    -The amendment does not allow for the “operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while under the influence of marijuana.”
    -The amendment does not require accommodations for medical marijuana use “in any place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.”
    -The amendment does not require “any health insurance provider or any government agency or authority to reimburse any person for expenses related to the medical use of marijuana.”
    -The amendment does not require “the violation of federal law or purports to give immunity under federal law.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is a fear campaign. While Mr. Stemberger cites John Morgan and Charlie Crist as having ulterior motives for this bill, which may be true, he also fails to mention the ulterior motives of the opposite parties involved. The billions of dollars the state earns off of tens of thousands of meaningless marijuana charges every year, the attorney fees for fighting these cases, the revenue generated by law enforcement, etc.

    For the record, I am not voting for Charlie Crist or Rick Scott nor do I or have I ever smoked marijuana.