Florida attorney John Morgan blasted Florida lawmakers for refusing to hear a bill on medical marijuana earlier in 2013, so he decided to organize a citizens' initiative to get the issue on the 2014 election ballot.
ORLANDO, Florida -- You've probably seen attorney John Morgan's "For the People" ads.
Now, he wants to bring a vote on medical marijuana to the people.
"We know that the Republican-controlled Cabinet and Legislature are
scared to death of certain voters hearing the word 'marijuana' and
going, 'Oh my God,' so it's not going to happen legislatively. It's going to
happen on the ballot," Morgan says. "I don't see the power switching anytime soon in
Tallahassee, so I decided why don't we let the people decide?"
He'd like to see voters get a choice on the issue on Florida's ballot in 2014. He's signed onto the effort with the group People United for Medical Marijuana -- and when he did, he wasn't sure how people would react.
"When you step out on a ledge like this, you're a little bit worried like, 'why is the middle-aged lawyer taking this on?'" he says.
But, according to Morgan, he's never received so many passionate phone calls in his career.
His stance is inspired by clients who he sees having to turn to narcotics to ease their pain. It's also motivated by his father, who battled esophageal cancer and emphysema.
"It was terrible. He had no appetite, nausea. My brother got him some marijuana and it steadied him. His anxiety was gone, he had an appetite," he says.
The proposed ballot question would not completely decriminalize marijuana, but instead, only allow people with legitimate medical problems to get a prescription that could only be used at regulated dispensaries, though the benefits and disadvantages of using marijuana for medicinal purposes is still debated within the medical community.
From here, Morgan's group must scrutinize every word of the ballot question's language, then get nearly 700,000 verified petition signatures by next February. If you'd like to be among the petition signers, Morgan urges you to email him.
"I believe from this there's going to be an army of angels who are going to band together and they're going to come out -- people who need it, people whose parents or children need it, brothers and sisters need it -- and I believe there's going to be an uprising," he says.
How much Morgan and others might have to spend if the amendment successfully gets on the ballot varies. In Michigan, supporters of a similar measure in 2008 spent nearly $1.7 million on their campaign. Opponents of a measure in Massachusetts last year spent $6,000.
When Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who works for Morgan & Morgan, was asked about Morgan's proposal during an event at St. Petersburg College on Tuesday, he said he hasn't had a chance to review it.
"I think that if it is for medicinal purposes, that's a different issue," he said.
Follow 10 News Reporter Ashley Porter on twitter @ashleyreporter