Here are some of the questions surrounding the proposed Amendment 2 to the Florida Constitution and answers based on The Ledger's research.
Q. How did Amendment 2 get on the Nov. 4 ballot?
A. Orlando lawyer John Morgan spent about $4 million on a petition campaign that gathered 710,508 certified signatures, surpassing the state requirement of 683,149 signatures. The Florida Supreme Court reviewed the language of both the ballot summary, limited to a maximum of 75 words, and the full, 1,200-word description of the amendment.
The court voted 4-3 in January to approve placing Amendment 2 on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election.
Q. If Amendment 2 passes, what happens next?
A. If at least 60 percent of voters approve the amendment, the Florida Department of Health will be responsible for implementing it.
The department would have until early July to establish procedures for issuing patient identification cards and personal caregiver identification cards to residents who meet the amendment's qualifications. The department will also establish procedures for the registering a network of treatment centers.
The department would be required to begin issuing identification cards and treatment center registrations by early October 2015.
Q. Who would qualify to be a patient?
A. The amendment defines a "debilitating medical condition" to include cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease "or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."
Q. Who would be allowed to grow and sell marijuana if Amendment 2 passes?
A. The Department of Health would be responsible for determining those details.
Q. Is it true that law-enforcement officials oppose Amendment 2 because agencies derive much of their budgets from drug seizures?
A. That issue was raised in a recent article headlined "The Anti-Pot Lobby's Big Bankroll," published in The Nation, a left-leaning national magazine.
The article asserted seizures from marijuana grow houses as "a key revenue source" for law enforcement.
The article said a Florida law-enforcement newsletter described the state's marijuana eradication program as "an excellent return on investment," having gathered $900,000 in forfeitures last year.
Polk County Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilder dismissed the idea that the agency gains much revenue from seizures at marijuana grow houses.
"Nine times out of 10, when we go to a marijuana grow house, we find marijuana and grow lights and we destroy both of them," Wilder said. "There's nothing really of value to seize. On a rare occasion, we might find cash or a vehicle to seize."
Wilder said the Polk Sheriff's Office obtained $138,000 through drug-related seizures in 2013, and he said the vast majority involved methamphetamine and pills. The agency has an annual budget of about $133 million.
Q. What groups have endorsed Amendment 2 or opposed it?
A. Those publicly opposing the amendment include the Florida Medical Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Chamber of Commerce.
Those endorsing include the Service Employees International Union of Florida, the Florida Cannabis Action Network, CannaMoms and the Libertarian Party of Florida.
The Florida Bar Association has taken no position on the amendment. Neither has the Florida Police Benevolent Association, according to Nick Marolda, a union representative with the Lakeland Police Department.
Should Florida join 36 other states that have loosened laws on marijuana use?
That's the question voters face in the Nov. 4 election. If Amendment 2 receives 60 percent of the vote, the use of marijuana will become legal for residents with debilitating diseases, as determined by a licensed Florida physician.
The Ledger is sponsoring a public forum on the issue
WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday, August 28
WHERE: In the auditorium of Harrison School for the Arts in Lakeland
The panel includes six people with a variety of views on the proposed amendment:
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd: Immediate past president of the Florida sheriffs association and a leading spokesman against the amendment.
Lawyer John Morgan: a leading proponent of the amendment.
Jeffrey Reddout: A Winter Haven psychologist.
Irvin Rosenfeld: A south Florida stock broker who has legally received shipments of marijuana as part of his medical treatment.
Dr. Sergio Seoane: A member of the Polk County Medical associa- tion's board of trustees.
Jessica Spencer: Statewide coalition direc- tor of the vote no on amendment 2 campaign.
Questions to be posed at the forum may be submitted to Amendment2@theledger.com through Monday. They will not be taken form the floor on the night of the forum.
Here is the transcript of the full interview with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Amendment 2:
The Ledger: How would you describe your role with the Vote No on 2 campaign?
Judd: By virtue of being president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, I am the public face for Florida sheriffs this year and obviously the Florida sheriffs have voted overwhelmingly to oppose Amendment 2. It is our firm belief that Amendment 2 is a wolf in sheep's clothing, that it's not about medicine for the very sick but it is legalization of smoked marijuana in the state of Florida. And because of that we are educating people around the state that there are loopholes large enough to float a battleship through in this constitutional amendment, and this amendment was specifically written with that intent. So I've written several op-eds; I've appeared before editorial boards. I've been on statewide television, and we will continue our education campaign.
The association can't legally go out and campaign for or against any amendment, but we can educate the community as to what the amendment says, and I as an individual sheriff can tell you that the people I've talked to that believe there may be medicinal value in marijuana, once Amendment 2 is explained to them, are clearly against that because once again no one has ever gone to a doctor and been given a medicine and told to go home and smoke it until you feel better. Smoked marijuana is not medicine, period, and Amendment 2 is about legalizing marijuana. And that's the education we want to communicate. Once we educate the community and they have all the information, certainly it's up to them to make a decision, whether or not they vote against Amendment 2 or vote in support of Amendment 2. That is their business, not ours, but it is our business to make sure they have the tools and the education.
The Ledger: What do you expect to do in the coming months as a spokesman for the Vote No on 2 campaign?
Judd: I anticipate as the campaign ramps up that we are going to do more and more because we want to educate the community. Think about this for a second: We have spent literally billions of dollars over the years talking about the health dangers of smoking cigarettes, and never has anyone gone to a doctor had the doctor say, 'Go home and smoke cigarettes till you get well,' and certainly the same is true with marijuana. Why would we want to do anything to advocate smoking marijuana, putting another foreign substance in your lungs, which is not in the best interest of your health and that's not the way medicine is prescribed? And to me it is offensive that this group of folks that are pro-legalization of marijuana would take advantage of the compassion, care and heartstrings of the state of Florida by leading well-intentioned people who certainly want to see sick people receive help into voting for something that is really about the legalization of marijuana. Really, Amendment 2 is just wrought with loopholes.
The Ledger: How do we know Florida would follow the example of California in adopting a "wild west" approach toward marijuana? Isn't it possible the Florida legislature would craft stricter regulations if the amendment passes?
Judd: It's been described -- not my words -- but it's been described that Florida's Amendment 2 is more liberal than California's law. And I talked to several lawyers who say there can be regulations created by the Department of Health, which is allowed in the constitutional amendment, but that no regulation can constrict the constitutional amendment, and the constitutional amendment has words in there like 'anyone' or 'anybody' can have access to marijuana. That 'anyone' includes children. It talks about a caregiver and it specifically says the caregiver has to be 21 and can have no more than five customers at any given time. Why do they lay a regulation out in that piece of it and not lay a regulation out in another piece of it? That means your caregiver can be a convicted felon or a dope dealer in and of themselves. So had this constitutional amendment truly been about medicine, they could have written it that way. They could have written it to have prohibited smoked marijuana; they could have written it specifically enumerating the diseases that with alleged, anecdotal evidence it has helped, but they didn't.
Along with the listing diseases they used these magic words, "or other conditions," and "other conditions" is not a debilitating disease, and therein is one of the huge loopholes. At the end of the day, you know and I know and everyone I've met with and explained this constitutional amendment to knows that this not about medicine for the very sick; it is about legalizing marijuana. It's a fraud, and they're trying to perpetrate it on the compassionate people of the state of Florida.
The Ledger: Would you favor a more narrowly worded version of the amendment?
Judd: No, and I say that because I don't know what they might write, but I don't believe a constitutional amendment is the vehicle by which such law should be implemented. I think it should follow the process of Charlotte's web (a cannabis extract used for childhood epilepsy and other conditions) -- just passed the legislature and received the governor's signature. Certainly as you saw with Charlotte's web, that compound does not have the intoxicant or has a very, very low percentage of the intoxicant, but it has cannabinoids that will help, and the legislature saw the potential value in that and crafted a very tightly written law that was signed by the governor. And that's the exact example of how medical use of marijuana should be instituted. But did you see one of the pro-marijuana people supporting that endeavor? I didn't. You know why? Because they're not supporting medicine; they're supporting the legalization of smoked marijuana.
The Ledger: The passage of the Charlotte's web law is another dimension of this debate. Do you think that law is sufficient? Proponents for Amendment 2 say it is directed toward a narrow subset of the population and not enough to help all those in need.
Judd: It's important to point out, first off, the proponents for smoked marijuana don't have any science on their side of the debate. They have anecdotal evidence; they have urban legend; they don't have science. The AMA is against it, the Florida Medical Association is against it; the Ophthalmology Association is against it; the (American) Cancer Society is against it. But they (proponents) so fear that the responsible actions of the legislature are going to diminish their efforts to legalize smoked marijuana that they criticize what is a responsible first step. [Editor's note: Many proponents have said the Charlotte's web law is helpful but doesn't go far enough.] The legislature didn't say they wouldn't go further; this is just the first step the first year.
But clearly as this campaign goes forward, you see more desperation by the pro-marijuana folks because they fear that the responsible, well-meaning people of the state of Florida will get the education and understand that, 'Wait a minute, medicine doesn't come in smoked form.' So how can it be medicine if you can't even measure the dosage? This Amendment 2 doesn't measure the dosage, it doesn't talk about THC level (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis). It doesn't restrict -- in fact, it allows smoking so that tells you it's not about medicine at all. They are using those that are severely medically sick to lead their argument because there have been those that use marijuana in that form who anecdotally say they received some relief. But there are ways to get to the same result, and you don't smoke it and you don't put in cookies and candy bars and lollipops in unknown and uncontrolled dosages. That's not only bizarre, that's a ridiculous thought, that that would be thought of as medicine, and it clearly isn't.
The Ledger: But advocates for Amendment 2 say it's impossible to do controlled medical studies of marijuana because it's an illegal substance.
Judd: That's what they say because they don't have anything valid to say. There is studies out that been done on marijuana that clearly indicate smoked marijuana is of no medical value. And they say that because the science is not on their side, and it's only a lame excuse they can figure out to use of why there is no science on their side. The reality is there is no science on their side because the science is to the contrary. Smoked marijuana has no medical value.
The Ledger: Proponents of Amendment 2 accuse you of exaggerating the harmful effects of marijuana and using "Reefer Madness" scare tactics. How do you respond?
Judd: When confronted with facts and the truth, those without valid arguments to the contrary always raise those same issues. They have no valid evidence to support smoked marijuana, period. This is about a money grab, it's about a multi-billion-dollar industry. We can see the businessmen already circling the state, getting ready to open their pot shops and their pot distributorships. When you look at what we looked at -- we looked at Orange County, California, and looked at the number of pot dealers and extrapolated that using our population we're going to have 50 pot shops, if we have no more or less per capita than California, and at the same time only have 31 McDonald's. So we're going to have more pot shops than McDonald's restaurants? Oh, my gosh. All in the name of medicine? And it's just all a fraud.
This is not a political position. When the governor of California says recreational use of marijuana is not good, when (Democratic Congresswoman Debbie) Wasserman Schultz down in Miami tells you the same thing -- people are now beginning to take a look around. The Miami Herald did a poll (in July) in Dade County. Dade County is majority registered Democrats, and Amendment 2 failed in Dade County. Why? Because they get it. They know this is not about medicine. When you take that off the board, that it's not really about medicine for the very sick, that Amendment 2 is written with loopholes so people can have smoked marijuana, it fails. And when education is presented to the people of the state of Florida, it fails.
The Ledger: Are you confident then that as the campaign goes along that the support shown in early polls will evaporate?
Judd: The support (for Amendment 2) in the early polls for the most part was a fiction to begin with. They would ask a question such as, 'If your physician or your doctor wrote a prescription for medical marijuana for the very ill, would you vote for it?' and people said, 'Well, of course,' because they want to help those very ill and in significant pain. First off, your doctor can't write a prescription because it's against the law, and second, it's not just for the very ill or the very diseased, so it was not an accurately worded question, and quite frankly that one poll that showed an ultra-high response -- that was fishy on its face. Eighty-eight percent of people in the state of Florida can't decide at any given time whether to go to the bathroom or not.
They're pushing out this skewed data, this polling, hoping people will say, 'What the heck?' and give up. And it's one more opportunity to take advantage of people. What our education perspective is -- we're not trying to talk you out of the potential medical benefits from some of the derivatives of cannabis. But what we're telling you is Amendment 2 is not about that. It's not about medicine for the very ill; it's about legalization of marijuana, clearly, and the amendment is written with the loopholes to allow that. So that's what we're saying. If those same lawyers had written a very tight, very constricted constitutional amendment -- even though that's not my preferred form -- for the medical use of marijuana, there wouldn't have been this educational campaign saying, 'Wait a minute, folks, they're trying to dip you. They're trying to get you to do something that you don't need,' and that's the feedback I've gotten from those who are very sensitive to those that are very sick, who otherwise would have voted for that amendment if they thought it was just for the very sick, but it's not, it's absolutely not that way.
The Ledger: Something like 20 states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana. Have you talked to officials in other states about their experiences with medical marijuana campaigns?
Judd: Yes. What we've found out is in many states there was not a robust educational campaign in advance, and the unintended consequences they're dealing with are overwhelming. And I think those unintended consequences would be even worse in Florida because one of the big loopholes in the constitutional amendment talks about how your physician, nor a person who grows the marijuana, can be held criminally or civilly liable, so if this amendment were to pass and you were given a recommendation for marijuana for medical purposes, and doctor gives you a recommendation, you go to your caregiver and he gives you this marijuana and it makes you very, very ill, or for some reason some chemical on it kills you, there is no civil ability for you or your heirs to recoup from those damages or injury. In the real medical world, your doctor would be liable, the pharmacy would be liable or the manufacturer of the medicine would be liable, the deliverer of the medicine. But if you end up with a severe illness from smoking this marijuana, you can't even sue anyhow who injured you with it. That should be enough to stop even those folks from other action. So who ends up with the liability? Who ends up being sued? Well, the business owner whose person is intoxicated with this marijuana that wrecks a forklift or runs over somebody in the business vehicle. They get sued. They're left holding the bucket.
So at the end of the day, it's not good for the business people of Florida because they are going to be the ones ultimately that are sued for the bad issues that occur because their employees were operating vehicles or machinery under the influence of drugs. In addition to that, people say, 'Well, I'll vote for that.' It's easy to vote for something you can turn around and walk away from, but one unintended consequence -- and I've not found anyone yet who wants to pay more taxes -- is this is going to cost a lot of money to enforce if it passes. The unintended consequences -- somebody out there someplace is going to be sentenced to prison or jail, and they're going to get one of these quack, pill-mills docs that are now pot docs to give them a recommendation for marijuana, and of course the jail or prison is going to refuse it and then the government entity is going to be sued in federal court. And guess who's going to pay for that? The taxpayers. And if the government doesn't prevail, then the taxpayers are going to pay for the marijuana that's given to the person in prison.
There are all kinds of issues that attach to this amendment that folks must think about. It's not just flipping a lever one way or the other and walking way. It's the unintended consequences and unintended costs. And it's going to be massive. And yes, I've heard, "Well, we'll tax it and recover the costs." The black market is still going to operate and will operate cheaper than the government-approved marijuana.
It is full of problems, and the devil is in the details. We could go on for hours talking about all the unintended consequences. But when you get down to the lowest common denominator and you realize this is not about medicine for the very ill, it's about dope -- that's about as simple as we can make the message and as complex as the message needs to be made.
The Ledger: Are you bothered at all that the main financial supporter of Vote No on 2, Sheldon Adelson, is an out-of-state casino magnate?
Judd: My response to that is, even those that own casinos know that Amendment 2 is a bad bet for Florida.
Here is the transcript of an interview with John Morgan, founder of United for Care, the main organization pushing for passage of Amendment 2.
The Ledger: Critics say Amendment 2 is just a ruse to open up Florida for legalizing recreational use of marijuana. What do you say to that?
Morgan: It can't be opened up for recreational use unless the Florida Legislature passes it and the governor signs it, and I don't see that happening. I think that the ruse is his objection. It's not an objection; it's just a red herring. That can't happen unless the Florida Legislature allows it to happen, and that would be because the people of Florida would want it to happen and the governor would sign it, and I don't see that happening. Instead of dealing with the merits, he throws something out there that has nothing to do with the debate and is more of a scare tactic than a good argument.
The Ledger: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and other critics say the amendment is vaguely written and full of loopholes and will result in kids being able to get pot without their parents' knowledge. How do you respond?
Morgan: First of all, it's not vague. The amendment itself lists the type of illnesses this is meant for -- ALS, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer. It lists the type of illnesses that are debilitating. You can't list every one because you don't know every one. You may miss one, and a new one may come up. What I would say to Grady Judd is I trust the doctors of Florida to give our people what they need and their patients what they need. I trust the doctors understand, reading what the statute says and the type of illnesses we're talking about, to understand what the word "debilitating" means. Doctors are some of the smartest people I know. I think the word "debilitating" is pretty easy to understand, especially taken in the context with the language in the amendment.
Now, as far as children getting marijuana -- children now are being prescribed OxyContin. OxyContin kills 16,000 people a year and hooks hundreds of thousands. I don't know what child is going to the doctor without their parents driving them. I don't know if Grady Judd's children go to the doctor without him and his wife, but mine don't. I've never had one of my children go to the doctor by themselves. Now, maybe Grady's get on a bicycle and when they have an injury they ride up to the doctor and the doctor prescribes medication for them. I guess maybe his children are different than the rest of Florida's.
The Ledger: Critics say there is a lack of scientific evidence that marijuana has medicinal value. How do you respond?
Morgan: One thing we know for a fact is we've heard from millions of people who have talked about it working. But the most compelling fact is we know big Pharma, they know it works because they have a pill called Marinol. Why do they make this pill called Marinol? They made it because they know of the benefits of marijuana. They just can't get it to work in pill form; it only works in vapor or smoke or edible form. Why can you buy a pill called Marinol if it has no medicinal value? Who is selling this pill called Marinol if it has no medicinal value? The proof is in the pudding, and the proof is in the pill. The problem is the pill is not potent. So what Grady Judd and his crowd would like us to do is wait around for one of the big pharmaceuticals to find a way to make it in pill form so they can make billions of dollars, when all we need to do is go out in the yard and cut a plant and roll it up and it works.
I would tell him go to the special "Weed" by Sanjay Gupta -- "Weed 1" and "Weed 2" -- and let Sanjay Gupta explain to him the science of marijuana and why it works. I would ask Grady Judd if he's ever sat down to watch those two specials. Has he ever seen what's going on in hospitals in Israel? We don't have it here because nobody's allowed to do it in America. It's a (Schedule) 1 narcotic, for God's sake. There's no studies in America because they're not allowed do it. They may not be doing it in the USA, but they're doing it somewhere. You can't do it because you'd get arrested for doing it. They say, "Hey, why don't we have any studies in America?" They don't because we're not allowed to.
The Ledger: Why do you think so many in law enforcement are so strongly opposed to Amendment 2?
Morgan: I don't think they really are. I think it's political. I think they think they're supposed to be against anything with the word "drug" on it. I think it's the same reason (Florida Attorney General) Pam Bondi miscalculated. I would say to Grady Judd: You've got a lot more important things to do than tracking down people using marijuana to fight their cancer. Go shut down all the pill mills in Polk County, and once you've got that done maybe you can go arrest people using marijuana to help them w their ALS and multiple sclerosis.
It's just a reflex: "I'm an elected official." The problem for Grady Judd is they all knee-jerked on this before they thought it through politically. There's big-time, law-and-order Republicans who are going to vote for this. There's (Florida Senator) Don Gaetz, who is one of the most conservative members of the Senate, the President of the Senate. He confessed years ago, in 1985, when his best friend, a Methodist minister, was dying, nothing worked. Don ran hospices, and Don went out and got marijuana illegally. He broke the law, and why did he do it? Because he's a compassionate man, and he loved his friend. So Don Gaetz, my prediction is he's going to vote for it when the booth closes. And my prediction is most of Grady Judd's deputies are going to vote for it because they know they've got better things to do than chasing down people taking marijuana for their AIDS.
The Ledger: What do you expect from opponents of Amendment 2 in the final months of the campaign? Do you expect to see them running TV commercials?
Morgan: There'll be some. It's not really going to be enough money. The state of Florida is too big for any kind of meaningful television campaign. Even (Democratic gubernatorial candidates) Charlie Crist and Nan Rich are going to have trouble having enough money to pierce through. This is a state -- I think we have seven (TV) markets. I think there may be a lot of money spent but not enough. It's going to be a drop of water in the middle of the ocean, in the grand scheme of things. If somebody spends $3 (million), $4 (million), $5 million, it doesn't mean anything, not in the state of Florida. At the end of the day, people have pretty much made up their minds on this issue, and at the end of the day people are compassionate and they're going to do the compassionate thing. No TV ads are going to be able to scare them off.
The Ledger: How do you respond to the claim that you only pushed to have the amendment on the ballot to boost turnout by registered Democrats in an off-year election?
Morgan: First of all, when I was doing this -- and I've heard that I wanted to do it because of Charlie Crist -- the first thing I will say is, I like Charlie Crist and I want Charlie Crist to be our next governor, but I don't like Charlie Crist $4 million worth. I never thought Charlie Crist would be running for governor when I started this thing. All these pieces fell into place. I did it because I believe in it, because I believe you can't sit by and know something and do nothing, especially if you have the wherewithal. So for those people who say that -- I never thought it would get on the ballot. I thought I was more likely to have it on the ballot for 2016 because I didn't start (the petition campaign) till last year. Those people who say that give me a lot more credit than I deserve.
The Ledger: What do you think are biggest misconceptions or untruths being used against Amendment 2?
Morgan: I think the biggest is that there's no scientific proof it works, because there is. There's just no scientific proof in America because you're not allowed to do it. I think the things I hear most commonly -- number one, it's a gateway drug. My answer to that is, "Yes, it's a gateway drug, and the next drug is morphine at the hospice." We're talking about people who have crippling diseases, and most often terminal: ALS, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, cancer. These are terminal illnesses. When I hear talk about a gateway drug -- listen, when Don Gaetz went and got marijuana for his friend in the hospice, he didn't care about breaking the law, and the next drug was morphine and they put you on a slow drip and speed it up till you die.
They (opponents) always want talk, you'll hear people talk about the children. That's always interesting to me -- "Children can get their hands on it." That's the same argument people who want to have gun limits use, children are going to get their hands on guns. That's a bad argument. What I say to people is, "You need to lock up your medical marijuana in your gun cabinet," and then the kids can't get to the guns or the marijuana. They say things, you'll hear, "Doctors are going to give the children marijuana." Well, doctors are giving children Percocet. They're giving children morphine. Doctors aren't going to give children marijuana. What doctor? And isn't the parent going to sit there and watch it? Is a 10-year-old going to go to the doctor's office and get prescribed marijuana and then gets on his bicycle and goes to the dispensary? When you start to think through their arguments, you realize they're scare tactics. "It's a gateway drug. No science." I know this: Everybody who uses it says it works.
The other thing I would say -- another thing they talk about is, "This is going to be California." It's not going to be California. The way it's enacted is the way it will be. There's 20 other states that have it now. Nobody ever hears anything about those other states. The reason they don't is it was enacted in a totally different way from California. Look how tight the enactment is on Charlotte's web already. Just because this happens doesn't means it's going to be California. Tell them go take a look at Arizona. Nobody talks about Arizona. The reason that's scare tactics is look at how they have enacted Charlotte's web. There's only going to be five growers; the dispensaries are going to be regulated. There may only be five people involved in Charlotte's web. In California, you don't have to be doctor to prescribe it. In California, you don't have to have a card, you just go in. In California, you've got psychologists prescribing; it. In Florida, you've got be a medical doctor. What I would say to Grady Judd is -- Don't go to California and look at something that's got no application. Look at what's already been done in Florida by our legislature with Charlotte's web, and then when you get tired of looking at that go out and look at Arizona. And when you finish looking at that, look at all the other states that you never hear about because they were all enacted differently than California.
Just like Charlotte's web -- it doesn't just happen all the sudden that you've got head shops up and down the highway. Ask the businesspeople in Lakeland how hard it is to get a permit to move a wall. You can't even move a wall in Lakeland unless you get a permit, and that takes months. The enactment process comes from Tallahassee. Now, if the people in Tallahassee want to allow it to be like California, OK, but I don't see that happening. The California arguments are arguments made by people who want to scare, not debate.
The Ledger: Some voters might not realize that constitutional amendments have to get 60 percent of the vote, not just a majority. I was talking to Lance deHaven-Smith, a professor at Florida State University, and he said that's a tough threshold to reach. What do you think?
Morgan: I think 60 percent is a landslide in politics. Lance is correct. They made it 60 percent because they wanted it to be a landslide. I think as you get closer -- I've seen (polls showing support) as high as 88 percent; that's not going to happen. I think as you get closer it will get tight, but at the end of the day, most of us have grown up around marijuana. We're not afraid of it. We know anecdotally, and we know from studies and we know from the Dr. Guptas of the world, we know it works. And we've got friends -- look, I've got my brother (who was paralyzed in an accident decades ago). My brother, if he took the medications they wanted him to take he'd be a zombie. His spasms would be uncontrollable. I don't need to have a study done. I see it every day. Lance is right; it will get closer, but it will pass, and when it does by 60-plus percent, it will be a landslide.
The Ledger: So you're confident the amendment is going to pass?
Morgan: I'm confident it's going to pass because I believe in people and I believe the people are compassionate. Cancer and ALS and multiple sclerosis and AIDS do not pick political parties. This is not a political issue. This is an issue of compassion and medicine. You're going to have Tea Party people, Libertarians are going to vote for this in droves. They're offended by the government trying to tell us what we can do and waiting on Big Pharma to figure out Marinol. The Tea Party and Libertarians are offended by that notion. They're going to vote for this, and they're going to vote against everybody else I'm going to vote for.
The Ledger: So you see it as something that can cut across party lines?
Morgan: Yes, because cancer does not pick political parties or people. Cancer and AIDS and ALS comes at everybody.
Day 1: Voters will decide Nov. 4 whether Florida should join other states in allowing medical marijuana. How did Amendment 2 become an issue in the state? Who is the push behind it? Who is against it?
Day 2: The politics of medical pot crosses party and generational lines.
Day 3: What workplace issues would medical marijuana raise?
Day 4: How would the law deal with drivers who use medical marijuana?