John Morgan, aka ‘PotDaddy,’ says Florida is ready for legalized weed

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PotDaddy says it’s time for Florida to legalize recreational marijuana.

Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan – who sometimes uses the Twitter hashtag #PotDaddy – says he is throwing his considerable expertise and possibly financial resources behind the effort to put a state constitutional amendment on the November 2020 ballot to legalize recreational marijuana.

“I have decided that I am too old to care. I believe that #marijuana should be legal!!,” @JohnMorganESQ tweeted today. “I think we have time and I think there is money to get it done…. Let’s do this maybe, forget Tallahassee!”

His decision is significant. Morgan was the force behind two citizen petition drives seeking to legalize medical cannabis in the state. His first effort fell short in 2014, but more than 71 percent of the voters endorsed medical cannabis in the 2016 election.

Morgan is currently overseeing a constitutional amendment drive to let voters decide next year if they want to endorse an initiative that would eventually raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In his Tuesday tweet, he says his “Florida for a Fair Wage” campaign has collected enough voter signatures to meet the requirement of having 766,200 validated signatures to secure a place on the 2020 ballot.

The state Division of Elections shows Morgan’s campaign officially has 455,066 validated signatures as of Tuesday morning, although that doesn’t reflected signatures gathered by the campaign that are in the process of being reviewed by local supervisors of elections.

The minimum-wage ballot language must also pass a Florida Supreme Court review.

Morgan, who once seriously considered running for governor, had previously said his minimum-wage campaign would be his last political hurrah. But he has been following the effort by other groups to legalize recreational marijuana.

Responding to a question on Twitter, Morgan says his decision to get behind the legalization effort was not a spur-of-the-moment call. “But I will need help, I think it is coming,” he tweeted.

As an extremely successful trial lawyer who has peppered the state with his “For the People” legal ads, Morgan is both a well-known Floridian and a wealthy one. He and his law firm are personally bankrolling the minimum-wage constitutional amendment drive. He was the financial force behind the two petition drives that led to the approval of medical cannabis in Florida.

Morgan could be a financial factor in getting the marijuana legalization amendment on next year’s ballot. But there are other deep-pocketed interests that are likely to back a viable effort: the companies holding the current medical marijuana licenses that allow them to grow the plant, market it and sell it to patients.

The medical-marijuana licenses have proven to be very lucrative, with some fetching more than $50 million when they are sold. The value of those licenses would increase exponentially if recreational marijuana is legalized in the nation’s third-largest state. That financial prospect is likely to be a huge incentive for the companies to back a legalization effort.

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Morgan says he has not decided whether to start a new legalization campaign or to get behind one of the existing initiative drives. But he predicted, if the measure gets on the ballot, “it will pass in landslide.”

The Regulate Florida group has collected more than 79,000 validated voter signatures for its ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. It’s enough signatures to trigger a review of the amendment by the Florida Supreme Court.

The amendment would allow Floridians over the age of 21 to grow, purchase and use marijuana. The drug would be regulated and taxed by the state like the regulation of alcohol sales, according to Regulate Florida.

All the state constitutional petition drives must collect 766,200 validated signatures by Feb. 1 to qualify for the November 2020 general election ballot. Ballot measures must be approved by at least 60 percent of the voters to be enacted.

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