Once it was announced that Florida voters would get to decide whether medical marijuana would become legalized, United For Care and supporters of the initiative could barely reflect on what had just been accomplished before it was time to move on. Now that more than the required number of verified petitions have been collected and the state Supreme Court has ruled favorably on the proposed ballot language, United For Care’s next objective is clear: get voters to the polls in November.
“We’re transitioning into a full general election campaign. This has been grassroots from the beginning and it will continue to be grassroots through Election Day,” campaign manager Ben Pollara told BrowardPalmBeach.com in late January. “We’re going to put a lot of focus on turning out our voters and make sure they get to the polls and that we’re successful.”
In a blog post on the organization’s website, Pollara added that simply motivating people to get out and vote will not be enough. United For Care and its army of supporters and financial backers must also educate voters to differentiate between substantive facts about medical marijuana and misleading propaganda spread by those against the cause.
“[Medical marijuana opponents are] going to keep trying to seed anxiety about what would happen if medical marijuana is legalized—despite the fact that 20 states and DC have already legalized it,” Pollara wrote. “The only defenses against misinformation and fear-mongering are education and facts.”
At the forefront of United For Care’s entire campaign—including the voter education and outreach phase—is attorney John Morgan. In addition to his generous financial contributions, Morgan has taken to the microphone to not only combat false information about medical marijuana, but to share his personal reasons behind his support of the cause.
“Medical marijuana works, and we know it works, and it is going to become a reality this year,” Morgan assured in a debate before hundreds of students at the University of Tampa this week.
While his opponents countered with oft-repeated arguments questioning Morgan’s support of the initiative and what the future could bring should the constitutional amendment pass, the attorney held fast as to why he’s poured so much emotion and money into legalizing medical marijuana.
“This is not about politics. This is about your neighbor,” Morgan said. “Medical marijuana works, and it helps people with debilitating illnesses like Lou Gehrig’s disease, cancer, and AIDS.”
Morgan’s statements to the crowd at the University of Tampa Monday night echoed those he made to the Tampa Tiger Bay Club last Friday in that he again acknowledged opponents of medical marijuana who have tried to turn it into a political issue regardless of their own personal feelings of the subject.
“Deep down, they know it’s right,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s next scheduled speaking appearance is at the Volusia County Tiger Bay Club on Thursday, March 14.
According to a November Quinnipiac University poll detailed online by the Tampa Tribune, 82 percent of Florida voters favor the legalization of medical marijuana. Only 60 percent support is needed at the polls to pass the amendment.