Man behind push for medical marijuana says Fla. has learned from West Coast's mistakes

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Following Monday's 9 Investigates piece on medical marijuana, Channel 9's Greg Warmoth is now taking a look at those behind a push to legalize pot in Florida.

The man with the money and voice is local attorney John Morgan, who sat down with Warmoth and said Florida will not become California unless we allow it.

Warmoth went to California to see the unintended consequences of medical marijuana, and the trip sparked a huge response.

In Venice Beach, Warmoth found more pot dispensaries than Starbucks and an ease to getting a pot prescription.


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Morgan said the same shouldn't be expected in Florida.

"What we've learned from California is what we like and don't like and the unintended consequences can only happen if the Florida legislature and our governor allow it," said Morgan.

California is trying to crack down on the proliferation of pot dispensaries. The law was passed in the '90s, and they have found that it's hard to close businesses that are operating in accordance with the law.

That's why a Cocoa Beach city commissioner said wants to act now, fearing the same problem will happen in Florida's tourist destinations.

Warmoth talked with a local business owner, who understands those concerns.

"I think kept at a minimum it does play a role, being a cancer survivor, but it definitely needs to have some rules and regulations," said restaurant owner Dewey Siljestrom.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has taken the fight to the Florida Supreme Court, saying the wording of Morgan's ballot initiative would allow prescriptions too easily.

If approved by the state supreme court next month, Morgan needs nearly 700,000 signatures to get his initiative on the ballot, something he's confident will happen next year or down the road.

"If we're going to be merciful 10 years down the road, why don't we be merciful today?" he said.

Channel 9 tried to attend a rally in support of medical marijuana Tuesday morning in Melbourne that was being put on by the group Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, but our cameras weren't allowed on the property.

The group's stated goal is to "enlist 100,000 veterans in the battle for equal access to cannabis."