Prominent Orlando attorney pushes to legalize medical marijuana

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Prominent Orlando attorney John Morgan believes medical marijuana should be legalized in Florida and he's spending his time and money to get the issue on the November ballot.

Morgan said he wants the law changed to help those suffering from life-threatening diseases such as cancer.

Morgan's father used medical marijuana before losing his fight with cancer, and Morgan said it helped his father with a number of issues during his decline.

Now, he's banking on his name and political popularity to help millions of others do the same.

Morgan said he is willing to foot the $3.5 million effort in memory of his dad, who while battling cancer benefited from the effects of pot.

"It's a no-brainer," said Morgan. "It curbed (my father's) nausea. It curbed his anxiety and helped his appetite."

Eighteen states allow the use of medical marijuana, and while it has failed to pass in Florida before, Morgan, who's a Democrat, said the climate has changed.

He even joked that being married to a Republican is a good gauge.

"When my wife says to me, 'You're right this time,' then I might be on to something," said Morgan.

In a new poll sponsored by People United for Medical Marijuana, 58 percent of voters support the measure.

"This is 2013. This isn't 1970, where Dick Nixon is declaring a war on drugs, which by the way has been lost," said Morgan.

Morgan's expected to be backed by his friend Charlie Crist.

WFTV political analyst Dr. Rick Foglesong said it could be a political power play for the man who may mount a re-election bid.

"This issue would bring to the polls people who would vote for Charlie Crist, I'm suspecting," said Foglesong.

On top of the millions raised, Morgan is optimistic he'll be able to collect 700,000 voter signatures by the deadline next February, a time frame he said already puts him "behind the eight ball."

In a Florida statement, Senate president Don Gaetz said he supports citizens who propose amendments, but he will not be signing the petition, nor vote in favor of an amendment that would legalize marijuana.