In case you haven't heard, Attorney John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan, for the people and former employer to FL Democratic candidate for Governor Charlie Crist has financed and pushed for the legalization of Medical Marijuana here in Florida. Amendment 2 is on Tuesday's ballot and while I really do not have an opinion one either side of the argument that marijuana has medicinal qualities, I do have an opinion on who and how UnitedforCare.org and John Morgan or concentrating their efforts to get voter support.
The area in and around LPGA Blvd. and Derbyshire in Holly Hill/Daytona Beach is peppered with stores who make their living off selling alcohol and tobacco products including a crap load of Swisher Sweet fruit flavored wraps used to roll blunts and more. Those Stores see more drug sale traffic than store traffic at times. On the corners are a couple of the Buy-Here/Pay-Here car lots that rob people of their money who can't get the credit needed to buy a decent vehicle. Take a drive in any direction in the neighborhood and you will pass house after house that has been run down; put up for rent or boarded up altogether. The area is described by the residents themselves as predominantly black, economically depressed, and a haven for drug sales and crime directly related to drugs. Even those who live in the area do not want to be out at night or sit out on their lawns for fear of being yet another crime victim. So image my surprise when I was returning from Deland last week and noticed the UnitedforCare.org bus parked at Aristocrat Transportation's lot on the corner urging voters in the neighborhood to "Vote Yes on 2". Note this was not just a one day thing, the bus has been parked in the neighborhood throughout Volusia County's early voting period.
With the language of Amendment 2 already a point for contention; and to have John Morgan and UnitedforCare target areas that are currently dealing with a drug problem that is out of control, that has brought with it a crime wave that residents still cannot escape, is what I in my own opinion call slimier than the ambulance chasing Morgan & Morgan does non stop on TV and Billboards across the state. Some will most certainly say that I am making too much of this, but the fact that more than 50 people who I know in that very neighborhood have told me they already went to vote "yes" on 2 because they themselves smoke and sell marijuana makes my case for me. Its not about the Medicinal qualities but instead the language which all but makes it impossible for anyone to be charged or even prosecuted for dealing. If we are going to vote on the issue, rather than do it under the guise of "Medical benefit" why not just do what Colorado and Washington has already done. Then like in Colorado we can keep the dealers in business while the State collects the taxes they get from those who want to sell it but can't because it can be purchased cheaper from the dealer down the street. My point in this is simple, if this is about peoples health, then why the hell do you campaign for support in predominantly black, economically depressed neighborhoods that are currently dealing with excessive drug related crime?
When I was in Colorado this past June I couldn't help but laugh when I was pumping gas and saw the State's ad's at the gas pump calling for a Tobacco free Colorado and the bill boards for the same campaign at the same time the State is promoting the sale and use of Marijuana. It is the height of hypocrisy.
For full disclosure purposes, I do not smoke Marijuana because I simply do not like its effects on me. I become even more silly and comical than I am naturally and to this day am still trying to recover and destroy some video a friend has of me after taking a couple of hits off a joint 14 years ago.
If you want to promote an issue and seek support for it then do so honestly and don't target the very people who can afford it the least to help you pass something that by all rights is nothing more than a first step to legalizing marijuana. Whether Morgan or United for Care want to admit it, they are giving people the idea that if Amendment 2 passes they will then be able to possess, use, sell Marijuana to anyone for any reason without facing charges. Will Morgan and his family of Lawyers then give free legal representation to those who find themselves in jail because they were not smart enough to understand the vague language on 2? Will they represent the individual or family who loses a loved one because they smoked something that was sold to them as marijuana but wasn't and the person died from it? I am willing to bet they won't.