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Dem donor John Morgan blasts ‘irrelevant...irritant’ DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz over RX pot

@MarcACaputo

Major Democratic donor John Morgan blasted the national party’s chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as an “irritant” who is becoming “irrelevant” after she voiced concerns about a medical marijuana proposal he helped put on Florida’s ballot this November.

“I know personally the most-powerful players in Washington DC. And I can tell you that Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t just disliked. She’s despised. She’s an irritant,” Morgan, an outspoken Orlando trial attorney, told the Miami Herald.

“Why she’s trying to undermine this amendment I don’t know,” he said. “But I’ll tell you I will never give a penny or raise a penny for the national party while she’s in leadership. And I have given and helped raise millions.”

The tensions flared Friday morning after Wasserman Schultz’s office issued a statement saying she has “concerns” that the proposed constitutional amendment Morgan backs “is written too broadly and stops short of ensuring strong regulatory oversight from state officials.”

“Other states have shown that lax oversight and ease of access to prescriptions can lead to abuse, fraud, and accidents,” her statement, first reported by the Tampa Bay Times, said. “Also, given Florida’s recent history in combating the epidemic of ‘pill mills’ and dubious distinction as having among the highest incidents of fraud, I do not believe we should make it easier for those seeking to abuse the drug to have easy access to it.”

Morgan, who has plowed $4 million of his own money into Florida’s Amendment 2 campaign, countered by pointing out that the proposed amendment and a state Supreme Court ruling would limit medical marijuana only to those with “debilitating” ailments.

“Does she not respect our Supreme Court? Does she not know what ‘debilitating' means? I do,” said Morgan, also a top donor to President Obama and Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida. “What word would she prefer?”

Wasserman Schultz's office wouldn't comment further than her written statement.

In an email, the Democratic National Committee said that the congresswoman “was speaking as a mom and a member of congress on her personal concerns on a local issue. The DNC has not taken an official position on this ballot initiative. We leave it to the good people of Florida to make that decision.”

She issued her comments after a national medical-marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access, targeted her Thursday in a South Florida TV ad for being one of 18 “out of touch” Democrats to vote in Congress against bipartisan legislation designed to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration from enforcing federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized it for medical or other reasons.

Wasserman Schultz said she didn’t like the congressional amendment because it “tied” the hands of law enforcement.

However, she did speak highly of a recently passed medical marijuana bill in Florida, which Gov. Rick Scott plans to sign, that would allow people with severe epilepsy to have access to a strain of low-THC marijuana nicknamed “Charlotte’s Web.”

That medical-marijuana bill passed this year after the GOP-led Legislature refused to even hear medical-marijuana issues for years.

Spurrring the Legislature: Morgan’s constitutional amendment as it headed to the ballot. Polls show it has support that ranges from more than 60 percent to about 88 percent. Constitutional amendments in Florida must pass with 60 percent of the vote.

With the passage of the Charlotte’s Web bill, some opponents of Amendment 2 say the Legislature's proposal removes some of the need for the broader Florida constitutional amendment that applies to other ailments.

Others worry that the Charlotte's Web bill might not be enough. And they note that the Legislature could repeal it at any time, unlike the constitutional amendment.

“As a constituent of Rep. Wasserman Schultz and the father of a little girl who suffers from terrible seizures that could be alleviated by the use of medical marijuana, I find her remarks extremely troubling and disappointing," Seth Hyman, a 50-year-old Weston father of 8-year-old Rebecca Hyman, said in a statement issued by United for Care.

"I don’t know how Congresswoman Schultz would feel if she was getting constant text messages from home every single day letting her know that her young child was suffering from yet another of hundreds of debilitating and potentially deadly seizures, but I suspect her view on Amendment 2 would be quite different," he said. "I hope no one in her family ever has to experience what my Becca does every day, and I hope that she reconsiders her position on this life or death issue.”

The Democratic donnybrook over medical marijuana is rare. Most Democrats largely back the measure, which has been more of a wedge issue dividing Republican social conservatives and libertarians-leaning conservatives.

However, the dispute does help Morgan's group, United for Care, in one regard: It makes the amendment drive look nonpartisan.

For months, Morgan and United for Care have been trying to beat back claims from some Republicans who say the amendment effort is designed to help Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist, who works at Morgan's firm. Opposition to Amendment 2 primarily comes from Tallahassee's Republican establishment and longtime GOP donor Mel Sembler, an anti-drug crusader.

Opponents say the amendment could let some teenagers get marijuana or allow felons to become legal pot dispensers. Morgan says opponents are using false scare tactics to keep sick people from getting their medicine.

Morgan, and medical marijuana advocates throughout the state, were taken aback by Wasserman Schultz’s comments for two major reasons: They sound like the talking points issued by the Republican-backed opponents of the initiative, and her statement appeared to pay short shrift to the Florida Supreme Court opinion that said the proposal is supposed to be limited to those with “debilitating” ailments.

The opinion clarified a major controversy over the amendment, which says it’s geared toward “cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

The opposition – led by the Republican-led Legislature – said the “other conditions” was a loophole that would allow people with minor ailments to get medical marijuana. Two conservative justices agreed with that reasoning.

But the majority of the court, five liberals and moderates, specifically said the opponents were wrong.

“To the contrary,” the majority opinion said, “we conclude that an analysis of the term ‘debilitating’ is critical to understanding the intended scope of the proposed amendment, as a patient does not qualify under the text of the proposed amendment to receive a physician certification unless a licensed Florida physician makes a professional determination that the medical condition is 'debilitating.'”

The court’s opinion specifically said that “the proposed amendment is not open-ended because the general category of 'other conditions' that may qualify as a 'debilitating medical condition' under the terms of the amendment must be of the 'same kind or class' as those conditions specifically mentioned.”

The Florida Supreme Court’s opinion is just that, however, a high-court opinion.

But unlike other analyses of the proposed amendment, the court’s opinion is like a legal guidepost, called “dicta,” that can help dictate interpretations of the amendment if it passes and once the Legislature tries to implement it with statutes.

Wasserman Schultz, pointing out that she’s a “cancer survivor, mother and lawmaker,” said that she’s “acutely empathetic to the suffering of people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain. My view is that approval of the use of marijuana as a medical treatment should be handled responsibly and in a regulated manner that ensures its approval does not do more harm than good.”

That comment, too, outraged Morgan because, he said, the amendment doesn’t prohibit regulation. It’s just designed to make sure people can get the medicine they need if a physician believes it will help, he said.

Morgan said that Wasserman Schultz, a staunch supporter of Israel, should go to that country and review its longstanding research into medicinal marijuana, which is given to some people in hospitals.

After he saw her statement, Morgan said he grew so angry that he erased her contacts from his telephone. He said he heard that she plans to run for U.S. Senate some day, perhaps in 2016, and he’ll make sure to oppose her if she does.

“After this, she won’t get reelected to the state Senate,” Morgan said. He then compared her to Florida’s former outspoken tea party congressman and its Republican attorney general, who also tried to block the medical-marijuana amendment in court.

“She is the new Allen West of South Florida,” Morgan said. “She should just become a bridesmaid for Pam Bondi’s next wedding.”

Comments

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Garyschor

A cancer survivor like Debbie really should know better.

ed jenkins

The citizens are pleased with this lady who has too many names that she voices the opinion of the citizens of florida who do not want these dangerous illegal drugs in their society where they can harm our children and lead to worthless lives for adults.

The citizens want this most horrible drug proliferator morgan charged with illegal drug offenses as he is attempting to infest our state with dangerous illegal drugs that this family friendly state does not want.

Dale Hastings

Another politician spewing ignorance and incorrect information. Teminds me of the story of the chicken running and screaming " The sky is falling." More irrational drivel. I pray these ignoramus's at least try and educate themselves before Nov 2nd instead of crying "Reefer Madness" idiocy.

Kevin Cerino

This may just be a proxy fight for who controls the Florida Democratic Party: Charlie Crist and his people or Wasserman Schultz and her supporters. Remember that Crist ousted the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida in order to install Jim Greer.

patty

Forget her and her stupidity. The majority rules and the bill WILL be passed.

Progressive_Patriot

It looks like DWS has succumbed to the "reefer madness" mindset of the prohibitionist zealots. It almost seems as if she has no idea of what Amendment 2 is. I really wish she would take a few minutes to read it in it's entirety and speak about the issue once again. I really can't believe that she won't support our efforts to pass this worthy Amendment to the Florida State constitution. Debbie, are you listening?

Damon Marquedt

What a joke Wasserman is. I haven't liked her from day one, as she is very clearly an ideologue and a 'me-first' politician in the mold of Hillary. She is wrong on this, very wrong, as well as a host of other issues. She is not a true leader for the people, she is a leader for herself and her own political career.

Redundant

Democrats shooting themselves in the foot again. With the weird backward momentum of Florida politics you would think these two would find something about the GOP to spout off to the press about. No, they attack each other.

manny

SHE is a traitor to her own party in dade county she stood with Diaz Balart and Ross-Letinen both right wing republicans and did not help Joe Garcia a democrat against David Rivera.

ed jenkins

Democrat primary voters including this one are thankful that there does appear to be sanity among some party leaders who oppose this most horrible dangerous illegal drug proliferator morgan and the scumbag crist who are attempting to do great damage to this family friendly state. They would greatly approve this lady with all of the names as their candidate over even the nancy lady if party leaders continue to give preferred candidate status to the scumbag crist who democrat primary voters decided they will reject.

David J.

As a conservative I have to say I like John Morgan's style! Bridesmaid for Pam Bondi, funny. Like Pam will ever get married!

Tom bennett

Cannabis does cure cancer and other illnesses. Our goverment has patents on it google it .she needs voted out.

kirk Muse

When a politician does something obviously stupid--follow the money. Al Capone had hundreds of politicians and police on his payroll. Don't you think the Mexican drug cartels don't also?

DANSHANTEAL

Poor thing is as homey as a mud hen, too.

Monica Goforth

I am a nhl cancer survivor and also battling another cancer. I will be voting yes in Nov. You would not believe the pain and suffering one must go through while battling this horrible disease. The many days in the hospital not being able to eat while on chemo, constantly throwing up from the chemo. In pain and the only thing that is offered is the pain pills that after a while stop working. Having to deal with the pain from the tumors the decided to grow in my spine. She should have a look at my mri and then decide if this bill should pass. I am only 37. I would like this to pass so that maybe just maybe the pain would stop and I could have just one normal day.

Rick S.

ed jenkins It must be nice to be able to speak for people you don't know, never knew, and never will know. And By the way "NEVER" try speaking for me or my family again. When you or a loved one, is suffering and or dieing, then maybe you will pull you head out of the sand, and see the truth around you. Best of luck living the life of a lamb. And by the way don't worry, that thing up ahead isn't a chopping block, it's a cherry soda fountain.

Hmmmm...

Wow! Charlie Crist so closely tied to someone who has a personal war against women... disgusting!

John B

Does anyone here really need to be told Ed Jenkins is a joke? The only harm being done by marijuana is the prohibition of the substance.

Ed you should leave the U.S. You won't ever be happy in a country where people can educated themselves with the truth and don't follow and or believe everything the government and law enforcement tell them to believe.

And everyone here wants you to be really happy!!

pat

My view is legalize pot tax it like beer and cigs.I Am 60 years old a very good business man .I smoked it back in the 70's and 80's and turned out OK.

john

The irony is overwhelming. The introduction of safely procured cannabis would very likely largely reduce your states opiate addiction. The best part about pot is that addiction won't lead to almost certain overdose death... Get a clue. Cannabis would decrease your problems with pill mills and alcohol. The high percentage of seniors would also benefit from therapeutic qualities of the plant

David

Ed Jenkins, pull your rather useless head out of your vile rectum and join the 21st century.

Frank Mirabella

Wow! I would have thought that Debbie would have better sense than to make these foolish statements. She happens to be wrong on both the substantive and the politics of the argument. Most people have thought through this issue and have made up their own minds on how they are going to vote. It's just flat out arrogance when a public official thinks that they know better than their own constituents.

Cristina Rey

John Morgan is a big bully.

He thinks he owns DC and Tallahassee, and the DNC too. Just because Debbie is a Democrat does not mean she just has to automatically be for Morgan's pot legalization.

The fact is, the California law is more strictly worded than the proposed FL one, yet the CA law has let to a free for all, with "pot docs" advertising they will give a pot card for a fee, basically de facto pot legalization that ties the hands of the communities, in effect the "pill mills" all over again. With the pill mills, all you needed was a tiny percentage of bad doctors willing to give out pain killers for anything and it killed lots of people and caused so many addictions.

Debbie and all of us have a right to ask questions about the loopholes in the marijuana amendment, so stop with the nasty comments, John Morgan, we have a right to think each law through.

FLMom

Unfortunately, the war on pill mills is having it's own adverse effect by leaving those with chronic pain with little hope or relief, and communities seeing a rise in heroin abuse.

Marijuana should be legalized. Full stop. Regulate it, tax it, and stop the fear mongering, Ms. Schultz.

Bwahahahaha

“She should just become a bridesmaid for Pam Bondi’s next wedding.”

That is damn funny!!

D

Shut up already welfare mom. Go find a husband to put up with your nagging so the rest of us don't have to.

D

All you pothead morons better sober up and realize that all of the people you are hallucinating about supporting you don't exist in reality and its only you losers who want your worthless lifestyle to be legal. Just hope no one ever finds you stoners doing your drugs or we'll throw your asses in jail with the rest of the scum.

Debbie Downer

Debbie NEEDS TO BE VOTED OUT!
She is a clown and only cares about where her next
contribution check is coming from!
No longer a proud Dem because of her!
Obama...wake up and get rid of her!
She does not represent me or my family!

Bob

Reagan's reminder for the Good Guys: When the opposition is fighting among themselves, do not interfere. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

Suzie

Christina Rey, great comment. I'm a longtime cancer survivor who has spent years volunteering with other cancer patients. No one needs to lecture me on pain and nausea. I was on the fence about this amendment, but John Morgan's sexist temper tantrum just pushed me into a "no" vote. I'm suspicious of a very rich guy who is this nasty and controlling. But the benefits of pot are oversold (although that in itself can have somewhat of a placebo effect). Cancer patients should be aware of the various ways that anti-nausea and anti-emetic drugs can be combined to give relief. Anti-anxiety meds can also reduce pain and nausea. If none of those work, I definitely want cancer patients who need pot to get it. But I'm tired of people who want pot for recreational use to use cancer patients as an excuse.

Mike Parent

I see Debbie has her boot lickers out on force.
Here's what the experts, the DEA said;
In 1988, DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young wrote in his ruling
"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care."
http://www.ccguide.org/young88.php

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/01/11/top-10-cannabis-studies-the-government-wished-it-had-never-funded/


Norman Gooding

In April the DOJ admitted that they had NO science that proved cannabis was more harmful than alcohol,,he could have been even more honest and said marijuana is a lot less harmful than alcohol.
Now the government researchers tell us that although there is no actual proof of harms by marijuana use all the "possible" and "may be linked with" harms thay wave as a flag add up to enough to justify mrijuana as a dangerous drug,,,
They cannot use anecdotal evidence from patients and doctors to verify that marijuana is a medicine but they want you to accept their anecdotal evidence of harms to continue prohibiting marijana,,,all for their multi-billion dollar budget.

Wolf-PAC Florida

I think what Debbie is most concerned with, is all of the negative campaign ads, Karl Rove will unleash to smear her in her next election (Facilitated by Florida's Mel Sembler).

Debbie may be against the legalization idea, but in theory the voters should have their say in the matter...not the well-placed influence peddlers.

Hats off to John Morgan for his "Moxie"! ! !

mark

ignorance is bliss. Debbie, just close your eyes and turn your face to the truth, thc is the best pain relief, canibaniods are the new wonder drugs of this century. the drug cartels ie, Pharmacudical cartels are spending billions on synthetic THC. and billions on miss information on the many medical uses of natural drugs. those of you who want to follow the blind, take the yellow pill.

sully101

This Morgan guy is the first ambulance-chaser I ever agreed with. At least on this one point.

D

Shut up already you dumb stoners. When you sober up and join the real world and not the hallucination land you morons are in you'll realize you can't even get a majority of the democrat votes and certainly won't get republican voters for your pathetic lifestyle so go somewhere else if you want to get your supply to continue your brain decay because you won't get it here in florida you losers.

Malcolm Kyle

Dear prohibitionists, you owe the rest of us answers to the following questions:

#1. Why are you not concerned with the fact that we have all been stripped of our unalienable rights, leaving us totally subordinate to a corporatized, despotic government with a heavily armed and corrupt, militarized police force whose often deadly intrusions into our homes and lives are condoned by an equally corrupt and spineless judiciary?

#2. Why do you wish to continue to spend $50 billion a year to prosecute and cage your fellow citizens for choosing substances which are not more dangerous than those of which you yourself probably use and approve of, such as alcohol and tobacco?

#3. Do you honestly expect the rest of us to look on passively while you waste another trillion dollars on this ruinously expensive garbage policy?

#4. Why are you waging war on your own family, friends and neighbors?

#5. Why are you so complacent with the fact that our once 'proud and free' nation now has the largest percentage of it's citizenry incarcerated than any other on the entire planet?

#6. Why are you helping to fuel a budget crisis to the point of closing hospitals, schools and libraries?

#7. Why do you wish to continue spending precious resources on prohibition related undercover work while rapists and murderers walk free, while additionally, many cases involving murder and rape do not even get taken to trial because law enforcement priorities are subverted by your beloved failed and dangerous policy?

#8. Why are you a supporter of the 'prison industrial complex' to the extent of endangering our nation's children?

Kevin Hunt

"said that she’s “acutely empathetic to the suffering of people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain"

..and that's why she thinks that people should be jailed for using marijuana to treat these conditions?

Ann Stoker

Thank goodness for at least one sensible post on this forum from ed jenkins. The rest are mostly (as usual) from users of marijuana who totally ignore the thousands of scientific research reports about the harmfulness of marijuana. They are of the 'me me' mentality - what I want for me is ok - never mind the damage it does to young adolescents, never mind the grief it brings to families, never mind the psychotic episodes that one in ten users will suffer. They need to do more research - if their pot-addled brains can cope - to see that nobody is incarcerated for simple use - those imprisoned are dealers. I am heartily sick of reading these comments - often rude and illiterate - re-gurgitating the same arguments without references to research backing up their claims. Marijuana may be 'less harmful' than alcohol - but 'less harmful' is not harmless. We have enough problems with alcohol and tobacco and the costs to society - physical and mental health, car crashes etc. without introducing another freely available drug.
Drugs are illegal because they are harmful. As for quoting Frances Young's statement in 1988 - why not go even further back and quote snake oil salesmen of the l800s? For those for whom pharmaceutically prepared and proven for efficacy extracts of marijuana are helpful for genuine illness let responsible doctors prescribe them. After all we do not give people flowering foxgloves to chew - the drug digitalis is produced from them and used for patients with heart problems.Get real - read the current research and protect your children from using any drugs - including tobacco and alcohol.

Redundant

Ann Stoker - The most harm that marijuana can do is get you a long prison sentence. A case in Texas last week shows a 19 year old man getting 20 years for brownies made with a small amount of marijuana. The prosecutor included the entire weight of the brownies so that he could charge the young man as a dealer with over a pound of class 1 narcotics.
The DEA is more corrupt than the drug cartels.

ed jenkins

The readers are thankful for this wise Ann who conveys the opinion of the citizens who do not want these dangerous illegal drugs in their society where they can harm our children and lead to worthless lives for adults.

Miami Mark

I am a liberal Dem and proud of it. Wasserman is a hypocrite, she is a breast cancer survivor and is against pain and nausea relief that marijuana helps with. She should go put a hood on and join the Tea Party

Harold Kurte

DWS is a typical two faced lying politician who deserves to be defeated just like Eric Cantor. As a constituent of DSW I am sick and tired of her speaking out of both sides of her mouth. Obama must be plain stupid not to make her retire as head of the DNC. She only cares about her own selfish motives. Looking forward to the day she no longer sits in the house of representatives.

Christopher M. Kennard

As a Independent Voter registered in Ocala, Florida who believes both major political parties have been taken over by ideological and/or corrupt politicians, I agree with some of the sentiments expressed above (the sane, polite and literate sentiments expressed---not the bile some people feel the need to spout).

People of all different political persuasions and personal backgrounds, ages, economic status, religions and spiritual beliefs are coming together to support Medical Marijuana for one primary reason: It Works!

Interesting, how this simple healing herb can draw us together in a way nothing else has for many years.

However, there are real concerns about the ripple effects of legalizing Medical Marijuana, since people can respond differently to any medicine, and some voters fear approval of this Florida Constitutional Amendment (#2) will encourage further movement toward legalizing recreational marijuana.

Physicians and western medical science can properly direct appropriate use of Medical Marijuana, now that the truth is known and the medical community is acknowledging how valuable of a "tool" Medical Marijuana is for numerous debilitating medical conditions, cancers, diseases, etc.

The issue of recreational marijuana is a separate political issue, and must remain thus to keep our focus on appropriate, legitimate Medical Marijuana use as well as furthering the cause for continuing valid medical research.

The overlap of these two separate issues regarding marijuana, "Medical Marijuana" and "recreational marijuana" pertains to the criminal prosecution of both Medical Marijuana users and recreational users.

How high are the mounting economic costs borne by tax payers by prosecuting and imprisoning marijuana users?

What ripple effects has the so-called "drug war" caused to our country and the individual citizens who have been impacted by this 80 year war against our own people? Who started this campaign to smear and criminalize marijuana use, and why?

These are valid questions that all voters ought to research and determine the real, underlying answers to the story involving how and why marijuana became illegal in 1937.

I believe the polls have indicated people are waking up and taking a good look around because of the Medical Marijuana issue becoming so public, and because so many of us have family and friends who are patients now wisely and appropriately using Medical Marijuana to ease their suffering and heal themselves.

The next step as we approve our Constitutional Amendment # 2 Medical Marijuana Use this November 4, 2014 at the voting polls is to carefully research the candidates running for office; sweep out the bad and useless and vote into office all new people who support Medical Marijuana.

Bring a friend who may not otherwise go to vote this November, and double your impact in a positive fashion!

Vote to approve Constitutional Amendment # 2 and elect good people who will work together for the sheer necessity of crafting wise and valuable legislation on the state and federal level.

The fight between the Democrat and Republican parties for their own corrupt reasons must come to an end and voters must take back our country from the mess they have made over these many years.

We can do it! Votes count more than money in elections, only if voters come out to exercise their right to vote, and keep our country for the people, by the people. The USA is no longer up for sale! The People, all of us . . . we are human beings and we own our country. Let's prove it by bringing a friend who would not otherwise vote and let's change our country for the better. Vote. Together, we can do it!

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