Medical marijuana fight heats up in Florida

Full page of mailer takes aim at attorney John Morgan

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The campaign to defeat Amendment 2, the medical marijuana question on November’s ballot, is heating up.

The “No on 2” campaign is telling the same story it told two years ago, when the amendment lost by a bare margin.

And now, thousands of slick brochures are showing up in mailboxes across Florida, telling horror stories about medical marijuana. Last time, the initiative lost by fewer than three points.

Little has changed since voters last weighed in, said Christina Johnson, a “No on 2” spokeswoman.
 
“This is really nothing but recreational pot,” she said. “I mean, (it’s) the Florida Medical Association (and) the American Medical Association that are against it.”
 
A full page of the mailer takes aim at attorney John Morgan, the organizer behind Amendment 2. It recounts one of the “Yes on 2” campaign’s gaffes, when Morgan was on a late-night tour of college bars two years ago. 

And a flurry of emails since Friday from the “Yes on 2” campaign have asked for money to buy TV ads, pointing out that the “No on 2” campaign has booked more than $1 million for the first 10 days of October alone.

The “Yes” team has out-raised the “No” team in this pot battle by more than $1 million, yet “No” has $1 million in the bank. “Yes” has just more than $100,000.
 
"Yes on 2" advocate Reggie Garcia said voters shouldn’t be fooled by the claims made in the slick mailer or on TV.
 
“There’s 10 very specific debilitating medical conditions, so we think there’s a lot of safeguards to trust our doctors,” Garcia said.
 
And while the “No on 2” team says little has changed, the 2016 version of the amendment is more strict than the version two years ago.

Much of the “No on 2” money is coming from just several sources. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson recently dropped $1 million into the campaign, and Tampa developer and former Ambassador Mel Sembler has also spent $1 million, with a promise of contributing up to 10 times that much.