According to a report in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, John Morgan has volunteered to chair a group called "People United for Medical Marijuana-Florida." Really? So what is the big deal? The big deal is that in the 2010 Florida Gubernatorial election, current Tea Party Republican Rick Scott was elected governor by a margin of only 61, 550 votes over Democratic challenger Alex Sink. Although the closeness of the race is significant, it is not nearly as significant that the election drew a total of only 5.36 Million voters, as opposed to the nearly 8.4 Million votes cast in the 2012 Presidential Election. In other words, voter turnout in 2010 was about
36% lower than the turnout in the 2012 election. Statistically, that difference between the two elections is fairly common, as Midterm elections routinely have lower voter turnout. So now to the "teachable moment."
John Morgan's friend and employee Charlie Crist has begun laying the foundation to run against Rick Scott in the 2014 Midterm Election. The most recent Public Policy Poll (March 19, 2013) reveals Floridians in a head to head contest, have Crist leading Scott for the Governor's Mansion by a margin of 52% to 40% (and Crist has not even formally announced his candidacy). So if Crist is already well ahead in the polls, what could possibly be done to "seal the deal" in the 2014 gubernatorial race? Add an issue that will attract an overwhelming number of "Single Issue Voters", that's how! Single Issue Voters are those that only vote when there is a ballot initiative that has intense "salience" or importance to them...enough to bring them to the polls when they might ordinarily stay home instead of vote. What "Single Issue" could attract those voters? An initiative to legalize Medicinal Marijuana!
In a poll sponsored last month by People United for Medical Marijuana, 70% of Floridians favor a Constitutional Amendment legalizing Medicinal Marijuana. Now, how far out on a limb would I be going to predict here and now, that Charlie Crist will not only announce his candidacy for Governor of Florida, but he will soon thereafter endorse the initiative to make Medicinal Marijuana legal? And how many "Single Issue Voters" age demographic between 18 and 35 will flood the polls and to vote for the Amendment initiative and coincidentally vote for Charlie Crist (if they get the chance)? Are you starting to see the "teachable moment?"
But who would want to block such an Amendment (along with Crist)? Big Pharma, that's who! Why? Because if Medicinal Marijuana is legalized, Big Pharma will lose significant market share for the sale of painkillers in Florida, which leads the nation in prescriptions of narcotics. According to the New York Times, in 2011, Florida doctors bought or prescribed over 89% of the narcotic oxycodone prescribed in the nation. So who stands to lose if Medicinal Marijuana is legalized in Florida? Big Pharma and Rick Scott, while John Morgan's friend retakes the Governorship! So take a wild guess what interest groups would support the Amendment besides predictable supporters of Charlie Crist? According to my students, Dennys and Dunkin Donuts! Perhaps Big Pharma and Rick Scott should put that in their pipe and smoke it!?