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John Morgan Talks Medical Marijuana Initiative, Crist 2014; Nan Rich Weighs In

Sascha Cordner

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The only former state officeholder currently seeking the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nomination took a back seat during remarks made in Tallahassee Thursday to a man not even in the race.   The well-known Orlando lawyer who employs Charlie Crist sure made it sound like his friend will enter the race.

Crist 2014?

John Morgan says other than U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, there’s only one man he thinks can best Governor Rick Scott in 2014: Charlie Crist. The Republican-turned-Democrat works for Morgan, who’s a major Democratic fundraiser and spoke to reporters at a luncheon in the capital city Thursday. Morgan says it’s interesting Crist is the Republican Party of Florida’s primary target even though he hasn’t said he’ll run.

“It makes it seem like they’re worried. I mean, I always tell my children—I’ve got a thing in the Morgan household—never let ‘em see you sweat. Well, they’re sweating all over the internet. I mean, he’s still a private citizen, and they’re falling apart. It’s premature.”

But there’s still the issue of the only former state lawmaker who definitely is in the race.

“Let’s watch and see who crosses the finish line first,” said Nan Rich, Florida's former Senate Democratic Caucus Leader.

Rich says she’s not surprised Morgan is backing his friend, but counsels him not to count her out.

“So, I’m looking at what it’s going to be like on August 6, 2014, which is the date of the primary for the gubernatorial nomination,” said Rich.

Morgan says Crist joins a select few who can raise enough money from political donors to compete against Scott’s well-stocked campaign war chest, but Rich counters that Floridians are, in her words, “tired of politicians trying to buy elections.”

Governor Scott spent about $75 million of his own money when he won against Former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in 2010.

Medical Marijuana Initiative

When he's not talking Crist 2014, legalizing medical marijuana in Florida is another goal of Morgan. He brought his message to Tallahassee as a guest speaker of the city’s Capital Tiger Bay Club Thursday. Morgan says he's hoping to get a constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot to legalize medical marijuana for personal reasons. He says he watched medical marijuana help his dad who was suffering with emphysema and cancer.

“And, we’re saying ‘Daddy, you know, this may help you.' And he's like 'I don't want to do a drug.' And we're like 'you’ve been smoking cigarettes since you were 11. You’ve been doing drugs. I hate to break it to you now,’" Morgan joked to the laughter of the club member.

"And, he did it, and all of sudden the nausea was gone and the anxiety was gone and his mood was different and he had an appetite.”

Morgan has said he'll spend up to $three million of his own money to get the issue on the November 2014 ballot, and it could take millions more if there’s opposition. 

Polls show most Floridians support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. It will take 60 percent of voters to pass a constitutional amendment.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Copyright 2013 WFSU