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John Morgan, Democratic candidates for governor clash over marijuana laws

Morgan, once thought to be a potential Democratic candidate for governor, hit Gwen Graham over her failure to support marijuana legalization during Wednesday's debate.
Personal injury lawyer John Morgan speaks to guests of the Tampa Tiger Bay Club luncheon at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa on April 21, 2017.  (CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times)
Personal injury lawyer John Morgan speaks to guests of the Tampa Tiger Bay Club luncheon at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa on April 21, 2017. (CHARLIE KAIJO | Times)
Published Apr. 19, 2018

John Morgan isn't running for governor as a Democrat, but he's not afraid to weigh in on the primary race.

Just minutes after the Florida Democratic candidates concluded their first gubernatorial debate Wednesday, Morgan took a shot at Gwen Graham over his pet issue: marijuana legalization.

"If @gwengraham is a no on full legalization, I am a no on Gwen," the high-powered attorney tweeted.

During the debate, the candidates — former Congresswoman Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Orlando businessman Chris King — spelled out their respective stances on pot legalization.

All four candidates bashed Republican state leaders for failing to implement the medical marijuana program that voters established through a 2016 constitutional amendment. But they differed when it came to recreational pot.

Gillum said he supports full legalization, arguing the tax revenue from marijuana sales would benefit the state.

Levine touted the fact that his city decriminalized marijuana, and said if voters moved to legalize the drug in a referendum, he'd honor that decision.

"We will use that tremendous … tax revenue to fund education going forward," Levine said.

King didn't offer a take on recreational pot during the debate. Avery Jaffe, a King spokesman, told the Buzz, "Like many Floridians on this issue, Chris' views are still evolving."

Graham argued that the state should settle the medical marijuana issue before it explores full legalization.

"I believe we have got to get the medical marijuana firmly implemented and having everyone taking advantage of it," Graham said. "And then we can talk about further steps."

Read more: Gwen Graham's record front and center at first Democratic gubernatorial debate

That response drew the Twitter fire from Morgan.

Graham attempted to clarify her position in a reply to the lawyer.

"I'm for decriminalizing, because no one should have their lives ruined or go to jail over marijuana," Graham tweeted.

Some Gillum supporters bristled at Graham's response.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, who endorsed Gillum, tweeted, "You DON'T support full legalization."

Morgan seemed similarly unsatisfied by Graham's response.

"Remember you are a democrat," he tweeted.