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In Florida, medical marijuana will be legal, John Morgan says (w/video)

John Morgan, head of Morgan & Morgan, stands for a portrait in his offices in downtown Orlando. Morgan will be influential on the 2014 election because he’s pushing the medical marijuana amendment and because he’s a Charlie Crist backer. Crist works for him as a partner at Morgan & Morgan. 
Published Mar. 20, 2014

Generation Jones, the youngest segment of baby boomers, is a very influential lot.

Born between 1954 and 1964, GenJonesers are taking the reins of government and becoming a powerful draw for advertisers.

In Florida, they are seen as a key demographic in the push to legalize medical marijuana when it's put to voters in November.

"Jonesers have smoked far more pot than any generation before or after us, which has resulted in more toleration and acceptance of that drug — and comfort with its legalization," said Jonathan Pontell, the social commentator credited with coining the term Generation Jones.

"Given what I'm assuming to be a large number of GenJones voters in Florida, combined with what I'm assuming to be a large number of Florida GenJones politicians and activists, this generation's role may be pivotal," he said.

So, we decided to put some questions about that to John Morgan, founder of the heavy- hitting trial lawyer firm Morgan & Morgan — "For the People" — and the man who funded and put a face on the effort that got medical marijuana on the ballot.

By the way, Morgan, born in 1956, is a GenJoneser himself.

Patti Ewald, Times staff writer

1 How important are the Generation Jones voters in legalizing medical marijuana?

I think we are very important. People are afraid of what they don't know. We have been around it our whole lives and we've never been judgmental about it. Even if we never smoked it, it's no big deal.

2 Why is it no big deal to GenJonesers?

That group votes tolerant. It's much less afraid of it than the Greatest Generation (defined as those born between 1911 and 1924, the generation that gave birth to the baby boomers), which had much less exposure to it. We hate what we don't know.

Generation Jones had friends in college who smoked who are now neurosurgeons — and president of the United States. (President Barack Obama, a Joneser born in 1961, has admitted to smoking pot.) We all know people who have smoked who are doing tremendous things in society.

3 What about the children-of-GenJonesers voting block?

Generation Jones is the reason Barack Obama is president. Black America was, for the most part, in lockstep with Hillary Clinton. Our children were behind Barack Obama. Generation Jones taught our children to be color-blind, to be tolerant, to be accepting.

These kids are going to vote in record numbers in November.

4 What other group of voters do you see as key to legalization?

People who are 65 to 70 . . . or anyone who has had a loved one in a chemo ward or watched them suffer in any way. They don't give a damn if marijuana is legal or not if it can provide some relief. It's a step to not only providing safer pain relief and treatment methods for those with legitimate diseases, but also to help end the rampant problem of prescription drug abuse — and abuse of other drugs like heroin — in Florida. Disease and illness doesn't pick a political party. It's not a political issue, it's a medical issue.

5 Do you think it's going to pass?

It's not only going to pass, it's going to pass overwhelmingly. We need 60 percent of the vote and in any election, 60 percent is considered a landslide. It's going to pass in a landslide. We are at a tipping point with marijuana in this country and usually when things start to tip, it turns into an avalanche. I know for a fact that someday when we look back on all the money spent on making it a crime and sending people to jail and all the people whose careers were over because they got arrested for it and then couldn't get into med school or law school, we're going to say, "What were we doing?"

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