Manatee couple say lawyer's interest in medical pot is political

rdymond@bradenton.comMarch 16, 2013 

MANATEE -- Robert and Cathy Jordan, the Parrish couple who have been fighting 16 years to get medical marijuana legalized in Florida to help Cathy Jordan's symptoms, say a high-powered Florida lawyer's sudden involvement will adversely politicize the issue.

"They are trying to make it a Democratic issue," Robert Jordan said Friday after learning that John Morgan, a Tampa attorney with Charlie Crist and major fundraiser for President Obama plans to pour "whatever it takes" of his own money into med

ical marijuana legislation for 2014.

"It is not a Democratic issue," he added. "It would be a Democratic issue if only Democrats got sick. We go across party lines. Everyone can use this medicine. If they start to politicize it, we will lose. It will make one side drop off and dig their heels in and get resentful, and a political fight will ensue."

The Jordans, unlike Morgan, have a minuscule war chest for fighting to get a bill passed in Tallahassee. But they are doing it by talking to one person at a time -- the same thing they have been doing for 16 years.

"This is not a political fight, this is a medical issue," echoed Cathy Jordan, who is in a wheelchair battling Lou Gehrig's Disease. She says she can't wait until 2014 to get a bill passed.

"We are right. I know we are right," she said. "We talk to Republicans and independents and almost everyone we talk to has someone sick in their family."

The Jordans say they have been in Tallahassee talking to legislators off and on for the past three weeks and they haven't seen Morgan or any of his staff.

"Talk is cheap," Robert Jordan said. "We haven't seen anyone up there."

The Jordans rented a place in Tallahassee this year to continue their fight.

The issue got statewide attention last month when Feb. 25, Manatee County sheriff's deputies answered a complaint and confiscated 23 marijuana plants from the Jordans' home. Since then, the Jordans say they have heard from people around the world.

The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act is "up in the air" right now, the Jordans said.

"We are getting a lot of feedback and they are saying it's too hard to do, it's too big, it's too cumbersome," Robert Jordan said.

"When they say it is too hard, it kind of upsets me. Was it too hard for me to get on a plane and go to Vietnam? It is hard for my wife to be in a wheelchair. If it's too hard for them, why are they there?"

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