HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Florida has spent nearly $2 million in legal bills over medical marijuana

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 1:25 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ADOBE IMAGES
  • Photo via Adobe Images
Almost two years after voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana, the fight for weed in the Sunshine State is only just beginning.

The same could be said for its price tag: According to contracts posted on Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis' Florida Accountability Contract Tracking System, or FACTS, at least $1.9 million approved by the Department of Health has gone to two law firms – Vezina, Lawrence & Piscitelli and Shutts & Bowen.



That's what marijuana-related court appeals will get you, folks. But it makes sense considering Gov. Rick Scott's track record: Under Scott "and other top Florida Republicans," according to a report from the Associated Press last year, Florida has "quietly spent more than $237 million on private lawyers to advance and defend their agendas."

The AP goes on to say that figure doesn't include the nearly $16 million "Florida taxpayers have been forced to reimburse [for] opponents' private attorney fees" when the state, you know, loses.

The website Florida Politics further breaks down the contracts here.

More than 70 percent of state voters approved a constitutional amendment for medical marijuana in 2016. But even with an overwhelming majority of voters voting in favor, lawmakers have fought tooth and nail to try to limit the intent of the amendment – the most recent case took place on Aug. 2, when a circuit judge said that lawmakers were in the wrong by trying to limit the number, as well as the organizational structure, of dispensaries.

Considering the number of appeals state Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed, that's just the tip of the iceberg of cases of Florida lawmakers trying to undercut the amendment.

Don't expect taxpayers to get a break any time soon. Orlando attorney John Morgan, who essentially bankrolled the 2016 medical marijuana amendment, has only just begun his tireless crusade to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida in 2020 – and, if his campaign over the past several months have been any indication, it may gain traction.

Just think about what the future may hold, dear marijuana-smoking readers – and think about how much weed almost $2 million could've bought.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Tags: , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation