Dear Florida, The Next Chapter
After a nearly four year campaign to bring medical marijuana to
Florida, we finally did it, passing with an historic 71% expression of
The People’s will.
I started the campaign as a way to honor my brother, Tim, who needs
marijuana to survive. But during this journey I met so many of the
other hundreds of thousands of sick and injured Floridians who will
soon see relief with medical marijuana.
Along the way it became less about my family and more about the people
I met. I had many conversations with people and heard their concerns
and worries. Often I would say goodbye and the last thing they would
tell me is: “please run for office.”
And since Monday, the outpouring of encouragement to run for governor
has been overwhelming and unexpected. It is either extremely
flattering that so many people put such faith in me, or sad that
people have so little faith in the typical politicians of both parties
who are expected to seek the office.
There are some things I would like see done here in my state. Our
state. I have a pretty clear vision of what Florida’s next governor
This is what I believe.
- Marijuana should be decriminalized. No more arrests.
- Any inmate in Florida’s jails or prisons serving time solely for
possession of drugs should be released immediately. Addiction is a
disease, not a crime.
- Non-violent felons who have paid their debt to society should have
their right to vote and other rights restored automatically.
- The minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour. I am currently
drafting a new constitutional amendment that would do just that. At
the Morgan and Morgan Hunger Relief Center at Second Harvest the
working poor come in uniforms from work for free food. It is
humiliating and unjust.
- Florida’s land, water and wildlife are our most precious resources
and should be protected vigilantly.
- There are positions and jobs in Tallahassee that are with no real
need, like Lieutenant Governor and Agriculture Commissioner. I would
like to see those abolished.
- And I believe you can get what you want done in one term. Four
years. That’s enough and move on over for someone else.
Even for those who serve two terms, there is only so much a Governor
can accomplish in their time in office. Rick Scott has been laser
focused on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. That will be his legacy. Without
jobs, nothing else matters.
I’m not ready to decide what I want my legacy to be. It might just be,
“he was true to himself, passed medical marijuana in Florida, and had fun being a granddad for the rest of his life.”
Before I go down this road any further I need a lot of time to think
about it. There are obvious drawbacks and hurdles.
But the initial response in the form of phone calls, emails and social
media postings has been overwhelming.
It is humbling.
I must weigh that response against the personal and the practical.
Other candidates for Governor may have to begin running now. To begin
raising money, to buy media, to gain name recognition. This is a big
state and very, very expensive to advertise.
Politicians have to sing for their supper. Not me.
I enjoy high name recognition in most of the state, for better or for
worse, after being on TV, radio and billboards for 30 years. I would
also largely self-fund any campaign.
Therefore, time is my friend. These campaigns begin too early and drag
on too long. I could start in 2018 with plenty of time to make my case
to The People of Florida.
I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and love this week. But
I have much to think about and do before I jump to a decision of this
Passing Amendment 2 will be part of my life story. It was a singular moment for me. Hundreds of thousands will see relief. That is written.
The next chapter, I’m not sure of.
And first things first. I need to get my Christmas shopping done and
then I go to Maui and St Bart’s for the winter with my family. But you
and all of Florida will be on my mind.
Thank you for voting Yes On 2. We did it together and it will change lives.
P.S. The journey is the reward.