Medical Marijuana

Pot Activist Helps Illustrate the Limits of Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Political Courage

Spoiler: It's not very high.


"The polls say what? Oh dear."
Credit: Medill DC / photo on flickr

This morning Politico posted a piece about Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's ambitions for a run for a U.S. Senate seat representing Florida. The problem, it seems, is that she is a nanny state drug warrior from the left. She publicly opposed Florida's ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana. Politico reported that several medical marijuana and drug decriminalization activist groups promised to go after her if she considered running for Sen. Marco Rubio's seat, should he decide to run for president:

Last year, Wasserman Schultz ran afoul of one major Florida donor, Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, after she issued a statement criticizing the medical marijuana initiative he helped draft and fund with about $4 million of his own money through his People United political group.

"Other states have shown that lax oversight and ease of access to prescriptions can lead to abuse, fraud, and accidents," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement that likened medical marijuana dispensaries to Oxycontin "pill mills" — a GOP talking point.

Morgan reacted furiously, saying Wasserman Schultz's decision to trash his amendment was an example of why she's "despised" in top Democratic circles.

What a difference a—well, just a couple of hours actually—makes. Marc Caputo at Politico just posted a new item about her situation and her "position" on marijuana and it's absolutely hilarious:

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office offered to change her position on medical marijuana if a major Florida donor recanted his withering criticism of her, according to emails obtained by POLITICO.

The proposal to Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan was straightforward: retract critical statements he made to a reporter in return for Wasserman Schultz publicly backing his cannabis initiative that she had trashed just months earlier. Morgan declined the offer with a sharp email reply sent to a go-between, who described the congresswoman as being in a "tizzy."

"No," Morgan responded. "She is a bully. I beat bullies up for a living."

Wasserman Schultz declined to comment.

The ballot initiative in question, a constitutional amendment, actually, just barely failed last fall. It got a majority vote of support, but a 60 percent threshold was required to pass, and it missed by just a couple of percentage points.