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Ben Pollara: John Morgan ‘Has Made It Clear I’m Dead To Him’

Ben Pollara & John Morgan. Photo: Catherine Welch

What went wrong with the Florida Legislature’s attempt to pass a medical marijuana bill?

The Florida session ends Monday with a vote on the budget. But medical marijuana is not on the agenda today.

The House and Senate couldn’t come to an agreement over how many growers to allow, whether to tax the drug and whether to implement diversity requirements for nursery staff.

Florida For Care’s Ben Pollara says the House proposal would have allowed unlimited medical marijuana retail outlets.

“And the Senate wanted to put a reasonable cap on the number of retail facilities that a single license holder could open, and that is ultimately I think the biggest sticking point that caused this whole thing to break down,” Pollara said.

Orlando Attorney John Morgan, who personally financed much of the costs to pass Amendment 2, has publicly blamed Pollara for the breakdown.



John Morgan was the public face, and the big money, behind Florida’s medical marijuana campaign. But Ben Pollara has been Morgan’s right-hand man. That relationship exploded over the weekend as Morgan publicly blamed Pollara for the deadlock, and accused Pollara of representing growers, not patients.

Pollara said he sees no hope of mending that relationship.

“He’s been a mentor, he’s been a friend, he’s truly someone I have deep love and admiration for, but no, he’s made it clear I’m dead to him. So I wish it wasn’t that way, but that’s John’s choice.”

Pollara has apologized and says he does take some responsibility. It’s now up to the Florida Department of Health to implement a medical marijuana constitutional amendment without input from state legislators.

Pollara apologized and says he takes some responsibility for the medical marijuana legislation failing, and plans to keep working on the issue. Experts, though, think the Florida Department of Health’s implementation of Amendment 2 will end up in court.


WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, a statewide collaborative reporting on health care.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by AdventHealth.

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Abe Aboraya

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