Florida

Can the man who brought medical marijuana to Florida now land $15 minimum wage, too?

Lawyer John Morgan talks about a plan to pressure state legislators to repeal a law that prohibits smokable forms of medical marijuana at Kraft Azalea Garden in Winter Park, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Morgan’s next goal is getting Florida’s minimum wage raised to $15 an hour.
Lawyer John Morgan talks about a plan to pressure state legislators to repeal a law that prohibits smokable forms of medical marijuana at Kraft Azalea Garden in Winter Park, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Morgan’s next goal is getting Florida’s minimum wage raised to $15 an hour. Tampa Bay Times

Florida attorney John Morgan said Tuesday that he has enough signatures for his proposed constitutional amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour to send it to the state Supreme Court for approval.

Morgan said at a press conference in Orlando that he has more than 120,000 signatures, 50,000 more than he needs to send it to justices to approve the ballot language.

Once they approve it, he’ll work on getting the 700,000 signatures needed to get it on voters’ ballots in 2020, alongside the presidential race, he said.

Morgan, who orchestrated Florida’s successful 2017 amendment legalizing medical marijuana, said income inequality was “the greatest issue” facing the country.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for an end to Florida's ban on smokable medical marijuana in Winter Park, Florida, on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019.

And he said raising the minimum wage would be good for taxpayers, who he says are footing the bills for child care and food stamps because businesses don’t play their employees enough.

“Taxpayers are actually paying these wages or supplementing these wages that should be paid for by businesses,” Morgan said. “People are working harder and harder and getting farther and farther behind.”

The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.46 per hour. If approved, Morgan’s amendment would not raise the minimum wage to $15 over night. It would instead increase to $10 the first year, then by a dollar each year until hitting $15.

Morgan said he’s also raising his own employees’ starting wage to $15 an hour, a decision that he says will cost his multi-state law firm, Morgan & Morgan, “millions.”

But he added that he expects his profits to “skyrocket” thanks to employees that he believes will stay with his firm and become more productive.

“I’m not one of these democratic socialists that are the rage of the day,” he said. “I’m what I call a compassionate capitalist.”

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