Florida's Top Pot Backer, John Morgan Sees Hope Through Dope For His Paralyzed Brother, Tim | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Florida's Top Pot Backer, John Morgan Sees Hope Through Dope For His Paralyzed Brother, Tim

The first time Tim Morgan smoked Afghani weed, he thought, "I like this." The 20-year-old college student was hanging out in his Gainesville apartment with his high school girlfriend and about ten friends. Everyone was huddled around a single measly joint.

"I thought it wouldn't last long, and I didn't even want any," he says. "I was an athlete -- a soccer player -- and athletes didn't smoke pot. It was a jocks-versus-freaks mentality." But hey, he reasoned as smoke filled the living room, it was the '70s. Everyone at his alma mater, Winter Park High, had gotten high on Mexican Gold at least once. And although the crumbly skag circulating Central Florida was never especially potent, this Afghani stuff just smelled different. But even more important, ever since an accident had left him partially paralyzed, Morgan had been desperate for a release from the wires that made his neck resemble the Eiffel Tower.

The moment is the origin story for medical marijuana's biggest friend in Florida -- imminently recognizable personal-injury attorney John Morgan, Tim's brother. Just this month, the "For the People" lawyer kicked in an additional $4 million of his personal money to get Florida to vote yes on Amendment 2 this November.

But before his face was plastered on billboards along the I-4 corridor, John worked at Disney World. While he dressed up as one of the Three Little Bears, younger brother Tim life-guarded at the park's Polynesian Hotel.

One day, an intoxicated mom lost sight of her daughter. A crew of teens combed West Beach five times as the woman wailed. Going for one last sweep, Tim and two coworkers dove headfirst into the water. Had he been a foot to either side of the cement pylon, Morgan would not have bruised his spinal cord.

As he lay prostrate on the water's surface, a coworker picked him up and carried him like a child to the shore. In the distance, he heard the mother yell, "We found her! We found her!" The child had been asleep in a hotel room all along.

The misunderstanding left Morgan paralyzed "from the nipples down" and confined to a wheelchair. His back hurt from sitting, his rotators hurt from pushing, and blood circulation became a real issue for the former athlete. "As soon as I smoked that Afghani, it was instantaneous release," he says. "It was like taking a shot of tequila -- that warm feeling -- and it just relaxed everything down through my legs."

Morgan was onboard. And although he never finished at Santa Fe, he's still smoking. Every day at 5 or 6 a.m., he tokes a joint before heading to work at Morgan & Morgan, where he mans the call center. Then he smokes another at 5 in the evening, "curls up like a 'Q' ," and goes to sleep. His regimen is a hell of a lot less debilitating than popping eight Vicodin and three Xanax a day.

Tim Morgan can't imagine life without weed. It's helped him through the major trials of his life and made deep-pocketed John a true believer in the process.

"John's seen me go through paralysis, go through cancer, and get a pacemaker," Morgan says. "No one wants to see their brother in pain."

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti

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Allie Conti was a fellow at Miami New Times and a staff writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach, where her writing won awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. She's now the senior staff writer at Vice and a contributor to the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Atlantic.

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