NBC Jumps Aboard Florida 'Pot Bus' to Tout Midterm Marijuana Vote

In the only full report on the upcoming midterm election on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez shared his journey aboard the "Pot Bus" in Florida, a campaign effort urging voters to back legalized medical marijuana in the state: "...supporters say that they've made about 200 stops over the past few months to rally support....It's a ride full of high hopes."

Gutierrez turned to marijuana supporters for comment. One woman eloquently proclaimed: "It's a – I almost cursed again. It's a freaking awesome bus." An enterprising young man declared: "I'm 32 and this is the first time I've registered to vote, yeah."

Looking at the force behind the pot push, Gutierrez explained: "The bus belongs to John Morgan....He's a well-known trial attorney....Who sunk at least $5 million into legalizing medical marijuana in Florida."

After Morgan announced "The war on drugs has failed," Gutierrez added: "Part of his motivation, he says, is his brother Tim. A lifeguarding accident left him a quadriplegic. He says marijuana eases the chronic pain."

Gutierrez did provide the counter argument, noting that the "The Florida Medical Association also opposes the measure." A woman from that association stated: "There's very little scientific evidence out there that marijuana is medicinal at all."

Promoting Florida's role in the nationwide effort to legalize pot, Gutierrez announced: "For pot advocates this November, the stakes are high around the country. Voters in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. are considering whether to join Colorado and Washington state in legalized weed for recreational use. Twenty-three states, plus D.C., already allow medical marijuana, but Florida would be the first state in the south."

Morgan asserted: "It would be gigantic....I expect to win this battle, and the war. But if I don't win this battle, I damn sure will win the war."

After devoting nearly three minutes to the topic, Gutierrez concluded the segment by revealing there wasn't much chance of the measure passing: "This amendment will require 60% of the vote to pass. According to a recent poll, however, support for the amendment has been dwindling in recent weeks and the opposition has been gaining steam. But supporters say their polling shows they still have a shot."

Here is a full transcript of the October 30 report:

8:36 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let's talk about a strange sight now down in Florida. With medical marijuana on the ballot next Tuesday, a controversial trial lawyer is taking his very own pot bus across the state to rally support. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez hopped on board. He's in Orlando. Gabe, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: "Pot Bus" Makes Waves In Florida; Lawyer Hits the Road to Promote Medical Marijuana]

GABE GUTIERREZ: Matt, good morning. Well, let me start off by saying there's no smoking on this bus, I'm serious, but medical marijuana supporters say that they've made about 200 stops over the past few months to rally support. Opponents, however, they argue that this amendment is way too broad and could lead to abuse.

It's a ride full of high hopes. What do you think of this bus?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It's a – I almost cursed again. It's a freaking awesome bus.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I'm 32 and this is the first time I've registered to vote, yeah.

GUTIERREZ: The bus belongs to John Morgan. [To Morgan] John, they call you Mr. Marijuana. Are you okay with that?

JOHN MORGAN: Yeah, because, look, I became the face of this.

GUTIERREZ: He's a well-known trial attorney.

MORGAN: Morgan and Morgan, for the people.

GUTIERREZ: Who sunk at least $5 million into legalizing medical marijuana in Florida.

MORGAN: The war on drugs has failed.

GUTIERREZ: Part of his motivation, he says, is his brother Tim. A lifeguarding accident left him a quadriplegic. He says marijuana eases the chronic pain.

TIM MORGAN: And my life would be totally different without it.

GUTIERREZ: For pot advocates this November, the stakes are high around the country. Voters in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. are considering whether to join Colorado and Washington state in legalized weed for recreational use. Twenty-three states, plus D.C., already allow medical marijuana, but Florida would be the first state in the south.

MORGAN: It would be gigantic.

GUTIERREZ: Still, Morgan has plenty of critics who say Amendment Two is a slippery slope to wider pot use.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN B [PINELLAS SHERIFF]: Because people want to sit around Saturday night with the strobe lights going and Cheech and Chong playing and smoke their pot.

GUTIERREZ: The Florida Medical Association also opposes the measure.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B [FLORIDA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION]: There are so many loopholes that this is sort of a monster that would be hard to control. There's very little scientific evidence out there that marijuana is medicinal at all.

GUTIERREZ: His opponents argue this is more about Morgan's self promotion...

MORGAN: I'm trying to legalize medical marijuana.

GUTIERREZ: ...and drawing young voters.

PROTESTERS: Yes on 2! Yes on 2!

GUTIERREZ: But this trial lawyer says this fight is about more than politics.

MORGAN: I expect to win this battle, and the war. But if I don't win this battle, I damn sure will win the war.

GUTIERREZ: This amendment will require 60% of the vote to pass. According to a recent poll, however, support for the amendment has been dwindling in recent weeks and the opposition has been gaining steam. But supporters say their polling shows they still have a shot. And, Matt, I guess we're just going to have to wait and see on Tuesday.

LAUER: We will find out. Gabe Gutierrez. Gabe, thank you very much.

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