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Medical marijuana group collects +100k petitions, slows drive until Florida Supreme Court rules

@MarcACaputo

A medical marijuana group says it has cleared its first major hurdle to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot: Collecting enough voter signatures to trigger Florida Supreme Court review of the initiative's language.

Since July, People United for Medical Marijuana collected at least 110,000 signatures -- well in excess of the 68,314 needed to start the review, said the group's treasurer and director, Ben Pollara.

Pollara said the group, nicknamed PUFMM, will temporarily suspend its paid petition-gathering drive until the court rules on the constitutionality of the proposal, which can't be misleading or cover multiple subjects.

Why halt now?

"You got $150,000 a week to pay to collect signatures?" Pollara asked rhetorically.

He said PUFMM plans to ask the court for an expedited review so the group can restart its petition drive sooner. It needs to collect the total 683,149 verified voter signatures needed by Feb. 1 to get the measure on the 2014 November ballot.

A main argument to speed up the review process: The Florida Legislature made petition drives tougher, and therefore more expensive.

PUFMM could actually have as many as 140,000 signatures already by week's end, at which point the outstanding petitions gathered by volunteers and the signature-gathering firm National Voter Outreach should be in.

To win a state constitutional amendment, it takes 60 percent voter approval -- a threshold that polls indicate PUFMM could meet by 10 percentage points.

If approved, Florida would be the 21st state to decriminalize marijuana.

Medical marijuana activists, including PUFMM, recently celebrated the show "Weed" by CNN's doctor, Sanjay Gupta, who reversed his position on medical-marijuana and said the drug could be good medicine for some people -- despite the federal government's claim it has no real medicinal value.

But St. Petersburg-based Drug Free America Foundation, already gearing up for a fight with PUFMM, blasted Gupta's show.

“Many drug prevention, policy and treatment experts are confused by Gupta’s position. The big issue is really about what Dr. Gupta is not saying,” Calvina Fay, the foundation's executive director said in a written statement. “He left it unclear whether he opposes the widely abused “medical” marijuana programs now legal in some states.  As seen in states that track why people are using marijuana as a so-called medicine, on average, only 10% of the registered users have serious life-threatening diseases. His lack of a formal position on what he is or is not supporting is an irresponsible move for such a highly-regarded physician. Further, the CNN documentary was careless in suggesting positive health and psychological benefits of crude marijuana for which there is little or no scientific evidence,” continued Fay... A golden opportunity was missed to discuss the potential of developing legitimate medicine from some of the compounds in marijuana that can withstand research and be delivered through safe delivery systems in appropriate and controllable dosage amounts."

Also, PUFMM was riven by an internal squabble when Republican-turned-Libertarian consultant Roger Stone broke with the group, saying it's acting like a front for Democrat Charlie Crist should he wish to run for governor.

Pollara denied the charge.

Comments

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Ed Jenkins

The court should immediately rule this absurd concept using illegal drugs unconstitutional. In addition those behind this effort to push illegal drugs in our communities should be arrested.

Roger Stone


My principle argument is not that this is a Crist front but that it's flawed.............

The PUFMM proposal says that if the Amendment passed and Florida's notoriously right wing legislature failed to authorize the opening of the dispensaries a sick or dying patient could .......sue. The redrafted amendment makes no provision for an individual who is ill to grow and harvest their own plants or have a care-giver grow a minimum number of plants for them as other states who have legalized marijuana have done.

When I raised this question in an op-ed piece, Ben Pollara, a lackey of Mr. Morgan "pointed out that the amendment says that, if the state doesn't act within nine months, physicians could recommend marijuana to a qualifying patient anyway. And qualifying patients, such as Bradenton-area activist Cathy Jordan, would be allowed to possess and use the drug under state law."

Not so.Where would the "qualifying patient " get the the marijuana?

People who are sick or dying would still be subject to the 2009 Florida Marijuana Eradication Act which still provides for a minimum five year jail sentence for possession of just one oz.of marijuana. Who pushed and signed this law--? Charlie Crist.

http://www.eastorlandopost.com/just-minute-mr-morgan

It's not about me---it's about a flawed proposal no one ever discussed with me.

Roger Stone
Miami Beach

Kelly

F**k yeah!

That Roger Stoner sounds like a blowhard who is throwing a pity party. He wasn't invited to the party.

Boo hoo

Roger Stone

Actually rich Trial Lawyer John Morgan DOES have the $150,000 a week it takes to keep collecting, Didn't he tell the Miami Herald "I can get the money. I have the money. I will be joined by people with money who will help.I've been very fortunate in life, and I can make it happen" ?

Guess Mr. Morgan has choked. Show us the money, Mr. Morgan.

Knowa1

This past Sunday at a gathering of family and friend I presented the petition and I agree this petition leave out allot because it does not allow for home grows which will put many unable to afford it. But what got me, was not the ones in their 80's but one the family members who was bragging about all the money she is making as a psychologist until I confronted her about legalizing medical and she was against it when we have partaken many times in the past, when it downed on me court ordered rehab. When given the choice prison or Rehab, what would you pick? Drug rehab is as much as 80% of her business.
this is only one of the many high paying prohibition jobs out there that straddles family's with debt and ruination. Its a civil rights issue to me but with so many sick and dying people in Florida that could benefit from medical cannabis, if it were not for selfish and ignorant reasons they block it.

ESMF

Roger Stoner is just a sour puss because:

1) he doesn't have the money

2) no one cares to have him around - loosing elections

3) if he cared, he'd make his own petition

He's doing nothing productive or constructive for Florida.

Knowa1

KANEH BOSM IN THE FIRST CHAPTER OF GENESIS
One of the most popular works suggesting that cannabis is part of the Bible is written by the Polish etymologist Dr. Sula Benet. The original Hebrew word Kaneh Bosm should be etymologically related to what we now call cannabis. It has mistakenly been translated as calamus, an nother plant which is useless.
Holy Anointing Oil Recipe
This anointing oil recipe is found the Bible in Exodus 30:23
Myrrh "five hundred shekels" (about 1 gallon)
Cinnamon "two hundred and fifty shekels"
Calamus "two hundred and fifty shekels"
Cassia "five hundred shekels"
Olive Oil "an hin" (about 1 1/3 gallons)

Knowa1

www.unitedforcare.org/sign_up?recruiter_id=2300

Keepitlegal2010

@ Ed Jenkins:

"The court should immediately rule this absurd concept using illegal drugs unconstitutional."

Ed, it's obvious that you don't understand the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. States are not bound to enforce federal law. Booze used to be illegal and we repealed that law. Not returning slaves to their masters used to be illegal under the fugitive slave act, and we repealed that law.

"those behind this effort to push illegal drugs in our communities should be arrested."

It is the violation of the first amendment to arrest someone for advocating drug law reform.

Ed, it's a good thing that our marijuana-growing founding fathers insisted on a Bill of Rights, otherwise our country would be no different than an Islamofascist Taliban State.

Duncan20903

Ed Jenkins said: The court should immediately rule this absurd concept using illegal drugs unconstitutional. In addition those behind this effort to push illegal drugs in our communities should be arrested. --------------------

Ed, I think that you have overlooked the fact that there's no way to decriminalize something unless that something is already criminalized. I'll bet you must detest living in a Country in which the first official government produced document was written and signed by 56 old, white criminals who knowingly decided to sign the Declaration of Independence thereby committing a capital crime. Several of them did get arrested, convicted, and hung by the neck until dead.

Sunshine, we're just not going anywhere anytime soon..

whasup

Questions:
1) How many of the signatures were gathered by the paid signature gathering company as opposed to volunteers?
2) Was Lawyer Morgan paying the petition gatherers or the signers in pot?
3) If so, did his pot supplier get pinched, so he had to cut off paying until he found a new high volume pot dealer?
4) I get that Lawyer Morgan's dad was helped during his serious illness by smoking pot, so ... isn't that the best argument for creating a home grown exception--preventing Florida cops from arresting in these cases-- instead of creating some regulated pot-dealing high profit, high-tax system?

The Liver Foundation

MAKE ALCOHOL ILLEGAL !!!!!!!!!!!

Knowa1

As the generation most brain washed and damage from the lies of yellow journalism leave the scene and the morality police and the addiction of the prohibition Industry continue the evils they are doing have done and will do to keep their cash cow milking, violating people natural law rights and civil rights. They will continue to be ante science and on the wrong side of History. There has never been any legitimate reason that it should every of been made illegal in the first place I say to them do your own research not the can of lies you feed the ignorant. Florida needs Medical now. www.unitedforcare.org/sign_up?recruiter_id=2300

Juan Alcalde

There are sick people in pain that could benefit from a legitimate effort to reform marijuana laws in Florida. With Crist involved, I don't see how this could possibly be legit.

Juan Alcalde

By the way, Roger Stone is the only one who makes any sense here.

Jessie W

Roger Stone is right. John Morgan has turned PUFMM into a front for Democrat Charlie Crist’s possible run for governor next year. It is Charlie Crist’s law that mandates a five year prison term for possessing just one ounce of marijuana. Now, as an employee of Morgan’s law firm, Crist is suddenly supportive of legalizing marijuana for medical use. Morgan is pulling off a cruel deception on sick and dying people by turning PUFMM into a campaign war chest for Charlie Crist’s next gubernatorial campaign.

Karla von Stetten

They know John Morgan in Orlando better than anywhere else and the East Orlando Post reported how Morgan threw out thousands of good signatures just to have the bill proposal rewritten in a way that deviates from other states with decriminalization laws in that sick people who grow plants in Florida would still receive Charlie Crist's FIVE YEAR prison sentence. It seems to me that Roger Stone performed a community service by drawing attention to this suspicious matter.

Ed Jenkins

The judges need to block this attempt by drug pushers to produce a state full of young drug addicts. We have come a long way in reducing tobacco use there is no reason to set those efforts back by introducing more harmful products to our society.

Those attempting to push these harmful measures through need to prosecuted on terms similar to the drug dealers they are aiding.

Charles T

The manipulation of PUFMM into a cover for Charlie Crist’s political goals is a heartless deception that will hurt sick people who depend on medical marijuana.

Dan Briggs

Roger Stone knows his way around state ballot initiatives better than anybody. The fact that PUFMM is not following his advise shows me that they are not playing straight. Something fishy is going on and I appreciate Stone telling us what's up.

I always thought the John Morgan backing of the medical marijuana initiative was a little suspicious. Now I see how it benefits Charlie Crist in his campaign for Governor. This is all just a scheme to manipulate Florida voters.

Charlie Crist passed the toughest marijuana enforcement laws in the country when he was Governor. How can he now say, with a straight face, that he is for it?

He's pathetic.

Linda Mercer

That is a terrible thing to do to people who are suffering.

Charlie Crist must be doing this to get the votes. I remember him being strongly against marijuana, and now he's apparently in full support of medical marijuana.

It doesn't matter to me what his true intentions were or if he is supporting the cause to get votes. But when his tactics screw-up the entire Florida Medical Marijuana effort - it makes my blood boil.

Because of the meddling by John Morgan and Charlie Crist the Florida medical marijuana initiative just got pushed back another few years. People in pain need relief - NOW, not in the future.

Robin Spake

I am a former Medical Marijuana patient. Several years ago my doctors had no medications to offer me to treat my epilepsy. I turned to marijuana as a medication. It worked - perfectly. I had total control of my seizures and I no longer experienced pains, headaches, and depression. However, marijuana did have one drawback - it made me stoned. I never wanted to be stoned, only healthy. You can't function in a rational world if all you are is stoned. I had stop using it because I was unable to function. I later discovered that if I used it differently, I could obtain it's medical benefits and not become high. In epilepsy, too much THC will trigger seizures. I learned that by using on a little, I could stop them, and to become high. The problem is THC. Today they have low THC and high CBD strains of marijuana. They should become legal. I support the use of medical marijuana, I do not support the use of recreational marijuana. I had spoken to many other marijuana patients. Many of use share the same problems with it. It is a wonderful drug, but if you use too much of it, you risk not being able to function. Today they now have low THC and high CBD strains of marijuana. CBD can not be abused. Please make high CBD. low THC strains available for medical use. It is better for patients when CBD is swallowed, in the form of CBD infused oil. CBD oil has been given to small children with Dravets Syndrome, an otherwise untreatable and always fatal form of epilepsy - with remarkable success. Some patients - cancer and pain patients need high doses of THC and CBD both. CBD and THC are both therapeutic metabolites in treating different medical conditions. High levels of CBD when taken with THC lowers the level of high that a person will become high. The drug can be therapeutic and have both metabolites, and still be non psychoactive. Some patients should be permitted to use high levels of THC and become high from the drug - anyone who is terminally ill or seriously ill should be permitted to benefit from the medication to ease their suffering.

Robin Spake

Correction: I could use a small amount of marijuana and NOT become high.

Bob

The issue at hand should be amended to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and not just for medicinal forms. Do you not find it highly intrusive that the Federal government can mandate what I can and can not put into your body? The 18th Amendment was a disaster that required the 21st Amendment to remedy. Alcohol has been proven time and again more dangerous to our health than cannabis.

Kathy D

The first time I had gallstones I did several internet searches including a search on cannabis and gallstones. Basically I found nothing that confirmed anything. I did find several forum articles questioning a relation or cause and effect, however no real answers. I learned gallstones started in the liver from toxins or substances that the liver could not process, high fruits corn syrup being a common culprit, but also a large possibility that too much chemical fertilizer in cannabis cultivation may also cause gallstones since the liver can not process those chemicals. The forum articles I found related to cannabis and gallstones basically left the impression that many cannabis users discontinued use for a while out of fear the cannabis triggered the stones. Knowing how much research has been done trying to find negative effects of cannabis if felt certain it was not the cannabis itself but my research implied that if the cannabis was over-fertilized, that may well be the case since the liver can not process the chemicals. However, this most recent gallstone event, my third in just over one year has opened my eyes to even more medical benefits of cannabis and is again something I need to let everyone know about.

By day ten of this recent gallstone event my right side was in so much pain. The only way I could describe it was that I felt like I was in labor for ten days, giving birth out of my ribs. I was exhausted from the pain and reach a point I was in tears and just could not take anymore. I started to think maybe I should consider the surgery, and was completely understanding why the ER doctor thought I was nuts when I turned down the demerol when I had my first attack. Then I remembered what pain relief the cannabis butter was for the pain in my foot and the instant relief it gave for a broken toe. I had to try it. Before I was finished rubbing it in the relief was so incredibly amazing. It instantly felt like the muscles magically relaxed, I could breathe without it hurting for the first time in days. I still had the sensations of the stones trying to get out of the gall bladder into the bile duct, or whatever part of the process that feels like birthing, but instead of it being a ten on a one to ten pain scale it was a two and so much more bearable.

I also discovered a far more civil method of dealing with the toxic effects of the stones passing through the digestive system. My first gallstone attack led me to the ER. The doctor there stated I would eventually need to have my gall bladder removed, she said once you start getting them they keep coming. I went home and did my research. I found many like myself who don't believe we have extra organs to just go around removing otherwise healthy organs, and that unless diseased or infected the gall bladder has a purpose. I would rather hang onto my original parts if I can. I found various ways of dealing with gallstones and opted to try those methods first. I found the pharmaceutical industry offers a medicine but that it usually takes over two years to work and costs thousands. I then found out about an all natural product made with herbs from the amazon rain forest that works in weeks using Chanka Piedra, which literally means stone breaker it is combine with 2 other herbs, one for the liver and one for the digestive system. It also came with a booklet of a dietary/flushing guide. I followed it to the tee the first time. Brutal was the only way I could describe it. It was basically the same as any other gall stone flushing guide. Eat very light, lots of olive oil to grease the way for the stones, lemon juice to contract the gall bladder, tons of apple and other juices to keep things moving and flushed so the toxic stones move as quick as possible through the system and you absorb less toxins. Supposedly that is so you do not get so ill from the toxins. Many guides call for drinking epsom salts, claiming it opens all the ducts in the body and flush the digestive system. It cause my tear ducts to close. I felt nearly blinded for a week and had issues with my eyes for several months following. It flushed my digestive system and everything else I ate for days, it was brutal, I felt like I was poisoned.

I am pleased to report none of the aforementioned was experienced in this last event. I decided to try a different method. I ate light, small portions, about a fourth of what I would at a normal meal. I had little to no appetite and eating can cause pain when dealing with gallstones so eating light was not a problem. As the stones hit my system the awful sour bitter nasty taste was something I tried to flush. I used liquids at first and had little very short term relief. After using the cannabis butter topically and discovering that relief, I recalled the antibiotic properties and decided to try eating more edibles. When that sour bitter nasty taste would occur I would take a bite of a cannabis infused brownie. My reasoning was that chasing the toxins with a natural antibiotic might be helpful. I am ever so pleased to report that I no longer was getting as nauseous or felt as toxic as prior. Medicine should be soothing and nothing was more soothing from the taste of the brownie against the sour bitter to the soothing of the digestive system. I was able to remain much more functional than with any gallstones prior. Life felt almost back to normal with an occasional twinge letting me know it's another stone. As soon as the sour bitter taste occurs it's brownie time. Cannabis does increase metabolism so my system was moving adequately without the barbaric flushing. What a kinder way to cope with something so painful that makes one so ill. I passed nine gallstones in one 24 hour period with two still in my upper digestive system and was no where near as ill as when I passed two gallstones in the same time period without the help of the cannabis brownie.

It dawned on me, if I could get so much relief from topical use it should be just as effective for Kidney Stones and the pain they cause. I had described what I was feeling like labor pains giving birth out of my ribs. How amazing it would be for real childbirth labor pains. For the thousands of women that resort to Demerol or an epidural, if topical use could ease the pain and avoid the harder more dangerous drugs at birth wouldn't that be amazing and why are we not knowing this already?

The last couple of weeks my pancreas has joined in the event and swelled so bad at times I have felt like someone shoved a football under my ribs. It had swelled so much I had a bulge coming out from under my ribs and my whole belly seemed to enlarge. Eating a brownie did nothing to help. I did however, discover smoking cannabis immediately brought the swelling down to a far more comfortable level. Instead excruciating pain and the feeling like my pancreas was about to explode, it brought it to a feeling of minor inflammation and slight enlargement. Most comforting of all was the immediate relief, it removed my fears of not surviving through this.

Justin Paden

It's amazing how many ill informed people are commenting on this subject. Possession over 20 grams carries a MAXIMUM sentence of 5 years in prison, NOT A MINIMUM. Almost as harsh as the penalties if you were to get caught with alcohol during that prohibition.

jOjO jO jO

Wow... This is all quite comical. So controversial this society is over a plant that cures ailments and hasn't killed anyone ever. Marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional. The government has us all scared about the most ridiculous things. Until we all gather and stand up we will be herded like the cattle they have branded us to be. All I can tell you is that be careful where you get the herb from. Once you get it and use it for any of the wide variety of issues that it aids then you will know how foolish we all are. LEGALIZE IT NOW! QUIT USIN GOUR SOCIETY'S HEALTH AS A BUSINESS YOU SICK POLITICIANS!!!

Brian Callahan

Anybody out there that has used marijuana in the past for any alments in the body will understand the real benefits of legalization of Cannabis. (headache,inflammation pain,nausea,sleep,anxiety,stess and many more) Most of us out there are very ignorant to the benefits of Cannabis and we do read enough. You have to keep a open mind. I myself have been a user for 25 plus years and everytime i read about what they call facts, its all bullshit!! Marijuana has been the biggest lie of the century. A cure to alot of body alements have been infront of us for 100's of years.

I guess the lie is finally being exposed and were on the right track. Of course Corporations don't want you to solve a headache with something that you can grow for free and then never buy advil agian. That is what corporate america does not want you to do. what about all the retirement funds that are in mutual funds supported by companies like P&G and Johnson&Johnson that sell items directly affected by the legalization of marijuana. I have so much more to say, but have no more time right now. will be back

Evan Robinson

Ed, it seems as though you have a personal grudge against marijuana. I completely disagree with your opinion on the matter. Me personally being a cancer patient can tell you that marijuana is a life saver when you are going through chemo. you need to get your head out of your butt and realize that some people actually NEED it legalized. Not everyone is a drug addict as you believe.

Turtle

Look let's be truthful. Medical Marijuana would be useful to those who need it, and if there are a million who would benefit from it then there are 10 million who see it as a stepping stone to legalizing Marijuana in general. What I do know is that tobacco and alcohol kill and maim every day but they are both legal. And if we are trying to keep harmful drugs away from the public then maybe we should be looking at the drug companies and the tobacco and alcohol industries.

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