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State says marijuana amendment clears signature hurdle; next step is court approval

The Florida Division of Elections today confirmed that the proposed constitutional amendment to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes has received enough valid signatures to make it to the ballot. That leaves the only remaining hurdle: court approval of the language. 

The number of signatures validated: 710,508. The number needed by the Feb. 1 deadline: 683,149.

"This is an amazing feat,'' said Ben Pollara, of United for Care, the organization working to get a medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot. "I have to admit, less than a year ago I never thought we'd see this day - but thanks to your support and hard work, we were able to make history together...The only thing holding up official certification and placement on the ballot is the ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, which could come anytime between now and April 1."

The petition drive succeeded in part because of the substantial financial backing of Orlando trial lawyer, John Morgan. Morgan contributed more than $2.5 million to the initiative effort, much of it in the final weeks as the group hired hundreds of petition gatherers to collect the signatures needed in time to have them verified by the Feb. 1 deadline.

Under state law, the group needs 683,149 valid signatures, and must have its language approved by the Florida Supreme Court in order to make it to the ballot.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Will Weatherford, Senate President Don Gaetz and Gov. Rick Scott have all argued to the court that the justices should reject the language as misleading.

The proposed amendment would allow people to buy marijuana at state-regulated dispensaries if they obtain written permission from a doctor who attests that they need it for medical reasons. The amendment prohibits people from growing their own marijuana and allows the Legislature to shape the details of the enforcement provisions.

Recent polls have shown that voters throughout the state, from both parties and amid all demographic groups, strongly support the sale of marijuana for medical use, even though federal law prohibits it.  Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia and is legal for recreational use in two states, Colorado and Washington.

The shift in attitude is changing opinions in the Florida Legislature as well. Legislators in the House have proposed a bill to allow for the decriminalization of a strain of marijuana that is low in the psychoactive properties, THC, and high in properties that help to control seizures. One strain, known as Charlotte's Web, is considered medically promising for children who suffer from severe seizures.

 

 

Comments

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Hmmmm

$3.50 per signature...

Compassionate Progressive

I want a Pam Bondi bobble head when this is over. She is not in office to push her personal views. The majority has spoken and she thinks we are too stupid to understand what we signed. Its a desperate attempt to keep the will of the people from moving forward. When will elected officials represent instead of dictating?

knowa

There will be outrage if this is blocked.

Tally Folly

The people have spoken

Roger Stone

This is not an "amazing feat" as campaign neophyte Ben Pollara calls it. 1 million signatures can be collected for anything if one is prepared to OVERPAY for each signature. No one in their right mind would RISK $3 M
to collect signatures for a Constitutional Amendment the language of which has not yet been approved by the Court.

Sadly, the motives of Pollara and John "DUI" Morgan have nothing whatsoever to do with helping people who are suffering. The language itself is flawed and most susceptible to attack to keep it under the required 60%.

Sadly, the campaign is rife with bad timing, misjudgement, lack of experience, hubris and secret agendas.

This ain't over until it's over.

joe

get all off addictive pain pills

RHReese

Trying to legalize Marijuana like the roads aren't dangerous enough here in Florida that we need potheads on the road too ?

ed jenkins

The citizens urge their leaders to stop this nonsense as signatures obtained by drug abusers under the influence of dangerous illegal drugs are clearly invalid and there cannot be this amount of drug abusers and drug dealers in our family friendly state.

Bill Thompson

The elections department validated the signatures in accordance with the law. The Florida Supreme Court will rule on the wording and, if approved, will go on the ballot in November. If it does get approved and go on the ballot, the people will decide its merit. That is all. Carry on.

Roger Stone

Sad that so may sincere people for medicinal marijuana are being scammed-

http://tbo.com/news/politics/pot-ballot-called-plan-to-help-crist-beat-scott-20140124/

Mauricio

This is excellent news-let the people and their doctors decide what their best medical options are. Why is the Republican Gov't meddling in our personal lives. Let them go drink and take their prescription opiated and benzos while they complain about access to medical marijuana. Frankly marijuana should be legal-it just doesn't make sense to anyone with half a brain.

Steve

Charlie Christ....? Obama's best new friend, backer of Obama Care, that Charlie. Don't assume the young are still dumb my friend. What's Charlie Spray Tan going to do for anyone he didn't do when he was sucking up the Republican way of life which under Jeb which was basically the Big Government.

Karen Harrington

Can't wait for Rick Scott to get voted out of public office. Rick Scott never wanted to stop the pain pill clinic epidemic and has no care for human beings. He looks like he is an alien and only cares about big business. Rick Scott has NO heart, NO consciousness, and is only out for money. The environment does not stand a chance with him….. Time to get Florida back

Robert Platshorn

Ironic! The same Republicans who tried to kill the AFC by screaming that the government has no business interfering in the doctor/patient relationship, is now trying to deny Floridians access to medical cannabis by claiming doctors aren't qualified to say who needs it and who doesn't.
Rick Scott's ties to the opiate drug industry go deep and cannabis is the quickest and easiest way to avoid or end opiate addiction. Pam Barbi isn't exactly known as a compassionate human. As I recall she postponed an execution so she could attend a party.

Doctors in 20 states, DC, Israel, and a dozen other countries believe marijuana is the safest way to treat pain, epilepsie, Chrons, MS, MD, many forms of cancer and a host of other illnesses. There are 15,000 research reports from peer reviewed journals available on the web. Why can't right wing baggers learn to read?

Robert L

I just think its great. It's not like you cant currently buy it if you want to anyway. This way, we can stop draining our finances to fight the flow and now we can tax the flow. A negative into a positive, the dollar always wins.

Lou

I think this is great news. Anyone that calls people that choose to smoke pot for medicinal reasons "drug users" or "drug abusers" are simply not educated enough. There are tons of examples on the benefits of pot. It's time to push these old fart ways of thinking and move to "liberty," as republicans call it, way of dealing with our choices. After all, republicans are all about "government stay away from my private life." Let's see if republicans will practice what they preach.

D

Good job guys! This is not republican/democrat - it is old school/new school. It is a changing tide.

D

Hey look at all the druggies who are here hallucinating that we want more of you lowlifes wandering our streets, driving our roads and in general being bad influences on our kids by leading your worthless lives. Guess what this has no chance of ever passing because no one wants more scum like you around here.

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