Florida Medical Marijuana Drive Nears 1 Million Signatures

Florida Medical Marijuana Drive Nears 1 Million Signatures

TALLAHASSEE, FL — With the deadline looming for supporters of Florida’s medical marijuana initiative to turn in signatures, the organization leading the effort says they now have a comfortable margin that should bring the proposed constitutional amendment one step closer to the November ballot.

“We have collected close to 900,000 and by Monday or Tuesday of next week, we should be close to 1 million,” Ben Pollara, campaign director for United for Care, told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday. “We are going to make it.”

If activists are successful in placing the initiative on the ballot, it would require a 60% approval from voters in November to pass.  Recent polls have found that over 82% of Florida voters are in support of medical marijuana legalization in the Sunshine State.

In order to make the ballot,  the proposed constitutional amendment needs to submit 683,419 valid voter signatures.  Signature rejection rates historically run 25 to 30 percent, so organizers hope to submit over 1 million signatures to ensure the initiative makes the cut.

Election officials in each of Florida’s 67 counties must validate the signatures on the petitions by February 1.  Because it can take days, or weeks, for election officials to validate the signatures, petitions that are turned in late in January may not get counted.

To speed the validation process, organizers have been renting vans and hand delivering the petitions to election officials state wide.  Under state law, petitions must either be hand delivered or sent via snail mail, electronic petitions are not accepted.

Even if organizers gather the necessary number of signatures to place the proposal on November’s ballot, a pending ruling by the state’s supreme court could still prevent voters from deciding on the amendment.

By law, the seven justices of the state’s highest court will not rule on the merits of marijuana legalization, but will decide only if the proposed ballot is specific enough and whether its title and summary sufficiently explain what it does.

State Solicitor General Allen Winsor, who is seeking to block the initiative from the ballot, argued the ballot summary is misleading because it refers to prescribing marijuana “for debilitating diseases,” while the amendment itself refers to “debilitating conditions” in the title.

“You don’t even have to have a disease to get marijuana, the way this amendment is worded,” he said.

He also argued that the wording is deceptive in saying that nothing in the amendment authorizes violation of federal drug laws. Except in certain tightly controlled research conditions, Winsor said, it is illegal to possess or use marijuana. He said the amendment implies that state authorization of medical marijuana use would somehow trump federal law.

The state Supreme Court has a deadline of April 1 to make their determination on whether the amendment will make it to the ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow patients in Florida to use marijuana if they have a  debilitating medical condition and approval from their doctor.  Certain diseases such as cancer, glaucoma and Parkinson’s are specifically mentioned in the amendment.

Doctors would also have the discretion to recommend marijuana for any “conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient,” similar to medical marijuana laws recently passed in several other states.

For Florida voters looking to sign the petition, it is available online for registered voters in the state of Florida to print out and sign, but residents should do so quickly to ensure their signature is counted before February 1.

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  • Didik Prasetyo

    Excelent action..

  • Dr Doop

    The folks in Tallahassee are terrified of this passing. If this goes through, then the pill mills will start to shut down. When that happens, the money that big pharma pays to the Florida legislation to keep pushing their poison dries up. Most of the Florida senate will have to pay for their country club memberships out of their own pocket.

    That simply won’t do.

    Everyone in FL should take note of those who oppose this measure, and vote accordingly. Most political candidates are whores who will do and say anything for a vote. Floridians need to use this to their advantage.

    Vote. Vote for the initiative or vote against those who killed it.

    • Rebecca Burch

      good!

    • Clear_the_way

      The pill mill are already gone from Florida. Passage of amendment 2 will just put these crooked doctors back in business opening up Reefer distribution centers.

  • Matthew Cunningham

    i am just getting mine together to send in. at a holiday party I was getting signatures, I expected the 70’s and the ones in there 80’s to say no what got me was one that i have partaken in the past several times and she was bragging on all the money she is making now as a psychologist . Then it dawned on me court ordered rehab which is a major benifitter from cannabis prohibitions policing for profit an it is 80% of her business

    • LArcdeTriompheOnTiEsTo

      Oh you better believe they’ve got a dog in this fight. The religious and the pill peddlers are the WORST….and only one- upped by the private prison industry, which makes HUGE cash off the incarceration of our brothers! and I mean that! our BROTHERS. I’m sick of learning about fellow Americans being sent to prison, barred from student loans, and basically removed from legitimate employment because of a PLANT. The Prohibitionist game needs to end NOW and Florida is a great place to continue the trend.

  • ihydrocarbon

    Doctors are permitted to profiteer from inferior, toxic and deadly drugs that purportedly ameliorate the side effects of cancer treatments.

    Are any paid or habitual prohibitionists ready to present the case for why Florida doctors should not be allowed to recommend cannabis and it’s preparations?

  • Wud he say

    The papers name would be a good name for some kush.

  • LaPortaMA

    No.

    Sorry.

    Nor do I agree with the laws.
    If it’s a petition, it’s a social movement, not medical, not science.

    If it’s medical, it does NOT
    need a petition. The petiitions I’ve seen miss entire dimensions and
    neglect risks , alternatives, and imponderables.
    For instance,
    WHat happens during the use of psychoactive drugs without a shaman?

    HOWEVER I worship the right to have this debate, and even the right to be wrong.

    • firetheliberals

      You are missing the point. Cannabis was one of the most used used ingredient in medicine and it was outlawed by govt trickery, av tax stamp issued by the feds. Who proceeded not to issue any.. so to get the right to use an existing medicine back the people must use the power of the electorate to ensure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit off happiness.

      • LaPortaMA

        One must choose which point to follow and which begger picture to see.

        • LaPortaMA

          I mean BIGGER picture.

          • LArcdeTriompheOnTiEsTo

            You’re a quack who can’t think for yourself, some people need it and maybe you do, but FFS pay attention to the DATA built on the scientific method and get past this simpleminded view of things. You may worship the ability to debate but you’re ability to evaluate data in the empirical world is nonexistent at best. You do a disservice to your frontal lobes…

    • LArcdeTriompheOnTiEsTo

      Wow, flat-out wrong, but too foolish to realize it.

      1). The US govt has been obstructing and refusing to allow scientists to experiment in controlled studies for DECADES (all old news to those who are informed)…research on MJ had to be gathered from less dogmatic countries, like in Europe. Then, when the US did let a few get funded, it was by the US anti drug folks, who were looking for confirmation to shore up their shaky policies. Get your facts straight Jack. Just this week peer-reviewed journal, the British journal of pharmacology published a study on the clear neuroprotectant qualities of MJ for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other horrendous age related afflictions. Time to wake up to certain inadequacies of your government and the dogmatic, the super-religious who run it and ignore science (~40% are Mormon recruits according to a large report in W*red magazine 2012, a wildly disproportionate number to the US population).

      • LArcdeTriompheOnTiEsTo

        2). The private prison industry has BILLIONS to make to add to the BILLIONS already made by its illegality. You better believe this is about big pharma and big prison business having dogs in this fight.

        Good on what you worship, though.

        Oh, and PS: I have a resting heart rate of 50 (fifty) and multiple advanced degrees and “I know MJ well”.

        L’arc

      • LaPortaMA

        If it’s a petition, it’s a social movement, not medical, not science.

        If it’s medical, it does NOT
        need a petition. The petiitions I’ve seen miss entire dimensions and
        neglect risks , alternatives, and imponderables.
        For instance,
        WHat happens during the use of psychoactive drugs without a shaman?

        HOWEVER I worship the right to have this debate, and even the right to be wrong.

        • LaPortaMA

          12 For
          now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know
          in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

          • LArcdeTriompheOnTiEsTo

            Wth….look up the US PATENT on a cannabinoid molecule! held by the US govt, and then look up the in-English article written by spaniards in 2007 (look at themindunleasheddotorg and you will realize you are wrong…twice

          • LArcdeTriompheOnTiEsTo

            Oh you’re a religious wacko…that makes sense now

    • LaPortaMA

      Life is to be lived forward but understood backward.

  • malcolmkyle

    Marijuana has never, ever, directly killed anybody, not even small children.

    * FDA approved Prescription drugs kill some 200,000 Americans, including children, every year.

    * An estimated 770,000 people are either injured or die each year in hospitals from adverse drug events (ADEs), defined as an injury that has resulted from medical intervention and is related to a drug.

    * The number of deaths from drug poisonings in the U.S. has increased sixfold since 1980.

    * Fully 40% of these deaths, in 2008, involved the use of prescription opioid pain relievers, such as codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone. The same figure for 1999 was 25%.

    * In 2008, drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone (these are the main ingredients in Oxycontin and Vicodin) landed 305,885 Americans in emergency rooms. This is more than double the figure for 2004, 144,644. Source: Samsha and the CDC, 2010

    * Overdose deaths involving oxycodone, hydrocodone, and synthetic narcotics such as fentanyl and propoxyphene now exceed deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Matthew Cunningham
  • Patty Rheinsmith

    If Pam Bondi is against this i am all for it. I was on the fence and I just saw her in an interview on TV and she was heck bent against it, so now I know where I stand! I have a chronic condition not life threatening, not a fan of pain killers either. My brother was an addict, I watched him die over the years the slow liver failure death. Maybe some day my pain will come to needing medical marijuana. I am signing the petition now. Thanks Pam for helping me decide!

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  • davefel

    Let’s go for two million. Who knows what people like Pam Bondi might do. We know Republicans here in Florida have tampered with ballots before in the general election and primaries.

    • 1mrt1

      Pam and Rick need to go. I wish we could primary them out..but no one will run against them

  • Rebecca Burch

    I hadn’t used marijuana since i was a kid, then i experienced a life changing tragic event, my family, and neighborhood was struck by an f4 tornado at 3am Feb,2 2007. when i came to i realized i had only a son, my first born, to show for my whole life of hard work and devotion, since i was 17, 13 years and 1 son to show for it. my youngest child, the heart of the family, Jake, he had the heart of every person that ever got the chance to met him! and my husband of 13 years my first love the father to my children. died in each others arms, and all my neighbors, 21 in all! nothing in our lives were the same. my colar bone was broke so bad it stuck out 3 inches, i joked “referring to it as a thumb!” and the pain of everything, i truned back to a medical grade marijuana,one to two puffs and i was in relief of pain and anxiety, when i smoked it it made me notice the right from wrong in a passionate way, i immediately turned to GOD! but then as i went to church i felt i was deceiving ppl and gave me a lot of grief and anxiety , so i stopped and i couldn’t handle the pain so some of the ladies at church said it was ok to see a doctor and their he prescribed me xanax and loratabs, and paxil, OMG! “and away we go! my life went to shambles! i got crazy, mean and aggressive, the pills kept changing, and i took more! it was a horrible experience, i do have adult add, so it was an emotional roller coaster, , i am now back to normal i smoke when i need it, i got on the suboxone program to get off the crazy narcotic pain killers i was prescribed, and my adult add is treated ! thank GOD! SO PLEASE vote yes!

    • LArcdeTriompheOnTiEsTo

      Sorry about your loss..very very sad indeed. Yeah u want to stay away from the Xanax and lortabs, if possible. Go with a hybrid strain and respect the plant, as it will help you with the pain, proper perspective, and also to avoid the horrid addictions that the pill mills create. Even better, it’s been shown in recent days in a peer- reviewed British journal, the journal of pharmacology, to have powerful neuroprotectant qualities that stop the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and other really bad stuff. I’m not into the church stuff but the value of MJ cuts across all groups (humans, really), and is not even in the same ballpark of value as toxic alcohol.

      Again, very sorry for your loss…I cannot imagine.

      L’arc

    • LaPortaMA

      Yes, addiction is cunning, baffling, powerful.

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  • Mick Aldighty

    Why in the world would it be 60% of the votes instead of 50%? Legalize the medicinal cougar greens please Tallahassee!