Med Marijuana Advocates Meet Florida Ballot Goal
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Med Marijuana Advocates Meet Florida Ballot Goal
Posted by CN Staff on January 24, 2014 at 16:38:20 PT
By Stephen Nohlgren, Times Staff Writer
Source: Tampa Bay Times 
Florida -- A petition campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Florida has gathered enough signatures to put the issue on November's general election ballot. Just after noon Friday, county elections officials had validated 710,508 signatures  enough to force a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to allow growth, sale and possession of marijuana for medical uses.The Florida Supreme Court could still reject the ballot language  and any vote along with it  but organizers expressed jubilation Friday that an expensive, last minute push at least fulfilled the signature requirements for citizen initiated amendments.
"I've spent $4 million, hired the best legal minds in the state of Florida, rallied my army of angels and collected more than 1.1 million signatures in five or six months,'' said Orlando trial attorney John Morgan, who took over a small, grass roots petition campaign last year and gave it the clout to get on the ballot.By law, constitutional amendment campaigns for 2014 require signatures from 683,149 registered voters. Morgan's group, United for Care, added more than 50,000 signatures Friday to exceed that mark.Morgan, who has paid about three-quarters of United for Care's expenses, said the petition drive cost twice as much as he planned, largely because signatures lagged by December and the campaign had to gear up.By paying professional collectors as much as $4 a signature, United for Care began dumping hundreds of thousands of petitions on beleaguered county elections officials. At the 1.1 million mark, the campaign shut down two weeks ago, then waited to see how many signatures actually came from registered voters.The rejection rate ran about 30 per cent  typical for large petition campaigns. Still, the Florida Division of Elections reported 50,000 new signature validations on Friday, putting the total over the top.The campaign also met its other requirement: hitting signature targets in at least 14 of Florida's 27 congressional districts.The Tampa Bay area proved to be fertile ground: 165,042 valid signatures came from Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, nearly one-fourth of the statewide total.Save Our Society from Drugs, a St. Petersburg advocacy group, down played the significance of Friday's signature count."This really doesn't change anything,'' said Executive Director Calvina Fay. "We are still waiting to hear from the Supreme Court about the ballot language. We believe the language is misleading and are hopeful that the justices will rule soon."This also doesn't change the fact that the initiative is riddled with loopholes that would create de facto legalization in our state. We believe that if this gets to the ballot, Floridians will vote wisely and reject it." Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Constitutional amendment proposals in Florida require 60 percent of votes cast to pass, but polls show widespread support for medical marijuana.The measure also could affect the governor's race. Republican Gov. Rick Scott opposes medical marijuana while former Republican governor Charlie Crist  the presumptive Democratic candidate who works at Morgan's firm  favors it.In the Legislature, Republican majority leadership has so far squelched attempts to legalize medical marijuana by statute.That could change this year with a bill to legalize Charlotte's Web, a cannabis strain that seems to help children with seizure disorders without getting them high. The idea has garnered some Republican support, but some fear opening the door to wider use.The Florida Supreme Court has until April 1 to decide if United for Care's ballot language is confusing and illegal. If the court agrees, United for Care's signatures will be invalid. Any future ballot initiatives would have to start from scratch and could not come to a vote until 2016 at the earliest.Source: Tampa Bay Times (FL)Author: Stephen Nohlgren, Times Staff WriterPublished: January 24, 2014Copyright: 2014 St. Petersburg TimesWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on January 26, 2014 at 13:16:57 PT
Congratulations!I'm so happy about this!
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 26, 2014 at 05:09:58 PT
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Comment #8 posted by canis420 on January 25, 2014 at 23:34:13 PT:
We did it!
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on January 25, 2014 at 10:27:23 PT
A quote from Tucco...
Tucco the Ugly in "The Good the Bad and the Ugly"He said, "I love it when you big pigs hit the ground, you make a lot of noise"
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Comment #6 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 25, 2014 at 10:25:58 PT:
#3 - Universer 
Thanks. Good petition. Everyone should sign. They allow plenty of space in the comment section. Let 'em have it! I think we are finally getting somewhere.
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Comment #5 posted by schmeff on January 25, 2014 at 10:08:40 PT
Fee, Fi, Foe Fay...
We knew Calvenal'd have something to say.But I believe we'll soon see the day,When that vile serpent just slithers away.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on January 25, 2014 at 07:05:49 PT:
They still don't get it, do they?
They still don't understand that this is their chance to slither off History's stage and into some tall grass and fervently hope for the rest of their lives that the 20 million or more people whose lives they worked so assiduously - and profitably - to ruin might not want to look them up after re-legalization?Old Klingon proverb: "Only a fool fights in a burning house!" Prohibition's house is entering 3-alarm blaze status. And most of those for whom the prohib's efforts were ostensibly conducted, know they were lied to. They were once the children the prohibs made so much about 'saving' from drugs...who are now grown, can vote, and make their voices heard. And what are they saying about the current flame-engulfed state of cannabis prohibition's house? In the words of a rap song of the last decade "We don't need no water; let the MFer burn! Burn, MFer, burn!" They know, mainly from personal experience, that they were BSed. They know it was a sham, and that those doing the shamming were doing it for much less altruistic reasons than wanting to 'save' them from inanimate objects. Those for whom the war was supposedly fought have said, "Thanks for nothing."But, like the fools they are, the prohibs keep fighting in the burning house. Fine. Ashes make good fertilizer.
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Comment #3 posted by Universer on January 24, 2014 at 23:25:17 PT
OT & SIR: Sign This Darn Petition!
Off-Topic & Sorry If Repost:Have you signed this petition yet? You should. everyone you know signed this petition yet? They should.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on January 24, 2014 at 22:01:16 PT
Sometimes I must pinch myself!
Now Flordia? The southern republican party stronghold. I am reflecting on the twenty years since I began my personal campaign against prohibition and more than ten years since I began posting here.I was a young swashbuckler when I started, now I can't seem to even buckle my swash!Well the planet was in peril and needed saving, and well, someone had to do it?
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on January 24, 2014 at 16:58:19 PT
Oh yeah.Just have to stop the vampires now.
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