Florida Medical Marijuana Petition Headed to Supreme Court With 100,000 Signatures

Florida is one step closer to getting a statewide public vote on legalizing medical marijuana. With powerful backers like Orlando super-lawyer John Morgan and funding from big Democrats around the state, the push by People United for Medical Marijuana is blazing ahead.

The group announced yesterday that it's already gathered 100,000 signatures, enough to start a Supreme Court review of its proposed language for the vote.

"I am pleased to announce that we have already collected over 100,000 petitions since we started our drive less than a month ago," the group's campaign manager, Ben Pollara, wrote in a release. "This allows us to submit the petition to the Florida Supreme Court for their review of the ballot language."

While the Court looks at the language to rule whether it's misleading or too broadly worded, Pollara's group will temporarily stop its paid petition-gathering drive, which the campaign manager tells the Miami Herald costs $150,000 a week.

To get a constitutional amendment on the ballot, Pollara's team needs to collect 683,149 valid signatures by Feb. 1. The initiative would then need 60 percent approval from the public.

As Marc Caputo reports this morning, that's not impossible: Polls have shown that upwards of 70 percent of voters could back legalized medical pot.

Pollara has asked for an expedited review from the Supreme Court so his teams can get back to signature collection quickly.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink