Deadline for Florida medical marijuana petition approaches

medical marijuana in jars florida hbtv hemp beach tvSupporters of legalizing medical marijuana in Florida are trying to get hundreds of thousands of signatures on a petition so Floridians can eventually vote on the proposal. But opponents said the plan is too broad. It’s a proposal that could change the state of Florida forever. The only way to get it on the ballot, giving voters a chance to vote yes or no on legalizing marijuana for medical use, is if supporters get 683,000 valid signatures by Feb. 1.

“If marijuana is to help, then let it be a help. If you’re sick then that’s the only opportunity you can get it,” said supporter Brian Urrego. “I feel like people would use the dispensaries in a wrong way. They wouldn’t use it for real illnesses or sickness. They would just use it to get high,” said James Sullins, who opposes legalizing medical marijuana. Some signatures will most likely be thrown out because people who signed were not registered voters, Florida residents or signed the petition more than once.

Although attorney John Morgan said they already have more than 800,000 signatures, he is pushing for one million just to be safe. “Let me say that I’m a fairly conservative person who believes in this compassionate issue. Let me be the poster boy for this,” said Morgan, chairman for United For Care. “Very passionate about people that are suffering from a lot of diseases so it was very important to be to see this go on the ballot,” said volunteer Glenda Chauncy.

While supporters are trying to get signatures, Attorney General Pam Bondi has taken her own petition before the Florida Supreme Court. In an October letter to the Florida Supreme Court, Bondi wrote an 18-page petition speaking out against legalizing medical marijuana. “The ballot title and summary suggest that the amendment would allow medical marijuana in narrow, defined circumstances, and only for patients with “debilitating diseases”. But if the amendment passed, Florida law would allow marijuana in limitless situations,” Bondi wrote.

When fact checked by PolitiFact, Bondi’s position was rated “mostly true,” meaning her statement was accurate but needs clarification or additional information. “Misconception number two — it’s going to be easy to get. It’s only going to be easy to get if we can’t trust our doctors. If the doctors decided to abuse it, then we got to focus on them, not the law,” Morgan said.

The Florida Supreme Court has until April 1 to accept or deny Bondi’s petition to get the amendment off the ballot. If the medical marijuana amendment makes the November 2014 ballot, it will only pass with at least 60 percent voter approval. A recent Quinnipiac University poll said 82 percent of Florida voters surveyed support legalizing marijuana for medical use.

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