The Sideshow

Florida voters meet signature requirements for medical marijuana initiative

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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Florida voters may soon vote on whether to legalize medical marijuana (Reuters)

More than 700,000 Florida residents have signed a petition to get medical marijuana on the ballot in the Sunshine State’s 2014 elections.

"The time is now. It works," attorney John Morgan, who contributed $3 to $4 million of his own money to the signature gathering effort, said. "It's going to have an impact positively. It's going to cut down on crime. There's going to be a tax base. It's going to increase real estate. It's all win. All you have to do is look at other states where it's been enacted."

Morgan’s United For Care group was behind the initiative, which gathered 710,508 verified signatures according to the Florida Secretary of State’s Office. The group needed 683,149 to qualify for the ballot.

As Fox reports, the Florida Supreme Court still has to approve wording of the ballot question. Back in December, the court held a hearing on the proposed ballot language, which state Attorney General Pam Bondi has called “misleading” because of what she says would be “lenient” requirements for individuals hoping to obtain a medical marijuana card.

The court has until April 1 to issue a decision on the proposed ballot language.

Marijuana will be a hot topic across several states during this fall’s elections. Several states including Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, California and Washington D.C. are considering measures to fully legalize the drug.

Even Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry this week said his state is taking action to eventually decriminalize, though not legalize, pot.

Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal also announced this week that he would consider approving a "tightly controlled" medical marijuana initiative.

Morgan said the proposed Florida initiative has bipartisan appeal, citing a recent poll in which 82 percent of Floridians said they approve of medical marijuana.

“People who vote for Rick Scott will vote for this,” Morgan told the Miami Herald. “People who vote for Nan Rich or Charlie Crist will vote for this. Everyone here knows that one day medical marijuana is going to be legal in Florida” whether it’s in 2014 or 2024.”

However, St. Petersburg based Drug Free America Foundation, which opposes the proposed initiative, says they will mount a campaign urging resident to vote “no,” if it makes it past the court.

"We believe that if this gets to the ballot, Floridians will vote wisely and reject it,” Executive Director Calvina Fay told the Tampa Tribune.

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