Drugs

People of Florida Demand Medical Marijuana

Almost a million have forced a ballot measure to legalize it in November.

Almost a million people in Florida have decided that enough is enough, and that they want to join the ranks of the 20 states that permit medical marijuana. In Florida it is strictly outlawed; possession of just a few grams can land you in jail for a year, cancer patient or not. But that could all be about to change as a sudden flurry of petitions are driving medical marijuana onto Florida's 2014 ballot in an effort headed up by the medical marijuana advocacy group, United for Care.

Ben Pollara, campaign director for the marijuana legalization effort, told the news site Inquisitr that United for Care’s petitions have garnered signatures from five percent of Florida’s population already.

“We have collected close to 900,000 and by Monday or Tuesday of next week, we should be close to 1 million. We are going to make it,” he said. To add such a measure to the ballot requires 683,149 valid voter signatures. But signature collection efforts typically need to overshoot the requirement to qualify, as there's always a large share of ineligible signatures in any collection. 

The proposed law would ammend the state's constitution. In order to pass, the measure would need to get on the ballot, then recieve 60 percent of the vote. According to recent polls, that shouldn’t be too tricky. Last year 70 percent of Florida voters supported a plan to amend the state constitution in favor of marijuana legalization according to a People United for Medical Marijuana poll. According to a poll by Quinnipiac University, that figure has since risen to a impressive 82 percent in support.

For a weekly roundup of news and developments in the drug reform movement and the injustices stemming from prohibition, sign up to receive AlterNet's Drugs Newsletter here. Make sure to scroll down to "Drugs" and subscribe! 

April M. Short is a yoga teacher and writer who previously worked as AlterNet's drugs and health editor. She currently works part-time for AlterNet, and freelances for a number of publications nationwide. She worked as story/line-producer for Psychedelic Science 2017 — Short Form Documentary.

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