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  MMJ Referendum Takes First Step Toward Ballot Posted by CN Staff on June 29, 2013 at 05:58:41 PT

By Scott Powers, Staff Writer 

Source: Orlando Sentinel 


medical.gif Florida -- An effort to get Florida voters to approve the use of medical marijuana, led by Orlando lawyer John Morgan, is ready for the state Supreme Court to review — a first step toward getting it in front of voters on the November 2014 ballot. Morgan said Friday he has approved final language of a proposed ballot initiative that will ask Florida voters to allow marijuana to be prescribed for medical use.

The effort, run by an Orlando-based group led by Morgan and called People United for Medical Marijuana, still has a long way to go to get on the ballot. But Morgan said he is ready to send language to the Supreme Court for prior approval so the group can begin a petition drive.


The group then must gather 788,000 signatures from registered Florida voters who support putting the issue on the ballot. And then there are more reviews.

However, sending the language to the Supreme Court, which Morgan said would happen late Friday or Monday, is a signal that the effort is getting serious, a first for Florida.

"It is carefully crafted so we don't have what people call a 'California law,'" Morgan said, adding that the intention is to avoid loopholes that would allow recreational use of the drug.

The language would allow a physician to prescribe marijuana for treatment of severe symptoms or side effects from drugs associated with several specific illnesses including cancer, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. It also would allow doctors to prescribe it in other unspecified cases involving "life-threatening" illnesses.

"This will be regulated by the state. What we wanted to do with our language is for the state to understand this is not intended for recreational use in any sense," Morgan said.

Currently, two states, Colorado and Washington, have largely legalized marijuana. Seventeen others — none of them in the South — allow use of some form of the drug as a prescription medicine, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

People United for Medical Marijuana was founded in 2008. It named Morgan as its chairman and South Florida Democratic fundraiser Ben Pollara as its finance chairman in March. At the time, Morgan told the Orlando Sentinel his father's death of esophageal cancer and emphysema more than 20 years ago drives his passion for the issue.

"It was a very painful death," Morgan said. "My brother was able to get him marijuana, which enabled him to be able to be settled down and have a serenity he had not enjoyed until that time. I've seen it firsthand."

The group said it is seeking to raise $2.5 million to fund its petition drive and campaign. Through March 31 it had collected $192,000 in cash, including $100,000 from Morgan's law firm, and another $32,000 in donated services, mostly from Pollara's political action committee, Saving Florida's Future.

Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)

Author: Scott Powers, Staff Writer

Published: June 28, 2013

Copyright: 2013 Orlando Sentinel

Contact: insight@orlandosentinel.com

Website: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/

URL: http://drugsense.org/url/rT8T1Dfj

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