FL advocates double down on marijuana

Two Florida organizations are moving forward aggressively to legalize, one for medical reason, the other recreational, and are campaigning to place the issue on the state’s ballot for the 2016 general elections.

People United for Medical Marijuana (PUFMI) is actively campaigning to get constitutional amendment allowing medical use. Regulate Florida is also seeking a Constitutional Amendment for recreational purposes for the first time.

PUFIMI, through its United For Care campaign, failed to get its constitutional amendment approved in 2014, when the votes fell two percent short of the required 60 percent in the mid-term elections. In this year’s campaign, PUFMI chairman John Morgan confirmed that over 500,000 signatures of the 683,000 needed have been obtained, and that “we are way ahead of where we were in 2013.”

When received, the signatures will be sent to the state’s various supervisors of elections to be verified, and then submitted to the Florida Supreme Court’s for review.

Regulate Florida, led by advocates for marijuana legalizations, Karen Goldstein and Michael Minardi, is also actively pushing to get 683,000 signatures to finalize its petition. The amendment would legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults over age-21. Florida’s Division of Elections has given the organization the go-ahead to seek the petitions for the amendment.

Goldstein says Regulate Florida’s goal is to make it legal for adults to purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants within their own homes on being licensed. She said the age restriction protects the youth from using marijuana recreation, placing the herb’s use in a similar category as the public consumption of alcohol. In Florida it’s illegal to sell alcohol to individuals under age 21.

United For Care spokesperson Pollara says he wishes Regulate Florida “best of luck in their endeavor” with its petition, but “United for Care remains entirely dedicated to passing a strong medical marijuana law that serves sick and suffering Floridians,” and has not taken a position in reference to Regulate Florida’s initiative.

Several Florida polls conducted over the past two years show strong voter support for medical marijuana, but for recreational marijuana. Polls conducted by National Weekly in 2014 saw well over 60 percent support among Caribbean-Americans for medical marijuana, but below 60 percent for recreational use.

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