By Chris Joseph
August 22, 2013
Back in July, we told you about the United for Care campaign, a group run by People United for Medical Marijuana, which took up the fight to get legalized medical marijuana on the ballot in Florida in November 2014 as a constitutional amendment.
The group needed to collect 68,314 signatures to trigger a Florida Supreme Court review of the initiative's language. And so far, the group says it's collected at least 100,000.
To get the item on the fall ballot, United for Care needs 683,149 signatures on petitions from registered Florida voters before January 31. To do this, it recruited everyday folks via a Craigslist ad, offering them part-time work to go around collecting signatures.
And it appears that aggressive campaign is working.
"We've come a long way in a short time — and we couldn't have done it without you," Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, wrote in an email. "But we've still got a long way to go. And we are going to need your help every step of the way. 100,000 down. 583,149 to go!"
For now, the group is temporarily putting a halt to its paid petition-gathering drive. Because it costs about $150,000 per week to hire the workers, United for Care is going to wait until the court rules on the constitutionality of the proposal.
It's a slow and arduous fight just to get the amendment on the ballot. And to win, the group will need 60 percent of the vote. But People United for Medical Marijuana is confident that it'll get the votes. And recent polls have shown that 70 percent of Floridians support legalized medical weed.
Should the vote pass next November, Florida would be the 21st state to decriminalize marijuana.
"Floridians deserve the right to medical marijuana if their doctors decide it is the right remedy for their debilitating illnesses," says Pollara. "It is time for us to do what our Legislature should have done — grant access to those who need it."
You can see (and sign) a copy of the petition at unitedforcare.org.
Copyright © 2013, Broward/Palm Beach New Times