Medical Marijuana Advocates Beat Their Goal, Collect 1.1 Million Petitions

Photo by Philip Poston
The push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida is one step closer today, as the People United for Medical Marijuana (United for Care) are claiming that they have officially collected 1.1 million petitions.

Last week, New Times reported that the group thought it had reached the 1.1 million mark. An email sent out Wednesday night by the United for Care campaign director, Ben Pollara, confirmed -- that the group has collected "over 1.1 million in all."

See also: John Morgan, Medical Marijuana Advocate, Spends $2.8 Million for the Final Push

Pollara told New Times that the group had been looking to collect a million signatures so it could safely have at least 700,000 valid one come 5 p.m. February 1 -- the official deadline.

"Most times with petition drives, you get people who may have signed a petition twice or may not be a registered voter," he said.

As of today, elections supervisors have certified 458,000 signatures and counting.

In his email, Pollara thanks the thousands of volunteers who hit the streets to get signatures.

Pollara's email also thanks John Morgan, the Orlando-based attorney and pro-medical-marijuana advocate who has poured in $2.8 million of his firm's money into helping get the legalization of medical marijuana on the ballot in November. Part of that spending spree included a $909,000 loan he gave to United for Care to help in the final lap of the petition drive.

Now that the group is claiming victory in its efforts to get the petitions, Pollara says it's time to shift things into second gear.

"We'll be getting in full campaign mode," Pollara told New Times when asked what's next. "We're ready and organized to get people to get out there and vote."

The crux of that campaign mode is to spread the word and help people understand the need for legalized medical marijuana in Florida.

The charge now, Pollara says in his email, is to "help educate the millions of Florida voters who will hopefully be allowed to have a choice in November."

GOP leaders, like Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, have been working to derail the drive as the Florida Supreme Court weighs in on whether the ballot's language is legal.

If the Supreme Court approves the wording, the amendment will hit the ballot come November. Then it will need a yes vote from 60 percent of voters to make Florida the 21st state to legalize medical marijuana.

With the hard work of United for Care and its volunteers, we seem to be a step closer to that reality.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.

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My Voice Nation Help

"The collection of 1.1 million petitions is no doubt going to be a big step in the legalization of medical marijuana. And then it makes complete sense to have the consideration to allow those who badly need something effective to ease devastating pain to have this fabulous herb!
We need to understand that we can’t handle medical marijuana patients the way common citizens and criminals are treated. The right of seriously ill patients to have protected access to medical marijuana under proper supervision of the prescriber is, after all, a provision that is duly mentioned in black and white! "


When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let's have the compassion to allow them to have it.

Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

Support Medical Marijuana Now!

"[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

"[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications." — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

"[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate." — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

"Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision." — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

"The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses' Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine." — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

"[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use." — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, "Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," 1995

"When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug." — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

"[The LFA] urges Congress and the President to enact legislation to reschedule marijuana to allow doctors to prescribe smokable marijuana to patients in need … [and] urges the US Public Health Service to allow limited access to medicinal marijuana by promptly reopening the Investigational New Drug compassionate access program to new applicants." — Lymphoma Foundation of America, January 20, 1997

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