Floridians pushing for legalization of medical marijuana

Issue of medical marijuana could see ballots this fall

Published On: Jan 22 2014 04:05:35 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Medical marijuana supporters have collected more than 1-million signatures to put the issue of medical marijuana on the ballot this fall. But even if enough signatures are verified, it could all be for nothing if the state Supreme Court finds fault with the initiative.

At midday Wednesday, the United for Care group was 80,000 signatures short of making the ballot, but verification will continue through the end of the month.

“This just shows the will of the people, which is really what the petition drive is all about,” said Michael Krehl, a medical marijuana supporter.

The battle isn’t only taking place with petition drives across the state; the battle is also brewing among the state’s top leaders and those running for office.

“I support it. I think it's the right thing to do," said Former Gov. Charlie Crist. "It is out of compassion and I'm glad John's doing it."

“I've said all along I'm against illegal drug use," said Gov. Rick Scott. "I've watched how it impacts families.”

Even if the number of valid signatures is reached, the final say rests with Florida Supreme Court.

Justices heard arguments in December. They can throw out the proposed amendment if they decide it covers more than one subject or if the ballot language is misleading.

A Quinnipiac University poll showed more than 80 percent of Floridians support medical marijuana -- positive reinforcement for those collecting signatures.

“This is good for the people," said Krehl. "This is what the state of Florida needs for medicine, for jobs, for the well-being of the state.”

Twenty states already allow medical marijuana, an additional six states have pending legislation to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes.

The Florida Supreme Court has until April 1 to make a decision on medical marijuana.