Medical marijuana initiative moves forward


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After lawmakers adjourned last week without taking up the medical-marijuana issue, supporters of legalization are gearing up for a renewed attempt to pass a ballot initiative in 2016.

In a statement posted last week on the website of the advocacy group United for Care, Orlando attorney John Morgan said his "commitment is as strong as ever" to pass a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana.

"I was hoping -- like many of you -- that our legislators would wake the hell up, realize that the science is there, the will of the people is there, and that a delay not only hurts patients -- it's going to hurt them in the next election,'' Morgan said in the statement. "Make no mistake -- I will do what I can to alleviate the pain of those suffering -- and make sure those that are responsible for this delay feel pain politically."

Morgan led efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in 2014, but the proposal fell short of the 60 percent voter approval needed for ballot initiatives.

He hoped lawmakers would address legalization during the 60-day legislative session.

Supporters, however, face obstacles in returning to the ballot in 2016. In part, they will need to submit 683,149 valid petition signatures to the state -- and had not submitted any as of Monday morning, according to the Florida Division of Elections website.