1 Million Signatures for Florida Medical Marijuana Drive

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Organizers behind a bid to legalize medical marijuana in Florida have collected nearly 1 million signatures, about 45% more than needed to qualify the measure for the 2014 ballot.

People United for Medical Marijuana, which is spearheading the effort, needs to get nearly 684,000 valid signatures by Feb. 1 to get the measure in front of voters. The organization had gathered 900,000 signatures as of late last week – up from just 200,000 late November – and hopes to hit the million mark by Tuesday.

That gives it a big buffer to ensure enough signatures are deemed valid, as many will likely get thrown out (which is common in such efforts). The group has said it expects 29% of the signatures could be deemed invalid.

The measure would set up state-licensed dispensaries and allow patients with specific ailments including cancer and glaucoma to use medical marijuana, though physicians could prescribe it if they believe cannabis would outweigh any potential health risks for a particular individual.

Should the proposal make the ballot, it will need to garner at least 60% of the votes in the November election to become law. Meeting that benchmark will be difficult. But support for medical marijuana is strong in Florida. According to a recent poll, 82% of Florida voters back the idea of medical marijuana.