Organizers behind an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Florida are on a roll.
People United for Medical Marijuana, which is gathering signatures to get a constitutional amendment legalizing MMJ on the fall 2014 ballot, raised more than $230,000 in October.
To date, the group has raised $845,000, according to data from Florida’s elections division.
While the organization has momentum, it faces a tough challenge:
– No state in the southern portion of the United States has legalized medical marijuana yet, the only large region of the country where that’s the case.
– The group will have to collect nearly 700,000 valid signatures by Feb. 1 to get the measure on the ballot, a much higher number than in other states. It has a reported 125,000 verified signatures so far.
– If the measure qualifies for the ballot, it will need 60% of the votes to pass rather than a simple majority.
– One of the main marijuana legalization lobbying groups, the Marijuana Policy Project, is not pumping money into the initiative, focusing instead on other states where the odds are better.
But don’t count the legalization bill out just yet. It has a big backer: prominent trial lawyer John Morgan, who has made this a primary goal of his and committed several hundred thousand dollars to the cause already.