Advocates in Florida are claiming victory in their bid to get a medical marijuana legalization measure on the 2014 ballot, boosting hopes that the state will become the first in the South to adopt MMJ laws.
The group leading the effort – United for Care – said it has enough signatures to get the measure in front of voters, even though the state is still reviewing petitions to ensure they are valid.
Supporters announced this week that they have collected 1.1 million signatures, which far surpasses the 683,189 needed to put the bill in front of voters. That gives United for Care a huge buffer in case some signatures are rejected. State election officials have reportedly already validated more than 450,000 signatures.
The bill still faces a number of hurdles, though.
The state Supreme Court must approve the language that will accompany the bill on the ballot. Proponents say the bill’s language is clear, and that residents will know that they are voting on a proposal to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for debilitating conditions. But Attorney General Pam Bondi is challenging the wording of the bill, saying she believes voters will be tricked into approving widespread use of medical marijuana.
This type of challenge has tripped up similar MMJ bills in other states.
If the court approves the bill’s wording, it will require a 60% majority in the election to pass. That’s a huge hurdle, as most states passage requires a simple majority.
Support appears, strong, though, with a recent poll finding 82% of Floridians back medical marijuana.