Thousands Sign Initiative To Get Florida Marijuana On 2016 Ballot


The Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions initiative is making progress toward the 2016 November ballot.

United for Care, a campaign run by People United for Medical Marijuana, is working to turn the 15-01 ballot initiative into a Florida constitutional amendment.

The group turned in 100,000 signatures last week from Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Duval counties, according to Ben Pollara, United for Care campaign manager.

The campaign needs 683,149 validated signatures by Jan. 1, 2016 to get on the ballot.

The vote to pass a constitutional amendment for medical marijuana last November fell short by about 3 percent.

State law requires a 60 percent majority or higher for a ballot initiative, Pollara said.

He said United Care believes the chances of achieving the required 60 percent approval is greater this year than last. They anticipate higher voter participation because the upcoming vote is during a presidential election.

The campaign also has 13,000 volunteers, which is 1,000 more than last year, Pollara said.

Calvin Fay, executive director of Drug Free America Foundation, said he is not surprised by the campaign’s early boost in numbers. The campaign turned in all the validated signatures on time last year.

Fay said the Foundation is not fighting the ballot because they want to prevent people from using marijuana privately for limited medical conditions. She said people should be more worried about the marijuana drug industry the amendment would bring.

“Even if the amendment passed, it does not change the fact that marijuana is an addictive and harmful drug,” she said.

Signatures are usually sent to the Supervisor of Elections office in large quantities.

Duval County received 7,100 petitions in the first batch on July 27, said Beth Fleet, director of candidates and records at the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office.

Marion, Levy and Alachua counties have not yet received any signatures, according to the supervisor of elections offices for those counties.

But a large number of petitions could still be sent to those counties within the following weeks, according to Pollara.

“The Gainesville area is mostly populated by students,” Pollara said. “We expect the signage rate to spike this fall.”

All signatures must be validated by the County Supervisor of Elections by Feb. 1, 2016.

The validated signatures will then be handed to the Florida Divisions of Elections in Tallahassee.

Once the divisions of elections receives 683,149 validated signatures, a Supreme Court Review will make the final decision on whether the amendment will be on the 2016 ballot.

About Nicole Aedo

Nicole is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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