Florida Supreme Court Gives Initiative Approval, State to Vote on Medical Cannabis Legalization This November
The Joint Blog
Jan 27, 2014
Today the Florida Supreme Court issued a ruling on the medical cannabis legalization initiative that is vying for this November’s ballot. In a close 4-3 decision, justices determined the initiative is valid, and will be put to a vote.
This ruling comes just days after campaigners received confirmation that they had collected enough voter’s signatures on the initiative to secure its place in the election (roughly 1.2 million signatures total).
The Supreme Court was incited to issue a ruling by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Republican legislative leaders, including House Speaker Will Weatherford. Detractors claimed the initiative’s summary was misleading by interchanging the terms “medical conditions” and “diseases”. Weatherford says the initiative is not about compassion, but about the “Coloradofication of Florida”.
The Florida Supreme Court responded in favor of the initiative: “We conclude that the use of ‘diseases’ instead of ‘conditions’ in the ballot summary will not reasonably mislead the voters”.
Recent polling shows 65% of Florida voters already in favor of the initiative; written as a constitutional amendment, the measure will need a 60% majority to pass.
John Morgan, an Orlando-based trial lawyer and previous fundraiser for President Obama, is the primary backer of the effort, and says that campaigners won’t be slowing down any time soon. “I think the amendment kind of passes itself. It’s like ‘Are you in favor of fresh air?’”, says Morgan “But with that said, at Morgan and Morgan we don’t take anything for granted. Something that seems obvious might not be so we will play it as if we’re behind. That’s how we will treat this campaign.” Morgan has put $2.8 million into signature gatherers and advertising for this campaign so far, and has made it clear that he will continue to fund the effort, spending “whatever it takes” to get the initiative passed.