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Florida Medical Marijuana Advocates Push For Legalization

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Organizers calling for the decriminalization of medical marijuana in Florida are celebrating a victory.

The group United For Care announced last week they’ve obtained more than 100 thousand signatures for their cause. That’s more than enough to schedule a State Supreme Court review.

But, there’s still a long way to go.

The group needs 700,000 voter signatures by next February to get the measure on the November 2014.

60 percent of the state’s voters would then have to approve marijuana for medical use for the law to be changed.

And as UNF's political science chair Matt Corrigan points out, "The devil's in the details."

"Libertarians, for example, like legalization because they see it as less government interference in people's lives," says Corrigan. "But should this substance become legal, government would be heavily involved in regulating who can grow and sell marijuana, and how it would conceivably be taxed."

If the measure passes, Florida would join 20 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana, although some states have more restrictive statutes than others. 

Orlando attorney John Morgan has become the face of the pro-legalization movement in Florida, saying he became convinced of medical marijuana's benefits after family members battling illness used the drug.

Says Corrigan, "It will be interesting politically. Former governor Charlie Crist is now an employee of Morgan's law firm. He's widely expected to run for governor as a Democrat. We'll have to watch to see how this issue affects the race."

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.