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Email insights: This time, medical marijuana fans are ahead of the curve

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Supporters of legalized medical marijuana in Florida won’t be making the same mistakes twice.

After struggling to collect nearly 700,000 valid voter signatures by the deadline to get Amendment 2 on the ballot in 2014, the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Florida is starting earlier this time.

In an email from Raymer Maguire of United for Care, organizers are “super close” — less than 5,000 petitions away — from having enough valid petitions (the required number is 68,315) to qualify for the first step in the process: Florida Supreme Court review.

Compared to the 2014 effort – which received 58 percent, narrowly missing (by two points) the voter approval needed to pass — the group didn’t hit this milestone until October 2013.

United for Care is certainly not wasting any time — the 2014 petition had not even launched until July 2013.

To get on the 2016 ballot, the campaign language will once again need Supreme Court approval, as well as 683,149 valid petition signatures.

But close isn’t close enough, that is why the group needs help.

Petitions can be downloaded online at this link.  For those who already filled out a form, it’s OK to complete another. Forms must be completed, signed, and mailed in.

Of course, collecting signatures is not free – donations of any amount are welcome, and every $3 received equals another signed petition.

Above all, for medical marijuana to pass this time means hitting the pavement. Volunteers are always needed to help with petition collection.  The more volunteers, the less a paid petition gathering effort will cost.

Money saved through volunteer work can then be spent on other things, such as persuading voters to support a new constitutional amendment.

With a renewed effort and a real head start, legalized medical marijuana in Florida might have a good shot in 2016.

After all, they only need another two percent of Florida voters.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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