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Medical marijuana supporters score another big fundraising month in October

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The committee backing an amendment to legalize medical marijuana had another big fundraising month in October, largely on the back of its chairman, Orlando lawyer John Morgan.

Morgan contributed $237,978 of the $337,292 raised last month by United for Care-People United for Medical Marijuana. Regular donor Barbara Stiefel wrote the committee another check for $40,000 in October. Since 2013 Stiefel, whose father founded Stiefel Laboratories, has given the committee $1.1 million.

Richard Shevelow, an engineer from Carver, Massachusetts, wrote the committee a $10,000 check, and Sarasota pharmaceutical company AltMed gave $5,000. The rest of the committee’s 771 contributions came mostly from individuals donating $100 or less.

Signature gathering firm PCI Consultants was once again the recipient of most of that money. The group got four checks from United for Care last month for $225,303 total. As of Wednesday, the Florida Division of Elections shows 348,603 valid signatures for the amendment, just over half the 683,149 needed to secure a slot on the ballot.

United for Care aims to qualify for the ballot by the end of 2015, so PCI can expect at least another couple of months of six-figure income from the committee as it gathers the remaining 334,546 signatures.

Much of the rest of the committee’s $291,327 in October expenditures went to county supervisors of elections for signature verification services; Miami-based Grassroots Connections got $7,566 for consulting services and International Press was paid $5,000 for shipping expenses.

Qualifying for the ballot by the end of the year will likely require a lot more of Morgan’s money. Heading into November, the committee had just under $30,000 on-hand.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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