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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Anti-medical marijuana group buys first TV ads



The group opposing a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana is ramping up its efforts.

No on 2 and the Drug Free Florida committee have bolstered fundraising and started their first ad buys in recent weeks in an effort to block Amendment 2, which would expand medical marijuana in Florida to include a list of debilitating medical conditions.

Drug Free Florida has reserved time in West Palm Beach, Tallahassee and Gainseville, according to Federal Communications Commission records, with more media markets likely on the way.

No on 2 campaign spokeswoman Christina Johnson would not confirm the details of ad buys except that No on 2 would "be communicating with voters in a variety of ways," saying that sharing any more detail would compromise the campaign's strategy.

On Sept. 9, Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson put $1 million into the No on 2 campaign's coffers, his first contribution of this cycle. In 2014, Adelson spent $5.5 million on the successful effort to defeat Amendment 2.

United for Care, the group supporting the medical marijuana initiative has had a quiet couple months of fundraising, but Orlando lawyer John Morgan has already spent more than $2.5 million in support of the campaign. The group is now using Adelson's $1 million contribution to bolster its own fundraising.

The amendment will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

[Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2016 4:10pm]


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