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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Medical marijuana headed to Supreme Court for review



On Dec. 9, supporters and opponents of medical marijuana will take the stand in Tallahassee to argue why a constitutional amendment to legalize the drug should or should not be on the ballot next November.

The Florida Supreme Court will hear the arguments over the issue, as it does all constitutional amendments, and justices will decide if voters should be allowed to legalize the drug in the state. In the 2014 election, the court okayed the proposed amendment, although it fell short of the 60 percent vote threshold required to be written into the constitution.

The amendment is being pushed by United for Care, a group that has raised more than $1.8 million, much of it from lawyer John Morgan. Among its opponents in 2014 was Attorney General Pam Bondi.

In an order Wednesday, the court wrote that each side would have 20 minutes to make its case as to the constitutionality of the amendment. The court cannot decide whether or not medical marijuana is good policy. Briefs have to be filed with the court by Oct. 30.

Bondi sent the constitutional amendment to the court -- as she is required to do -- after it recieved a tenth of the petition signatures needed to qualify for next November's ballot. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had 286,274 verified signatures of the 683,149 required.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 1:09pm]


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