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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Mel Sembler begins fundraising effort to kill medical marijuana initiative



With Jeb Bush out of the race, Mel Sembler has another 2016 focus: Defeating Florida’s medical marijuana ballot initiative.

Sembler tells The Buzz he and his wife, Betty, plan to raise at least $10 million, exceeding their successful 2014 effort that took in $7.5 million.

A presidential election will get Democrats, and young voters in general, to the polls and that favors the pro-marijuana side. Polling shows the measure clearing the needed 60 percent threshold.

Sembler said the growing financial boon that is pot is another hurdle. “It’s always a challenge, particularly when there’s a major profit on the other side and there’s no profit on our side.

“We’re trying to save lives and people’s brains,” the Drug Free America founder said. “It’s not a medicine.”

Sembler has also been asked by the governors in Arizona and Massachusetts to help defeat efforts in those states.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, said: "Mel Sembler can spend whatever he wants to try and deny sick and suffering Floridians relief in the form of medical marijuana, but the will of the people is stronger than his money. United for Care will wage a statewide campaign to counter Sembler’s dishonest attacks and medical marijuana will pass in November."

[Last modified: Friday, April 22, 2016 3:54pm]


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