Days after Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, one of the grizzliest opposing forces of medical marijuana in 2014, announced that she was not going to involve herself in any combative efforts to stop a similar initiative in the next election, the state’s Supreme Court made the decision to cancel a hearing that was scheduled on the issue and will now simply review the measure to ensure the language is distinguishable to voters.
It was revealed earlier last week that Bondi, while refusing to change her position on legal marijuana, had made the decision to keep her mouth shut in regards to whether the Florida Supreme Court should shred the latest ballot measure put on the table by United For Care or let it ride out to the November election. Although it seems the state’s leading legal hammer may have wanted to move forward with a scheme to attempt, once again, to sabotage medical marijuana in 2016, she apparently did not feel confident enough in the potential outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling to make any noise.
“Based on the Court’s decision in 2014, I have not filed a legal challenge to the current amendment, but my concerns with it are the same,” Bondi said in a statement.
Two years ago, Bondi went on a wild-eyed rampage against the group’s first initiative, arguing that United for Care was on a mission to legalize marijuana in “limitless situations.” Of course, while her attempt at persuading the Supreme Court to rule against the ballot measure in 2014 was unsuccessful, the rabid juices of her testimony unleashed an unscrupulous legion of anti-pot voices that came crawling from out of the belly of the prohibitionary beast, spending millions of dollars to contest the idea of making medical marijuana legal for patients all across the state.
However, none of the organizations that challenged United for Care’s mission to legalize medical marijuana in 2014 have filed petitions again this year to oppose their current efforts. In addition to the Attorney General’s office throwing their hands up on the issue, the Florida Medical Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Florida Sheriff’s Association have also given up on trying to con the state’s highest court into snuffing out the medical marijuana proposal before it has a chance to go public.
Organizers with United for Care had hoped that these groups’ unwillingness to fight would “mean a speedier approval by the Supreme Court,” but now that the hearing has been canceled altogether, they could be in a position to hit the ground running with the second phase of their signature collecting campaign much sooner than expected.
Reports indicate that once the Supreme Court approves United for Care’s proposal, they will have until February 2016 to submit 683,000 verified signatures in order to make it on the ballot in 2016. Records show the group has already secured around 346,000 signatures, but the final push could prove challenging without the proper funds to afford help on the backend.
In 2014, the group dropped $4 million just to pay professional signature collectors to ensure their spot on the ballot. Unfortunately, the measure missed by a narrow margin due to the state’s bizarre election laws.