The push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida is nearing its final days, and the group responsible for collecting the petitions to force a vote in November is driving hard to the hoop to make that happen.
United for Care, the group behind the massive petition drive, has until February 1 to turn in 700,000 signatures.
"It looks like we have around 1.1 million," Ben Pollara, campaign director for United for Care, tells New Times.
But the question becomes how many of those 1.1 million signatures are legit enough to be accepted by the Secretary of State?
"That's why we went after a million," Pollara says. "Most times with petition drives, you get people who may have signed a petition twice or may not be a registered voter."
So, Pollara says, the group has been looking to collect a million signatures, so it can safely have at least 700,000 come 5 p.m. February 1.
The big push to get the signatures has been backed by Orlando attorney and pro-medical marijuana advocate John Morgan, who has thrown in his own money so the group could hire part-time signature gatherers.
Morgan has also been bombarding the state with ads talking up the benefits of medical marijuana. His father and brother had suffered from cancer and injuries and found relief in marijuana for medicinal purposes. So Morgan's push is a personal one.
Pollara says the group's plan in the final days is to go strong into counties where the group has fallen short of signatures.
United for Care is looking for volunteers, or people to make a few extra bucks, to hit up several counties: Baker, Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Lee, Nassau, Seminole, St. Johns, Volusia, Sarasota, Manatee, and Indian River.
The group is calling for volunteers in those areas, or for anyone who wouldn't mind spending a week in any of these counties, to collect more John Hancocks from people.
Anyone interested in collecting for money would be paid $3 per signature, which means if you collect 100, you got yourself a cool 300 bucks for just a few days' work.
Even if you can't make it to these counties, you can still get in the game by signing a petition yourself (if you haven't already). You must be a registered Florida voter to do so.
In the meantime, United for Care will make its final push. And, from the looks of it, will be blowing its goal out of the water.
And what happens once the signatures are in and the drive is finished?
"We'll be getting in full campaign mode," Pollara says. "We're ready and organized to get people to get out there and vote."
You can call 405-921-9623 if you're interested in hitting up the counties listed above to help United for Care get its signatures.