Written by: Rick Neale FLORIDA TODAY
MELBOURNE — Clipboard-carrying volunteers have collected roughly 1,800 petition signatures across the city seeking a Florida medical marijuana constitutional amendment.
Ellen Juliano, a United for Care: People United for Medical Marijuana regional coordinator, provided that estimate Saturday while pro-pot activists conducted a petition-signing party at Front Street Park.
United for Care is a political action committee chaired by Orlando attorney John Morgan, founder of the Morgan & Morgan law firm. About 35 to 45 campaign volunteers are soliciting signatures in Brevard, with key support provided by Twin Oaks Sports Bar in Melbourne and Tip A Few Tavern in Cape Canaveral, Juliano said.
Organizers have until Feb. 1 to gather 683,189 voter signatures, the Associated Press reported. United for Care has collected about 800,000 signatures, Juliano said.
But Attorney General Pam Bondi is challenging the proposed ballot initiative.
“The ballot title and summary suggest that the amendment would allow medical marijuana in narrow, defined circumstances, and only for patients with ‘debilitating diseases.’ But if the amendment passed, Florida law would allow marijuana in limitless situations,” Bondi wrote in an October letter to the Florida Supreme Court.
Juliano, a Deltona resident, is helping organize the campaign in Brevard, Volusia, Seminole and Flagler counties. Her support for medical marijuana originates from a friend’s seven-year battle with Stage IV cancer.
“She was wasting away from malnutrition, and I saw the marijuana bring back her health and appetite. And I really believe she lived another two years because of it — she was able to see her son graduate high school,” Juliano said.
Morgan spoke about his medical marijuana campaign before the Space Coast Tiger Bay Club in October in Cocoa Beach.
Christopher Duncan is United for Care’s Brevard volunteer team leader. He lost his eyesight a year and a half ago for unexplained reasons, and he said high ocular pressures spawned “massive headaches” so painful he could not stand up.
“Docs were putting me on every drug you could think about, even though they told me I was completely healthy: morphine, Percocets, oxycodones, immune supressions,” Duncan recalled.
“They were putting me on everything you could think about, and none of it was working. It was making me feel deathly sick. And I said, ‘Let me go ahead and try (marijuana teas.) Let me see if this actually works for me.’ And it has,” he said.
Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or [email protected]