Mitch Perry Report 12.18.13: Bid to get medical marijuana on ballot making a comeback?


A lot of our readers are paying intense attention to the push to get medical marijuana legalized in Florida. If the voters get a chance to weigh in on the matter, polls show there's little question the state would become the 21st in the nation to legalize medical pot.

But it is by no means a sure thing that Florida voters will even get the chance to vote on it next year. The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments against putting it on the ballot earlier this month from Attorney General Pam Bondi, who said the because of how the amendment is presented, its true scope and effect remain hidden. The Court has until next April to decide on that.

But there's also the issue with gathering the 683,00 valid signatures to qualify to get it on the ballot by February 1. It hasn't been the smoothest petition gathering drive session, but United for Care's Ben Pollara tells CL's Arielle Stevenson that the campaign took in over 100,000 signatures last week alone, and is on pace to getting the million plus that's been their goal all along.

There is no organized campaign (yet) to try to legalize same-sex marriage in Florida, but the Supreme Court decision back in June that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) does have some implication for gay couples in Florida if they were married in a state that does sanction the practice. On Monday night a representative from the Human Rights Council told an audience in St. Petersburg how various federal agencies are dealing with the new law and how it relates to same-sex couples on issues like Social Security.

One of the biggest local stories in the Tampa Bay area remains the sticker shock that tens of thousands of people, particularly in Pinellas County, are dealing with as their flood insurance rates have skyrocketed in the past two months. That's due to a federal law, but two local state lawmakers introduced legislation yesterday on the state level that they believe can bring new competition for flood insurance policies, and ultimately drive down those escalating rate increases.

And did you know that the NFL's league offices are tax-exempt? Oklahoma GOP Senator Tom Coburn does, and he wants to put a stop to it.

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