ORLANDO, Fla. -- Two top Democratic fundraisers in Florida have committed to providing the money and know-how to get the question of legalizing medical marijuana on the state ballot in 2014.
"I'm prepared to keep raising money and writing checks until I get the signatures to put it on the ballot," attorney John Morgan said late Tuesday.
Morgan, who routinely hosts presidents and national political figures at his Orlando-area home, recently signed on as chairman of People United for Medical Marijuana-Florida, a grassroots campaign that operated on a shoestring until now.
Morgan was recruited by Ben Pollara, a lobbyist and fundraiser for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. Pollara recently became treasurer of the medical marijuana campaign.
The group lacked the money to wage a high-profile campaign and couldn't collect enough signatures to get the medical marijuana legalization proposal on the ballot in November.
"We were just scraping together pennies," said Kim Russell, the Orlando woman who founded People United four years ago.
The group could barely afford to photocopy the petition, she said. Now, it has commissioned a poll and plans to hire a company to manage the petition drive.
By law, the campaign needs to collect signatures of almost 700,000 registered voters to get a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the ballot in November 2014.
Pollara estimated the campaign will cost $10 million.
He said he jumped on board after the 2012 elections when Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington passed laws legalizing marijuana for either medical or recreational use.