In Florida’s cannabis cash race, pro-weed group has the edge for now

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As the fight over Amendment 2 sparks up, proponents of Florida’s medical marijuana campaign have the money edge, at least for now.

The tally as of Tuesday: People United for Medical Marijuana has raised $3.99 million, Drug Free Florida Florida Committee $2.86 million.

Most of the pro-weed money comes from The Morgan Firm, headed by Orlando attorney John Morgan. The company has given $2.7 million, much of it in 2015, according to a Palm Beach Post analysis of state contribution records.

The other 7,613 contributions to People United for Medical Marijuana totaled $1.25 million and averaged $163.76 apiece.

Drug Free Florida Committee, on the other hand, has drawn large contributions from a small number of business leaders. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire head of Las Vegas Sands, this month donated $1 million, St. Petersburg real estate developer Mel Sembler gave $1 million and Publix heir Carol Jenkins Barnett gave $800,000.

The ballot question seeks to allow patients with “debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician” to buy weed legally through state-regulated dispensaries. A 2014 effort to legalize medical marijuana in Florida failed to win the 60 percent vote it needed to pass. More than 20 states, including California and Illinois, have legalized medical marijuana.

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