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Medical Marijuana Group Collects $770K

A group seeking to ask voters in 2016 to legalize medical marijuana raised more than $770,000 in July, buoyed by contributions from its leader, Orlando attorney John Morgan, according to a newly filed finance report.

"People United for Medical Marijuana" raised $770,534 during the month and spent $756,419, as it tries to collect enough petition signatures to get on the November 2016 ballot.

The Morgan Firm PA contributed about $704,000 of the July total, with Coral Gables retiree Barbara Stiefel chipping in another $40,000, the report shows.

After raising relatively little money early in the year, the group has collected about $1.06 million during the past two months as it has ramped up petition-gathering.

It paid about $687,000 in July to California-based PCI Consultants, which does petition-gathering.

Morgan and his group tried in 2014 to pass a similar initiative to legalize medical marijuana but fell just short of the required 60 percent voter approval.

In all, backers will need to submit 683,149 valid petition signatures to get on the 2016 ballot. They had submitted 14,758 as of Monday, with the signatures gradually increasing in recent days, according to the state Division of Elections website.

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