Florida voters will decide in November whether they want to allow medical marijuana in the state. And just three months from the election, a new poll shows the vast majority of Floridians back the idea.
The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, found that 88 percent of Florida voters support the medical use of weed, while just 10 percent oppose it. That’s even higher than other recent polls, which have showed support hovering somewhere between 70 and 80 percent.
Regardless of which poll is closer to the truth, the evidence strongly suggests Florida will soon join 23 other states that allow MMJ for patients with severe conditions.
Most poll respondents also agreed that weed should be legalized for recreational purposes, but that group, 55 percent, was much smaller than the overwhelming majority who favor medical pot. Forty-one percent oppose full legalization, the poll found.
“People do not want those who are terminally ill or debilitatingly ill to be arrested and locked up for trying to get better or for trying to get peace,” said John Morgan, the lawyer behind the ballot campaign.
Morgan spent $4 million to get his petition on the ballot in November.
“I think it was well spent because we’ve educated people, they’ve listened, and they’ve believed,” he said.
Morgan’s proposal made the ballot despite intense opposition from Republican state leaders, including Tea Party favorite Gov. Rick Scott. The governor eventually signed a highly restrictive MMJ law that allows only a non-intoxicating form of the drug because he didn’t want to entirely alienate more than 80 percent of his electorate.
Scott is running for reelection in 2014, and his Democratic opponent, former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist, practices law at Morgan’s personal injury firm. That pairing has amplified the deeply political nature of MMJ in Florida.
In the poll, even the vast majority of Republicans in the state said they want to legalize medical weed – 80 percent. Ninety-four percent of Democrats said the same, as did 89 percent of independent voters.
Support is strongest among Florida’s youth, the poll found. Voters between the ages of 18 and 29 said they support medicinal pot by a 95 percent margin. Just 5 percent of young voters oppose the idea.
The poll didn’t ask respondents specifically about the ballot proposal, though such strong support should still translate to victory at the polls. Opponents of the issue claim that this oversight calls the entire poll into question.
“The poll fails at its one job: to ask about Florida’s actual Amendment 2,” said a statement issued by the Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot Coalition. “This poll simply does not address the realities of this dangerous amendment.”
Morgan’s constitutional amendment must obtain more than 60 percent of the vote in November to become law. All indications suggest that’s exactly what will happen.