Medical Marijuana Sees Overwhelming Support in Florida

By Shawn Dwyer 11/25/13

A huge majority of Florida voters support legalizing medical marijuana. Recreational use not so much.

Coming to a Florida dispensary near you? Photo via Shutterstock

In a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, a whopping 82 percent of Florida voters say they support the legalization of medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. Only 16 percent oppose. But when asked about recreational use, support dropped to 48 percent in favor of possession for personal use.

The poll served as a measuring stick for a proposed ballot measure that medical marijuana supporters hope will be on the ballot in 2014. Broad support for the measure cuts across party lines, with 70 percent of Republican voters supporting the ballot initiative. Unsurprisingly, the measure’s broadest support was with voters 18 to 29 years old, with 90 percent saying yes to doctor-prescribed pot. “If the folks who want to legalize medical marijuana in Florida can get their proposal on the ballot, they are overwhelmingly favored to prevail next November,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

But not all Floridians are in favor of the ballot initiative, including Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), who filed a challenge in Florida Supreme Court in early November. In her filing, Bondi opposed the measure on the grounds that the proposed initiative is deceptive and will lead to widespread doctor approval if patients can convince them of their need for a prescription. "The proposal hides the fact that the amendment would make Florida one of the most lenient medical-marijuana states, allowing use for limitless 'other conditions' specified by any physician,'' Bondi said in her brief to the court. "With no 'condition' off limits, physicians could authorize marijuana for anything, any time, to anyone, of any age.” But supporters of the amendment, including the People United for Medical Marijuana, claim that Bondi is out of touch with the needs of patients. “Attorney General Bondi wants to deny Floridians the opportunity to even vote on this issue," said campaign manager Ben Pollara.

Florida’s high court will conduct a hearing on the measure on Dec. 5. Meanwhile, supporters of the amendment have until Feb. 1, 2014 to amass the 700,000 signatures required for the proposal to make it onto the ballot in November.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.