Florida Group Pushes Anti-Marijuana Ad As MMJ Vote Nears

By Seth Ferranti 10/18/16

Despite the efforts of legalization opponents, a number of polls show that close to 80% of Floridians support the MMJ bill.

Florida Group Pushes Anti-Marijuana Ad As MMJ Vote Nears
Photo: via YouTube

As Florida gets ready for a vote on medical marijuana this November, some have taken issue with a new ad that claims that pot will be packaged as candy and marketed to children. The “Vote No On 2” organization behind the commercial is claiming that Amendment 2, the proposal that would establish the ground rules for medical marijuana in Florida, will lead to unregulated pot use because the framework is full of loopholes.

The Vote No On 2 campaign fashions itself as an alliance of people who believe that Amendment 2 "is simply a guise to legalize pot smoking in Florida.” The lobbying group contends that medical marijuana would be bad for the state.

"Pot packaged like candy. Up to 20 times stronger than it once was. Marketed to kids. Sold next to schools in nearly 2,000 pot shops across Florida. No medical standards. No pharmacists. No prescriptions. And no way to stop it unless you vote no on Amendment 2,” the ad trumpets, reminding us of the "reefer madness" campaigns of the early 20th century. But Vote No On 2’s fear-mongering tactics may not be working.

"Huge majorities of likely voters support Florida Constitutional Amendment 2," Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Laboratory, told Alabama.com. "Not only are Democrats wildly supportive, but even Republicans are above the 60% threshold required for passage. The strongest support comes from the voters 34 years old and younger, but even likely voters 65 and older are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.”

The proposed legislation doesn’t allow doctors to write a prescription for pot. It only allows them to write a “physician certification” which the amendment defines as "a written document signed by a physician, stating that in the physician's professional opinion, the patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition, that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for the patient.” The patient would then be able to get a state-issued card that allows them to get medical marijuana at a "Medical Marijuana Treatment Center." 

Politifact Florida, a fact-checking website, said that although Amendment 2 allows edible forms of weed, suggesting that the edibles will be marketed to kids "plays on parents' fears without any proof that's what will happen.” Amendment 2 needs an approval rate of 60% to pass and a number of polls have reported that close to 80% of people in the state support the bill.

In 2014, the initiative was defeated, but a recent poll done by the Public Opinion Research lab at the University of North Florida showed that only 18% of Florida’s voters oppose the measure now. 

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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