Medical Marijuana Legalization Draws Closer in Florida
January 28th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Florida could become the next U.S. state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. In a 4-3 Supreme Court decision, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana use will go before the state’s voters in November. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia, while Colorado and Washington have legalized its recreational use.
“I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative,” said Governor Rick Scott in a statement. “But having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it. No matter my person beliefs, however, a ballot initiative would be up to the voters.”
The campaign to include medical marijuana in the elections was spearheaded by personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who spent about $4 million on the petition drive. Mr. Morgan plans a voter registration drive and advertising campaign leading up to the election, as well as an effort to help supporters get to the polls. In the end, the measures must receive 60% approval from voters in order to be passed into law.
Polls have demonstrated robust support for the measure in the Sunshine state. As many as 70% of registered Republicans in Florida favored medical marijuana in a November Quinnipiac University poll. Support was even higher among democrats with 87% support, while independents had 88% support. These statistics suggest that the measure will pass into law, adding Florida to the list of states with legalized marijuana.
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