Despite Opponents' Quibbling, Support For Medical Marijuana High

Jul 28, 2014

A ballot measure on this November's ballot will decide whether medical marijuana comes to Florida.
Credit Brett Levin via Flickr

Experts say Floridians fed up with the war on drugs are driving broad support for medical marijuana in the state.  A third consecutive Quinnipiac University poll finds more than 80 percent of Floridians support physician-directed use of the drug.

Despite a strenuous campaign against Amendment Two – a ballot initiative that would allow medical marijuana in Florida – it seems little has changed in public opinion.  The “Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot” campaign says polling would be drastically different if pollsters asked more specific questions.  The group complains Quinnipiac asks about support for doctor-prescribed marijuana, when technically physicians can only recommend the drug to patients. 

“Amendment Two does not require a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain medical pot, because a prescription would violate federal law,” says Nanette Schimpf, spokeswoman for the “Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot” Coalition.

But University of Miami political scientist Joseph Uscinski argues support is strong for other reasons.

“I think that people’s minds are changing,” Uscinski says, “they’ve seen a drug war go on for the past forty years, and by all accounts it hasn’t gone very well.”

Uscinksi says those policies were costly and misguided. He says the nation’s efforts to crack down on illegal drug use have failed and people are still using them at similar rates.

“I think people put all these together, and they say it’s time to move forward and have more sensible drug policies,” Uscinksi says.

Amendment Two needs approval from 60 percent of those at the polls this November to be added to the Florida constitution.