Medical Marijuana Initiative Falling Short in Florida


No on 2

As expected, it looks like Amendment 2, which would have made Florida the first Southern state to approve medical use of marijuana, is falling short of the 60 percent support it needs to pass. With 69 percent of precincts reporting, the results are 57 percent in favor and 43 percent against. John Morgan, leader of the Amendment 2 campaign, said he would try again in 2016 if the vote was close to the 60 percent threshold for constitutional amendments.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia recognize marijuana as a medicine, with rules ranging from strict (e.g., New Jersey) to loose (e.g., California). Amendment 2 would have moved Florida toward the California end of that range, allowing marijuana use by patients suffering from nine specific conditions, plus "other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient." 

Support for Amendment 2 plummeted between July, when a Quinnipiac University poll found that 88 percent of voters favored the measure, and October, when a Gravis Marketing poll found that just 50 percent did. Opponents, aided by $5 million in donations from Republican casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, argued that the regime established by the initiative would be tantamount to general legalization, which they said would lead to horrors such as date rape facilitated by pot cookies. 

Update: With 82 percent of precincts reporting and the breakdown unchanged, A.P. is calling the race. Judging from NBC's exit poll numbers, the initiative would have passed if 1) only men had voted, 2) only Democrats had voted, 3) only independents had voted, 4) only blacks had voted, 5) only Latinos had voted, or 6) only people younger than 65 had voted. Given Florida's demographics, that last point was probably the most crucial. Surveys generally find that both experience with marijuana and openness to marijuana reform decline with age. Apparently the medical angle was not enough to win even a majority of retirees, let alone 60 percent. NBC puts support for Amendment 2 in that age group at just 38 percent.

[Thanks to Marc Sandhaus for the exit poll link.]

NEXT: Maddow Calls Marijuana Legalization a 'Clear Partisan Issue'

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  1. So no knock on John Morgan, but he is basically an ambulance chaser. With that said he is WAAAAYYYY more credible than all of the Ammendment 2 opponents.

    1. Sure, he is, but he’s completely correct here.

      Sheldon Adelson, however, is a piece of shit. Though that may be giving him far too much credit. (Not just for this either, he’s pretty much an asshole all around)

  2. I’m amazed anyone is dumb enough to think up that ad, much less be persuaded by it.

  3. They shuld be telling you about how cannabis oil cures cancer. research Rick Simpson and watch “Run From the Cure”

  4. I’m shocked, not.

  5. “Opponents, aided by $5 million in donations from Republican casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson”

    So he supports pointless wars at home as well as pointless wars abroad.

    Good to know.

    1. Next time, the Pro-MJ folks just need to say that if medical MJ is not legalized, that bingo will go down with it. Trust me, this will work.

      1. Good point – churches make a lot of their money from bingo.

  6. It is not surprising that Florida rejected medical marijuana given the state’s history of drug smuggling. We cant question the logic, but until you have lived through what they did in South Florida in the 1980s and 90s, you cannot understand. Cocaine trafficking cause unimaginable crime and chaos in South Florida. In addition, you have the example of how “medical marijuana” has been corrupted into a huge illegal trade for recreational use in California. Thousands of “prescriptions” were written for people with imaginary illnesses so they could simply smoke dope legally. For these reasons, it makes sense voters might be leery of legalizing any drug regardless of how it is intended to be used.

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