Medical Cannabis Has Republican Support in Florida

medical cannabisMedical cannabis legislation that broadly affects the state’s laws has been finding increased support from Republican citizens and lawmakers in Florida. Polls have already found massive support for legalization of the plant for medical purposes among the general populace, as well as Republican districts, and the roadblocks standing in the way of change may soon be toppling.

The biggest roadblock to legalization perhaps is Florida’s Republican Governor, Rick Scott. However, Scott may inadvertently aid the cannabis cause, as he is running for reelection this year and it is estimated his campaign will spend $100 million on television ads to see him win another term in November. His opponent, Democrat Charlie Crist, is supposed to generate $50 million in TV ad spending as well. All of this spending will slash the supply of available ad time, driving the prices of commercials sky-high. That leaves the opponents of marijuana legalization stuck in a situation where they have to raise an incredible sum of money to influence a reversal of the popular opinion of the citizenry in Florida.

The Miami Herald recently published a poll that said a massive 78 percent of voters in Republican districts support the idea of medical legalization. This poll is not an outlier, but rather the norm as numerous others have been recently released. When asked about what would happen if legalizing medical marijuana crossed his desk, Scott remained firm in his stance, saying, “I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path.”

It isn’t a slam dunk for supporters of medical cannabis by any means, as a constitutional amendment would need at least 60 percent of the popular vote to pass in Florida, so a minority of voters, Republican or otherwise, could defeat the proposal. The proponents are clear they are seeking only the legalization of marijuana for medical use as 20 other states and Washington DC have already done, but not recreational use like in Colorado and Washington state. Opponents though point out that legal medical use is just a stepping stone to eventual full cannabis legalization across the state.

A poll conducted by the Tarrance Group that focused specifically on Republican controlled districts found that 47 percent of voters favor outright legalization, with 48 percent opposed, an incredibly slim margin considering the volume of conservative participants. Although these voters are not totally in favor of legalization, there is massive support among them to decriminalize weed.

Opponents have their backs up against the wall. Political candidates must spend nearly $2 million a week to run enough commercials to repeatedly reach the amount of voters that would make a significant difference in the fight. Political candidates also receive the lowest rates for advertising from media outlets, so if political action committees and private interests want to get involved in the ad war, they’ll have to fork over significantly more money. Also, television ads have become less effective in recent years as the amount of unconventional entertainment viewing options continues to multiply. Viewers can fast forward through many commercials or they can watch commercial-free movies and shows via pay cable or streaming services like Netflix, so it will be even more difficult to turn the tide.

The massive popularity has also emboldened some Republican lawmakers in the state to support legislation that would legalize medical cannabis. The most notable situation concerns the marijuana strain nicknamed Charlotte’s Web and its use by people with epilepsy. Charlotte’s Web contains a low amount of THC, the chemical in marijuana that triggers a high, and so it is supported by lawmakers as safe for use by sufferers of the disease. The low THC levels in the weed made the law easier for Republicans to get behind, as they face far less scrutiny for doing so than they would for supporting broader legalization.

The fight will continue raging though as each side states their particular cases and scrambles to find the money to convince voters. The attitudes of Republican supporters in Florida though follow many across the country, as the medical cannabis legalization debate continues.

By Matt Stinson


Miami Herald
Herald Tribune
NBC Miami

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Read more here: Republican state Senate district poll, conducted last month by the Tarrance Group, found that 47 percent of likely voters favored outright legalization and 48 percent opposed legalization. And voters strongly backed lighter prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
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Read more here: Roberts, president of Virginia-based Smart Media Group, one of the nation’s premier political ad-buying firms.The estimated $150 million that could be spent — $100 million from Scott and Republicans; $50 million from Democrat Charlie Crist — “can cause a lot of voter confusion when it comes to other issues on the ballot,” Roberts said.

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4 Responses to "Medical Cannabis Has Republican Support in Florida"

  1. Fire   March 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

    You mean you will read your comment, and if we agree with what we want your comment to say we will publish. Are we in Cuba?

  2. Dr. Vape (@VivaVapeNation)   March 9, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Many people of Florida are independent minded and concerned for personal freedoms; I believe many people in Florida support medical marijuana because of the overwhelming evidence that it’s helpful to people with Cancer and Crohn’s disease alike.

  3. Norman Gooding   March 9, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Gov Scott and any professional politician will change their stance when they start losing supporters in the upcoming elections,,they will suddenly remember we are supposed to be a government of the people for the people by the people,,not a people run by political the DEA and the DOJ or any other bureaucracy,,state or federal.

  4. Norman Gooding   March 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I suppose it is time to give politicians a lesson in election campaigning,,if you want the voters to support you try to support your voters,,over 70% of the voters see over 20 states with MMJ programs and half the population of the US using marijuana under a doctor’s care as an accepted medical use for marijuana,.,,

    It really doesn’t matter what the federal government and it’s political appointees thinks of marijuana as a medicine does it?

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