Florida Voters Support Legalization of Medical Marijuana 

 December 7, 2013

By  LMW Attorneys

Marijuana is a hot topic of debate within the general population and the government. While some states have cleared the way to legalize recreational marijuana use, others still don’t allow it for even medicinal purposes. While Florida doesn’t allow medical marijuana, many voters in the state support legalizing it.

In a recent poll put out by Quinnipiac University between November 12 and November 18, it was found that 82% of Florida’s population would support the use of marijuana if prescribed by a doctor. The poll surveyed over 1,500 registered voters. Republicans were less likely than other groups to support the idea of using marijuana for medicinal purposes, but even so, only 30% of Republicans are against the idea. With a margin of error of 2.4%, it’s still clear that most voters are unified when it comes to the issue. In total, more than four-fifths of Florida’s population would vote to legalize medical marijuana if the idea were put on the next ballot.

If the issue does come to a vote soon, it’s all but decided; however, legalizing small amounts of marijuana for recreational use is another story. While the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, Florida may not be ready to take that leap. With 48% of the population for legalizing it and 46% against it, it falls within the margin of error. Although the numbers are close, men tend to be slightly in favor of the idea, while women tend to be in slight opposition.

It is currently a misdemeanor to possess marijuana in Florida, and it’s a felony to sell, transport, or cultivate it. If a person is convicted of a marijuana-related crime, their driver’s license can be suspended for up to two years.

With all the buzz around medical marijuana lately, many people who live in states where it’s legal assume that it’s legal everywhere, but in fact, there are only 16 states that allow marijuana usage, and 14 of those states require a prescription from a physician. Most states – 34 of them – don’t allow any type of marijuana usage at all. If the poll in Florida is anything to go by, though, lack of support by the general population isn’t the problem. If given the option, it seems that many people would vote in favor of allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes, if not for recreational ones.

Whether the issue is placed before the voters in the next election depends upon how the Florida Supreme Court rules on a challenge by Pam Bondi, the Florida Attorney General. Oral arguments were heard on December 5, 2013 on the challenge to the ballot initiative. The Republican hierarchy has jumped on board with Pam Bondi, in an attempt to prevent the voters from ever having an opportunity to vote on the issue. If they are successful in convincing the high court that the ballot language is unclear, then the issue will never see the light of day before the voters.

If you have been charged with a marijuana related misdemeanor or felony, it’s important that you seek legal representation immediately.  Contact New Port Richey Attorneys, Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins today at 727-478-4125.