New Poll: Florida Voters Want Medical Marijuana, Decriminalized Weed

Despite narrowly voting against legalized medical marijuana in November, Sunshine State residents now want lax weed laws

By
Tabitha Winslow
A marijuana reform supporter in Florida. J. Pat Carter/AP/Corbis

Although Florida citizens narrowly voted against legalizing medical marijuana this past Election Day, a new poll of Sunshine State voters revealed that Floridians are in favor of both legalizing marijuana for medical use and decriminalizing weed for personal use. The new study also shows that the only reason that voters rejected the pro-pot Amendment 2 in November is because the prospective law's wording "troubled many voters," ABC Action News in Tampa Bay reports.

In a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, a resounding 84 percent of Florida voters said they would vote in favor of a bill to legalize medical marijuana. However, when Amendment 2 was brought to voters, only 58 percent of citizens voted in favor of the bill, just 2 percent shy of the 60 percent needed to enact the law. According to Quinnipiac, it's likely Amendment 2's complex wording likely conspired against itself, as only 14 percent of Floridians polled said they would vote against a legalized medical marijuana bill.

States like Alaska, Washington, Colorado and, starting in July, Oregon have all embraced decriminalized weed, and if the Quinnipiac poll captures the tenor of Florida voters, it's not a matter of "if" but "when" the Sunshine State follows suit. In the new poll, 55 percent said they would be in favor of decriminalized weed laws similar to that of Oregon and Alaska - meaning no dispensaries but legalized possession and personal cultivation - while 42 percent would be opposed to such a law.

Surprisingly, of those 55 percent, a majority of that number admits they still wouldn't use marijuana. Only 17 percent of those polled said they would "definitely" or "probably" take advantage of Florida's lax marijuana laws, while 81 percent admitted they still wouldn't get high even if they were allowed to.

"These results show that marijuana legalization is a mainstream issue that ambitious politicians should try to latch onto instead of run away from," Tom Angell, Chairman of Marijuana Majority, told ABC Tampa. "If the next president isn't willing to personally support ending prohibition as the best policy approach, he or she at least needs to push for changing federal laws so that seriously ill people can use medical marijuana without fear of being harassed by the DEA."

A bill to approve medical marijuana will be back on the Florida ballot for Election Day 2016.

x