The results of recent polls indicate that Florida’s medical marijuana amendment has a strong chance of earning the 60 percent of votes it needs to pass in November.
A pair of new polls indicates that the support among Florida voters for a medical marijuana measure is rising. This November, Florida will decide on Amendment 2, a measure that would legalize full medical marijuana for patients of 10 approved conditions.
One poll, by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute in Saint Leo, Florida, found that 68.8 percent of likely voters in Florida support the medical cannabis measure. The other, conducted by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida, found support among voters to be at 77 percent.
As an amendment, Florida’s Amendment 2 needs at least 60 percent of the vote in November to become law.
“It appears as though medical marijuana supporters will get the victory they were denied by voters in 2014,” said Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, said in a news release. “The higher the turnout among young voters, the better the chance that this amendment passes.”
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducted a similar poll this summer and found that support for the medical marijuana measure among likely voters has gone up over the past three months. It was at 65.1 percent in June.
The University of North Florida’s poll found support for the amendment to transcend differences in age and political party.
“Huge majorities of likely voters support Florida Constitutional Amendment 2,” said Dr. Michael Binder, Faculty Director of the Public Opinion Research Laboratory. “Not only are Democrats wildly supportive, but even Republicans are above the 60 percent threshold required for passage. The strongest support comes from the voters 34 years old and younger, but even likely voters 65 and older are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.”
If voters do pass Amendment 2, patients that have the recommendation of a licensed physician will be legally allowed medical marijuana for the treatment of cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV and AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Doctors will also have the ability to recommend medicinal cannabis for patients with “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated.”
Currently, Florida has a CBD-specific marijuana law, which it enacted in 2014. However, the highly restrictive law only applies to people suffering from seizures, muscle spasms or cancer, and patients are only given access to cannabis oil that contains 10 percent or more of cannabidiol (CBD) and no more than 8/10s of 1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Because of the limited number of qualifying conditions, an absence of approved doctors, and the restriction to only cannabis oil, the program has failed to gain any traction.
Additionally, everyone in Florida and throughout the United States already have legal access to CBD oil that is extracted from hemp. While the cannabis oil sold in Florida dispensaries contains up to 0.8 percent THC and considered medical marijuana, CBD that is extracted from hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC and therefore isn’t confined by the same restrictions. CBD hemp oil is legal to purchase, without a doctor’s recommendation, in all 50 U.S. states and in 40 countries worldwide.
The Saint Leo University poll was conducted online from September 10 to 16 and had 502 respondents. The University of North Florida statewide poll was conducted over the phone between September 27 and October 4, and had 696 respondents.