If medical marijuana were on the ballot today, Floridians would pass a constitutional amendment to legalize it, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
The Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey found 65 percent of likely voters are in favor of a state constitutional amendment to expand medical marijuana while 28 percent are opposed to the idea.
Florida is expected to vote on a medical marijuana amendment in November and would need to receive 60 percent of the vote to be adopted.
The same amendment was on the ballot in 2014, but despite polling well at the start of the election cycle, it fell short, receiving only 58 percent support.
People United for Medical Marijuana (United For Care), a pro-medical marijuana group largely led by uber attorney John Morgan, shouldered the responsibility of collecting enough signatures to get the amendment on the ballot this year.
United For Care’s constitutional amendment petition would allow for the medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver. It would also prohibit physicians from being subject to criminal or civil liabilities under Florida law for issuing a prescription for medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana would only be allowed for use for those with “debilitating” medical conditions which would include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and for other conditions which a physician feels using medical marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
As of April 2015, 23 states had legalized medical cannabis in the U.S. while seven other states had pending legislation to legalize the drug for medical use. Marijuana is still considered illegal under federal law.
PPP's survey asked Floridians about other issues, as well.
When asked about raising the federal minimum wage, 25 percent say it should go all the way up to $15 an hour while 21 percent think it should go to $12 an hour and 30 percent think it should go to $10 an hour. But 11 percent want to keep the federal minimum wage at $7.25 while another 11 percent want to get rid of it altogether.
The poll shows 86 percent back criminal background checks for everyone who buys a gun while 8 percent oppose the idea.
Florida divides over President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law with 42 percent supporting it and 41 percent opposing it.
A slim majority--51 percent--say they strongly back Obama’s call for the EPA to limit carbon output from coal plants while 18 percent are somewhat in favor of it. Ten percent say they somewhat oppose the proposal while 15 percent are strongly against it.
As he ponders running for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate, the poll shows U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has the approval of 40 percent of those surveyed while 32 percent disapprove of him. While he has been on the Florida political stage for four decades, more than a quarter of voters--28 percent--are not sure about Nelson. A third of Democrats--32 percent--are not sure about Nelson while 53 percent approve of him and 15 percent disapprove of him. With independents, Nelson does better with 44 percent approving of him and 28 percent disapproving of him. Republicans line up against Nelson with 49 percent disapproving of him and 27 percent approving of him.
Gov. Rick Scott is upside down in the poll with 38 percent approving of him and 48 percent disapproving of him. Scott is seen as favorable by 62 percent of Republicans but 27 percent disapprove of him. More than two-third of Democrats--68 percent--disapprove of him. A third of independents--32 percent--approve of Scott while 54 percent disapprove of him.
The poll of 1,012 registered Florida voters was taken Feb. 24-Feb. 25 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN.