A poll released by Gravis late Tuesday finds Florida voters are close to passing a proposed state constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana use, but it also shows opposition to some aspects of it.
The poll finds 57 percent of those surveyed plan to back the proposed amendment while 31 percent say they will vote against it. Some 11 percent are undecided. The amendment needs 60 percent support in November to pass.
Proponents of the proposed amendment, led by trial lawyer and Democratic fundraiser John Morgan, gathered enough signatures to make the November ballot. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi challenged the proposed amendment, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled by a 4-3 decision at the end of last month to keep it on the ballot.
But the poll finds Florida voters believe medical marijuana should generally be used for more severe conditions. Only 46 percent support the use of medical marijuana for people with minor medical conditions while 39 percent oppose it. Asked whether medical marijuana should be used to treat nonserious conditions, including constant pain, menstrual cramps and anxiety, 60 percent of Florida voters opposed the idea while only 21 percent backed it. Only 26 percent of Floridians believe marijuana should be legal in all cases, while 66 oppose across-the-board legalization.
The poll does offer some hope to opponents of the proposed amendment. A majority of those surveyed -- 54 percent -- said they would oppose the medical marijuana amendment if they are convinced it violates federal law while 27 percent say they would continue to support it.Gravitas also found Florida voters could turn against the amendment if opponents play up children's access to medical marijuana.
The current medical marijuana amendment does not differentiate between children and adults, Gravitas told poll participants. Children will be able to get access to medical marijuana without parental permission or without their knowledge. Knowing this, would you vote yes or no on the amendment?
Phrased that way, 64 percent of Florida voters opposed the amendment while 26 percent supported it.
Gravitas also found the proposed amendment could be sunk by having a loophole over caregivers.
Supporters of this amendment say that they are providing medical treatment to persons in need, but this amendment also authorizes caregivers to assist in medical marijuana use, Gravitas told poll participants. There are no standards for caregivers and the language would permit drug addicts, drug dealers or felons to assist in smoking pot. Knowing this, would you vote yes or no on the amendment?
After being told this, Florida voters broke against the proposed amendment with 67 percent opposing it and 25 percent supporting it.
The poll finds a tight battle in the Florida gubernatorial contest. Former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination despite spending most of his political career as a Republican and an employee of Morgans law firm, leads the race with 47 percent followed by Gov. Rick Scott right on his heels with 43 percent. Adrian Wyllie, the favorite to be the Libertarian nominee, gets 3 percent.
The poll also finds Bondi ahead of two Democratic rivals. Bondi takes 44 percent when matched against former DCF Secretary George Sheldon who follows with 36 percent. Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer, who is expected to be the Libertarian candidate, takes 4 percent, while 16 percent are undecided.
When matched against House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, Bondi leads by a similar margin, taking 45 percent while the Democrat garners 36 percent. Wohlsifer moves up to 6 percent; 12 percent are undecided.
The poll of 808 registered Florida voters was taken Jan. 30-31 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.