Support for Medical Marijuana Soaring in Florida
Around the State
poll released Monday morning from Quinnipiac University found overwhelming support for more medical marijuana use in Florida. The poll shows 88 percent of Florida voters support the legalization of medical marijuana while only 10 percent oppose it.
In November, Floridians will vote on Amendment 2, a proposed state Constitution amendment allowing more medical marijuana use in the Sunshine State. For it to pass, Amendment 2 needs 60 percent support.
The poll finds voters of all ages support medical marijuana use with voters under 30 offering the most support as 95 percent of them back it and only 5 percent of them oppose it. Voters older than 65 are the most likely to oppose medical marijuana but even they are overwhelmingly in its corner. The poll finds 83 percent of voters older than 65 back medical marijuana while only 13 percent oppose it.
"Forget the stereotypes of stodgy old folks living out their golden years playing canasta and golf," said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, on Monday. "Almost nine-in-10 Floridians favor legalizing medical marijuana and a small majority says adults should be able to possess small amounts of the drug for recreational purposes.
"Even though a proposal to legalize medical marijuana, on the ballot this November, must meet a 60 percent threshold, these numbers make a strong bet the referendum is likely to pass," said Brown.
Voters of all stripes support medical marijuana legalization, with 94 percent of Democrats, 89 percent of independents and 80 percent of Republicans behind it.
But, even as the polls shows voters back more medical marijuana options, it also finds they are much more divided when it comes to legalizing marijuana for recreational use. A majority of those surveyed -- 55 percent -- support legalizing marijuana for recreational use and 41 percent oppose it.
"As the Quinnipiac University poll has found in other states, men support recreational marijuana more than women and of course young voters support it more than older voters," Brown said.
As Brown noted, there is a major gender gap on this issue as men break 61 percent to 36 percent in support of recreational marijuana legalization while women back it by a much more narrow margin, 49 percent to 45 percent. There is also a pronounced difference on age with 72 percent of voters under 30 supporting it and a majority of seniors -- 59 percent -- opposing it.
Recreational marijuana also leads to a sharp partisan divide. Democrats back legalizing recreational marijuana 64 percent to 32 percent while independents support it 55 percent to 40 percent. A majority of Republicans -- 56 percent -- oppose recreational marijuana legalization while 41 percent support it.
A solid majority of those surveyed -- 71 percent -- support marijuana dispensaries being opened in their town if medical marijuana is legalized while a quarter -- 26 percent -- oppose the idea.
Asked if they have ever tried marijuana, 44 percent of those surveyed admit they have, including a majority of men -- 51 percent -- and 39 percent of women.
The poll of 1,251 Florida registered voters was taken from July 17-21 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.