As if the 2014 election in Florida won’t be interesting enough — thanks to what likely will be a bare-knuckles brawl between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, now a Democrat — there is the minor matter of a proposed state constitutional amendment that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
There has been a lot of news in recent years about loosened rules regarding marijuana use in states like California, Oregon and Colorado. So to some it may appear that the marijuana moment is about to arrive in Florida. A number of polls suggest a majority of Florida voters are in favor of letting people use marijuana for medical purposes such as reducing the nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy. Under state law, however, a mere majority on Nov. 4 won’t be good enough. Proposed constitutional amendments have to garner at least 60 percent of the vote in order to be approved.
So pro-amendment forces may need to convince voters on the fence the measure would only make marijuana available to people with real medical conditions and not lead to an increase in recreational use, especially by young people.
Most Florida elected leaders are sitting out the marijuana amendment debate for political reasons, but the Florida Sheriff’s Association will mount an anti-amendment campaign under the banner “Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot.” The sheriffs will compete against a fall pro-amendment ad campaign backed by media savvy Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan.
We normally would urge people to pay attention to the marijuana amendment debate, but in this case it may be hard to miss.