Don't Worry, Florida, Medical Marijuana Will Be Back in Two Years and Will Probably Pass

Sometimes you don't get high on your first try.

Amendment 2 may have narrowly missed the 60 percent voter threshold needed to pass a constitutional amendment, but main sponsor John Morgan has already announced he'll place another medical marijuana amendment on the ballot in 2016. This time, there's an even better chance it will pass.

See also: Florida Election 2014 Results: Scott Wins Re-Election, Pot Amendment Fails

Morgan, a personal injury megalawyer, was disappointed about Tuesday's defeat.

"Medical marijuana in Florida got 500,000 more votes than Rick Scott and 600,000 more votes than Charlie," Morgan told WESH. "We lost because turnout wasn't what it could have been."

But the attorney said he'll start raising money to get a similar initiative on the ballot in just two short years. And his chances could look pretty good.

For one thing, polling has suggested that as much as 80 percent of Floridians support medical marijuana in theory, and for months it looked like the amendment would easily pass.

However, an unprecedented campaign to scare voters away from the amendment was financed almost totally by casino billionaire and conservative sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson. This pushed the amendment just below the necessary threshold.

Adelson, who is 81, has not signaled whether he'll finance a campaign again in 2016, but the pro-medical marijuana side has the natural advantage of time and inevitability on its side.

Morgan and the People United for Medical Marijuana can also craft tighter ballot language for next time, meaning detractors -- like most of the (misguided) editorial boards around the state -- will have fewer scare tactics available.

Florida's electorate is also likely to become more open to the idea as younger voters enter the electorate, and older voters -- well, let's not get morbid here.

Placing the initiative back on the ballot in 2016 during a presidential year also means there will be naturally higher turnout, which, as Morgan notes, could have been a help this year.

So although it may be inconvenient for many of those suffering today, it seems like it's only a matter of time, possibly as short as two years, until medical marijuana is legalized in Florida.

Unless, of course, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature and Rick Scott want to take it up before then. Which, well, don't hold your breath.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Munzenrieder