Everyone in Florida Wants Medical Marijuana, and Most Want Decriminalized Weed

For months leading up to last year's vote on Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical pot in Florida, polls consistently showed huge margins in favor of reform — and we all know how that turned out.

Still, the numbers are eye-opening in the latest survey out this morning on Florida's opinion about weed. The poll shows not only 84 percent in favor of medical marijuana but also a clear 55 percent majority backing decriminalizing small amounts for personal use.

The results come from a new Quinnipiac University Poll released this morning. The pollsters sampled a little more than 1,000 registered Florida voters and found 84 percent backed medical marijuana, with just 10 percent dissenting.

Asked whether they'd back changing the law to let adults “legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” Floridians said yes by a 55-42 percent margin.

Still, Amendment 2 fell 2 percentage points short of its 60 percent threshold despite months of polling showing up to 90 percent supported the change, so take those numbers with a grain of salt. "It is worth considering the lesson of Florida in 2014, when a referendum on medical marijuana fell short of the 60 percent needed for passage,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, says.   


But the results don't hurt reformers' efforts to push less ambitious medical marijuana bills through Tallahassee this session.

Outside of the weed questions, the poll also found that Floridians still think Gov. Rick Scott is bad at his job (with 49 percent disapproving of his work and just 42 percent supporting) and that a very early look of a potential 2016 state senate matchup between Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican Jeff Atwater favors Atwater by 38 percent to 34 percent. 
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink