Florida and marijuana are already a well-matched couple. Jimmy Buffett, the state's de facto songwriter-in-chief, supported himself as a weed smuggler and wrote odes to mary jane. The tropical climate is perfect for growing herb. And finally given the chance on a statewide ballot, more than seven in ten voters hopped on the medical-marijuana train in 2016.
So it's really no shock that a new poll suggests a healthy majority of Floridians would be down to delve deeper into the High Times lifestyle. The survey out of the University of North Florida this morning shows that 62 percent of registered voters would back a state law regulating marijuana just like alcohol — with an impressive 45 percent saying they'd "strongly support" a move to fully legalize weed.
Sadly, the survey is purely academic for now. Organizers trying to gather the 766,000 valid signatures to place a recreational-marijuana initiative on this November's ballot fell well short of their goal before the February 1 deadline. And they'll need a major infusion of cash to hit that number before the next statewide ballot.
But the poll out of UNF is the latest evidence that such a campaign could find strong statewide support. The survey, which polled 619 registered voters evenly split along party lines, shows only 27 percent strongly opposed a move toward full weed legalization.
Even better news for pot organizers: Only 3 percent of respondents said they didn't know where they stood on the issue, suggesting most voters know about the pros and cons of legal marijuana, and a healthy majority are onboard. (Of course, Jeff Sessions' new federal crusade against the "Devil's lettuce" could be a whole separate roadblock.)
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Aside from the pot question, the UNF survey was full of good news for liberals. The pollsters found that a wide majority of people plan to cast ballots in favor of restoring voting rights to felons, helping to erase a blatantly white-supremacist state law dating back to racist post-Civil War legislators. A full 71 percent of those polled say they back Amendment 4, which would erase the ban.
“[It] is so widely supported, even a majority of Republicans support it," Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF, says in a release. "What remains to be seen is whether or not an influx of money opposing this ballot measure will knock off enough support to prevent it from reaching the 60 percent necessary to pass."
The poll also shows that 82 percent of Floridians believe Dreamers — who were brought to the States as children by undocumented parents — should be given a legal path to citizenship and that 59 percent of voters are against opening up college campuses to concealed weapons.
In the looming gubernatorial race, the headline from the poll is that most voters are unfamiliar with the candidates on either side of the ticket, though former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine received a bit of good news as the best-known Democrat. (Still, 73 percent of voters had never heard of him.)