This November, Florida is going to be voting on whether or not to legalize marijuana. The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, would allow patients suffering from debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana so long as they have a recommendation from a licensed doctor. Judging by how rapidly legalization is spreading, one would typically say that it’s a definite possibility that Florida is going to legalize medical marijuana, but for certain reasons, that is not the case. Let’s take a look at those reasons.
First of all, Florida has the notorious sixty percent rule, which states that in order for an amendment to pass, Sixty percent of voters must approve the bill. This rule has been the downfall of marijuana in Florida many times before. For instance, during 2014, Amendment 2 received 57.5% support overall. Normally, this should indicate that the majority of people would like to legalize medical marijuana, and therefore it should be passed, but the sixty percent rule prevents that. We recently reached out to Ben Pollara, the campaign manager for United for Care, the organizers of the amendment.
“Yeah, I think we’re going to make it this year,” Pollara said to marijuanastocks.com when asked about the sixty percent rule. “We were just a bit over two percent last time, time has passed, and this is a presidential election year, so I’m pretty confident that Amendment 2 is going to pass this year.
Other states that have legalized medical marijuana rarely pass a support rating of sixty percent, which makes it very unlikely that Florida is going. For example, in 1998, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington decided to vote on medical marijuana. They each received 58%, 55%, and 59% support overall, respectively. There is one difference, though, and it’s not good for Florida. None of these states had an organized group dedicated to stopping the amendment, but Florida does. Sheldon Adelson, Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands, is planning on spending more than $10 million in Florida just to stop Amendment 2 from passing again. The same ads that scared voters in 2014 are going to come alive once more this year.
There is one more major concern for the state: most of the voters are elderly. A fourth of the electorate in 2014 was composed of people 65 and older, whose age group has an opposition rating of 62%. During the same year, only fourteen percent of the electorate were between the ages of eighteen and thirty, whose age group has a support rating of 79%. If medical marijuana is going to be legalized nine the state of Florida, people are going to need to come out and vote. Luckily, Pollara says there’s no need to worry about that.
“Since this is a presidential election year, historically we’ve seen that voters come out more. Also, the electorate is different; the new electorate is younger and blacker,” Pollara assured.
Michael Minardi, a lawyer and advocate of cannabis legalization and Florida, also had similar thoughts. Also, he is taking specific steps to ensure that voters realize that voters get out there and do not repeat what happened two years ago.
“I do think the presidential election will bring more youth to the polls,” Minardi said to marijaunastocks.com during an interview. “I also think the youth are frustrated with the loss in 14 and will get out to vote this year. The worry is no Bernie Sanders among the youth and it deterring them to vote. I am trying to send the message to the youth that their voice still must be heard and not voting will not get there message across. I have been telling those that are frustrated with the system to go in and just vote on Amendment 2, and not any other issues or for candidates they do not support. I am hoping they will understand by placing a vote for Amendment 2 they are better able to illustrate their support for an issue and frustration with the candidates and political process.”
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