Florida came very close to passing a medical marijuana legalization initiative during the 2014 Election as I'm sure most readers of this blog are well aware. That initiative polled very well leading up to the election, but due largely to a very negative (and many would say outright misleading) opposing campaign funded almost entirely by Sheldon Adelson. Sheldon Adelson funds a lot of conservative political efforts. When the dust settled, the initiative failed by just two percent (58% total).
A new effort has been underway in Florida for 2016, led by the same people behind the 2014 effort. They have already turned in over 100,000 signatures according to media reports out of Florida. A poll was released last week that returned very favorable results for the campaign. Per the Orlando Sentinel:
A new poll released Friday finds that two-thirds of likely Florida voters are willing to vote yes for medical marijuana legalization.
The survey, done by St. Pete Polls, finds majority support for medical marijuana in every market of the state. Overall, 68.2 percent of those surveyed say "Yes," when asked: "If the new medical marijuana initiative makes it on to the ballot this year will you vote for it?"
"No," got 25.3 percent, and just 6.5 percent said they were undecided.
The poll was taken July 18-28. eight months after a proposed Florida constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana drew a 58 percent vote, and therefore failed to reach the 60 percent approval needed to be adopted.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, the 2014 initiative had similar poll results early on in the campaign. The real question is how much can opponents chip away on that lead by using the same scare tactics they did the last time? I'm sure Mr. Adelson will be back to foot the bill for those efforts, and I'd imagine Kevin Sabet will be visiting the state often throughout campaign season. Hopefully the campaign makes just enough tweaks and the Presidential year bump will be just enough to combine for 2 more percentages than the 2014 effort got to push it over the top.