We’re five months away from the November elections, but already the medical marijuana battle in Florida is ramping up.
Polls show that support for Florida’s Amendment 2 – which would legalize cannabis for certain qualifying medical conditions -has anywhere between 60 and 88 percent support. But backers say that isn’t enough to coast to victory. According to Florida law, constitutional amendments proposed in ballot measures have to pass with 60 percent of the vote.
“We can’t take anything for granted,” Ben Pollara, spokesman for the group United For Care, which is pushing the amendment, told WTSP.
Especially when the anti-medical cannabis groups are out in force, spreading misinformation about what the bill will and won’t do, notably claiming that it will pretty much outright legalize cannabis in the state and that kids will be able to purchase medical weed without their parents. Both claims are false, but the groups continue to spread them despite being called out by United For Care.
Pollara says that United for Care will need about $10 million to push their campaign between now and November. He says that $5 million raised already has mostly gone to fight to get petition through the state appeals court after the language was challenged by the state Attorney General. POllara also points out that major backers of the anti-Amendment 2 campaign seek to profit from the illegality of cannabis, namely Drug Free Florida’s Mel Sembler, who formerly ran a corrupt drug abuse program for teens. Then there was the selection of Carlton Turner as chairman for the Vote No on 2 campaign, a guy who thinks marijuana leads to homosexuality. And finally, there’s their spokeswoman Sara Bascom, a lobbyist who also represents tobacco companies.
Despite that, they’ve got money and increasingly more backing. As of last week, the No on Amendment 2 campaign had registered about $7.7 million, mostly through large donations from Republican backers.
Florida’s elections are Nov. 4.