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Almost 70% Of Floridians In Favor Of Proposed Adult-Use Legalization Bill

Recently, a poll conducted by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab revealed that almost 70% of Floridians are in favor of a proposed adult-use legalization bill. This bill would allow adults over the age of 21 to purchase and possess cannabis for personal use in the state.

As Florida currently only allows medical marijuana use, this proposed bill is generating a lot of public interest and debate. The poll results show a significant majority of support for the bill, indicating that it may have a strong chance of passing if put to a vote.

Florida has had a tumultuous history with marijuana legalization. In 2014, the state approved the use of low-THC cannabis for medical purposes, and in 2016, voters passed an amendment allowing medical marijuana for a wider range of conditions. However, the implementation of these laws has been slow and faced legal challenges.

Currently, Florida’s medical cannabis program is heavily regulated, with only licensed dispensaries allowed to cultivate and sell products. Patients must have a qualifying medical condition and obtain a recommendation from a certified physician to access medical marijuana. Possession limits for patients are also strictly enforced.

Despite the current laws in place, there is still high demand for legalizing adult-use cannabis in Florida. This has led to the proposed bill that was recently polled by UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab.

The Poll Results from UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab

The poll was conducted from November 6 through November 26, 2023, by the Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida. This poll utilized a dual-frame, multi-mode design, incorporating both telephone and web surveys. The sampling frames, consisting of phone numbers, were sourced from the Florida voter file. Of the 716 registered voters who completed surveys, 277 were completed via telephone and 439 online.

There was majority support for adult-use across each political, gender, race and age demographic that was reported in the survey.

Democrats led the way with 78% in favor, 55% of Republicans, and other parties at 69%. Ages 18-24 showed the highest support for legalization of adult-use cannabis in Florida at 86%, even ages of 65 and above, held a majority favor at 51%.

If it appears on next years ballot, it would need to garner 60% in favor, with the small sample size of the poll, it looks like it has a real opportunity to pass.

“Unlike previous surveys when we simply asked if folks support or oppose legalization of recreational marijuana, this time we gave respondents the specifics of this proposed amendment,” PORL faculty director and political science professor Dr. Michael Binder said. “Yet again, it looks like it has a good chance of passing, if the measure makes it through the courts, and that is a very big ‘if’.”

Support for the Proposed Adult-Use Legalization Bill

The Smart & Safe Florida campaign, backed by medical marijuana company Trulieve, is leading the charge in support of the proposed adult-use legalization bill, with Trulieve donating more than $39 million to campaign.

The initiative would allow adults 21 years or older to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise; allows Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, and other state licensed entities, to acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute such products and accessories.

It sets personal possession limits to three ounces of flower, and up to five grams of concentrate.

The proposed ballot, does not allow home grow, expungement of cannabis crimes, or any social equity initiatives.

While it has a strong support system around it, the proposed adult-use legalization bill is facing legal challenges from the state’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody. In a petition to the Florida Supreme Court, Moody argues that the ballot language is misleading and should be struck down.

In her argument, Moody cites federal law which still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance. She claims that allowing adult-use in Florida would conflict with federal law and therefore, cannot be allowed.

Furthermore, Moody contends that the ballot language is misleading as it could give Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTC) like Trulieve complete control of the adult-use marijuana market.

Despite the legal challenges and lack of key components like homegrow, expungements, and social equity clauses, it is clear that there is strong support for adult-use cannabis in Florida. The recent poll conducted by UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab shows that almost 70% of Floridians are in favor of the proposed bill.

If the initiative does make it onto the ballot, it has a real possibility of passing with such high support from voters. While there may be some legal hurdles and disagreements, the fact remains that the people of Florida want access to adult-use cannabis.

It is important for lawmakers to take note of this public opinion and work towards creating a bill that not only legalizes adult-use but also addresses key issues like homegrow, expungements, and social equity. Progress may be slow, but this poll shows that any progress is good progress towards a more inclusive and accessible cannabis industry in Florida.

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