For over a decade, legislators have declined citizens’ pleas to legalize medical marijuana. In November of 2014, citizens put a constitution amendment on the ballot purely through citizen initiative. Just months before the election, medical marijuana had a 78% approval rate across political allegiance, race, age and gender, according to Tallahassee.com.
Legislative leaders have not hidden their disapproval of the measure; anti-drug crusaders formed a committee funding their efforts with millions of dollars given by Sheldon Anderson, a lobbyist for casinos and gambling in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Anderson is trying to bring casinos and drinking to the state, which are – for some reason considered fine and harmless by these groups.
The reasoning of anti-pot crusaders in the state is a little ridiculous, stating that even marijuana prescribed would be too dangerous, ignoring the fact that doctors prescribe far more potent and hazardous prescription opiates, stimulants, and benzodiazepines. These detractors neglect to acknowledge that the 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen very good results.
After these groups sabotaged medical marijuana efforts in Florida, support dropped considerably. A solid 58% of voters were in favor of the amendment allowing medical marijuana, but it needed 60% for approval. This will at least send a message to the governor (who, by the way, won his seat with 49% of votes) that the citizens want medical marijuana.
The group United at Care has once again begun the petition-collecting process, gathering hundreds and thousands of signatures for a new and improved initiative to legalize medical marijuana. This initiative will likely be on the 2016 ballot and hopefully by then, many of the weak anti-marijuana arguments will have faded away.