A Hugely Important Swing State Is Set to Legalize Medical Marijuana

A Hugely Important Swing State Is Set to Legalize Medical Marijuana

The news: A massive majority of Floridians want weed legalized in their state, with a new Quinnipiac poll showing that an overwhelming 88% of likely voters favor medical marijuana. With a highly anticipated medical marijuana voter initiative due in November, legalization is imminent in the fourth largest state in the country.  

Support for legalization is strong across all demographics, even traditionally conservative groups that are less likely to favor medical marijuana legalization. Just look at these numbers:

- A stunning 80% of Republicans polled support medical marijuana.

- Among voters over the age of 65, 83% support medical marijuana.

- Younger residents are even more in support, with an overwhelming 95% of voters 18-29 in of support medical marijuana. Overall, 55% are in support of recreational marijuana legalization as well.


Image Credit: Florida Today

This is a huge deal for marijuana. After New York, Florida will be the second major East Coast state to legalize medical marijuana. It's also poised to be the first Southern state to have a comprehensive medical marijuana program, which could influence the surrounding, traditionally conservative region to have more progressive marijuana policies.

What will legal Florida look like? Florida's medical marijuana initiative, Issue 2, stipulates that doctors can prescribe marijuana for any "debilitating medical condition," specifically listing cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and Parkinson’s disease, among several others.

It also includes a provision for "Other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient." This provision would make Florida's medical marijuana law one of the most lenient bills of its kind. Its program will be more akin to California's, where any doctor can recommend marijuana for any ailment, than to New York, which has a strict list of treatable diseases.  

That means a perennial swing state with one of the oldest populations in the country is going to vote in one of the most liberal medical marijuana laws to date.

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Abdullah Saeed

Abdullah Saeed covers drug policy, focusing on newly forming cannabis legislation in the US. He is the author of VICE's "Weediquette" column as T. Kid. His work has appeared in High Times, Huffington Post, Paper, and Village Voice, among others.

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