When asked if qualifying patients who live far away from a dispensary should be able to grow their own plants, only 30 percent of voters in the poll favored the idea; 70 percent agreed with the statement that “medical marijuana should only be available at a licensed dispensary regulated by the state. People should not be allowed to grow marijuana at home under any circumstances.”
About 52 percent of poll respondents said they “worry” kids could more easily obtain marijuana if medical cannabis were legalized.
Also, the idea that medical marijuana is a “gateway drug” leading to more cocaine or heroin use is a major challenge, according to the focus group report.
A plus for the proposal: 79 percent of voters agreed with the statement that marijuana is “lot less dangerous than many prescription drugs which are easily available.” And 74 percent agreed with the statement that “marijuana is illegal because pharmaceutical companies and drug cartels are making so much money selling their drugs.”
The most popular statement polled: “The best treatment for a patient is a medical decision and should be made exclusively by a doctor and a patient.” More than 91 percent of people agreed with that statement.
But don’t expect the state’s leading physicians group, the Florida Medical Association, to support the proposal. Like the American Medical Association, the FMA opposes medical-marijuana initiatives.
So does the St. Petersburg-based Save Our Society from Drugs, which has fought similar proposals in other states.
“This isn’t just about somebody on their death bed smoking a joint,” said Calvina Fay, executive director for SOS, said. “This is about cultivation, trafficking, sales, retails sales and it’s not limited to people on their death bed. It’s wide open.”
The main financial backer of Florida’s proposed constitution amendment, Orlando trial lawyer and Democratic fundraiser John Morgan, whose father used medical marijuana before his death recently, said opponents are using fear tactics that keep sick people from getting the relief they need.
So far, marijuana decriminalization forces have won the day in 19 states plus the District of Columbia, which have decriminalized pot in one form or another. The Illinois Legislature approved a medical marijuana plan last month and New Hampshire just followed suit.
Florida’s Legislature has refused to even hear the issue.