A new poll by Quinnipiac University reveals that 82% of Florida voters support medical marijuana. Florida advocates are currently pushing for legislation that would allow seriously ill residents to use marijuana with a recommendation from their doctors.
Support for the proposed constitutional amendment is high among voters of every political stripe, age and income level, with independents lending the most support: 88 percent, the poll shows.
The overall 82-16 percent support for medical marijuana is the biggest to date. The previous high-point for Florida approval was about 70 percent in a poll taken earlier this year by the medical marijuana advocacy group, People United for Medical Marijuana.
Nearly half of Florida voters favor [legalization] — 48 percent — while 46 percent oppose pot legalization for personal use. That’s within the margin of error, but it’s a leading indicator of a shift in public opinion. Support for legalization is again strongest among independents (57-37 percent), and then Democrats (55-39 percent).
But Republicans are opposed 30-64 percent. Contrast that with GOP voter support for medical marijuana is solid: 70-26 percent.
Medical marijuana is a contentious subject in Florida, where seniors and patients have been working diligently to educate voters and gather support. The political establishment has noticed, and the placement of medical marijuana on the November 2014 ballot could influence the gubernatorial race.
Del. Manypenny (left) and Matt Simon
A January poll showed that a majority of West Virginia voters support a law allowing medical marijuana in their state, and now their representatives are listening. The WV Joint Committee on Health recently held hearings into the advantages of medical marijuana, and heard stories from patients around the state who seek its relief. In addition, Del. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) plans to reintroduce a bill this January that would establish a program to regulate medical marijuana. Until then, lawmakers are studying medical marijuana policies across the country to find a plan that fits for West Virginia.
Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for MPP, wrote to the Charleston Gazette:
Lawmakers in Charleston are fortunate in that they can look at 20 other states’ laws and determine which features would work best for West Virginia. The fact that this process has already begun provides hope to countless seriously ill residents and their families, some of whom worry they might one day have to leave the state in order to follow their doctors’ advice.
It is time for state lawmakers to take a long, hard look at the evidence surrounding this issue and build upon the knowledge that has been gained from the hearings held this year. If they do so objectively, they will surely agree that West Virginia should be the next state to enact a sensible medical marijuana law.
Kentucky advocates for medical marijuana received a pleasant surprise last week when several media outlets reported that House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) is now “leaning in favor” of passing a medical marijuana law.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Stumbo, formerly the state’s attorney general, has long been considered an opponent of reforming marijuana laws. When Kentucky was considering a bill to allow industrial hemp earlier this year, Stumbo’s attempt to block the bill resulted ina public dispute with the state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Stumbo eventually relented under strong public pressure and allowed the bill to pass.
Although industrial hemp and medical marijuana are very different issues, advocates feared Stumbo would take a similar attitude toward medical marijuana legislation. His recent comments would appear to pave the way for the Kentucky House to seriously consider a medical marijuana bill in 2014.
If you are a Kentucky resident, please click here to write your elected officials and ask them to sign on in support of medical marijuana legislation.
In a recent poll commissioned by the Oklahoma chapter of NORML, voters spoke loud and clear in favor of improving marijuana laws in the state, and an overwhelming majority support legal access to medical marijuana. If you live in Oklahoma and you agree it’s time to establish a compassionate and sensible medical marijuana law, tell your legislators today!
Over 71% of voters in the state support allowing seriously ill patients to possess marijuana for medical purposes with a physician’s recommendation, with broad support among both parties. Medical marijuana is a safer alternative to many pharmaceutical medications, which can have harmful side effects and even lead to overdose deaths. Seriously ill patients in the state deserve an option that will not make them criminals just for seeking a safer alternative.
Sen. Constance Johnson has long been a champion of medical marijuana in the state, but her efforts to bring relief to seriously ill patients have been blocked by leadership. If you are an Oklahoma resident, send a clear message to your senator and representative that it’s time to stop frustrating the will of the voters and support a compassionate law for Oklahomans!
Nevada state lawmakers approved a bill Monday that will establish a state-regulated system of dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to licensed patients. It will now be transmitted to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his signature, and he has said he is open to dispensary legislation.
MPP’s Karen O’Keefe, who testified in support of the bill, was featured in a story by Reno’s Fox affiliate station:
“Nevadans with serious illnesses who are using medical marijuana under the supervision of their doctors should have a safe and legal way to obtain it,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We applaud the Nevada Legislature for taking action to protect patients and promote a safer and healthier state for their constituents.
“We are hopeful that Gov. Sandoval will join legislators and the voters of Nevada in supporting a system of state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries that is long overdue,” O’Keefe said. “Regulating medical marijuana works.”
SB 374 establishes rules and regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries, infused product manufacturers, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities. In addition to standard sales taxes, medical marijuana will be subject to excise taxes of 2% on wholesale sales and 2% on retail sales, of which 75% will be directed to education and 25% will be directed toward implementing and enforcing the regulations.
Currently, patients must grow their own marijuana or have it grown for them by a physician-approved caregiver despite the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1998 and 2000 requiring the legislature to set up a medical marijuana program that includes appropriate methods of supplying medical marijuana to qualified patients. In 2012, Clark County District Judge Donald Mosley called the state’s current system “absurd,” “ridiculous,” and unconstitutional. Apparently the legislature agreed. Let’s hope the governor will, too.