Huffpost Politics

A Majority Of Florida Voters Support Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

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Florida residents don't just love medical marijuana, they support legalizing the recreational use of it, too.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, a whopping 88 percent of residents support legalized marijuana for medical use, with the number in favor reaching as high as 95 percent among voters 29 and under.

But a majority of Floridians also support legalizing the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana, 55 percent to 41 percent.

"Forget the stereotypes of stodgy old folks living out their golden years playing canasta and golf," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said in a statement. Sixty-four percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independent voters are in favor of legalizing recreational use. Republicans are opposed to it, 56 percent to 41 percent.

As one might expect, support for legal recreational use of marijuana is strongest among young voters (72 percent among voters 29 and under) and weakest among those over 65 (59 percent opposed).

Florida, however, lags behind the likes of Colorado and Washington state, where both medical and recreational use has been legalized. The Florida Legislature just passed a bill that allows residents suffering from epileptic seizures and other diseases to access "Charlotte's Web," an oil extract of marijuana that is placed under the tongue and does not produce a high.

A more expansive constitutional referendum that would legalize medical marijuana in Florida gained enough signatures to make the November ballot. It must get 60 percent of the vote then, but "these numbers make a strong bet the referendum is likely to pass," Brown said of the poll results.

If it passes, according to Quinnipiac, 71 percent of Sunshine State voters say they would support having a marijuana dispensary in their city.

Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D) said he will vote to legalize medical marijuana.

"This is an issue of compassion, trusting doctors, and trusting the people of Florida," Crist said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post in January. "I will vote for it."

Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R), who opposes medical marijuana, unsuccessfully attempted to block the referendum.

“I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative. But, having seen the terrible affects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it," Scott said in a statement.

The Quinnipiac poll, which was conducted over five days last week, surveyed 1,251 registered voters and has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

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