Results are mixed in two polls surveying voters intentions on the Amendment 2 ballot initiative. An Anzalone Liszt Grove Research poll found support for Amendment 2 at 69 percent while a SurveyUSA poll indicated support was at 56, below the 60 percent threshold needed for approval.
The Anzalone Liszt Grove is the fourth poll in the past year commissioned by United for Care the group advocating for the initiative which would allow doctors to treat patients with marijuana. All four surveys found approval for the measure hovering around 70 percent.
“If you look at the poll numbers since the beginning of last year they are virtually unchanged, and they reassert what we’ve consistently said: Floridians overwhelmingly support medical marijuana,” said Ben Pollara, United for Care spokesman.
A second poll released Monday showed support for the proposed constitutional amendment under the 60 percent threshold. A WFLA-TV SurveyUSA poll found 56 percent of respondents said they would vote yes. The margin of error for the survey is 4.2 percent.
The survey found the measure exceeding 50 percent of approval in every region of the state but that does not meet the constitutional requirement of 60-percent approval for an initiative to become law.
SurveyUSA tilts towards an older more conservative sample by relying heavily on landline telephone lines. Seventy-four percent of respondents were asked questions over a landline telephone and 26 percent received a text message on their cellphone or other electronic device.
The survey of 750 adults conducted the week of Sept. 12 identified 571 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4.2 percent.
Florida’s Amendment 2, which seeks to legalize medical marijuana, continues to enjoy “strong and stable” support from voters, according to a poll sponsored by the central organization backing the measure.
In a Sept. 12-18 poll from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and commissioned by United for Care, 69 percent of likely Florida voters support Amendment 2, with only 28 percent opposed.
State constitutional amendments need 60 percent voter approval to pass. What makes these numbers noteworthy is that they demonstrate backing of the amendment has remained mostly unchanged since early last year.
United for Care sponsored four internal polls since January 2013, where medical marijuana had 70 percent support. In a second poll, taken March of 2013, 71 percent of respondents said they intended to vote “Yes.” A third poll, from June 2014, also reported 70 percent voter support for Amendment 2.
“If you look at the poll numbers since the beginning of last year they are virtually unchanged, and they reassert what we’ve consistently said: Floridians overwhelmingly support medical marijuana,” said United for Care Campaign Manager Ben Pollara in a statement. “Keeping medical decisions in the hands of doctors – not politicians – is simply not a controversial position for the vast majority of Floridians, and that has not changed over the last twenty-one months.”
“The latest poll speaks very highly of the basic compassion of Florida voters,” Pollara added. “Opponents of Amendment 2 have been relentlessly pushing disingenuous talking points, and insulting the intelligence of the voters.
“But Floridians have seen through their deception and they are ready to vote for this amendment because it is the right thing to do for the ill and the suffering.”
The Anzalone Liszt Grove Research poll sample size was 1,004 likely Florida voters, with a margin of error of +/-3.1 percent.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida will produce five Medical Marijuana Education forums across the state in advance of the Nov. 4 election. The foundation has scheduled panel discussions in Pensacola, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale and Miami in October.
A Foundation news release explained the forums are designed to provide a better understand of epilepsy and medical marijuana including cannabadiol and the potential treatment option the Amendment 2 ballot measure would provide.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida is the lead advocate for people with epilepsy and seizure disorders, about 375,000 Floridians.
The lineup of speakers will include a neurologist for each discussion, Rep. Matt Gaetz, who sponsored the Charlotte’s Web law will attend the Pensacola forum. Former House Speaker Jon Mills, who successfully defended the Amendment 2 ballot language before the Supreme Court, is scheduled for the Gainesville forum.
The schedule includes a parent of a child with epilepsy for the forums in Pensacola, Gainesville Jacksonville and Miami while a pharmacist with epilepsy will participate in Fort. Lauderdale.
A representative with United For Care and one with Vote No on 2 will also be included on each panel.
“The upcoming forums are an excellent way to deliver impartial information in an educational and balanced environment, so attendees can receive answers to their most pressing questions on the topic, said Karen Basha Egozi, the Epilepsy Foundation Florida president.
“With forums representing all facets of the debate, including leading state officials, medical experts, families impacted by the disease and the coalitions both for and against Amendment 2, we look forward to hosting and providing the audience with wide-ranging expertise on the medical marijuana dialogue in Florida.
The dates and location of the forums are:
Oct. 2, Jacksonville and Pensacola
Oct. 7, Gainesville
Oct. 18, Ft. Lauderdale
Oct. 23, Miami
More information can be found at the Epilepsy Foundation website, EFOF.org.
Florida voters will legalize medical marijuana — at least that is what South Florida attorney Howard Wander believes.
And he is betting on it.
Wander, a principal partner and COO of Kelley Kronenberg, has already added two marijuana experts, with plans to add more if Amendment 2 should pass on the Nov. 4 ballot.
In addition, all of the firm’s 105 lawyers are preparing to guide clients on the effects of the new law, such as employer rights if employees fail drug tests and workers’ compensation coverage if a marijuana patient is injured on the job.
“This is a train that’s coming,” Wander told reporter Celia Ampel of the South Florida Business Journal. “And everybody needs to understand it’s coming and how to contend with it.”
Kelley Kronenberg hired South Florida attorney Michael Minardi, who has 12 years’ experience with marijuana violations. Minardi’s specialty will be helping marijuana entrepreneurs with state and federal laws.
Ampel also noted that the firm added a non-lawyer with a direct connection to medical marijuana: Seth Hyman, the Weston father instrumental in constructing the bill Gov. Rick Scott signed in June legalizing “Charlotte’s Web,” the low-THC medical marijuana extract.
“We have an eight-year-old daughter named Rebecca,” Hyman said, “and Rebecca is severely medically complex … she doesn’t walk or talk.”
Hyman’s daughter has hundreds of seizures a day, uncontrollable with traditional medicine. Charlotte’s Web – the strain he helped legalize in Florida — has proven to help children with such seizures.
Now, he serves as Kelley Kronenberg’s director of business development, to answer client questions as an entrepreneur.
“We want to shed light from a legal perspective on how beneficial this industry could really be,” Hyman told Ampel. “Not only for the patients but for the industry as a whole.”
Kelley Kronenberg will also work with city governments to address employer issues and zoning issues impacted by the law.
Even if medical marijuana is not legalized in November — although polls show as much as 88 percent of likely Florida voters support the amendment — Wander believes legalization will happen eventually. When it comes, Kelley Kronenberg will be prepared
“As the industry grows, the firm will seek opportunity,” Wander said.
Kelley Kronenberg has offices in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Lakes and Miami.
Florida wouldn’t be quite the same without snowbirds — those seasonal residents from the North who flock south every winter.
If Amendment 2 passes in November — legalizing medical marijuana – the annual flight of snowbirds may just get that much bigger.
Any effect of legal medicinal pot is one of the great unknowns of the issue, and varies depending on who you are talking with.
For example, tourism officials, both state and local, say the amendment will not make much difference on tourism numbers or snowbirds.
Others believe it is too early to tell, writes Mary Wozniak of News-Press.com.
Florida is attractive to seniors for its warmth and sunshine, especially for those dealing with persistent pain from health issues and have low tolerance for cold climates. Medical marijuana would not be the only reason to come down to Florida, but it does add to its appeal.
A financial analysis from the Department of Health estimating the potential impact of Amendment 2 found that snowbirds could be a potential revenue source for medical marijuana tourism.
“An estimated 17,178 to 41,271 may apply for an ID,” said Phil E. Williams of the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research. Wozniak notes that there have been no updated numbers since early November.
Applying for an ID for medical pot will be a process with several steps, which could the analysis points out could discourage short-term visitors.
If Amendment 2 passes, Florida would join 23 states and the District of Columbia that legalized some types of medical marijuana. Another question is reciprocity; will Florida recognize the medical pot ID of other states? The answer, says Wozniak, is unclear.
“The specific criteria would likely be up to the Department of Health through its rulemaking, or the Legislature as part of any implementing legislation, to determine whether ID cards from other states with the same physician certification requirements would be acceptable,” Williams told News-Press.com in an email.
If voters approve the amendment Nov. 4, it goes into effect Jan. 1. The Florida Department of Health will then have six months to provide draft rules, and nine months to register dispensaries and start issuing ID cards to qualified residents and caregivers.
Snowbirds and tourists are different; a “snowbird” is a part-time residents, usually here a month or longer and frequently property owners. A large number of snowbirds are Florida residents, particularly because of the state’s lack of income tax. Tourists are short-term visitors.
Even if the 41,000 snowbirds apply for medical marijuana ID, that is just a fraction of the number of visitors to the state, which Visit Florida — the state’s tourism agency — estimates to be 94.3 million last year. Florida is on track for 100 million visitors in 2014.