Florida’s Amendment 2 – which would have legalized medical marijuana – was struck down, victim of a three percent difference between the 57 percent of the vote which it had and the 60 percent of the vote which it needed. In a midterm election dominated by Republicans, the loss comes as no surprise, but is still disheartening to supporters of medical marijuana.
The case for medical marijuana by its supporters is simple: marijuana has been proven to decrease nausea, lower intraocular eye pressure for patients who suffer with glaucoma, increase appetite and also block out pain better than many pain relievers.
The campaigns for Amendment 2, both for and against, resulted in one of the most expensive ballot measures in the country. With over $6.2 million spent in opposition to Amendment 2, the the negative message was spread far and wide. In comparison, People United for Medical Marijuana spent more than $6.5 million over this last year on advertisements to support the ballot initiative, which, until election day seemed to be working well.
With several early indicators pointing towards overwhelming support for the initiative, including one poll that resulted in 88 percent of the voters supporting Amendment 2, hopes among backers were high. With a late push by the opposition – despite still having the majority of voters – those hopes were at least temporarily squashed.
“We’ll smoke regardless, it’s just up to the government to get into the action,” Max Jodoin, a first-year at New College, said. “The initiative will eventually pass, the only question is when.”
The United States now has 23 states in which medical marijuana is legalized, which started with California in 1996, but – at least for now – it seems like Florida will not be one of them. Although discouraged, medical marijuana backers have not given up on their fight, vowing to bring medical marijuana to the state, possibly as early as next session.