Florida voters support legal marijuana ahead of potential 2024 ballot measure

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By Giselle Balido

December 1, 2023

If the initiative does go before voters, it would need 60% approval in order to amend the state constitution to legalize the sale of cannabis without a medical license.

Floridians could soon be voting on a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana, and if a new poll is any indication, residents could soon be able to purchase cannabis in the Sunshine State without a medical license. 

More than two-thirds (67%) of registered voters would back the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the state, according to a new poll from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL).

Under current Florida law, anyone in possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana faces a misdemeanor charge, with a potential sentence of up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Possession of more than 20 grams is considered a felony and carries a possible sentence of up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000.

The Adult Personal Use of Marijuana amendment put forward by Smart & Safe Florida earlier this year would permit people 21 and older to buy cannabis without a medical license. 

 

RELATED: Florida Supreme Court considers putting recreational marijuana on 2024 ballot

 

Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments to allow the amendment—which would limit purchases to three ounces of marijuana and does not include provisions for at-home growing—on the 2024 ballot.

The measure collected enough valid signatures to qualify for a 2024 general election ballot.

The results of the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) show that:

  • 67% percent of Floridians would vote yes for a proposed constitutional amendment permitting people 21 and older to buy marijuana without a medical license.
  • The majority of respondents in favor of decriminalization includes 77% of Democrats, 53% of Republicans, and 58% of voters with no party affiliation.
  • 28% of those surveyed were against decriminalizing cannabis and 5% refused to answer the question or were unsure.

The poll has a 4.37-percentage-point margin of error.

Two previous surveys of its kind from the same lab–one in the spring of 2022 and another in 2023–that asked Floridians whether they would vote in favor of recreational cannabis, saw support of 76% and 70% of voters respectively. 

 

RELATED: Large Loads of Drugs Keep Surfacing in the Keys

 

Professor Michael Binder, the Public Opinion Research Lab’s faculty director, believes the minor decline in approval is likely due to how the question was posed, rather than waning support. This time, pollsters gave respondents the specifics of the proposed amendment. 

“Yet again, it looks like (the amendment) has a good chance of passing if it makes it through the courts, and that is a very big ‘if,’” Binder said in a statement. 

The big “if” is due in great part to push back from Florida’s far-right Republican leaders, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody, who sought to stop the measure in its tracks when she filed a petition to block it.

If the initiative does go before voters, it would need 60% approval in order to amend the state constitution to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana.

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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