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New poll shows greater support for legalized marijuana in Florida

A Quinnipiac University poll released this morning shows the largest support for legalizing marijuana in the State of Florida ever. This should help Libertarian Party of Florida gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie. Unlike his opponents, who have very limited support of legalizing marijuana, Wyllie would like Floridians to have the freedom to utilize the plant as they wish, so long as they take the personal responsibility that goes along with its use. It should also help Libertarian Party of Florida Attorney General candidate, Bill Wohlsifer, who has been on the forefront of the getting marijuana legalized in the state.

Among Florida seniors, 83% support legalizing the plant and 95% of millennials (18-29 year olds) do as well. Even 80% of Republican voters support its legalization, which is a major switch from just a few years ago. Overall, 88% of Florida voters support legalizing cannabis for medical use, which bodes well for the November general election's Amendment 2.

It is the level of legalization which there is some discrepancy. Fifty-five percent of Florida voters support allowing adults in the state to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use a/k/a "recreational marijuana." The level of legalization Democrats are at is 64% and Republicans are at 41%. Millennials support this level of legalization at 72%, while seniors are only at 36%. It becomes clear through the poll that seniors mostly support medical marijuana, however have not yet made the leap to allowing use of the plant as say, having a beer or a glass of wine.

The issue will be on the ballot in the general election in November, allowing medical marijuana legalization in the State of Florida, however it is not about full legalization of the plant. The issue, known as Amendment 2 in Florida, would not suddenly cause millions of Floridians to grow the cannabis plant in their backyards. Should Amendment 2 pass, it will be one of the most regulated industries in the State of Florida while also bringing in a hefty amount of extra tax revenue for the state.

"Forget the stereotypes of stodgy old folks living out their golden years playing canasta and golf," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. "Almost nine- in-ten Floridians favor legalizing medical marijuana and a small majority says adults should be able to possess small amounts of the drug for recreational purposes.

"Even though a proposal to legalize medical marijuana, on the ballot this November, must meet a 60 percent threshold, these numbers make a strong bet the referendum is likely to pass," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

"As the Quinnipiac University poll has found in other states, men support recreational marijuana more than women and of course young voters support it more than older voters."

If medical marijuana is legalized in Florida, voters say 71 - 26 percent they would support having a marijuana dispensary in the town or city where they live. Support ranges from 57 - 37 percent among voters over 65 years old to 79 - 21 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old.

The gender and age gaps persist as 44 percent of Florida voters say they have tried marijuana. That includes 51 percent of men, 39 percent of women, 48 percent of voters 18 to 29 years old and 23 percent of voters over 65 years old.

"No 'Not in My Backyard' mentality here. By an almost 3-1 majority, Florida voters would allow a medical marijuana dispensary near where they live," Brown said.