In less than two months Florida voters will be going to the polls to decide whether or not to approve a proposed ballot initiative, dubbed Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana. The ballot measure has enjoyed overwhelming support and stands to generate billions in economic activity. However, as we creep closer to the vote, many supporters fear that the movement is losing steam; some of the latest polls seem to support this claim.
According to a recent survey conducted by SurveyUSA, 56 percent of voters in Florida plan to vote Yes on Amendment 2, while 31 percent plan to vote No and 13 percent remain undecided. In most elections we’d call that a landslide; unfortunately, Amendment 2 is a constitutional amendment and requires 60 percent of the vote.
Another poll conducted by News 13 Orlando reflected similar results; 57 percent approve Amendment 2, 23 percent oppose and 17 percent are unsure. These polls are in sharp contrast to the oft quoted poll from Quinnipiac University, which reported that 88 percent of Florida’s residents support marijuana legalization.
Right now Amendment 2 is riding a fine line between success and failure; and these polls do little to illuminate which side it will fall. What’s more is that the two polls showing Amendment 2 losing are within the margin of error, so it could literally be a coin toss as to whether it Amendment 2 will pass.
Despite the uneasy predictions of these latest polls, all is not lost. There is still a sizeable portion of the population undecided on the issue. Even if Amendment 2 only picks up three to four percent of the undecided votes, it will still be enough to pass the ballot measure.
Polls are often problematic and open to interpretation; they are most often seen in the light that is most helpful to the observer, and not necessarily the examined. Polls can provide reassurance during election cycles, but what matters is what actually happens on the ground.
There is still a lot of time left before November and the only information that these recent polls truly reveal is that the fight is not over. If I can hearken back to John Morgan’s cocktail-fueled cannabis speech for a moment: If Florida medical cannabis voters don’t go out and vote, then we will lose the election.
Cannabis supporters have a reputation for being apathetic and lazy. If there was ever a time to prove that assumption wrong, it is now. Don’t sit out this election, vote.