A new Quinnipiac poll has shown that 84% of Floridians approve of medical marijuana, while only 14% say they disapprove. The poll also showed a majority favored legalization of recreational use of cannabis as well, with 55% supporting that change in the law.
While these numbers are encouraging and should be viewed as a sign we continue to head in the right direction, it is also important to take them with a grain of salt. If you will recall, Amendment 2 also enjoyed very favorable polling numbers in the run up to the November 2014 election. However, despite its popularity in the polls, that measure failed to meet the necessary 60% approval by voters. As a result, Floridians continue to wait for legal access to medical cannabis.
The primary reason for this is that polling results often vary considerably depending on how the questions are presented to the persons being polled. For instance, a general question such as “do you like pizza?” will get nearly 100% approval, while a question like “do you like pepperoni pizza?” will necessarily exclude vegetarians and those who just don’t like that topping and will get a lower approval. Taking it a step further, the question “do you like pizza with anchovies?” would get an even lower approval.
So, while Floridians may support the general notion of legal medical cannabis in large numbers, those numbers will inevitably fall off as the specifics of a particular law or amendment are presented. This is likely what occurred in November when large numbers of Floridians agreed with the idea of medical marijuana, but a sufficient number of them were concerned with the specific language of Amendment 2 to cause that measure to fail.
So, be happy about the new poll numbers, but be careful not to get a false sense of security from them.