TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Voters can expect a spirited and expensive campaign over medical marijuana this fall. Vote No on 2 is raising millions of dollars to fight the amendment, as millions of dollars are being spent to support it, and a new group joined the fray Tuesday afternoon.
Opponents say nearly half a million people will qualify for medical marijuana, and more than 1,800 shops will open in Florida to supply them with it.
A new organization called Don't Let Florida Go To Pot is backed by Florida sheriffs and is fighting the pot amendment.
"It's wrought with loopholes," said Grady Judd, president of the Florida Sheriff's Association. "It is very cleverly written so there can be use and abuse."
The original opponent, Vote No on 2, says the amendment allowing medical marijuana could lead to marijuana for everyone.
But the amendment allowing medical marijuana gives rule-making authority to the State Department of Health to regulate who, how much and how often. Consultant Brian Vicente was active in Colorado's medical marijuana and legalization efforts. He said approval means going from the unknown to the known.
"The person purchasing it understands that the product they are buying isn't something that was sprayed with chemicals, they actually know the composition of what they are buying, and they can actually talk to someone that understands what it will do for their ailment," Vicente said.
Pro-marijuana forces have raised just over $5 million. Vote No on 2 reported raising $2.6 million last month.
The Vote No on 2 folks say they will spend whatever it takes to defeat the medical marijuana amendment.
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already allow some form of medical marijuana. Whether Florida becomes the 22nd will be the subject of millions spent educating people on both sides.