wjxt logo

Failure to pass medical marijuana in Florida ironic

Floridians voted to put pregnant pig protections into Constitution

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Medical marijuana didn't pass on Election Day, but it's safe to say it won the popular vote. Even after a majority vote, Florida can't put the medicinal pot into effect.

Some lawmakers have already expressed interest in expanding a low-THC medical marijuana law they passed this year.

If Rick Scott ran against medical marijuana in Florida's governor race, he'd be out of a job. About 500,000 more Floridians voted yes on medicinal pot Amendment 2 than they did for Scott.

The governor won with less than 50 percent of the vote, Amendment 2 lost with 57 percent of voters on its side. Supporters said that should tell you something about how people feel.

"There's still a lot of support out there around Florida for the compassionate use of medical marijuana," said Jeff Sharkey, of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.

So how did we get here? It has a little something to do with pigs. Floridians voted to put pregnant pig protections into the Constitution in 2002. Florida TaxWatch said that was one of many examples of Florida making it too easy to amend its own rules -- only needing more than 50 percent of voter approval.

"We hope we keep out things that are frivolous, but it's really up to the voters," said Robert Weissert, of Florida TaxWatch.

The Legislature proposed bumping the threshold up to 60 percent in order to change the Constitution in 2006. Ironically, that measure passed with only about 57 percent of the vote.

"There is a positive logic to the 60 percent. It's something that we need to (have) the option to do, but it should be hard to do it," said Weissert.

That brings us to 2014 and Amendment 2: Even with the popular vote, medical pot didn't pass. Opponents contend the law is the law, even with a majority of voters saying yes.

"The rules are the rules, they knew they needed to meet a 60 percent threshold," said Sarah Bascom, of the Vote No on 2 campaign.

The fight isn't done. Odds are the proposal will be back in 2016 if the Legislature doesn't move to act before then.