Majority of Florida Voters Support Cannabis Legalization, Not Enough To Pass Measure

The most recent poll of Florida voters shows that recreational cannabis legalization still has majority support, but it may not be enough to exceed the 60% threshold needed to pass the reform measure.

By
Keegan Williams

The campaign to legalize cannabis in Florida is alive and well, as the state’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that voters will be able to decide the next chapter of cannabis reform on this year’s November ballot.

With an already bustling medical market, Florida’s potential move into the recreational cannabis space has been highly anticipated since the Sunshine State first moved to introduce medical reform in 2016. Cannabis businesses also have a hefty investment in the reform measure, with Trulieve contributing more than $40 million to the campaign, alongside an additional several million dollars from a handful of other medical cannabis treatment centers.

While the momentum ahead of Election Day feels significant, it’s possible that there may not be enough support to pass the measure under the state Constitution — at least when it comes to the results of a new poll.

The Latest Poll on Florida Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization

In Florida, measures must gain 60% support in order to pass. A new USA Today/Ipsos survey suggests that a majority of registered Florida voters, 56%, support the measure — along with 49% of Florida adults overall. Forty percent said that they would vote against it, and just 4% said that they were unsure.

Democrats and independents were most supportive of the measure (69% and 63%, respectively), while 39% of registered Republican voters  said they would vote in favor of the measure. The survey also found that support varied by region, with those in central Florida more likely to say they are in favor of recreational cannabis legalization than those in north or south Florida (54%, 49% and 38%, respectively).

While there are no differences in self-reported plans to vote for recreational cannabis legalization by gender or age, white Floridians were more likely than Hispanic Floridians to say they would vote in favor of recreational cannabis legalization later this year (55% vs. 32%, respectively).

The poll was conducted April 5-7 and included 369 Republicans, 264 Democrats and 316 independents.

Various Poll Results Point to Uncertain Outcomes

The poll is notable as the first to come out following the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to clear the measure for the ballot and reject the state attorney general’s constitutional challenge.

It’s also the most recent survey among a slew of similar recent efforts to gauge Floridian support of recreational cannabis, with varying results.

A November 2023 poll from the University of North Florida found that 67% of respondents said they would vote yes on a constitutional amendment to allow adults in Florida to purchase and possess small amounts of cannabis for personal use. It also notes that 70% of respondents supported recreational cannabis in Florida as of Spring 2023 along with 76% showing support in Spring 2022.

The most recent poll notably gave respondents the specifics of the proposed amendment, rather than simply asking if respondents supported or opposed legalization of recreational cannabis.

The measure, Amendment 3, would allow those over the age of 21 to possess up to three ounces of cannabis and five grams of cannabis concentrates. It would also allow existing medical cannabis dispensaries authorization to sell cannabis for adult use. The initiative is sponsored by Smart and Safe Florida.

The poll results represent some of the gaps Smart and Safe Florida must close to see legal recreational cannabis in Florida as the organization enters its next phase of outreach and education.

That said, Florida voters approved legal medical cannabis in 2016 with a vote of 71% to 29%. With more than six months until Election Day, it’s anyone’s guess how the cards will ultimately  fall.

Keegan Williams

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