Sun Sentinel

Florida: Wow! 88% Support Medical Marijuana; Majority Also Favors Legalization

FloridaMarijuana2014

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

As Floridians get ready to vote on medical marijuana in November, months of campaigning by both sides hasn't moved the numbers at all. A new poll shows 88 percent support for medicinal cannabis, the exact same level of support shown in May.

Quinnipiac University Polling Institute's numbers are significant, reports Dan Sweeney at the Sun Sentinel, because two well-funded opposition groups have formed since the May poll -- "Don't Let Florida Go To Pot," a disinformation campaign from the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Drug Free America Foundation, and Vote No On 23, a project of Drug Free Florida.

As a constitutional amendment, Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Florida, needs 60 percent of the vote to pass in November.

An incredible 95 percent of voters age 29 and younger support the measure in the new poll.

Notorious anti-pot activist Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation, claims the amendment would result in an explosion of medical marijuana dispensaries, shady doctors authorizing it for almost any ailments, and access for minors. But supporters say the amendment is specific about ailments that can be treated with marijuana, and that there are already state laws in place which would require parental consent before minors could be authorized.

United States: Reefer tokin' seniors in South Florida see pain go up in smoke

By Robert Nolin, Sun Sentinel

There is a truth that must be heard! That kindly gent with the rose garden, the cute little old lady in the deli line, the mahjong master at the community center — any one could be among a growing portion of our aging population: the senior stoner.

In retiree-rich South Florida, some golden-agers are — gasp! — sporting illegal smiles as they discreetly puff on joints to ease the aches and pains of advancing years.

"It's like taking a magic pill," said a 70-year-old Boca Raton woman who smokes pot almost daily to counteract cancer chemotherapy pain. "I can have a crappy, crappy day and I take one toke and in less than three minutes I'm leveled out and feel wonderful."

Such scofflaws opt to flout convention rather than suffer. And their numbers are hardly insubstantial: 30 percent of Americans 50 and older have tried pot, according to a 2009 survey by the government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive.

Last year, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that drug use among seniors has increased more than 3 percent over the past eight years. The number is expected to triple by 2020.

One recent convert was a 70-year-old Delray Beach woman who calls herself Mary. "I'm a good, Catholic churchgoing person," she said. "I've never taken a drug in my life."

But when a friend with an out-of-state prescription for medical marijuana offered a joint to alleviate the "excruciating" pain of a shoulder injury, Mary took a chance.

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