Medical Marijuana Could Be Spoiler In Florida Governor’s Race – CBS Local

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Medical Marijuana

WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) — Florida’s race for governor is a razor-thin contest but an issue seldom mentioned on the campaign trail could play the spoiler.

Medical marijuana, up for legalization under the Amendment 2 initiative, is supported by Democrat Charlie Crist and opposed by Republican Rick Scott. Though neither candidate has made the issue a campaign centerpiece, its presence on the ballot could help decide who takes the governor’s mansion.

“I don’t think that there’s anyone out there that doesn’t think this race isn’t going to be won or lost by a couple of percentage points,” said Erik Williams, a longtime Democratic political consultant who now coordinates government relations for beMindful, which operates marijuana dispensaries in Colorado. “Driving turnout on an issue such as this it absolutely could play a major role in determining who’s the next governor.”

Experts disagree on how much a ballot question such as Amendment 2 increases turnout, but most agree Crist will get any extra votes. Medical marijuana has wide support nationally and, unlike other social issues that often show up in ballot initiatives like abortion or gay marriage, it is less likely to drive opponents to the polls solely to voice their disapproval.

“With marijuana, there’s no backlash. There aren’t people that turn out to vote just to vote against it,” said Celinda Lake, a pollster who has conducted surveys on marijuana ballot measures.

Amendment 2 requires 60 percent approval to pass. Polls have consistently shown Democrats and younger voters showing more support for it than Republicans and older voters.

Voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia also have marijuana questions before them — to legalize recreational use — but Florida’s initiative has attracted more money and attention. Outside Florida, the race …read more

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