Medical marijuana politics in Florida – Pensacola News Journal

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WEST PALM BEACH – Florida’s race for governor has focused on the candidates’ integrity and their credit or blame for the economy. But an issue seldom mentioned on the campaign trail could play the spoiler in the razor-thin contest.

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 …read more

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