Weed the people: Two-thirds of Florida voters back recreational marijuana amendment, poll shows

Florida state flag with marijuana leaf
Across every category, a majority of Florida voters are positive about decriminalization.

It appears Sunshine State voters are still high on the prospect of legalizing recreational marijuana.

A new poll from the University of North Florida found two-thirds of registered voters would back a state constitutional amendment allowing adults to purchase and possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use — without a medical usage license.

While that result still represents strong interest in decriminalizing the popular drug, the level of support shown was slightly lower this time than in prior surveys the school conducted.

Pollsters from the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) questioned 716 residents sourced from the Florida voter file Nov. 6-26 and weighted data based on demographics and geographical strata to match the state’s voter population.

The poll had a 4.37-precentage-point margin of error.

Its finding: 67% percent of respondents said they would vote yes for a proposed constitutional amendment permitting people 21 and older to buy marijuana without a license. Twenty-eight percent indicated they were against such a change, and 5% either refused to answer the question or said they weren’t sure.

PORL posed a similar question to voters in Spring 2022 and 2023. In the first poll, 76% of those surveyed said they would support recreational marijuana. Just a year later, the number fell to 70%.

As for why the level of support is dropping, PORL faculty director and political science professor Michael Binder attributed it to the wording of the question, rather than waning approval.

“Unlike previous surveys when we simply asked if folks support or oppose legalization of recreational marijuana, this time we gave respondents the specifics of the proposed amendment,” he said in a statement. “Yet again, it looks like (the amendment) has a good chance of passing, if it makes it through the courts, and that is a very big ‘if.’”

Other details about the amendment the poll shared this time included that it would allow state-licensed entities to cultivate and sell marijuana products and accessories. It also made clear that the new rules would only apply to Florida law and would not change or immunize violations of federal law.

Across every category PORL divided answers into, a majority of respondents expressed positivity about decriminalization. That included 77% of Democrats, 53% of Republicans and 58% of voters with no party affiliation.

Fifty-five percent of men and 68% of women backed the change. So did 61% of voters without college degrees and 64% with them.

Broken down by race, 65% of Black and White respondents agreed marijuana should be legalized through the amendment, compared to 52% of Hispanics.

Opinions remained positive but varied between generations, though not necessarily how some might have predicted.

Voters 18-24 were most supportive, with 77% of respondents saying they wanted legal weed. But the second-most positive group were voters 55-64, of whom 71% said they’d vote yes on the amendment.

Sixty-three percent of voters aged 25-34 said the same, followed by 60% of voters 45-54, 57% of voters 35-44 and 56% of voters 65 and older, who accounted for the largest share of Floridians surveyed.

Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the initiative to allow the amendment — which would limit purchases to three ounces of marijuana and not include provisions for at-home growth — on the 2024 ballot.

The measure, sponsored by the group Safe & Smart Florida, has attracted more than 1 million valid signatures, enough to get it onto the ballot; but Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a petition in August to block it.

Moody has argued the measure, among other things, contains “misleading” language that doesn’t make clear how the proposed state allowance would square with the federal prohibition. She’s also expressed concern over regulation and how decriminalization will enrich cannabis giant Trulieve, which has invested more than $39 million in the Safe & Smart Florida political committee leading the legalization initiative.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


6 comments

  • Earl Pitts "America's-Go-To-Political--Guru" American

    November 30, 2023 at 7:06 am

    Good Morn ‘Ting America,
    STAND BY FOR NEWS!!!!!!!
    Every 4th car no matter where you go has that “skunk weed” smell wafting out of it.
    3/4’s of y’all don’t even know that “Skunk Weed” smell is what the “medical weed” smells like. That’s not what the “real weed” y’all “Old Hippies” are getting from your “Lion from Zion” Rasta Man, down the street and around the corner, sells smells like.
    Just walk down the sidewalk next to any busy street in “Your Town” USA. You have been thinking (up to your right now Education By Earl) that people are road-killing lots and lots of skunks lately …. Right? Sure you have.
    AND THAT, AMERICA, IS THE REST OF THE STORY !!!!!
    Earl Pitts “Medical Weed Expert” American

  • rbruce

    November 30, 2023 at 8:51 am

    Gov’t should not be run by polls. All law enforcement agencies in the state should strongly state that anyone driving under the influence of “weed” without a medical card will be arrested, car impounded, and detained until sober.

    Sure there is a poll with 90+ agreement that all taxes be eliminated. Will that happend?

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      November 30, 2023 at 11:26 am

      Yeah, because the black market is working out so well, and Florida sure can’t use the tax revenue, right?

  • Michael K

    November 30, 2023 at 9:48 am

    Put it on the ballot – and this time, legislators, do what the voters decide. Florida legislators are out of touch on this issue. It’s past time to do as so many other states have done: legalize recreational marijuana.

    Draconian pot laws have ruined too many lives and destroyed too many families by warehousing pot offenders in the prison industrial complex, which feeds Republican coffers.

  • Patricia Butler

    November 30, 2023 at 11:17 am

    You know, I hardly ever hear of anyone smoking weed & getting in a wreck or being totally belligerent in public! Truthfully, we drive a little slower…JS! And also the fact that somebody can risk their life to fight for our country at the age of 18 but they can’t smoke a cigarette if they wanted to I don’t think that’s right either I think that if they are going to fight for our country they should be able to do whatever the hell they want to that’s my personal opinion and this is exactly why I don’t vote. The fact of the matter is the government is greedy and I don’t really think that they want what’s good for us. From the looks of it they want more vehicular manslaughters from people drinking and driving..SMH! This world’s a shitshow and the Government are the “Shitshow Stupervisor’s”

  • Jim

    November 30, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    On our way to Vietnam. We stopped in Hawaii. I was 18. And could not buy an alcoholic drink. But I could go to Vietnam and get killed.. I was from New York and the drinking age was 18. Go figure.

Comments are closed.


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