Jeb Bush Joins Opposition to Medical Marijuana Amendment in Florida

Jeb Bush Joins Opposition to Medical Marijuana Amendment in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is siding with opponents of an initiative on Florida’s November election ballot to make medical marijuana legal in the Sunshine State, despite strong public support for its use as an effective treatment for debilitating illnesses.

Bush, the former Republican governor who is considering a potential presidential bid in 2016, issued a statement on Thursday saying that the legalization of medical marijuana would hurt the state’s family-friendly reputation.

“Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism, and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” Bush said in a statement.

“Allowing large-scale marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts. I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November,” the statement continued.

Support for medical marijuana legalization in Florida remains strong at 88 percent despite weeks of aggressive campaigning by opponents, a poll released late last month showed.

Related: Florida Anti-Pot Group Claims Medical Marijuana Could Lead to Date Rape

The poll found that only 10 percent of voters oppose the measure, which will be on the November ballot as Amendment 2.  Because it is a constitutional amendment, it will require 60% approval by voters in order to pass.

The poll also found a smaller majority of Florida voters would support recreational use of small amounts of marijuana by adults, with 55 percent backing it and 41 percent opposed.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, which is leading the push for medical marijana in Florida, said Thursday he was surprised that Bush had taken “a position so out of step with the voters who twice elected him to the highest office in the state.”

“Former Gov. Bush has always been an independent voice in the Republican Party, which may be why he’s chosen to take a position on compassionate medical marijuana policy that is at odds with Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Chris Christie and his other potential opponents for the 2016 presidential nomination — including the more nuanced position taken by his protege and possible primary opponent Sen. Marco Rubio, who at least supports the narrow medical marijuana law passed (nearly unanimously) by the Republican-led state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott,” Pollara said.

To date, 34 states and the District of Columbia — including Florida — have passed laws to allow the use of some form of medical marijuana, although the bills — and what’s allowed under them — vary widely.

Of those 35 jurisdictions, 23 states and the District of Columbia have enacted comprehensive medical marijuana laws, although programs in eight of those states are not yet operational.  If Amendment 2 Passes, Florida would become the 24th state to enact a comprehensive medical marijuana law.

An additional 11 states, including Florida, have passed laws to allow patients to possess and use non-euphoric strains of marijuana and derived products high in cannabidiol, or CBD, but low in THC content, to treat symptoms of severe seizure disorders, including epilepsy.

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  • r

    Jeb in as ignorant as they come.

  • orlandochris

    Adrian Wyllie is the only sane choice. It’s hard to understand why
    anyone would want scott or crist again. Both failed miserably. Adrian
    deserves my vote (and yours too) simply because he is honest, along with
    many, many other good reasons. I believe all that is needed is name
    recognition and for people to know there is another choice beside the
    same old corrupt candidates. Support Adrian by donating to his campaign
    and also the super brochure program, which I think is very powerful.
    Visit his website today!

  • orlandochris

    Adrian Wyllie is the only sane choice. It’s hard to understand why
    anyone would want scott or crist again. Both failed miserably. Adrian
    deserves my vote (and yours too) simply because he is honest, along with
    many, many other good reasons. I believe all that is needed is name
    recognition and for people to know there is another choice beside the
    same old corrupt candidates. Support Adrian by donating to his campaign
    and also the super brochure program, which I think is very powerful.
    Visit his website today: http://www.WyllieForGovernor.com
    There is also a spanish version of his website: VotaPorWyllie.com

  • Mike

    Another Bush, always on the wrong side of history.

    That said, even this version of the Bush Dy-nasty is forced to acknowledge the basic reality of the situation. “I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue…” Looks like he is focused on leaving his options open. Anyone running for president, potentially including this Bush, is now forced to admit that while they might be against marijuana, they also have to defer to the will of the people on it or they face a hopeless uphill battle to win office.

    Bush is apparently smart enough to know that, but too dumb to embrace reality.

  • fumes

    This IQ runs in the Bush family.

  • Dusty Relic

    Well Jeb Bush has the right to express his opinions. And in Florida at least so do the voters. (I wish PA hndad the same rights to initiative and referendum!)

  • Edo Edo

    Odd… Jeb’s position on cannabis doesn’t seem all that different from Rick Perry or Chris Christie… Or am I thinking of different TX and NJ governors…?

    • kevin_hunt

      Quoting Rick Perry:

      “Californians clearly want some level of legalized marijuana, be it for medicinal use or otherwise. The federal government is telling them they cannot. But states are not bound to enforce federal law, and the federal government cannot commandeer state resources and require them to enforce it.”

      Source: Perry, Rick (2010). “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington”. New York: Little, Brown and Company

  • fumes

    Bush family values: Alcohol and Cigarettes and Invading The Wrong Country=OK

  • confused

    Does he even have a chance. Lord, help us all.

  • Cog 2.0

    Who is president now?
    All this could end with a stroke of his pen.
    Obama runs a good mouth, yet does nothing.
    The states advance regardless of DC.

    • Edo Edo

      Obama and Holder have done worse than nothing. They carried out more raids on medical cannabis facilities in 5 years than Bush did in 8 years. They only stopped when they started turning the independent voting population against the Democrats. It’s all just a political game going on here. President Obama can be counted on to do is what’s beneficial for the Democratic Party. Nothing more…

  • confused

    That whole family has caused so much grief for this country why should a member of this family for once do one thing compassionate.. The literally stopped medical advancement while they were in office. We could have have cured no matter how manydiseases if they and their white alpha republican religious cult leaders wouldnt have stopped it. This is right on course for that heartless family.