Rick Scott Says He'll Vote Against Medical Marijuana
In what is pretty much the least shocking news item you'll read all day, Gov. Rick Scott says he'll vote against the legalization of medical marijuana should it make it to the 2014 ballot.
And while 80 percent of Floridians are for the legalization of medical marijuana and Scott's popularity is slightly above getting a root canal and his likely challenger, Charlie Crist, has already publicly come out for medical weed, Scott remains steadfast in his GOPerness when it comes to the issue, essentially saying he understands people are sick and need it, but drugs are bad.
While United for Care has been fighting to get petitions signed to get medical marijuana on the ballot and everyone waits for the Supreme Court is to either approve or nix the language on the proposed ballot measure, Scott and his GOPer pals have been hard at work to derail the movement.
State Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a challenge to the proposed ballot measure, arguing that the language is too broad. "With no 'condition' off limits," she said, "physicians could authorize marijuana for anything, anytime, to anyone, of any age."
And Scott was right in her corner, backing Bondi's play the whole way through.
And now, with United for Care announcing that the organization hit the 1.1 million mark in signatures, and a decision from the Supreme Court expected any day, Scott has doubled down on his efforts to keep Florida as one of the states that won't legalize medical marijuana.
"I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative. But, having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it. No matter my personal beliefs, however, a ballot initiative would be up to the voters to decide."
Scott does say he'll respect the decision of the people should the initiative get on the ballot and should the people vote for it.
Crist, meanwhile, has a different opinion on the matter (though he once thought as Scott does).
During a radio interview last month, the former Florida governor said the legalization of medical marijuana is a matter of compassion.
"You have people who feel that if there are people who are suffering through pain or lack of appetite," Crist said, "and you have a real doctor who prescribes medical marijuana, then I don't know why you would really be opposed to it, and so I'm not opposed to it."
Scott is currently on the fundraising campaign trail and reportedly raking in millions from his GOP constituency. So maybe this announcement is a strategic one -- one that placates those who are ready to write the governor a big-ass check to help his reelection campaign.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter what Scott does with his one measly vote. If medical marijuana even gets onto the ballot, political strategists think it will bring young people and stoners who don't usually vote out of their houses in droves -- and when these voters check the box for governor, their votes will go to Crist. So the governor's race could be decided by the pot vote.
With polls showing that most Floridians are in favor of medical marijuana, Scott's taking a stance against it could be the worst thing he's ever done for himself.
That, and being an awful governor.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.