Charlie Crist's Medical Marijuana Stance: Will Floridians Care About His Flip-Flopping?

With the worst-kept secret in Florida politics becoming official with Charlie Crist announcing his run to be Florida's governor (again!), the questions begin. Namely, now that he's a Democrat, where does he stand on things he stood against when he was a Republican?

More to the point, where does he stand on the legalization of medical marijuana?

The legalization of medical weed in Florida will be right there with Crist v. Scott, as far as THE ISSUE EVERYBODY WILL MAKE LOUD ANGRY NOISES ABOUT in 2014.

So. Where does he stand?

See also: Is Charlie Crist Florida's Next Governor?

First of all, when he was a Republican, Crist was antiweed across the board. As governor, he signed the Florida Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act into law, one of the most stringent bills against growing weed in the entire country.

But then he ran for senator as an Independent. And lost.

Then he hugged President Obama, which to GOPers, is like hugging the secret Socialist Muslim they like to pretend that he is, and so he became a Democrat.

And now, as a Democrat, perhaps from getting some kind of liberal superpowers when he embraced Obama or perhaps because he's a politician and so he must put on his PANDER PANTS, he is suddenly for the legalization of weed.

Moreover, Crist's longtime financial backer, John Morgan, is throwing a lot of money at getting medical marijuana on the ballot in 2014.

Morgan, a personal injury attorney, took out a radio ad in September backing the legalization of medical marijuana. And he's been a major supporter of the "People United for Medical Marijuana" drive, the petition drive by United for Care to have medical pot put on the 2014 ballot.

On February 25, cops raided the home of president of the Florida Cannabis Action Network Cathy Jordan after a government employee who was visiting a neighbor spotted some marijuana plants on the Jordan property.

Turns out, Jordan is wheelchair-bound and has had Lou Gehrig's disease since 1986. She uses marijuana as treatment.

Charges were eventually dropped. But the whole thing went down thanks to Crist's original Florida law.

But now, it's pretty obvious Crist is going to openly support the legalization of medical marijuana as the Democrat in the coming race.

GOPer leaders are already looking to put the kibosh on medical marijuana even getting on the ballot.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi started the ball rolling to try to derail the initiative, saying that the wording on the petition originally sent to the Supreme Court to get a hearing was ambiguous, suggesting that there was more there than meets the eye. Basically, Bondi said that if the amendment is passed, doctors will be giving away free pot to anyone willy-nilly. House Speaker Will Weatheford, along with Senate President Don Gaetz, said they'll be filing a brief to the Supreme Court opposing the ballot initiative.

And no doubt Crist's opponents will jump all over him on his flip-flopping ways.

But will it matter?

Kevin, a Hollywood resident, says he began giving his grandfather marijuana for his glaucoma.

"It started to get extremely painful recently," Kevin tells New Times. "He's had procedures done, but they haven't relieved the pain.

"Honestly I don't trust any politician," Kevin says. "But a lot of folks have flip-flopped on the medical marijuana issue."

So would Kevin vote for Charlie and His Newfound Love for Medical Weed?

"Yeah, I'd vote for him. Because fuck Republicans, really."

In March, Florida state Sen. Jeff Clemens introduced a bill that would allow patients with certain qualifying medical conditions to privately and legally possess medical marijuana. The bill was shot down by the Legislature, but Clemens echoed the sentiment of what most Floridians are thinking.

"When a patient comes into your office and tells you all the meds that they're taking don't work, don't relieve their suffering, but marijuana does," Clemens told New Times, "it's hard to look at that person in the eye and not do something about it.

"It's about compassion."

The latest Public Policy Polling poll says that 60 percent of Floridians favor the legalization of medical marijuana.

With that many people coming around and understanding the importance and benefits of medical marijuana, does Crist's flip-flopping on this issue matter?

Probably not.

Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph