Jeb Bush opposes Florida medical marijuana ballot initiative
August 15th, 2014
09:02 AM ET
8 years ago

Jeb Bush opposes Florida medical marijuana ballot initiative

(CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced his opposition Thursday to an overwhelmingly popular proposal that would legalize medical marijuana in his state.

The Republican said "allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter" to the state's efforts to boost tourism and a business-friendly environment.

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Amendment 2 will appear as a ballot initiative this November and must garner 60% support to pass.

"I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue," Bush said in a statement. "And I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.”

Bush joined a coalition against the measure along with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, and the Florida Trucking Association.

Bush is considering a presidential bid for 2016, and his opposition to the measure could be an in issue in his political future given the widespread support for medical marijuana, both in Florida and on a national scale.

According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 88% of Florida voters back legalized medical marijuana, including 80% of Republicans. And more than half of voters favor the idea of allowing adults to have small amounts of pot for recreational use.

Medical marijuana also has strong backing nationwide. A CNN/ORC International Poll in January showed that nearly nine in 10 adults favored legalizing pot for medicinal reasons. As for recreational marijuana, a CBS News Poll in May indicated that 48% of adults think it should be legal, while 47% think it should be illegal.

Despite Amendment 2's broad support among Florida voters, many of the state's GOP elected officials are speaking out against the measure, including Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio (another potential presidential contender) and much of the legislature's Republican leadership.

Republican mega donor Sheldon Adelson, who's heavily involved in presidential elections, has spent $2.5 million against the initiative, the Tampa Bay Times reported in June.

Political observers note that a medical marijuana ballot initiative could help increase Democratic turnout during a midterm election year.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, the group that pushed to get the measure on the ballot, said in a statement it’s “surprising” that Bush would “take a position so out of step with the voters who twice elected him to the highest office in the state."

Scott already signed a bill into law this year that allows a limited strain of marijuana for medicinal use and has support among Florida Republicans. The substance is low in THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) and aims to help some cancer patients, as well as those suffering from epilepsy, muscle spasms and seizures. He also signed a bill that protects the patients' identities.

Bush is campaigning with Scott Friday morning at an event in South Florida.

CNN’s Steve Brusk contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2016 • Florida • Jeb Bush • Marijuana
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake Up!
    And guess what it will never happen to you. I've seen whites curse out the cops for pulling them over. I've seen them slam the door in their faces and refuse to let them in. Both of those instances could result in death for a black person. And the cops will walk by saying they were resisting or trying to take their gun. Which is why most good black mothers tell their sons how to act in the presence of the police. I agree they have a hard job, but some go way too far.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Co-signed on ALL counts.
    There are bad apples in every profession.
    I happen to be a cop groupie in the sense that you coldn't pay me enough to do the job they do for pennies really, BUT, there is a tendency amongst some of them to treat Black people, espcially men, differently than they would a White man.
    I too have seen White people act belligerently, disrespectfully, and affront cops and they are talked to and subdued in a professional manner.
    Why do some cops feel that Black men are not worthy of being extended the same level of professionalism, is what I question.
    And for the record, I do not believe for one second that anyone here is accusing ALL cops of this type of f'd up behavior

    August 15, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. tom l

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Actually Tom, I believe the word of the witnesses before the cops. I've seen cops lie and stick together too many times and until it happens to you you will never know. And guess what it will never happen to you. I've seen whites curse out the cops for pulling them over. I've seen them slam the door in their faces and refuse to let them in. Both of those instances could result in death for a black person. And the cops will walk by saying they were resisting or trying to take their gun. Which is why most good black mothers tell their sons how to act in the presence of the police. I agree they have a hard job, but some go way too far.
    =====

    I agree with you to a point that I won't have to worry about cops lying but that's also got something to do with I won't put myself in that position, however, if I did I probably would get treated differently. But you know what? Unfortunately, life isn't fair and we are all treated differently. I'm Jewish and can understand being singled out and have awful things said about me and my heritage. But that's where we all need to dig deeper, be better than the average person, and ensure that we don't get that treatment. I can guess that your kids are ready for such treatment and therefore are prepared to make the right decisions (however unfair they are, and I know it's not fair) and will not have major issues with the cops because you have raised them to be better and smarter than to get into that type of situation. I can say the same for DMFO, who I am betting that her kids have never had major issues with the cops. All I'm trying to say is that I understand your very valid concerns, but by automatically believing one side or the other you have predetermined what happened before the evidence has come out. Yes, cops lie. But so do suspects. They both lie. So I would say that we need to make sure to keep our kids out of the way of cops. That's the best thing a parent can do. I hope I haven't offended you, I'm just offering up some different perspective.

    August 15, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Chris..E.Al

    Legalizing drugs opens up many cans of worms ? And i also think welfare recipients should be tested randomly just like most are subjected to from time to time .

    August 15, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. g

    his father made a fortune in central and south America from drug lords –all he had to do is close his eyes -and ha did

    August 15, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. tom l

    I disagree with Mr. Bush. People should have the freedom to do what they want as long as they're not hurting anyone else. I'd rather make the decision for myself rather than having the govt make that decision for me. This is the problem I have with repubs. Leave me alone and let me make my own decisions.

    August 15, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. excuse my rant

    tom l
    I disagree with Mr. Bush. People should have the freedom to do what they want as long as they're not hurting anyone else. I'd rather make the decision for myself rather than having the govt make that decision for me. This is the problem I have with repubs. Leave me alone and let me make my own decisions.
    _____________________________________
    Hear, hear!

    August 15, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Fair, since I don't live in FL, it would not affect me. That was my point. I understand where you are coming from, but I rarely listen to a sitting governor or any state other than my own, and my own governor does not significantly impact my life. People need to treat weed like alcohol, and regulate it accordingly. If someone is impaired, then treat it like a DUI.

    August 15, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Peace

    Oh! Jeb, what about Alcohol??? are you against it?? Anything which alters the brains of anyone is not good at all. You can't accept one and reject the other. You better forget your Presidential bid. With your stand, you will receive fewer votes than you expected.

    August 15, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Ian's Rushtache

    Another politician opposing freedom.

    August 15, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Sniffit

    "I agree with you to a point that I won't have to worry about cops lying but that's also got something to do with I won't put myself in that position, however, if I did I probably would get treated differently. But you know what? Unfortunately, life isn't fair and we are all treated differently. I'm Jewish and can understand being singled out and have awful things said about me and my heritage. But that's where we all need to dig deeper, be better than the average person, and ensure that we don't get that treatment. I can guess that your kids are ready for such treatment and therefore are prepared to make the right decisions (however unfair they are, and I know it's not fair) and will not have major issues with the cops because you have raised them to be better and smarter than to get into that type of situation. I can say the same for DMFO, who I am betting that her kids have never had major issues with the cops. All I'm trying to say is that I understand your very valid concerns, but by automatically believing one side or the other you have predetermined what happened before the evidence has come out. Yes, cops lie. But so do suspects. They both lie. So I would say that we need to make sure to keep our kids out of the way of cops. That's the best thing a parent can do. I hope I haven't offended you, I'm just offering up some different perspective."

    Blah blah blah. Redux: When it comes to the "gubmint" , you 100% automatically distrust everything and anything it does and start from the position that gubmint is fundamentally incapable of doing anything right, but when it comes to the almost all-white police force in a town that's 67% black, you start from the position that they are eminently trustworthy.

    August 15, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    Chris..E.Al, why single out welfare recipients for random testing? Since you undoubtably have taken advantage of government programs and tax breaks at some point in your life, should you be tested as well? Should a veteran be tested, because they draw benefits from their service? Is it because you personally dislike anyone who is on welfare out of principle, or because you're convinced they are on welfare because of drug abuse? Care to elaborate in something approaching Standard English?

    August 15, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    tom l, I agree with you, but Mr. Bush and others are the ones deciding what constitutes harm in this instance. The whole history of the GOP has been built around altering the character of others into some sort of cookie-cutter mold: if you don't believe me, look at the roots of the GOP in the Second Great Wakening and the Whig party.

    August 15, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Mike

    @fair is fair- His opinion still wouldn't matter because this is an amendment to the Florida constitution , he could not veto it. That is why Rick Scott had the other marijuana bill pushed through so fast. They know it is inevitable and they wanted to create a system of control that would already be in place before the chaos hits them after this amendment passes. Which brings up another question, who is making money off of the no compete rules set by the low thc bill that passed? Growers have to be in business for 30 years... What kind of nonsense is that? I thought Republicans loved free markets....

    August 15, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Quest

    Jeb Bush is infected with the Christian disease. He and Anthony Verdugo need to be quarantined and cured. Jeb Bush is attempting to control everything he doesn't do. It's a symptom of the Christian disease. He is a worthless fundamentalist. Say no to the Christian-ISIS.

    August 15, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Well Tom I. Just being black can put you in that position. Or Hispanic. You don't actually have to do anything. If you're young, black and male driving a nice car, it's almost a guarantee that you will be pulled over in some areas. After all, you must be a drug dealer with a car like that. It happened to my brother-in-law years ago. And he's an Engineer for Ford. He was pulled over and harassed until he told them he was calling his lawyer. Guess what? They told him he was a lucky Enn and went about their business. Simply for driving a new Vette.

    August 15, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Of course he opposes something most Americans want and need. He's a Bush!

    August 15, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Unfortunately, life isn't fair and we are all treated differently. I'm Jewish and can understand being singled out and have awful things said about me and my heritage. But that's where we all need to dig deeper, be better than the average person, and ensure that we don't get that treatment
    -----------------------------------------------------
    "...And ensure that we don't get that treatment" by not putting ourselves in a position where you have to deal with a cop is what you meant, right?
    Are you kidding me tom l?
    How do you "control" having a cop pull you over because you're driving in a neighborhood where they don't think you belong?
    How do you "control" being pulled over on I95 because you fit the profile that they are keeping their eye out for: Black, young, nice car. And heaven forbid if there is more than one Black man in the vehicle.
    How do you "control" being followed in stores?
    How do you "control" any of that?
    You can't.
    You're being very, very insulting by saying that Black mothers should teach their sons not to put themselves "in that position".
    The position being doing something wrong that would make them have an encounter with the law.
    A very simplistic and insulting thing to suggest tom l, as I am sure that most Black mothers (at least most) do not go around encouraging their kids to be thugs and have encounters with the law.
    Insulting and extremely disingenuous, is as nicely as I can put it tom l.

    August 15, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. jim

    @rick

    "And the deaths that WILL COME from this if passed will be a minor problem.. "

    I have 2 loved ones in the ground because of someone else’s alcohol abuse – Are you also in favor of outlawing alcohol? Death from an altering substance is death from an altering substance.

    If you ever open a can of beer on a hot day, please note that you partake in substance that killed two people I love. You must be proud if that is the case.

    August 15, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Tone

    Chris..E.Al

    Legalizing drugs opens up many cans of worms ? And i also think welfare recipients should be tested randomly just like most are subjected to from time to time .

    Then you mean red states because red states are the ones getting the most welfare in this country with their trickle down economics. The problem i have is voters in these red states will cry Government intrusion if they are required to drug test.

    August 15, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. MTATL67

    And thus end the last Bushs trek for the White House

    August 15, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. aaron

    Let some marijuana growers/sellers form a corporation, start contributing to GOP candidates. You'll see them be all for legalized marijuana in the blink of an eye.

    August 15, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Let Florida Smoke !
    88% of Florida voters back legalized medical marijuana, including 80% of Republicans. And more than half of voters favor the idea of allowing adults to have small amounts of pot for recreational use.

    Could it be somebody has investments in corporate prisons ?

    August 15, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Tax it !
    And use all revenue for education and rehabilitation only .

    Why keep doing the same thing over and over with the same bad result ?

    August 15, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Chris..E.Al
    Legalizing drugs opens up many cans of worms ? And i also think welfare recipients should be tested randomly just like most are subjected to from time to time .

    In some states they are tested and it costs tax payers a fortune. The results show that welfare recipients abuse drugs at about the same percentage as the general public. Just another attempt by the right wing to shame and punish the poor and minorities. Nice try genius.

    August 15, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    DM, as usual my sister you hit that ish out the park!!! Very well said!!! Thank you!!! Brava!👏👏👏

    August 15, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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