Jeb Bush opposes Florida medical marijuana ballot initiative
August 15th, 2014
09:02 AM ET
7 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. Marie MD

    This wannabe shrub #3 was instrumental in implementing and didn't oppose the stand your ground so you can murder unarmed citizens though.
    Murder vs marijuana? Weed wins hands down.

    August 15, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. Boo

    Another out of touch Republican....WHATEVER!

    August 15, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Rusty Krus

    George W. was an alcoholic, drug addicted party boy. Neil Bush was in the middle of numerous ethical scandals. Marvin Bush has a shady financial past. Since George Sr. and Barbara raised such stellar kids, it's safe to assume that Jeb has some things to hide as well. Just Sayin"!

    August 15, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Come on, Jed mahn. There's no need to be a purist who prohibits medical marijuana. It's not a processed chemical compound made by man. it's something that grows right out of the good earth, and used with little modification. Jest let it dry out, mahn. Marijuana has more medicinal uses than any other single drug out there, so do not deny people that comes direct from nature itself. Yeah, mahn.

    August 15, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. tom l

    "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.
    ======

    Clearly, you didn't read the part where I said that cops lie. But that's ok. And I am going to say that you are conflating 2 totally different things. Gubmint and a local police force are 2 totally different animals and you are definitely utilizing a false equivalence. Stop it.

    August 15, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "In some states they are tested and it costs tax payers a fortune. "

    And in some states where it is costing them a fortune, it was arranged by a governor who owned the testing company and basically signed it over to his wife when he became governor to create the superficial appearance that he wasn't trying to direct state expenditures into his own bank account.

    Can anyone name that state?

    August 15, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. smith

    @Marie-I suppose you are talking about the Zimmerman case with regards to the stand your ground law? If you are fyi, GZ used self defense as his legal defense not stand your ground. Are self defense bad?

    August 15, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    "In some states they are tested and it costs tax payers a fortune. "

    And in some states where it is costing them a fortune, it was arranged by a governor who owned the testing company and basically signed it over to his wife when he became governor to create the superficial appearance that he wasn't trying to direct state expenditures into his own bank account.

    Can anyone name that state?
    ---------
    Yeah, just about anyone can name the state.

    Quite honestly, though, I don't want my tax dollars for paying for someone's booze or drug habit. And I really don't think you want yours to either. So what do you suggest, O wise Counselor?

    August 15, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Leagalize it and tax the heck out of it. Were going to need the money to pay for all the illegal aliens coming across our borders everyday."

    Well, if we're to believe Steve King (R-IA), all of them, especially the childrenz, are drug runners with "cantaloupe calves" from carrying giant bags of weed hundreds of miles through the desert, so legalizing it would have them essentially paying for themselves by providing the market more weed to sell and be taxed. Tah dah...GOP/Teatroll racism solves everything.

    August 15, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Gubmint and a local police force are 2 totally different animals and you are definitely utilizing a false equivalence. Stop it."

    Gubmint and the local police force are one and the same, tom. Don't play silly games. If this was Chad and Muffy's raging high school kegger in Greenwich, CT and one of them wound up attending the prom as a picture of a bodybag, you'd be calling the cops fascists.

    August 15, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    ""Quite honestly, though, I don't want my tax dollars for paying for someone's booze or drug habit."

    So we should fire the wine-o Boehner or confiscate his salary? I'm all for it...

    And while we're at it, let's get rid of all those special tax breaks for the wealthy and white...who have been proven to do drugs as often as inner city poor people do.

    Oh wait...sorry...forgot...wealth = evidence of virtue, poverty = evidence of virtue's absence....

    August 15, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. NO MORE BUSHES

    And Florida opposes ALL Bushes!

    August 15, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @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."

    Another thing to consider: Remember when the Black Panthers practiced open carry – and the response it got?

    Then Gov. Ronald Reagan (the patron saint of RWNJs everywhere) told reporters in California that he saw "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons." Reagan claimed that the Mulford Act, as it became known, "would work no hardship on the honest citizen." The NRA actually helped craft similar legislation in states across the country.

    But now when majority-white Open Carry Texas and other groups want to walk around cradling their AK-47s, if a company or individual asks them not to (let alone tries to pass legislation against it), it's all "You're grabbing my guns and stepping on my Second Amendment rights!"

    August 15, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Kate Johnson

    The main reason Jeb is against this ballot measure, is the same reason for much of the GOP's resistance to medical cannabis, if you put cannabis on the ballot, it brings out the 18-29 crowd in droves, and they, as a general rule, vote democrat most of the time. So it's not in the GOP's best interest for it to be on the ballot. They can wrap it up in whatever lame justification they want, we all know what's going on here and it has little to do with cannabis.

    August 15, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Marie-I suppose you are talking about the Zimmerman case with regards to the stand your ground law? If you are fyi, GZ used self defense as his legal defense not stand your ground. Are self defense bad?
    -----------------------------–
    How can you say that when George Zimmerman never took the stand in his own defense? The judge offered "stand your ground" as a valid defense as part of her jury instructions.

    There was a significant difference between "stand your ground" and "self defense" in Florida, at the time. You make a "stand your ground" plea before a judge before you go to a trial, which GZ declined, which is also supposed to put the entire SYG law to rest, which means the case is now goes to trial as a legacy self-defense case.

    August 15, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Q: "Can anyone name that state?"
    A: Florida's drug testing of applicants for public assistance.

    August 15, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Can anyone name that state?
    ---
    Yeah, just about anyone can name the state.

    Quite honestly, though, I don't want my tax dollars for paying for someone's booze or drug habit. And I really don't think you want yours to either. So what do you suggest, O wise Counselor?
    =============================================================
    Uh. We should fire John Boehner for drinking?

    August 15, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. AzDem

    Please..no more Bushes!

    August 15, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    ""Quite honestly, though, I don't want my tax dollars for paying for someone's booze or drug habit."

    So we should fire the wine-o Boehner or confiscate his salary? I'm all for it...

    And while we're at it, let's get rid of all those special tax breaks for the wealthy and white...who have been proven to do drugs as often as inner city poor people do.

    Oh wait...sorry...forgot...wealth = evidence of virtue, poverty = evidence of virtue's absence....
    -----------
    So according to you, it's perfectly acceptable for someone to support their drug habit with welfare funds? And before you go all "demographic armageddon", remember it's you who's constantly harping that whites receive more welfare than blacks. Proceed, Counselor.

    August 15, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Can anyone name that state?
    -
    Yeah, just about anyone can name the state.

    Quite honestly, though, I don't want my tax dollars for paying for someone's booze or drug habit. And I really don't think you want yours to either. So what do you suggest, O wise Counselor?
    =============================================================
    Uh. We should fire John Boehner for drinking?
    --------–
    Lame. Totally lame.

    August 15, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. Steve Buckley

    Do you think a Republican Party looking to make gains in their base wants a Buzz Kill like Jeb Bush running for President?

    Jeb should do like Christ and switch parties because its obvious he doesn't want to be President or for us to PARTY!!!!

    August 15, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. smith

    @Sniffit-Blah Blah Blah racism this and racism that. Your starting to sound like a broken record. Anything said on here that is not pro-liberal you pervert into some sort of racism. 90% of the time it has nothing to do with racism.

    August 15, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "But now when majority-white Open Carry Texas and other groups want to walk around cradling their AK-47s, if a company or individual asks them not to (let alone tries to pass legislation against it), it's all "You're grabbing my guns and stepping on my Second Amendment rights!""

    Those redneck idiots were even going to try to have an "open carry" parade/demonstration walk through an almost all black neighborhood until they were forced to back down and cancel. I've used Greenwich, CT as an example above...so can you imagine if an all black "open carry" activist group wanted to wander around the streets angry about their 2nd 'Menment rights in a white ritzy neighborhood in Greenwich? Can you imagine the freekin reaction that would get? I think it's pretty much beyond dispute that Open Carry TX thought they were cutely making an end run around being accused of what they were really trying to accomplish; a giant threatening intimidation display to the black community.

    August 15, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "The main reason Jeb is against this ballot measure, is the same reason for much of the GOP's resistance to medical cannabis, if you put cannabis on the ballot, it brings out the 18-29 crowd in droves,"

    Well, that and if you legalize it, you have one less law to enforce in the inner cities while not enforcing it in the suburbs so you can put lots of young black men in jail for several years, taking them out of competition with all the nice white childrenz and even saddling them with a felony that prevents them from voting for years or the rest of their life. Then you can run around yelling "tough on crime" while pretending that's not just your smokescreen for oppressing minorities and maintaining white dominance and privilege.

    August 15, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. smith

    @Rudy-Smh..omg, he declined to use STY and went with legal self defense. Like you said he declined to use it. So his legal defense was self defense. What in heck are you trying to debate about?

    August 15, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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