Bush, a former Republican governor of Florida who is considering a
presidential bid in 2016, issued a statement on Thursday saying the
legalization of medical marijuana would hurt the state's
"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.
"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," he added.
"I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this
November," he said.
Support for medical marijuana legalization in Florida is holding
steady at 88 percent despite weeks of vigorous campaigning by
opponents, a poll released late last month showed.
Only 10 percent of those polled said they opposed the measure.
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 legalization effort 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."
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Twenty states and the District of Columbia have some form of laws
that permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, though they
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law in June allowing the
limited use of a special non-euphoric strain of marijuana, known as
Charlotte's Web, to treat state residents with epilepsy, cancer and
afflictions causing "seizures or severe and persistent muscle
The amendment, if approved by voters, would allow marijuana to be
more broadly prescribed by doctors to treat a range of debilitating
Charlotte's Web is an oil extract not for smoking and is specially
cultivated to be very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the element
that gets users high.
(Reporting by David Adams; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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