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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

At a Trump rally, support for medical marijuana

28

October

With a required threshold of 60 percent, medical marijuana will have to draw in both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump voters this November to pass.

And after the Republican Party declined to support medical cannabis in its platform this summer, "yes" votes on Florida's Amendment 2 are likely to come from an unexpected demographic: Trump's most ardent fans.

If passed, Amendment 2 would expand medical marijuana in Florida, allowing doctors to recommend it to patients with a host of debilitating conditions, including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV/AIDS.

"It should be law, not a constitutional amendment," said Karen Simons at a Tallahassee Trump rally on Tuesday. "But I would support it."

Vicki Kickliter agreed: "Medical marijuana certainly has its place," she said. "It's helped many people."

Liam Connell and Austin O'Brien, students at Florida State University, reason that other states have passed medical marijuana, and things have worked out okay in those places.

Opponents of medical marijuana have raised concerns that it's a stepping stone toward full-fledged, recreational legalization of the drug.

Trump himself has given some support to medical marijuana as a broad concept, saying on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor in February, "Medical marijuana, medical? I'm in favor of it a hundred percent."

Outside the Tallahassee rally this week, a Republican lobbyist and medical marijuana supporter, Ron Watson grabbed cars' attention with a "Yes on 2" plackard that he taped a "Trump Pence" sign onto.

"I was pleasantly surprised at the positive response I did get from many people there," Watson said. "I had the chance to actually talk with a lot of people when they were waiting to get in. Occasionally, when the line would back up, they were a captive audience."

In 2014, when Amendment 2 failed with 58 percent of the vote, many Republicans worried the amendment was a tactic to try and boost Democratic turnout in the election. After all, the effort to put Amendment 2 on the ballot was funded by Orlando trial lawyer and Democratic donor John Morgan.

But Watson says he hopes people on both sides of the political aisle view it favorably.

"As divisive as this particular election is," he said, "I would love and hope for Amendment 2 to be a rallying cry."

[Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:31pm]

    

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