Once again Quinnipiac University is polling on medical marijuana and once again theyre misleading everyone on their polling results.
Theyre claiming that Floridians support medical marijuana by 84.14 percent, which is not far off from their initial poll last spring which pegged it at 88 percent.
Why is this misleading? Because if you ask a generic question, youre going to get a generic answer.
I pointed this out last year in a series of columns on Amendment 2.
Quinnipiac alleged they couldnt change their question once they started asking it, which of course, is a lame answer, as you can always change your questions in order to obtain a more accurate result.
Their longitudinal track was off-base all along and it had proponents deluded into believing the amendment was going to pass.
It didnt pass. Now theyre up to their old tricks all over again.
If you want to know if an amendment is going to pass, the only true indicator is to ask the question as the ballot language that voters will see. Anything else is going to paint a false picture.
According to their press release, Support for allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use is 55.42 percent in Florida
This doesnt say anything about medical marijuana. This is actually about decriminalization of marijuana, a totally different issue than the one for which proponents are trying to collect signatures for their next iteration of a constitutional amendment campaign. And the numbers are much worse than allegedly for medical marijuana.
In looking at the actual question as asked, No. 43 is: Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Florida to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it?
First, recognize that this question asks only about adults. Not children!
Consequently, this is of no use to parents who seek low THC for their children who have epileptic seizures.
Next, doctors cant prescribe medical marijuana because thats against federal law. Its a Schedule 1 drug. So the predicate that this question is built on is a false one to begin with.
Finally if their doctor prescribes it is not likely either, as only nine doctors in Florida have even taken the course to be able to recommend medical marijuana if its ever allowed under Florida law.
The chances that your doctor will prescribe it for you are about the same chance as you winning the lottery.
Question No. 44: If marijuana were legalized for recreational use in Florida, would you definitely use it, probably use it, probably not use it, or definitely not use it?
In Florida the response was 81 percent would probably not use/definitely not use versus 17 percent who would probably use/definitely use.
If you believe these numbers, then recreational use of drugs is not likely to ever become law anytime soon, nor would the public even support the idea.
And women in the cross-tabs are the biggest obstacle, with 84 percent of them against it.
Seventy-nine percent of Democrats, independent voters and men either wouldnt probably use it or definitely wouldnt use it either.
No groundswell there.
So the next time United for Care and its allies suggest Florida is ready for medical marijuana, all you have to do is to point to this poll to show them that its still far-fetched because of all of the problems with the question as asked.
Or if you want to believe the numbers, then once again the bar is set very high and the only direction it can go is down.
As for Quinnipiac, please keep publishing these kinds of polls, as youre doing a great service for those of us who oppose a constitutional amendment for medical marijuana for adults who arent truly terminally ill or near end-of-life.
Barney Bishop III, has been a lobbyist since 1979. He is a familiar personality around Tallahassee. And he writes this commentary representing only himself, stating his own point of view.He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.