The only thing we know for sure about medical marijuana, besides the fact that it really works as a palliative for pain, nausea and all manner of other afflictions, is that a large majority of Florida voters favors its legalization.
Why is it, then, that some of the state’s biggest GOP cheeses, like Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Will Weatherford, and Senate President Don Gaetz are doing everything they can to keep the question of legalization off the 2014 statewide ballot? You’d think they’d want to honor the will of the people they serve.
For the answer to this perplexing question, we must go back to George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election strategy, when local Republican organizations around the country made a coordinated effort to place referendums about gay marriage on the ballot in as many states as they could.
Here in Florida, where it took the form of a proposed constitutional amendment limiting the definition of marriage to one man and one woman, conservative “values voters” turned out in droves to shove the gays back in the closet where they belonged. While they were at it, they happened to pull the lever for Bush. Remember, it’s all about turnout, and nothing motivates voters like fear and loathing.
Now we have lefties across the country pushing marijuana legislation in one form or another, hoping it turns out more liberal-minded troops who will vote Democratic as long as they can weave their way to the polls.
Since Republicans are old hands at voter suppression, we can see why they’re climbing on their moral high horse as a pretext to keep voters from being able to express their will about Demon Weed.
Regarding the humanitarian aspect of denying the medically needy a drug that might ease their pain, remember there are a lot of economically disadvantaged Floridians whose lives would have been bettered by Medicaid expansion. The Republican Legislature had no problem turning its back on them, too.