The people of the Tampa Bay area strongly support the idea of medical marijuana and are prepared to vote for it. A new Bay News 9, Tampa Bay Times, AM 820 News Tampa Bay Poll found that 68 percent of local residents would support a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana. Only 24 percent would oppose this change.

This is good news because currently there is a United for Care campaign gathering signatures to put just such an amendment on the 2014 ballot in Florida. The campaign appears on track to get enough valid signatures by the February 1st deadline. Under Florida law the amendment will need the support of 60 percent of voters for it to be approved.

The poll also asks about recreational marijuana legalization and found the people of Tampa Bay are not yet ready to go that far. Only 31 percent would support full marijuana legalization, while 60 percent oppose ending marijuana prohibition. This is not too surprising given that senior citizens tend to be the group most opposed to marijuana legalization and Florida is a very popular place for retirement. It is the state with the highest percent of people over the age of 65.

Photo by Chuck Coker, used under Creative Commons license