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Florida police chiefs oppose medical marijuana amendment

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Florida police chiefs want voters to vote “No on 2.”

The Florida Police Chiefs Association called on Florida voters to just say no to the 2016 medical marijuana constitutional amendment. The statewide organization joins several other law enforcement organizations and officials, including the Florida Sheriff’s Association, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, and Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, in opposing the constitutional amendment.

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association strongly opposes any and all proposals that would legalize or decriminalize the sale, possession or use of marijuana,” said Amy Mercer, the executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, in a statement. “Our top priority is the safety of our citizens and communities, and we believe this amendment may create more problems than it intends to alleviate.”

The 2016 amendment will allow people with debilitating medical conditions, as determined by a licensed Florida physician, to use medical marijuana. The amendment defines a debilitating condition as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other things.

A similar amendment received 58 percent of the vote in 2014, just shy of the 60 percent needed to become law.

The 2016 ballot initiative appears to have broad support among Floridians. A recent University of North Florida poll showed 77 percent of respondents said they were supporting the amendment.

The survey, conducted by the school’s Public Opinion Research Lab, found 45 percent of Floridians thought the marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes only; while 40 percent said they supported legalizing marijuana for recreational use. About 15 percent said they did not think marijuana should be legal.

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