Although Florida didn’t quite rouse enough young voters to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, support for the measure was much greater than Republican opposition hoped. In fact, total votes for medical marijuana outnumbered the total votes cast for Republican Gov. Rick Scott by a half-million votes.
So why did the measure still fail to pass? According to Fred Grimm at the Miami Herald:
Scott won with a 48.2 percent plurality. Marijuana lost with 57.6 of the electorate marking “yes.”
“Losing” has a peculiar definition in Florida, where a constitutional initiative requires a 60-percent threshold. It makes triumphant post-election statements issued by “Vote No on 2” seem a bit overblown, like celebratory whoops from the winner of a 100-yard dash who had been given a 40-yard head start.
Unfortunately for Floridians, popular vote isn’t enough to change the laws.
Florida’s marijuana initiative was an issue that Florida Democrats had hoped might bring younger voters to the polls, but young people stayed home.
Marijuana ballot initiatives passed elsewhere across the US where simple majorities are required. 54.2% of the voters in Oregon and 52.1% in Alaska legalized recreational marijuana.
Even in non-states, marijuana intiatives passed. 69.4% of voters in Washington, D.C. chose to legalize pot and in the U.S. Territory of Guam, a medicinal marijuana measure passed with 56% of the vote.