More Miami Beach residents voted to approve a straw ballot question on decriminalizing medical marijuana than for Philip Levine, the leading mayoral candidate. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez spoke with Miami Beach Vice Mayor Deede Weithorn about the issue.
More Miami Beach residents voted to approve a straw ballot question on decriminalizing medical marijuana than for Philip Levine, the leading mayoral candidate.
For the ballot question there were two choices: yes or no. And Levine had three other opponents who shared the votes.
With all 36 precincts reporting, just above 64 percent of voters said that the City Commission should adopt a resolution urging the federal and state governments to decriminalize and authorize the medicinal use of marijuana, while just under 36 percent had cast ballots against the move.
A total of 6,683 people voted for adopting the resolution and 3,747 people said no.
"We said, 'You know what? In the case of medical marijuana, we think you guys have a point, let's see what our residents think," said Deede Weithorn, vice mayor of Miami Beach.
Meanwhile, Levine got 50.48 percent of the vote against his three opponents. He needs to get more than 50.5 percent of the vote to avoid a recount, The Miami Herald reported. Telephone messages left at the supervisor of elections to clarify the situation were not immediately returned.
Commissioner Michael Gongora had 36.43 percent of the vote, Steve Berke had 12.13 percent in his second bid for mayor and Raphael Herman had 0.96 percent.
Levine had 5,639 votes, Gongora had 4,069, Berke got 1,355 and Herman garnered 107.
Berke, whose mayoral campaign was being filmed by MTV, wants to legalize small amounts of marijuana.
"This is a victory for the people of Miami Beach," Levine said to cheers from his supporters on Tuesday night. "This is a victory for the city of Miami Beach. And what this is, this shows that when you believe in something and everybody can come together, there is no telling what you can do, and that's what we proved tonight.
Levine is a Miami Beach businessman and investor who currently serves as CEO of Royal Media Partners, an exclusive partner of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz have said that they will ask the Florida Supreme Court to block the proposed amendment allowing the use of marijuana for medical reasons.
The Republican legislators are joining Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in their opposition to the amendment. Bondi has asked the court to block the measure.
Supporters say they have gathered more than 200,000 of the nearly 700,000 petition signatures needed in order to make the 2014 ballot.
By law the attorney general asks the court to review amendments when nearly 70,000 signatures have been collected.
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