The campaign working against legalizing medical marijuana has provoked the anger of hundreds of people who say Drug Free Florida called them in the middle of the night advising them to say "no" to Amendment 2.
Drug Free Florida began calling voters after midnight and into the early hours of Sunday morning, with some receiving calls at 4 a.m. while others’ phones rang at 6:30 a.m.
Sunshine State News received an email about the calls on Sunday, and readers were not happy about the rude awakening from the campaign to squash medical pot. Judy Druener from Pensacola told SSN she and her husband woke up to the phone ringing at 4:38 a.m. Sunday morning. Given the timing, they feared the worst -- Druener said her first thought was a family emergency.
“We were not amused,” she said. “I'm sure there are rules for when political calls can and can't be made, but even if there aren't, who in their right mind would pay a firm to manage a PR campaign that thinks making oh-dark thirty robocalls are a good idea?” Druener continued.
She wasn’t the only one to receive the calls, which warned voters about legalizing medical marijuana. Vote No on 2’s Facebook page exploded with complaints with voters receiving calls from midnight to the wee hours of Sunday morning.
“All this particular political committee has done is show they are capable of spreading misinformation at best, downright lies the majority of the time, and horribly poor execution of their plan to push their nonsensical agenda,” wrote Maggie Cappadonna. “Needless to say, they have not swayed my vote on Amendment 2.”
In the ad, Drug Free Florida warns what might happen if voters say yes to the constitutional amendment to expand medical marijuana in Florida.
“They’re pushing a constitutional amendment that authorizes kid-friendly pot candy that looks just like the junk food your children know and love,” says Dr. Jessica Spencer, who works as a substance abuse counselor in Florida. Spencer goes on to say unsuspecting children and adults who consume the pot candy have gone to the ER as a result.
Drug Free Florida issued an apology Sunday evening shortly after the complaints started coming in.
“Our sincerest apologies to those voters who inadvertently received a recorded call during the early morning hours on Sunday,” the group wrote. “It was not our intention to have those calls made at that hour. These calls were supposed to be made starting in the early PM and were mistakenly sent in the early AM.”
Vote No on 2 spokeswoman Christina Johnson told SSN the calls were supposed to run from noon to 7 p.m., but a vendor error caused the calls to run from midnight to 7 a.m. instead.
Recent polls have shown the majority of voters supporting the amendment, which would legalize medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions. Over 70 percent of likely voters have said they support the amendment.
Amendment 2 needs to garner 60 percent of the vote to pass.
By Allison Neilson - The Sunshine State/Oct. 30, 2016
Illustration: American Psychological Assoc.