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January 28th, 2014
05:59 AM ET

Florida to Vote on Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Florida voters will get a chance to vote on legalizing marijuana in November.

The Florida Supreme Court on Monday approved wording that can appear as a ballot initiative during the midterm elections later this year.

The use of marijuana for medical reasons is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who's challenging incumbent Gov. Rick Scott this year, released a statement Monday in support of the amendment proposal.

"This is an issue of compassion, trusting doctors, and trusting the people of Florida. I will vote for it," he said.

With the marijuana issue seeing more support from Democrats than Republicans in recent polls, it's no surprise that Crist, a former Republican governor turned Democrat, would support having a marijuana ballot initiative on the same ticket as his race against the incumbent GOP governor. The amendment could drive more voter turnout in Crist's favor.

According to a Quinnipiac University Poll released in November, 82% of Florida voters support legalizing medical marijuana, while 16% oppose it. Breaking it down by party lines, 87% of Democrats support it, compared to 70% of Republicans.

The governor says that he would vote against such an amendment.

"I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative," he said in a statement provided to CNN by a spokesman. "But, having seen the terrible affects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it."

"No matter my personal beliefs, however, a ballot initiative would be up to the voters to decide."

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Filed under: Marijuana
November 6th, 2013
04:38 AM ET

Election Results 2013: Gov. Christie And More

The fact that Chris Christie rolled to a second term in New Jersey and Terry McAuliffe won in Virginia wasn't a surprise. Public opinion polls have consistently shown both men in the lead.

But the exit polls showed two very different paths to victory, CNN's Mark Preston reports.

Christie steamrolled hapless Democratic nominee Barbara Buono, 60% to 39% with 80% of the vote counted, crushing her in almost every key demographic. It was the biggest victory for a GOP gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey since Tom Kean was running in the 1980s.

McAuliffe's victory was much narrower than most of the polls indicated, 48% to 46% with 98% of the vote in. He didn't win every key group - self-described independents broke for Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli - but he successfully stoked fears about Cuccinelli's strident brand of conservatism in an increasingly moderate battleground state.New York City voters Tuesday elected a Democrat to the mayor's office for the first time in two decades, giving progressive city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio a victory over Republican nominee Joe Lhota, Edison Media Research projects.

"Make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together, as one city," de Blasio said in his victory speech.

As for ballot measures, voters in Colorado resoundingly supported taxing marijuana on Tuesday.

Voters in 11 counties in northern Colorado are also being asked if they want to secede from the state. Ten counties in conservative, rural northeastern Colorado would theoretically form a 51st state known as North Colorado. Moffat County, located in the northwest corner of the state, would become a panhandle for neighboring Wyoming.

The plan has no chance of becoming reality. Among other things, it would also require statewide and congressional approval. But approval or even a close vote at the county level would send a loud message of growing grassroots conservative anger toward a more liberal Denver-based Democratic establishment that has taken up controversial measures related to gun control, gay rights and green energy.

With more than 50,000 votes counted in Weld County, the most populated county of those trying to secede, 58% of votes were against secession and 42% were in favor of it. CNN, however, does not yet have a projection on this measure.