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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
October 16th, 2012
11:04 AM ET

Should medical marijuana be reclassified? Americans for Safe Access's Sherer on the group's case against the DEA

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the issue of medical marijuana goes before a federal court today. Right now, federal law list marijuana as a Schedule I drug, along with most dangerous drugs such as heroin and LSD, as having a potential for abuse.

Today, medical marijuana advocates will try to change that and reclassify pot so it can be used for treating diseases. The group argues it should be on schedule III drugs, with other more common medications like Vicodin and Tylenol with codeine. Similar attempts have failed in the past. But this time, the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access feels they have a shot.

This morning on "Early Start," Americans for Safe Access's executive director Steph Sherer explains why medical marijuana should be reclassified.

Filed under: Marijuana