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Medical Marijuana Measure Headed to Florida Ballot

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Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:24 am | Updated: 2:35 pm, Tue Jan 28, 2014.

Tallahassee, FL - In a 4-3 vote, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the the  ballot language for a proposed constitutional amendment has met the legal requirements.

If at least 60 percent of voters agree, Florida could become the first Southern state to legalize using medicinal marijuana.

The amendment, if it passes, would allow patients to use marijuana under a doctor's care. Patients would be able to buy the herb through state-regulated dispensaries. The measure was proposed by the advocacy group United for Care. 

Both Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott, were against the measure.

"I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative,'' Governor Scott said in a news release. "Having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path."

Chief Justice Ricky Polston made the same point in a dissent. He wrote that someone with a sore back or test anxiety could qualify.

The majority however disagreed. The ballot summary gives voters "fair notice as to the chief purpose and scope of the proposed amendment, which is to allow a restricted use of marijuana for certain debilitating medical conditions.''

If the measure passes, the Legislature would work out details such as how much marijuana someone could possess and how growers would be regulated.

The measure will appear on the November General Election Ballot. 

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