Florida voters give their OK to medical marijuana
Voters in Florida on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes as millions across America weighed in on some of the most contentious issues facing the nation.
Eight other states were also considering measures to expand legal access to the drug, which is still prohibited by the federal government. Medical marijuana is already legal in 25 states, but Florida is the first in the South to approve such a measure.
Proposals on gun control, the death penalty and raising the minimum wage were also among more than 150 measures under consideration on state ballots across the country.
Supporters of legalizing marijuana hope votes like the one in Florida will help change the conversation in Washington.
“This is a major tipping point,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority group. “With Florida’s decision, a majority of states in the U.S. now have laws allowing patients to find relief with medical marijuana, and these protections and programs are no longer concentrated in certain regions of the country like the West and Northeast.”
Arkansas and North Dakota were also deciding whether to allow medical marijuana. California was among five states — including Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — deciding whether to allow the recreational use of the drug.
If all the measures pass, the drug will be legal for medicinal or recreational purposes in 29 states.
Here is a look at some of the other issues at stake.
Four states were deciding whether to increase restrictions on the sale of guns and ammunition.
Nevada and Maine had proposals on the ballot to expand federal background checks on firearm sales between private parties, closing a loophole that supporters say has allowed convicted felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill to buy firearms at gun shows and online.
Washington was weighing whether to allow families or authorities to get a court order to temporarily seize guns from individuals who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. Calif ornia was deciding whether to strengthen the state’s regulation of ammunition sales, with a ballot measure requiring background checks for ammunition purchases as well as a ban on large ammo clips.
Nebraska voted on whether to reinstate capital punishment after state lawmakers repealed it. Oklahoma, meanwhile, decided to enshrine the death penalty in the state constitution.
California had two competing measures on its ballot, one of which would repeal the death penalty, while the other would speed up appeals so sentences can be carried out more quickly.
The federal minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour hasn’t changed in seven years. But four states were deciding whether to push their own minimums higher.
Arizona, Colorado and Maine voted on whether to phase in an increase to $12 an hour by 2020. Washington was deciding whether to raise its minimum wage to $13.50. And in South Dakota, voters were considering reducing the minimum wage for workers under 18 to $7.25 an hour from $8.55.
Floridians show their support for an amendment to legalize medical marijuana Tuesday.