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Florida Says No to Medical Marijuana but Oregon, Alaska and Washington, DC Legalize Recreational Use

While Florida voters narrowly rejected a plan to legalize medical marijuana, voters in Oregon and Alaska approved a measure to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, and Washington, DC voted to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.

Although the majority of Florida voters were in favor of approving Amendment 2, which would legalize the use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients, the measure needed 60 percent of voters for approval. Amendment 2 fell short by nearly 2 percent, with nearly 58 percent of Florida voters supporting the initiative. Currently, Florida allows for a low-potency version of marijuana to be used for medical purposes, but supporters of the amendment argue that the drug should be made available to more illnesses.

Opponents argued that Amendment 2 was not specific enough and its vagueness would allow medical marijuana to be used for more than its intended purpose. Sick patients and their families expressed their disappointment of the outcome.

The loss in Florida came amid overall wins for marijuana nationally.Oregon has legalized personal possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana for people 21 years of age and older. The law will also create a commercial regulatory system for the production, distribution and sale of the drug.

Similar to Oregon’s law, Alaska will tax and regulate the production, sale and use of marijuana, making the use legal for people 21 years of age and older.

Washington, DC’s initiative allows for a person over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use and grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. Although people cannot sell marijuana in Washington, DC, people will be allowed to transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to another person. Activists hope that wins in Washington, DC will spur federal recognition.

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