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Florida governor approves limited legalization of medical marijuana

[JURIST] Florida Governor Rick Scott [official website] on Monday signed [press release] a bill [text] allowing a non-euphoric strain of marijuana to be used for the treatment of epilepsy, cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act garnered bipartisan support and was passed by the State Assembly this spring. Beginning in January of 2015 doctors will be able to prescribe this medicinal strain known as Charlotte's Web. The bill also allows for $1 million to be used for medical marijuana research. In November voters will have the chance to vote on amending the state constitution [JURIST report] on the legality of medical marijuana.

The use of marijuana for medical purposes and the legalization of marijuana [JURIST backgrounder] for recreational use has garnered more legal support [Marijuana Policy Project website] in the US in recent months. Minnesota lawmakers in May approved a bill legalizing medical marijuana [JURIST report] in pill or liquid form for a limited number of patients who suffer from severe or fatal illnesses. Last month the Maryland House of Representatives passed a bill [JURIST report] that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Earlier in April Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill [JURIST report] that would decriminalize marijuana possession in the District of Columbia for up to an ounce. In Marcn the Colorado Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that lawyers can advise marijuana businesses in the state without fear of violating state attorney ethics laws. Also in March the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [official website] succeeded [JURIST report] in a lawsuit to defend the rights of Arizonans to use marijuana extracts for medical conditions. In the same month the state senate in Georgia unanimously approved a house version [JURIST reports] of a groundbreaking medical marijuana bill for the state.

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