The Florida Supreme Court [official website] on Monday approved [text, PDF] a citizen initiative to vote on an amendment to the state constitution on the legality of medical marijuana. In a 4-3 ruling, the Supreme Court determined that the ballot initiative met the requirements of the Florida Constitution, that it encompassed only one issue, and that the title and summary accurately reflect the substance of the proposed amendment. "Today's ruling leaves the issues of medical marijuana in the hands of Florida voters," said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi [official website], who opposed the initiative and petitioned the court to review it. The initiative is scheduled to go before voters in November.
Marijuana legalization [JURIST backgrounder] has created controversy in the US, and JURIST Guest Columnist Alex Kriet predicts that 2014 will be a groundbreaking year [JURIST op-ed] for marijuana policy. Uruguay President Jose Mujica [official website, in Spanish] signed a bill [JURIST report] in December making the country the first to legalize the sale and production of marijuana. The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in October challenging Arizona's medical marijuana regulation banning the use of marijuana-derived extracts. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie [official website] in August sent a proposed bill back to the legislature [JURIST report] that would have made the drug more accessible to patients. In August Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website] signed a bill [JURIST report] making the state the twenty-first in the nation to approve some form of medical marijuana legislation.