FL GOP TRYING TO BLOCK MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT: For the past three years Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature has repeatedly blocked medical marijuana legislation, not even allowing it to come up for a vote. Now the state's political establishment, led by Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi, is trying to kill a constitutional amendment seeking to take the issue directly to voters. Opponents of the amendment say it could lead to "unfettered" marijuana legalization. "The proposal hides the fact that the Amendment would make Florida one of the most lenient medical marijuana states," said Bondi's initial court brief. The amendment's backers, People United for Medical Marijuana, deny that claim. "Any statement that the initiative would allow unfettered use of medical marijuana would itself be misleading to voters," wrote the group's lawyer, John Mills. Recent polling suggests medical marijuana enjoys broad support in the state, with as much as 70 percent of voters backing legalization. But even if the Supreme Court allows the amendment on next year's ballot, backers will still have to collect 683,149 voter-signatures by Feb. 1 and then win 60-percent voter support at the polls. (MIAMI HERALD)
— Compiled by KOREY CLARK
CHRISTIE JUST SAYS NO TO MEDICAL POT EXPANSION: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vowed last week to veto recently introduced legislation that would allow registered Garden State medical marijuana patients to buy weed in another state where medicinal pot is legal and bring it home. Christie called the bill a backdoor attempt to legalize marijuana. "Here's what the advocates want: They want legalization of marijuana in New Jersey," he told reporters at a statehouse press conference. "It will not happen on my watch, ever. I am done expanding the medical marijuana program under any circumstances. So we're done." Six of the 19 states that have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes allow reciprocity. Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D), who proposed the bill (AB 4537), disputed Christie's contention that it would expand the state's medical marijuana program. "This is not a back door to legalizing marijuana. This is making sure sick people, children who could die at any moment from their condition could have access to the medicine that the law already provides," she said. The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee. (STAR-LEDGER [NEWARK], NEWSWORKS.ORG)
CRIME & PUNISHMENT: A NEW JERSEY appeals court rules that the Garden State Parole Board has the legal power to bar convicted sex offenders on parole from using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The court said opening up social media to those parolees presents too great a risk for children and the public (STAR-LEDGER [NEWARK]). • The NEW MEXICO Supreme Court rules that police can make a warrantless arrest when it occurs reasonably close to the scene of the domestic violence. Current law already allows a warrantless arrest at the exact scene of a domestic disturbance (KRWG.ORG [LAS CRUCES]).
— Compiled by RICH EHISEN
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