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Jeb Bush speaks out against popular medical marijuana bill in Florida

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By David Adams

MIAMI (Reuters) – Jeb Bush is siding with opponents of an initiative on Florida’s November election ballot to make medical marijuana legal, despite strong public support for its use as a treatment for debilitating illnesses.

Bush, a former Republican governor of Florida who is considering a presidential bid in 2016, issued a statement on Thursday saying the legalization of medical marijuana would hurt the state’s family-friendly reputation.

“Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” Bush said.

“Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts,” he added.

“I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November,” he said.

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Support for medical marijuana legalization in Florida is holding steady at 88 percent despite weeks of vigorous campaigning by opponents, a poll released late last month showed.

Only 10 percent of those polled said they opposed the measure.

The poll also found a smaller majority of Florida voters would support recreational use of small amounts of marijuana by adults, with 55 percent backing it and 41 percent opposed.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, which is leading the legalization effort in Florida, said Thursday he was surprised that Bush had taken “a position so out of step with the voters who twice elected him to the highest office in the state.”

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Twenty states and the District of Columbia have some form of laws that permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, though they vary widely.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law in June allowing the limited use of a special non-euphoric strain of marijuana, known as Charlotte’s Web, to treat state residents with epilepsy, cancer and afflictions causing “seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms.”

The amendment, if approved by voters, would allow marijuana to be more broadly prescribed by doctors to treat a range of debilitating conditions.

Charlotte’s Web is an oil extract not for smoking and is specially cultivated to be very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the element that gets users high.

(Reporting by David Adams; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quit’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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