Medical marijuana measure will be on ballot in Florida

January 27
FLORIDA
Medical marijuana measure on ballot

Florida voters will decide in November whether to legalize medical marijuana after the state Supreme Court approved an initiative Monday to put the measure on the ballot.

The 4-3 decision is a victory for personal-injury lawyer John Morgan, who spent $4 million on a medical marijuana petition drive, and a defeat for Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), who fought to keep the question off the ballot.

Florida’s Republican Party leadership, including Gov. Rick Scott, had opposed the wording of the ballot measure, saying that it was too vague and misleading and that it would allow almost anyone to obtain marijuana for the slightest medical complaint.

If 60 percent of voters approve the petition in November, Florida would become the first Southern U.S. state to approve marijuana for medical use, joining 20 other states.

— From news services

COLORADO
Boy sets self on fire in school cafeteria

A 16-year-old student set himself on fire in the cafeteria of a high school in a Denver suburb on Monday in front of horrified classmates in what police said was an apparent suicide attempt.

Investigators were examining a note the teenager posted online before the incident at Standley Lake High School in Westminster, a police spokeswoman said.

The boy suffered burns over 80 percent of his body and was hospitalized in critical condition, according to town fire and police spokeswomen.

The boy, who was not publicly identified, walked into the cafeteria about 7 a.m. and lit himself on fire. A school custodian quickly doused the flames with a fire extinguisher, police said. No one else was hurt.

— Reuters

LOUISIANA
Jury selection begins in ex-mayor’s trial

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of former New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin Jr. (D), who faces charges that he accepted bribes and free trips among other things from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work.

Nagin, who was mayor when Hurricane Katrina stuck in 2005, served two terms before leaving office in 2010. He was living in a Dallas suburb when a federal grand jury indicted him a year ago.

Each bribery count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Each wire fraud count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The charges are the product of a City Hall corruption investigation that has resulted in several convictions or guilty pleas by former Nagin associates.

— Associated Press

Three killed in Colo. helicopter crash: A helicopter crashed near Silt in western Colorado on Monday, killing all three people aboard, authorities said. A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said that according to preliminary information, the helicopter was being used by a power company for survey work and struck power lines before the crash.

— Associated Press

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