Florida votes to restore the voting rights of offenders; Missouri and Michigan embrace marijuana

Florida votes to restore the voting rights of offenders; Missouri and Michigan embrace marijuana

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Actress Eva Longoria talked about the importance of coordinating Latinos and finding common ground with other Americans.
USA TODAY

In one of the biggest democratic victories of the 2018 election, Florida overwhelmingly voted to restore voting power to an estimated 1.5 million ex-offenders, including some 500,000 African-Americans.

Elsewhere in the country, there have been progressive successes in the continued legalization of marijuana, a rejection of the conservative agenda in Oregon, and further abortion restrictions in red states.

Amendment 4 in Florida applies to offenders serving time in prison, including probation and probation, but does not apply to persons convicted of murder or sexual offenses. The change is expected to impact Florida's future election results as well as presidential races, as the state is often considered competitive in national competitions.

More: Florida amendments: What happened failed in the midterm elections

Florida is one of only four states that have permanently deprived former offenders.

Meanwhile, Missouri was the 31st state to legalize the use of medical marijuana on Tuesday night with the adoption of Amendment 2, according to several local media reports.

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Other electoral measures that were closely monitored throughout the country on election day included proposals for recreational marijuana, abortion and the status of a protected area. Here are the actions that you should consider:

Marijuana on ballot in four states

Michigan was the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana, and the tenth state in total. CNN and NBC reported that the state had passed proposal # 1. The initiative creates a system for regulating, taxing and selling recreational marijuana to adults in the state.

"Western and Northeastern states have paved the way for the legalization of marijuana, but the victory in Michigan impressively demonstrates the nationwide reach of this movement," said Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement. "With such overwhelming public support for the legalization of marijuana, even among the majority of Republicans and older Americans, there is only enough time for the federal government to hold its own."

Canada, Michigan's neighbor to the north, legalized the sale of adult marijuana in mid-October, adding to the pressure on Michigan to allow recreational use as well.

There were three marijuana-related initiatives in Missouri. Each of them legalized the cultivation, production, sale and consumption of medicinal marijuana and marijuana products at state level, but differed in the way marijuana is taxed and the freedom that the potential granted to domestic producers.

Amendment 2, the measure that has been passed, will tax marijuana sales at 4 percent. Of the three, this was the only proposal that allowed the cultivation of marijuana.

"With the tireless efforts of patients and advocates, Missourians who could benefit from medical marijuana will soon be able to use it without fear of being treated like criminals," said Matthew Schweich, Deputy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "In the US, there is almost universal support to give seriously ill patients legal access to medical cannabis, and most voters, regardless of age, geographic location, or political belief, recognize the medical benefits of marijuana and believe that this is possible Those Who Can Benefit From It Now that more than 30 states have passed extensive laws to protect marijuana, it is time for Congress to focus more on the issue at the federal level. "

Other states also debated the legal pot. Late Tuesday, Utah was the 32nd state to legalize the use of medical marijuana, but residents of North Dakota beat Measure 3, according to the Associated Press. Measure 3 would have been the nation's most tolerant recreational law, allowing residents to grow, consume, and possess as much weeds as they want, without government supervision.

More: Legal marijuana states: Election day brings electoral debate to voters from North Dakota, Utah, Michigan and Missouri

In the West, Utah has a complicated relationship to the use of marijuana when it comes to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is hugely influential in the state. More than 60 percent of the country's 3 million inhabitants are LDS members.

More: Marijuana reform: The new California law gives people with records a do-over

Prop. 2 had strong support in the weeks leading up to the election. But then, with the broadcasting of radio ads, the LDS church is beginning to see legalization as the first step toward full legalization. This is in contradiction to a belief that teaches followers to stay away from alcohol, coffee, tobacco and illegal drugs.

Under the law of Utah, legislators are able to amend or override voting measures approved by voters so that the LDS Church and Prop. 2 proponents have made an agreement to change the language before the election that residents can not grow their own grass trying to build a state medical marijuana distribution network. Smoking marijuana is likely to continue to be illegal, but ill people may eat cannabis-soaked foods or use vape-pens.

Schweich from the Marijuana Policy Project told US TODAY: "There are many voters who support marijuana in principle, but do not want to defend themselves against the LDS church. The most important thing about Utah is that we made a compromise. "

Abortion measures in three states

Elsewhere in the country, voters in West Virginia, Alabama and, surprisingly, voted on measures that would limit abortion.

Alabama adopted amendment 2, according to The Associated Press, which states that "it is the state's policy to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life." Alabama's constitution provided for the right to abortion or to finance abortions.

West Virginia has adopted a similar measure in Amendment 1 that will change the language of the West Virginia Constitution to say, "Nothing in this Constitution will secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion."

But the Oregonians have lived up to their progressive reputation and defeated tact 106 The Oregonian and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

As part of a tax dispute, Measure 106 would have changed the Oregon Constitution so that taxes should not be used for electoral abuses.

More: The fight for abortion comes to Oregon, as Republicans are targeting reproductive rights in the US.

This means that all patients in Oregon Medicaid and all state health insurance employees did not have access to abortion. According to the Oregon Health Authority, the measure would have affected around 293,000 women.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and his four-year-old twins Caroline (left) and Jackson vote on election day on November 6, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. Gillum is in a close race against Republican candidate Ron DeSantis. (Photo: Mark Wallheiser)

Grayson Dempsey, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice, Oregon, told USA TODAY that the Oregon measure had national repercussions.

"In this world, with (Justice Brett) Kavanaugh at the (Supreme) Court, we need a state where we continue to care for the abortion care, or anti-abortion extremists believe they can invade somewhere," she said.

On Tuesday night, Dempsey was euphoric after the defeat of 106.

"It's an incredible night," she said. "It shows once again that even though they are more serious than ever at the federal and some Republican level in trying to take away rights, Oregonians still defend not only reproductive rights but also access to abortion So disappointed with what happened in Alabama, and that Kavanaugh is in the Supreme Court, but tonight we sent a clear message that Oregon will always champion reproductive rights. "

Oregon tuning over state of sanctuary

Also in Oregon, the residents of the measure approved 105 – this would have repealed the state's oldest law on the states of refuge of the state – according to the AP.

More: Will liberal Oregon accept Trump's agenda? The electoral measure is intended to lift the protective right for migrants

Originally named Anti-Breed Profiling Law in 1987, Oregon sanctuary status was heavily criticized by President Donald Trump and Oregonians For Immigration Reform, the initiative's supporters. In Oregon, 18 sheriffs from smaller counties signed a letter in support of Measure 105. The Southern Poverty Law Center considered the Oregonians for Immigration Reform a hate group and had pushed back against the law.

Note: This story will be updated as more election results become available.

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