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1 US FL: A Florida Sheriff Catches Attention, And Some Heat, With AnWed, 12 Apr 2017
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Fortin, Jacey Area:Florida Lines:138 Added:04/15/2017

Maybe it was the ski masks that did it.

Or it could have been the steely look in the eyes of Lake County, Fla., Sheriff Peyton Grinnell as he deadpanned: "We are coming for you. Run."

Perhaps it was the muted background music: an eerie melody that wouldn't have been out of place in a Batman movie.

In the end, what could have been an unremarkable public service announcement about opioid abuse in Lake County spread widely on the internet, garnering about a million views on the Facebook page of the sheriff's office, where it was first posted Friday. It sparked concerns about police militarization and drew more than a few comparisons to Islamic State recruitment videos.

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2US FL: Trulieve Opens Medical Marijuana Dispensary In TampaThu, 26 Jan 2017
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Marrero, Tony Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:01/28/2017

TAMPA -- Four years ago, Bree Morris faced a choice between pain relief and being close to family.

Permanently disabled from a car crash that injured her back, Morris, 53, moved from Florida to Colorado after voters here rejected a medical marijuana referendum in 2012. She left her children and grandchildren with a hunch that access to medical cannabis in Colorado would work better than the opiates that had turned her into a "zombie."

"From that day on, my quality of life changed," she said. "I started doing walks around the park. I started feeling better about life. I'm able to talk and be alert and do things and even go back to school to earn my bachelor's."

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3 US FL: Florida Health Officials Begin Medical Marijuana RulesTue, 17 Jan 2017
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Kam, Dara Area:Florida Lines:30 Added:01/18/2017

Caption Davie imposes temporary moratorium on medical marijuana centers

Florida health officials have started the rules-making process that will expand those eligible to receive medical marijuana.

The Department of Health on Tuesday published the proposed rules and announced that public hearings will be held in five cities Feb. 6-9.

Patients with one of 10 medical conditions will be able to receive medical marijuana but it does not allow for more distributing organizations. There are currently seven licensed, with one more case under an administrative challenge.

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4 US FL: Broward Doctor, Assistant Arrested On Prescription DrugMon, 16 Jan 2017
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)          Area:Florida Lines:46 Added:01/16/2017

Dr. [name redacted], 50, of Parkland, was arrested Wednesday on prescription drug allegations at his Wilton Manors practice, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. (Sun Sentinel / Drug Enforcement Administration Handout)

A Broward doctor and his medical assistant were arrested on prescription drug charges Wednesday, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dr. [name redacted], 50, of Parkland, was arrested after a six-month investigation that showed he illegally supplied methamphetamine to some of his patients at his Wilton Manors practice, authorities said. He is also accused of dispensing medically unnecessary prescriptions to use with the methamphetamine "to further enhance the patient's altered state of mind," agents wrote.

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5 US FL: Marijuana Laws Flummox DoctorsSun, 15 Jan 2017
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:75 Added:01/16/2017

TALLAHASSEE -- Even as the state prepares to carry out a constitutional amendment authorizing medical marijuana, a lack of guidance from health officials could create a "very murky and dangerous legal area" for patients and doctors.

Authors of the amendment, industry insiders and legislative leaders have called on the Department of Health to clarify what doctors and dispensing organizations can legally do under existing state laws and the voter-approved amendment that went into effect Tuesday.

To date, the health agency has remained mum, referring only to the language of the constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in November and to state laws approved in 2014 and 2016.

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6US FL: Marijuana Debate Rekindled In FlaglerMon, 09 Jan 2017
Source:Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL) Author:Bruce, Matt Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:01/10/2017

Officials were expecting the measure to go before the County Commission in February or March. But several things have changed since the county's Public Safety Coordinating Council passed a version of the bill in August, and officials from at least two of the county's cities are opposed to opting in should the county pass an ordinance. Matt Bruce @Matt_BruceDBNJ

It's been about five months since Flagler County leaders last discussed the prospect of a proposed countywide adult civil citation ordinance that could give law enforcement the discretion to cite rather than arrest people caught with small amounts of marijuana.

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7 US FL: Aging And Addicted: The Opioid Epidemic Affects Elderly, TooSat, 07 Jan 2017
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:141 Added:01/09/2017

[photo] Oxycodone pain pills.

It took a lot of convincing for John Evard to go to rehab. Seven days into his stay at the Las Vegas Recovery Center, the nausea and aching muscles of opioid withdrawal were finally beginning to fade.

"Any sweats?" a nurse asked him as she adjusted his blood pressure cuff. "Last night it was really bad, but not since I got up," replied Evard, 70, explaining that he'd awakened several times with his sheets drenched.

Even for him, it was hard to understand how he ended up 300 miles away from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., at this bucolic facility in the suburbs of Vegas. "This is the absolute first time I ever had anything close to addiction," he said. He prefers to use the term "complex dependence" to describe his situation: "It was, shall we say, a big surprise when it happened to me."

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8US FL: What To Know As Amendment 2 Goes Into Effect On TuesdaySun, 01 Jan 2017
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:01/05/2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Dr. Joseph Dorn has had a unique vantage point when it comes to the burgeoning medical marijuana industry in Florida.

Dorn was the medical director of Surterra Therapeutics, which is one of the six dispensing organizations licensed to grow and distribute medical cannabis in the state. He resigned from that position two months ago and has opened a medical marijuana treatment center as Amendment 2 takes effect on Tuesday.

The constitutional amendment, which was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters, allows higher-strength marijuana to be used for a wider list of medical ailments. However, the true measure of what the amendment means won't be immediately seen until a new set of rules are adopted and implemented by the Florida Legislature and the Department of Health.

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9 US FL: PUB LTE: Orlando Right To Lessen Pot PunishmentWed, 04 Jan 2017
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:37 Added:01/04/2017

Kudos for pot vote

Mayor Buddy Dyer and the city of Orlando recently passed, 4-3, the initial vote to deprioritize arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana. I'm thankful for Dyer and Commissioners Regina Hill, Patty Sheehan and Robert Stuart for their support of the ordinance. I, unfortunately, left the City Council meeting feeling disappointed in Commissioner Samuel Ings for voting against it.

We live in a society where young black men and boys have been a target of the war on drugs. Ings argues that this policy would tarnish the image of Orlando as a family vacation destination.

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10 US FL: Months Of Waiting And Legislative Wrangling Ahead For MedicalThu, 29 Dec 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:122 Added:12/30/2016

Would-be medical marijuana entrepreneurs face months of waiting and an unknown number of rules and regulations

With the passage of the medical marijuana amendment, would-be pot-shop proprietors looking to get in on the ground floor of Florida's Green Rush are in for months of waiting and an uncertain regulatory future.

Amendment 2, passed with 71 percent of the vote, will broaden the number of patients who qualify for full-strength medical marijuana to include sufferers of HIV/AIDS, cancer, PTSD, ALS and a number of other ailments.

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11US FL: OPED: The Opioid ThreatWed, 23 Nov 2016
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:11/24/2016

It can be bought online and shipped to your doorstep, like shoes from Zappos or a mystery novel from Amazon. It's cheap, just $40 for a gram. Nicknames: pink, U4. Potency: eight times more powerful than morphine. Death toll: at least 50 and counting.

Two recent casualties should be incentive enough to clamp down on the drug's availability and the people who profit from it. Best friends Grant Seaver and Ryan Ainsworth from Park City, Utah, got their hands on the drug, formally named U-47700, through a teenage friend who bought it online from a company in Shanghai. Both Seaver and Ainsworth were 13. Grant's parents found him dead from an overdose of pink Sept. 11. Two days later, Ryan's father found his son dead on the couch.

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12US FL: Florida Voters Decide If Medical Marijuana Treatment ShouldTue, 01 Nov 2016
Source:Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL) Author:Finch, Mike Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:11/03/2016

The last time Floridians faced the subject of medical marijuana on the ballot, the measure just barely failed to garner enough support needed to become law.

This time appears to be different. There's still resistance, but the large wave of criticism from various groups like the Florida Sheriff's Association is gone. Polls indicate the ballot measure again named Amendment 2 appears to be coasting toward passage.

The most recent survey released by the University of North Florida indicates 73 percent of voters approve of the amendment, significantly more than the 60 percent needed for it to become law. Backers of the Amendment say stripping away the so-called loopholes and timing is key.

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13 US FL: PUB LTE: Laboratory Of The StatesTue, 11 Oct 2016
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Chase, John G Area:Florida Lines:28 Added:10/11/2016

The only sure way to know if the dire warnings against Amendment 2 (medical marijuana) will happen is to vote it in and find out.

Fortunately for Florida, other states have already done that. The four states where marijuana is fully legal began with medical marijuana about 15 years before. Those years of experience told voters that the dire predictions were wrong.

Amendment 2 is tightly written, with many safeguards, including room for the Legislature to act. Floridians are beneficiaries of the 'laboratory of the states.' If Amendment 2 passes and does not live up to its hoped-for benefits, Floridians will surely reject full legalization.

John G. Chase, Palm Harbor


14 US FL: Fla. Pot Proponent: Regulation Is KeyMon, 05 Sep 2016
Source:Palm Beach Post, The (FL) Author:Ostrowski, Jeff Area:Florida Lines:151 Added:09/05/2016

Brightly lit and bustling, Harborside Health Center serves as something of a model for the medical marijuana industry - even as California's freewheeling approach to cannabis is seen as an example of how not to do things.

As dozens of customers at Harborside pick their products, chatty budtenders talk knowledgeably about the selection, which includes cannabis for smoking, eating and vaporizing.

Business is booming: Between this store in Oakland and another location in San Jose, Harborside's sales total $35 million a year. Sales are so strong that Harborside offers free yoga, tai chi and acupuncture to its customers, who must have a doctor's permission to enter the store.

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15US FL: Anything For TylerSun, 28 Aug 2016
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:McNeill, Claire Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:08/28/2016

A Mother Risks Prison and Splits Up Her Family in a Desperate Attempt to Rid Her Son of Cancer.

The Rockies unfurled outside Kristen Yeckley's passenger window, but she kept her eyes on the speedometer. No more than 5 mph over the limit, she urged her mother. Hands at 10 and 2. She had stayed up past 3 a.m., sobbing, praying, plotting the route back to Pinellas Park. The drive meant committing a federal crime with her 5-year-old son in the backseat. Kristen kept imagining handcuffs, the fear on Tyler's trusting face. If they were pulled over, she would use his medical records to plead for sympathy. She and her husband, Joe, had saved up for their dream home with a backyard pool. They had comfortable jobs, poker nights, a college fund in their son's name. Then came Tyler's diagnosis. When doctors said he was out of options, Kristen and Joe vowed to do anything, even split up their family, to give Tyler a chance with a treatment Florida doesn't allow. That brought Kristen to the sloping road out of Colorado last summer, 2,000 miles from home - with vials of liquid medical marijuana buried in her mother's suitcase. Worry first tugged at Kristen in the line to see Santa Claus.

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16 US FL: Column: Time For Sports To Get Out Of Pot TestingSun, 21 Aug 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Hyde, Dave Area:Florida Lines:104 Added:08/21/2016

In 2009, when Ricky Williams studied as a masseuse and gaveme a Japanese shiatsu massage, the subject of marijuana came up-this is where conversations could go during deep-tissue revitalization with Ricky- and he said something ahead of its time. "Why does the NFL even care about catching players smoking pot?" he said. "How does that benefit anyone?"

Have we advanced enough to ask this in 2016?

Ricky's affinity for the herb led to suspensions, contributed to failed Dolphins seasons and has moved him to being a life-after-football spokesman for pot's benefits.

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17 US FL: PUB LTE: Legal MarijuanaTue, 02 Aug 2016
Source:Miami Herald (FL) Author:Levy, Art Area:Florida Lines:31 Added:08/02/2016

Re Mark Wilson's July 28 letter, "Florida does not need 2,000 'pot shops' ": It seems that the only devastating effects should Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana, will be that hundreds of thousands of suffering Floridians will get relief from cheap natural plants that won't cost $50 a pill and come with a list of hazardous side effects a mile long.

I'm sure the Florida Chamber of Commerce's mission of promoting good private-sector jobs supports the sale of tobacco, which kills half a million Americans annually just as sure as the sun rises and sets. How's that for devastating?

And I'm guessing the chamber's position is with the frackers in adding more carcinogens to our drinking water because it creates jobs. Forget people's health and safety. Millions will suffer illness, and many will get cancer.

Art Levy, Key Biscayne


18 US FL: Some Fla. Cities Slow To Welcome Pot ShopsSat, 30 Jul 2016
Source:Palm Beach Post, The (FL) Author:Kam, Dara Area:Florida Lines:90 Added:07/30/2016

Dispensaries Say Local Officials Wary of New Business.

As pot shops start to sprout in Florida, cities are struggling with how - or whether - to regulate the state's new marijuana industry.

This week, the state's first medical-marijuana dispensary, operated by Trulieve, opened its doors to customers in Tallahassee. Health officials Wednesday gave the go-ahead to a second group, Surterra, to start distributing its cannabis products. Both marijuana operators have permission to deliver products statewide, and Surterra plans to open a dispensary next month in Tampa.

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19 US FL: LTE: Medical Marijuana Will Be a Disaster for FloridaWed, 27 Jul 2016
Source:Tallahassee Democrat (FL) Author:Grant, Bruce Area:Florida Lines:34 Added:07/30/2016

Far be it for me to disagree with the Capital Curmudgeon, but I must take issue that Florida will not be California when it comes to medical marijuana. Of course not - Florida was merely the pill mill capital of the nation with criminal medical professionals complicit in the schemes.

With medical marijuana, Florida will be much worse! I foresee many more than the 2,000 pot shops predicted by the Florida Department of Health should this amendment pass.

Even if Florida only becomes like Colorado (that has seen youth use of pot skyrocket since their laws passed), our youth gain tremendous access to potent cannabis - not that weak version from the '60s.

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20 US FL: Next Medical Marijuana Battle LoomsSat, 30 Jul 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Rohrer, Gray Area:Florida Lines:128 Added:07/30/2016

TALLAHASSEE - Marijuana was sold legally in Florida for the first time this week since it was outlawed by the federal government in 1937.

In a staid Tallahassee storefront more akin to a doctor's office than a head shop, Dallas Nagy, a Tampa-area native with chronic seizures and muscle spasms, plunked down $60 for a non-euphoric strain of marijuana Tuesday.

"I thank you for the hope of getting better," Nagy said at the opening of Trulieve, the first medical marijuana dispensary in the state.

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21 US FL: PUB LTE: Try This Bold Proposal to Save Social SecurityWed, 27 Jul 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Baker, Jim Area:Florida Lines:23 Added:07/27/2016

The answer to sustaining Social Security and possibly paying down the national debt is very simple. Legalize marijuana and don't tax it but let the government produce and sell it as a government-run business.

It's going to be legalized in all the states eventually anyway, so why not use it for some good. Farmland now sitting idle could be put to use. Thousands of jobs would be created, and profits could be used to help feed the hungry in our country and save Social Social Security.

Jim Baker, Hollywood


22 US FL: Low-Dose Medicinal Pot To Be Fired Up Next WeekThu, 21 Jul 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)          Area:Florida Lines:50 Added:07/21/2016

TALLAHASSEE- The first medical marijuana will be available in Florida next week.

Trulieve, a grower and dispensary based in Tallahassee, said Wednesday that it has received permission from the Department of Health to start selling a strain of the drug low in THC, the chemical that causes a euphoric high. The Florida Legislature in 2014 legalized that variety of cannabis as a medical option for children with severe epilepsy and cancer. This is the first dispensing license fromthe state health department, Trulieve says. "We are happy to announce that we have passed all inspections-from growing and processing to dispensing- and are the very first medical cannabis provider in the state to receive these formal authorizations," Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said in a statement.

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23 US FL: First Florida Medical Marijuana ReadySun, 17 Jul 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Gluck, Frank Area:Florida Lines:96 Added:07/17/2016

TALLAHASSEE (AP) - Florida's first legal harvest of marijuana is stored in multiple vacuum-packed, 441-gram bags in a freezer on the outskirts of Tallahassee.

Each is the result of months of careful growing, monitoring, coaxing, and finally cultivating, scores of plants in a hidden farm overseen by horticulturalists and protected by armed guards.

This is one of two production facilities run by Surterra Therapeutics, the first of six companies to win state approval to grow and harvest medical marijuana for the seriously ill and dying.

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24 US FL: PUB LTE: War On Drugs A Great WasteThu, 14 Jul 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Campfield, Kevin Area:Florida Lines:30 Added:07/14/2016

The whole escalation of violence - cop on citizen and citizen on cop- has been escalated by the so-called"war on drugs." Back in the day, police were instructed to aggressively pursue drug "crimes."

Authorities profited from this strategy, politically and economically (seizure law). This tough love approach has not worked for 60 years, maybe more. You can't help someone who doesn't want help (drug users and abusers).

Consequently, whenever a cop draws a gun on a person holding a couple of grams of some outlawed substance, violence is possible.

Stop this insanity. Take the money and flesh wasted on this useless "war" and put it into social help and education. We'll all be better off for it-especially the police.

Kevin Campfield, Delray Beach


25 US FL: City Votes For Pause On Pot DispensariesTue, 12 Jul 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Weiner, Jeff Area:Florida Lines:82 Added:07/12/2016

Orlando commissioners voted to approve a temporary moratorium on marijuana dispensaries in the city Monday, months before Florida voters will again weigh in on medical uses for the drug.

The City Council vote comes after three would-be sellers of either medicinal marijuana or the low-THC oil known as Charlotte's Web have recently expressed interest in Orlando storefronts where current zoning would allow them.

"We're not trying to keep them from doing business in the city," District 3 City Commissioner Robert Stuart said Monday. "We're looking at: What are the boundaries in which they would do that?"

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26US FL: Quiet Harvest: Florida's First Medical Marijuana CropFri, 08 Jul 2016
Source:News-Press (Fort Myers, FL) Author:Gluck, Frank Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:07/08/2016

TALLAHASSEE - Florida's first legal harvest of marijuana is stored in multiple vacuum-packed, 441-gram bags in a freezer on the outskirts of Tallahassee.

Each is the result of months of careful growing, monitoring, coaxing, and finally cultivating, scores of plants in a hidden farm overseen by horticulturalists and protected by armed guards.

This is one of two production facilities operated by Surterra Therapeutics, the first of six companies to win state approval to grow and harvest medical marijuana for the seriously ill and dying.

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27 US FL: Editorial: Enough Reefer Madness - Let's Have a RealFri, 24 Jun 2016
Source:Port St. Lucie Tribune (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:84 Added:06/26/2016

The 1936 film "Reefer Madness" wound up becoming a campy cult classic because the movie, originally designed as a warning about the dangers of marijuana use, so overdramatized the issue that it's message simply couldn't be taken seriously.

Now, with a slew of new polls showing Floridians overwhelmingly support the legalization of medical marijuana, opponents of Amendment 2 - the proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical pot - are themselves edging closer to unintentional satire.

The "Vote No on 2" campaign has launched a series of broadsides, including a recent video warning darkly that if the measure passes, up to 5,000 marijuana dispensaries could open across Florida, more pot shops than McDonald's, 7-Eleven and Starbucks combined.

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28 US FL: How Getting Tough on Prescription Pill Mills Led toWed, 25 May 2016
Source:Guardian, The (UK) Author:McGreal, Chris Area:Florida Lines:194 Added:05/26/2016

Opioid Deaths in the US Have Multiplied in Recent Years. Chris Mcgreal Visits Fort Lauderdale to Explore the Origins of the Epidemic

For James Fata, the transition from prescription painkillers to heroin was seamless. The 24-year-old came to Florida to shake an addiction to opioid pills, but trying to go through rehab in a region known as the prescription capital of the US proved too much. When a government crackdown curtailed his supply of pills, Fata turned to readily available heroin to fill the void.

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29US FL: Tampa, Police Sued In DeathTue, 24 May 2016
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Phillips, Anna M. Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:05/25/2016

A 29-Year-Old Man Was Killed In A Raid That Was Later Deemed Justified. Police Found $2 Worth of pot.

TAMPA - The mother of a man who was shot and killed by Tampa police officers during a raid on his home in 2014 has sued the city, its former police chief and the officers involved over her son's death.

The lawsuit, filed late last week in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, accuses the police of negligence for acting on the word of an informer with a history of heavy drug use and criminal activity. It also says that officers used excessive force against 29-year-old Jason Westcott, who was killed, and his boyfriend Israel 'Izzy' Reyes, who was 22 and is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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30 US FL: Backers: State Pot Industry Worth BillionsMon, 23 May 2016
Source:Palm Beach Post, The (FL) Author:Ostrowski, Jeff Area:Florida Lines:128 Added:05/24/2016

Proponents Cite Benefits to Many Ill Floridians, Thousands of Added Jobs, Millions in Tax Revenue.

Entrepreneurs in the budding cannabis industry are salivating at the prospect that Florida might legalize medical marijuana.

Pot proponents say hundreds of thousands of Floridians with cancer and other ailments would benefit from medical marijuana - and they see the potential for a billion-dollar industry that could create thousands of jobs and generate millions in tax revenue.

"I look at this as one of the big job savers, job creators, tax getters," said Orlando attorney John Morgan, who's bankrolling a November ballot initiative to legalize pot for medical use. "Technology is taking jobs away every day. This business here is going to replace jobs and income like never before."

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31 US FL: Fight Over Pot Measure Hits AirwavesSat, 21 May 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Rohrer, Gray Area:Florida Lines:94 Added:05/21/2016

TALLAHASSEE - The medical marijuana amendment is back, and the fight over the issue is poised to return to the airwaves and screens of all sizes throughout Florida.

Drug Free Florida, the group that successfully fended off a similar amendment in 2014, released its first video this week attacking the new measure that will go before voters on the November ballot. The three-minute video is running online only, but it signals the start of a campaign likely to inundate the state with ads.

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32 US FL: OPED: I Use Pain Meds, But I'm No AddictThu, 19 May 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Hussey, Nicole Area:Florida Lines:79 Added:05/19/2016

Not all pain medication users are addicts. That sentence had to bemy first because it is a truth that is not well represented. The media have chosen to tell you ever more frightening tales about prescription pill abuse without letting you know about us-the responsible users. Opioids, narcotics, barbiturates, muscle relaxers, corticosteroids or tricyclics are a part of our daily medication regimen, but we aren't looking to get high.

I certainly don't deny there is a major problem with prescription drug abuse.

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33 US FL: PUB LTE: Losing Out On Pot TaxesThu, 19 May 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Rose, Michael Area:Florida Lines:31 Added:05/19/2016

Because the legalization of medical marijuana will be on the ballot again this year, Florida legislators may want to remember that states are losing billions by not legalizing pot.

According to a new study, federal and state governments are missing out on $28 billion by not legalizing recreational marijuana.

The study was released on May 12 by the Tax Foundation, an independent think tank. Experts said most of that revenue would come from a tax on marijuana.

The study criticized moral objections to marijuana legalization-such as concerns over addiction-by suggesting that people abuse marijuana regardless of its legal status. And according to a national survey on drug use and health, roughly 12 percent of marijuana users were considered "abusers" of the drug.

Michael Rose, Lighthouse Point


34 US FL: Vote No on 2 Slams Marijuana Initiative As a FullTue, 17 May 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Rohrer, Gray Area:Florida Lines:53 Added:05/18/2016

TALLAHASSEE - A group fighting a proposed amendment to allow medical marijuana in Florida released its first web video Monday, attacking the measure as a fig leaf for full-blown legalization of the drug.

The video from Drug Free Florida's Vote No on 2 campaign is posted on its website and isn't running as an ad on television or online. But it signals the first salvo from those opposed to Amendment 2.

The three-minute video features online searches of California marijuana shops, noting their marketing of marijuana-infused baked goods and other items aren't likely to be for genuine medical ailments.

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35 US FL: Palm Beach County Marijuana Incarceration CostsMon, 16 May 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Reid, Andy Area:Florida Lines:83 Added:05/17/2016

Palm Beach County's cost for jailing people caught with small amounts of marijuana may be much less than initially estimated, according to revised figures released Monday.

Just last week, the county estimated that it cost taxpayers $1.1 million from 2009 to 2015 to jail people whose most serious offense was having a small amount of marijuana.

But at the urging of the Sheriff's Office, the county's Criminal Justice Commission on Monday revised its estimate to show that when marijuana is the only charge involved - excluding trespassing and other minor offenses that may coincide with a marijuana charge - the cost drops to about $322,245 from 2009 to 2015.

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36 US FL: LTE: States Allowing Marijuana See Rise in DUIMon, 16 May 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Solomon, Carl Area:Florida Lines:27 Added:05/16/2016

No matter how defensively you drive in Florida, not having an accident is usually by luck, not skill. Almost every day we read about fatal DUI accidents. Usually the driver at fault, already has had 4-5 DUI convictions and is driving with a suspended license.

In Florida, we will be voting whether to legalize pot. In some states that have legalized marijuana, fatal car crashes have doubled.

I for one will vote against the legalization of marijuana. If you disagree, tighten your seat belt and hope you survive the carnage caused by impaired drivers who may be under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana.

Carl Solomon, Delray Beach


37 US FL: Arrests For Pot Costs $158k, Analysis ShowsSun, 15 May 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Swisher, Skyler Area:Florida Lines:78 Added:05/16/2016

It's the latest turn in a clash between the sheriff and county commissioners over whether deputies should give citations to those caught with a small amount of marijuana.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has said he has no plans to use a commission approved ordinance that lets deputies issue a civil citation, instead of a criminal charge, for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. A citation would be similar to a traffic ticket.

Now, a newly completed analysis by county staff estimates the expense that comes from jailing small-time offenders instead of ticketing them.

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38 US FL: Advances in Addiction Science Spark Treatment StrategiesSun, 15 May 2016
Source:Palm Beach Post, The (FL) Author:Santich, Katie Area:Florida Lines:166 Added:05/15/2016

Drugs, Booze, Food, Gambling All Lead to Changes in Brains.

He was 40 years old, a father of three and an Orlando house painter, clean and sober for eight years. One night last summer, he climbed into his truck, stuck a needle in his arm and injected himself with what would be his final dose of heroin.

"The paramedics worked on him for a long time. And when they declared him dead, he was still clutching his last bag of the drug in his fist," says Pastor Spence Pfleiderer. "That's the power of addiction."

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39 US FL: Benefactor Optimistic On Amend. 2Fri, 13 May 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:83 Added:05/13/2016


For the second time in two years, Florida voters will be presented with a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. United for Care, which backed Amendment 2 in 2014, is also backing the 2016 measure, also known as Amendment 2. Campaign chairman John Morgan has invested millions of dollars in both efforts. We discussed the issue with Morgan, campaign manager Ben Pollara and Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre. An excerpt of Morgan's responses follows. A video of the full interview is at

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40 US FL: Poll: 80% Of Floridians Support Pot AmendmentThu, 12 May 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Saunders, Jim Area:Florida Lines:85 Added:05/13/2016

TALLAHASSEE - About six months before Election Day, Florida voters overwhelmingly support a broad legalization of medical marijuana but are less clear about a critical U.S. Senate race, a new poll shows.

The poll, released on Wednesday by Quinnipiac University, said that 80 percent of voters support a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow medical marijuana for patients with a wide range of conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Support for the proposal cuts across political and demographic lines. For example, it is supported by 71 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats. It is supported by 80 percent of men and 81 percent of women.

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41 US FL: Medical And Recreational Pot Have Voters' SupportThu, 12 May 2016
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Man, Anthony Area:Florida Lines:50 Added:05/12/2016

Florida voters overwhelmingly support legalization of medical marijuana, pollsters said Wednesday, and most also favor legalization of recreational pot use.

The Quinnipiac University poll found 80 percent of Florida voters said they would vote for a proposed constitutional amendment in November allowing for medical use of marijuana. Just 16 percent said they'd vote no.

Support is greater than 70 percent among every category pollsters analyzed, regardless of political party, gender, education, age and ethnicity. The question was specific, asking people if they favored medical use of marijuana "for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician."

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42 US FL: Marijuana Proponent Hopeful For LegalizationWed, 11 May 2016
Source:Palm Beach Post, The (FL) Author:Ostrowski, Jeff Area:Florida Lines:63 Added:05/11/2016

Attorney John Morgan Confident in Voter Turnout.

John Morgan, the deep-pocketed attorney bankrolling the effort to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, predicts November's election will produce the victory that eluded him two years ago.

Morgan spent more than $4 million on Amendment 2, the measure that won support from 57.6 percent of voters in November 2014. It needed 60 percent to pass.

"I didn't really realize how hard 60 percent was going to be," Morgan said Tuesday during a speech at the Marijuana Business Conference in Kissimmee. "It is hard - it's a landslide."

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43 US FL: Orlando Approves Citations For MarijuanaTue, 10 May 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Weiner, Jeff Area:Florida Lines:116 Added:05/10/2016

Orlando on Monday became the latest Florida municipality and the first city in Central Florida to effectively decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, passing an ordinance that will allow officers to issue citations rather than make arrests.

The controversial measure, which was supported by Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando police Chief John Mina, was approved by the City Council on a 4-3 vote. It will take effect Oct. 1. The measure was opposed by the two former police officers on the council, Tony Ortiz and Samuel Ings, as well as Commissioner Jim Gray. The ordinance passed both public readings by the same slim margin.

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44 US FL: Medical-Marijuana Challenge Involves Licenses forTue, 10 May 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Kam, Dara Area:Florida Lines:51 Added:05/10/2016

TALLAHASSEE - A new law that protects five nurseries may have given more ammunition to "ganjapreneurs" seeking an entry into what could be one of the nation's largest medical-marijuana markets come this fall.

The law was intended to inoculate from pending legal challenges the five growers, and their teams of consultants and investors, selected by Florida health officials in November to serve as medical marijuana dispensing organizations, responsible for growing, processing and distributing cannabis products to a limited population of patients. While the law did just that, it also gave at least one losing applicant new grounds for its existing complaint.

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45 US FL: Editorial: Pass Plan To Scale Back Pot PenaltyFri, 06 May 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:88 Added:05/06/2016

The Orlando City Council is scheduled to make an important decision Monday, one that could set the tone of law enforcement for years to come. A proposal by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana in the city is set for final action.

The ordinance passed by a single vote in its first reading on April 18. If the measure becomes law, it would give city police the authority to write a ticket to someone found with less than 20 grams (0.7 ounces) of marijuana rather than make an arrest. Several hundred people went to jail last year for just such a violation, and many may have ended up with a criminal record.

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46US FL: OPED: For Marijuana, Make Punishment Fit CrimeWed, 04 May 2016
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Kornell, Steve Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:05/05/2016

Recent statistics from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office show that although African-Americans are 10 percent of the county population, they represent 41 percent of the arrests for minor amounts of marijuana. National statistics have prompted the American Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union to call for the decriminalization of the possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana by making it a civil violation, punishable by a ticket, rather than a criminal offense.

I proposed creating a civil citation program in St. Petersburg in October. This proposal does not legalize small amounts of marijuana or the other minor offenses covered in the ordinance. It does make the punishment fit the crime. No one deserves a permanent criminal record or to be forced into drug treatment for possessing small amounts of marijuana. No one's future job prospects should be limited for littering or stealing a shopping cart.

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47US FL: New Pot Rule Yields 81 CitationsTue, 03 May 2016
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Fox, Geoff Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:05/04/2016

First Violator Cited Less Than An Hour After Ordinance Took Effect

TAMPA - A stripper, a college student and a lawn maintenance worker were among the first people issued civil citations for possessing small amounts of marijuana since April 1, police records show.

Tampa City Council members on March 17 voted 5-1 to adopt the ordinance, intended to prevent offenders from having the lifelong stigma of a criminal record that can hinder job, scholarship and housing opportunities.

Council members said it will also free up police and the courts. Nearly 1,900 arrests made by Tampa police last year included charges of possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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48 US FL: PUB LTE: Misguided On PotSun, 01 May 2016
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Conboy, Dennis M. Area:Florida Lines:33 Added:05/01/2016

Regarding Orlando City Commissioner Samuel B. Ings' My Word column, "Ings: Here's why I'm voting no on easing pot penalties," on Wednesday: Ings' opinion is, at best, short-sighted and antiquated. Ings insists that recreational marijuana use should remain a criminal activity. The perception that recreational marijuana use is criminal is dying a slow death, and deservedly so. I expect Ings is unaware of how many of his friends might be recreational or medicinal users.

This ordinance would not promote open marijuana smoking, as he assumes; there is a fine. Marijuana use would remain illegal.

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49 US FL: Familiar Aroma Pervades SunfestSun, 01 May 2016
Source:Palm Beach Post, The (FL) Author:Dennis, Zach Area:Florida Lines:87 Added:05/01/2016

Concertgoers Indulge in Marijuana in Violation of City Law.

WEST PALM BEACH - After 7:30 p.m. Friday night, you could smell it.

There was no escaping the odor, which permeated the night sky like smoke bellowing from a chimney. The stench of marijuana was as prevalent and as synonymous with SunFest as the downtown traffic jams.

While the crowd can easily tell you what was being smoked, it - like law enforcement - cannot tell you specifically who was smoking it. As one vendor, who requested to remain anonymous, remarked, "It is impossible to pinpoint where it is happening at."

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50US FL: Tampa's New Pot Law Has Schools Revisiting Rules forSun, 01 May 2016
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Dawson, Anastasia Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:05/01/2016

It's Relevant to Student Discipline, Employment Policy

TAMPA - City officials toiled over the details for months before adopting a law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

It's been a month since the regulation took effect, but one segment of the community is still wrestling with its reaction to changes that make possession no more serious than a traffic ticket in the eyes of the law: Hillsborough County schools.

Students likely still will be punished for possession - Hillsborough County schools are drugfree for all students and employees - but decriminalization could change the way teachers and other employees are hired, school officials say. At least in Tampa. "The world is changing around us," school board Chairwoman April Griffin said. "We need to have a conversation about what it means if you've received a citation as opposed to being arrested."

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