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1 US FL: This City OK'd Marijuana Dispensaries. Now It's Having SecondFri, 08 Dec 2017
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Geggis, Anne Area:Florida Lines:127 Added:12/08/2017

Have they opened Pandora's box? Some Deerfield Beach city leaders worry that's what they might've done by allowing marijuana dispensaries in the city.

They're now trying to stop medical dispensaries from clustering citywide by keeping them out of commercial areas that also have homes, as well as setting rules to stop them from opening next to one another.

Mayor Bill Ganz said he doesn't want the city to become known as the place to buy pot, even if it's just the medical kind that doesn't get you high.

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2 US FL: What Is Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa)?Fri, 01 Dec 2017
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)          Area:Florida Lines:29 Added:12/06/2017

Kratom is an herb from Southeast Asia related to the coffee family.

For centuries, people have used the kratom plant as a traditional medicine for energy, alertness and pain relief.

It's typically either chewed or dried, ground and ingested in capsule, smoked or served as tea.

The key psychoactive compounds that produce a "kratom high" are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.

A low kratom dosage produces stimulant effects making people more talkative, alert and energetic, according to a DEA fact sheet. At high doses, kratom users can experience the drug's sedative effects, the report shows.

People can buy kratom online and at head shops, vape shops and more recently at kava bars that serve herbal drinks.


3US FL: Deland Officer Fired, 2 Others Disciplined Over Missing MethTue, 28 Nov 2017
Source:Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL) Author:Balona, Patricio G. Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:11/29/2017

A DeLand police officer was fired, another suspended without pay and a third reprimanded this month after they lost methamphetamine collected as evidence at a home over the summer, Internal Affairs documents show.

Officers Michael Mirino, John Rutherford and Thomas Gillan responded to a home on July 14 to stand by as members of Probation and Parole searched the Lazy River Lane home of Cameron Rando, 19, who was on probation for grand theft and burglary of an unoccupied dwelling according to reports released this week.

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4 US FL: Sarasota Medical Marijuana Company Poised To Plant First CropMon, 20 Nov 2017
Source:Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) Author:Anderson, Zac Area:Florida Lines:59 Added:11/22/2017

Sarasota-based medical marijuana company AltMed Florida is poised to begin growing its first crop of marijuana at a facility in Apollo Beach.

The Florida Department of Health authorized Plants of Ruskin -- the nursery that is partnering with AltMed -- to begin operating the cultivation facility.

"We have worked diligently to build what we believe will be the most advanced indoor cultivation facility in Florida, and one of the finest in the country," AltMed CEO John Tipton said in a press release Monday.

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5 US FL: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Now Open In Palm Beach CountyTue, 14 Nov 2017
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Swisher, Skyler Area:Florida Lines:100 Added:11/14/2017

Palm Beach County's first medical marijuana dispensary is now open for business.

At noon Tuesday, Knox Medical opened the center at 1 South Dixie Highway in Lake Worth, across the street from Lake Worth City Hall.

The dispensary occupies a former bank building in downtown Lake Worth, and the interior resembles a dentist or doctor's office. Patients check in at the foyer and then can proceed to a room with glass display cases showcasing Knox Medical's products.

Knox Medical CEO Jose Javier Hidalgo said the new dispensary will improve access to medical cannabis for everyone in South Florida.

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6 US FL: Florida Moves Toward More Medical Marijuana LicensesWed, 20 Sep 2017
Source:Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) Author:Kam, Dara Area:Florida Lines:161 Added:09/23/2017

TALLAHASSEE -- Seemingly learning from past mistakes, state health officials have issued an emergency rule outlining the application process for new medical-marijuana vendors seeking to receive licenses in two weeks.

The new rule, published Wednesday and going into effect immediately, outsources the evaluation of the applications to "subject matter experts," requires "blind testing" of the applications, and includes a detailed application form --- all departures from the Department of Health's previous medical-marijuana regulations that spawned a series of legal and administrative challenges.

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7US FL: One Florida Bank Is Willing To Risk It All On Cannabis WhenThu, 31 Aug 2017
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Griffin, Justine Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:08/31/2017

Opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Florida naturally comes with a lot of red tape.

Marijuana is still considered an illegal substance at the federal level, despite the 29 states that have legalized it for recreational or medicinal use in recent years. That makes it nearly impossible for banks to fund marijuana distributing companies, which in turn makes it hard for those companies to sign a lease for a store or warehouse or even get insurance.

But one Orlando area community bank is willing to take on the risk.

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8US FL: Column: Lane: On Medical Pot, Public Way Ahead Of LeadersSat, 12 Aug 2017
Source:Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL) Author:Lane, Mark Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:08/12/2017

On medical marijuana, the public is way ahead of officialdom.

Statewide, 71 percent of Florida voters voted in favor of the medical marijuana amendment last November. In Flagler County, the margin was the same. In Volusia County, 73 percent voted to approve.

Overwhelming support. Particularly in a state like Florida which is known sharp political divisions on most issues. Even so, the Legislature was so reluctant to pass legislation putting the amendment into effect that nothing was approved during the regular spring session.

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9US FL: Column: Romano: The 'Morally Irresponsible'' Strategy To FightSat, 12 Aug 2017
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Romano, John Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:08/12/2017

The girls knew the rules, and especially the consequences. Their father would never raise a hand to them, but he was an aficionado of understated punishments.

Grab a pen and paper, he would tell his two daughters, and come sit at the kitchen table. Write down what you did wrong, and how you plan on correcting it. Sign it, date it and make sure you spelled everything correctly.

Frank Vazquez fretted enough about Cylea and Leliana that he wouldn't let them spend the night with friends because of all of the things that might go on in other homes. And he was like a doorman at a fancy high-rise when it came to who got past the threshold to visit his girls.

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10 US FL: Nazi Gang Members Arrested After Raid On Florida Trailer NetsWed, 09 Aug 2017
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Theisen, Tiffini Area:Florida Lines:38 Added:08/09/2017

Authorities found an exhaustive list of weapons, drug paraphernalia and Nazi propaganda when they raided a trailer Tuesday morning in a rural pocket of west central Florida, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Five felons, two of whom authorities described as documented gang members, were arrested after deputies and a SWAT team served a search warrant on the suburban New Port Richey mobile home, WFLA-Channel 8 reported.

Inside the trailer, which is partially obscured by thick vegetation along a wooded street, were four firearms, ammunition, "hundreds of pages" of miscellaneous bank account and personal identification information, credit cards, veterans' ID cards, insurance cards, vehicle titles, "hundreds of pages of American Nazi Family propaganda (rules, hierarchy, oaths, etc)," opiates, meth, and drug paraphernalia including needles and scales, deputies said.

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11 US FL: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Taking Root In South FloridaWed, 26 Jul 2017
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Randle, Caitlin Area:Florida Lines:105 Added:07/26/2017

What's legal, what's not, and what we're waiting on in this time between the passage of a state constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana and a July deadline for the Department of Health to institute rules and regulations.

What's legal, what's not, and what we're waiting on in this time between the passage of a state constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana and a July deadline for the Department of Health to institute rules and regulations.

During the past six months, the number of doctors in Florida who can recommend marijuana to patients has more than doubled from 374 to 819 as of June 2, according to state records. In Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, the number also more than doubled from 130 to 303.

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12 US FL: Orange Park Town Council To Consider Allowing MedicalMon, 24 Jul 2017
Source:Florida Times-Union (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:83 Added:07/24/2017

ORANGE PARK - Town Council soon will take up whether to lift Orange Park's moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, and if so, where such establishments may open up shop within the town limits.

The Orange Park Planning and Zoning Board voting 3-1 with one member absent July 13 recommended the council allow such dispensaries provided they comply with certain conditions. The board's recommendation is non-binding.

Under Florida law, medical marijuana dispensaries are treated as pharmacies for zoning purposes. That means wherever a regular pharmacy is allowed to operate, so is a medical marijuana dispensary.

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13 US FL: Oviedo To Soon Allow Medical Marijuana DispensariesWed, 19 Jul 2017
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Comas, Martin E. Area:Florida Lines:58 Added:07/21/2017

Oviedo City Council members this week agreed to let the city's moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries expire Aug. 5, making it likely that Oviedo will become the first Seminole County municipality to allow such businesses.

Council members also directed city staffers Monday to draft an ordinance that will treat medical marijuana dispensaries under the same zoning regulations as pharmacies.

Pharmacies in Oviedo are allowed to operate only in certain office and commercial zoning districts, which are mostly located along major thoroughfares. Council members are expected to vote on a new ordinance in the coming weeks to allow pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries to operate only in certain commercial zoning districts, but not in zoning districts for offices.

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14 US FL: Opioid Use Increasing Number Of Foster Children InFri, 14 Jul 2017
Source:Florida Times-Union (FL) Author:Williamson, Amanda Area:Florida Lines:290 Added:07/19/2017

The blond toddler pounced from the floor without warning and reached for a toy deep within Savannah Woods' entertainment center.

She remained on the plush, beige carpet, her eyes following the toddler through the room. In attempt to rein in the child's energy, Woods called him back to her side and asked him to name a smiling woman in the picture she held.

"Momma," the two-year-old said. The photograph captured Woods and her wife, Carly.

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15 US FL: Real-Time Drug Tests At Music Festivals Show 'Molly' OftenWed, 12 Jul 2017
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Cha, Ariana Eunjung Area:Florida Lines:94 Added:07/14/2017


Scientists, public health experts and volunteers working with them have started to show up at music festivals, concerts, raves and other public gatherings where illicit drugs are frequently used. Equipped with special chemical testing kits, they help attendees test pills and powder for purity in real time so people can make better informed decisions about whether to take them.

The practice - more common in Europe than in the United States - is controversial, and the debate has been similar to the early days of needle-exchange programs in the 1980s. Proponents argue harm reduction. They say people are more likely to reject taking drugs to get high if the substances do not contain what they think they do, which reduces the risk of overdose and other harmful effects. Critics say such programs implicitly encourage the use of illegal drugs.

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16 US FL: Medical Marijuana Bill Passes In Florida LegislatureThu, 06 Jul 2017
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Sweeney, Dan Area:Florida Lines:148 Added:07/10/2017

The medical marijuana industry officially has its guidelines with the passage of a bill out of the Florida Legislature on the last day of a three-day special session.

The votes were 29-6 in the Senate and 103-9 in the House. The few no votes were mostly Democrats who wanted fewer restrictions in the bill, but also a few Republicans who remain against the idea of medical marijuana on principle.

Gov. Rick Scott said he "absolutely" will sign the bill. That means big changes for patients, caregivers, doctors and growers, compared with the far more limited medical marijuana law passed by the Legislature in 2014, which resulted in seven grower/dispensers in the state.

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17US FL: John Morgan Sues State For Blocking The Smoking Of MedicalThu, 06 Jul 2017
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Klas, Mary Ellen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:07/07/2017

TALLAHASSEE -- Arguing that Florida legislators violated voters' intent when they prohibited smoking for the medical use of marijuana, the author of the state's medical marijuana amendment sued the state on Thursday to throw out the implementing law.

John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who spearheaded and financed the successful campaign to make medical access to cannabis a constitutional right, filed the lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court Thursday morning, asking the court to declare the law implementing the 2016 constitutional amendment unenforceable.

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18US FL: Pro-Pot Forces Calm Waters As Uss Maryjane Sails ThroughThu, 06 Jul 2017
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Morgan, Philip Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:07/06/2017

TEMPLE TERRACE -- Dropping a giant joint in favor of the "USS Maryjane" seemed to smooth the waters for a pro-marijuana entry in this year's Temple Terrace Fourth of July Parade.

The new float designed by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws featured the flag-festooned ship crewed by some military veterans and painted with the slogan, "Hemp for Victory."

The theme plays off a World War II film from the Department of Agriculture that praised the nation's hemp farmers for their work in creating strong ropes from the stalks of marijuana plants for the armed forces.

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19 US FL: Handyman Jailed For Months After Cops Mistake Drywall ForTue, 27 Jun 2017
Source:New York Post (NY)          Area:Florida Lines:44 Added:07/01/2017

It was a miscarriage of dust-ice.

A handyman spent three months behind bars after cops believed they'd found cocaine sprinkled around his car -- until test results later proved it was clean, according to reports.

Karlos Cash, 57, says the white powder was actually drywall -- just as he'd been telling them all along.

"I know for a fact (that) it's drywall because I'm a handyman," he told WFTV Orlando. "I said that continuously during the arrest stop."

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20 US FL: Desperate For Help, Heroin Addicts Get 'Hijacked' To FloridaFri, 23 Jun 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Lubrano, Alfred Area:Florida Lines:208 Added:06/23/2017

Alfred LubranoWest Chester addiction psychologist Drew Alikakos dials a number for a local addiction treatment center that he suspects has been illicitly re-routed to a Florida facility. His own phone number was "hijacked" in such a manner.

Alfred Lubrano works for the enterprise team. Previously, he wrote about poverty, and before that, he was a feature writer and columnist.

Last September, West Chester addiction psychologist Drew Alikakos made a jarring discovery: His patients were disappearing.


Philly and Conrail to clean up 'heroin hellscape'

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21 US FL: Teacher Alerted Drug Dealers As Revenge On Cheating HusbandWed, 21 Jun 2017
Source:Florida Times-Union (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:29 Added:06/21/2017

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida teacher tipped off drug dealers that her detective husband was investigating them in order to get revenge for his alleged infidelity.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday that federal prosecutors want an eight-year sentence for 31-year-old Porsha Session, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to obstruction.

In 2013, Session searched her then-husband's work email and found information about a drug investigation. She says he was cheating on her, and that to get back at him, she used a co-worker's phone at the elementary school where she worked to call one of the dealers and alert him that an informant had infiltrated his group. The informant later killed himself.

Her attorneys are asking that she be sentenced to house arrest at her June 28 hearing.


22 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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23US 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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24 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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25 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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26 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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27US 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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28 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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29US 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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30 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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31 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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32US 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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33US 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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34 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


35 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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36US 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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37 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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38 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


39 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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40 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.

[continues 59 words]

41 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.

[continues 797 words]

42 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


43 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.

[continues 163 words]

44 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.

[continues 559 words]

45 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


46 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?"

[continues 381 words]

47US 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.

[continues 1840 words]

48 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.

[continues 479 words]

49 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.

[continues 1528 words]

50US 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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