First Florida marijuana dispensary opens in Tallahassee Tuesday
Tallahassee Democrat-Ryan Dailey-07/21/16
Florida’s first marijuana dispensary will open Tuesday at 800 Capital Circle SE, Tallahassee.
Licensed cannabis grower and distributor Trulieve won the race among the state’s six medical cannabis licensees to open the state’s first retail location. It will sell its proprietary high-CBD, low-THC strain of marijuana named Vita Jay, and has plans for a stronger strain on the horizon.
To do so, according to Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, the company had to complete a rigorous 2,000-page application that was “very technical,” and pass the consequent inspections from the Department of Health.
“At the end of the day, we are responsible for the plant, what comes out of the ground, and responsible for processing. It is highly regulated, of course, but also a very serious medicine,” Rivers said.
Trulieve is involved in every step the cultivation and sale, with its processing plant Hackney Nurseries located in Quincy.
“We, of course, hope and anticipate a warm welcome from our Tallahassee friends, neighbors and community,” Rivers said. “We’re local, and that’s why it was really important for us to open our first dispensary here.”
Rivers said that she and the company hope the public will see the medicinal value that Trulieve’s product can bring to those with health needs.
“I think once people realize that it really is medicine, that it’s not in any way recreational, they will see why people need it,” she said.
Under Florida’s Right to Try law, which gives patients with diagnosed terminal illness the right to try certain approved “experimental” drugs or ones not found in a pharmacy, Trulieve will have a higher-THC strain available mid-August.
In order to obtain the more potent strand, patients must be declared terminally ill by two physicians.
Customers will not be able to make marijuana purchases with plastic at the store, however, as state law allows only cash transactions at dispensaries.
The company has locations listed on its website as “coming soon” to Pensacola, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Bradenton.
Trulieve will host a press conference at the Capital Circle location at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
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Should the Odor of Cannabis Constitute Probable Cause in Florida?
by The Law Office of John Guidry II
Oh the times, they are a changin’
Every time I walk into the Orange County Courthouse, I see some guy asking me to sign a petition to “put medical marijuana on Florida’s Ballot”. Somehow, whenever I’m dressed in my work uniform (suit, tie, and briefcase, don’t forget the briefcase), the petition signing hawks leave me alone. It may be that too many “suits” turn out to be jerks, so they just don’t bother. I understand that, and agree. But, if I had the time, I would chat up the “medical marijuana sign holder” and tell him that medical marijuana is perfectly legal in the State of Florida. It has been for almost a year now.
Most people don’t realize this. Medical marijuana is legal in Florida. I’ll keep saying it until everyone takes down the signs asking that we make it legal. It’s legal. Governor Rick Scott signed the law back in 2014, and it took effect on January 1, 2015. The law is found in Florida Statute 381.986, entitled “Compassionate use of low-THC cannabis”.
Now, the question for today may sound like another episode of Inside Baseball, and for that, I’m slightly sorry. It is the effect this law has on probable cause that should concern we citizens. Law enforcement may not search your person, home, or vehicle without a warrant so long as they have “probable cause”. Nine times out of ten, probable cause involves some officer telling his buddy “You smell weed? Yea, I smell weed too, let’s search this place”. Five times out of ten, this odor is detected after a citizen denies the officer permission to search. Up until January 1, 2015, probable cause based upon the smell of weed made a bit of sense, as marijuana was illegal in any form up until that point.
For years now, we defense attorneys have tolerated fabricated odor of cannabis searches that never reveal cannabis. It sounds funny, but some officers have searched a vehicle based upon the odor of cannabis–only to find no marijuana. Shocking, I know. The only drugs found on these “odor of cannabis searches” were cocaine or heroin or oxycodone—none of which smell like weed. Not surprisingly, most prosecutors buy into this odor of cannabis excuse. Even judges buy into it, reasoning that, “well, I guess the defendant had recently smoked weed, that’s probably what the officer smelled, so I’m going to find probable cause for the search based upon the officer’s detection of the odor of cannabis”. Sure, there are several logical objections to such reasoning, if you can find a judge interested in logic (there are plenty). For example, the odor of burnt cannabis is only evidence of a completed crime (the weed is now consumed by fire, duh), so the odor is not evidence that someone is currently committing the crime of possession of cannabis. Furthermore, in cases where a search is conducted based upon the odor—but no weed is recovered–the officer’s nose obviously isn’t accurate enough to detect the presence of cannabis. So, what business does the court have relying on such an inaccurate nose to find probable cause? We have K9’s who, we all can agree, are far better at detecting the scent of drugs than humans—yet several courts have suppressed evidence when it can be shown that the particular K9 utilized is not accurate enough to form probable cause (yes, the police must keep records of their K9’s “accuracy”, a story for another day). Why should a human be treated any different than a K9?
Well, I’m a little bit off track, as usual. We’re talking about searches. We’re talking about the government’s right to obtain a search warrant of your underwear drawer because they smell cannabis outside your home. We’re talking about a speeding ticket that turns into a 4 hour ordeal in which the panels of your dashboard have been broken loose because some cop smelled weed when you rolled down your window (should have rolled down those windows the minute you saw the flashing lights, I’m just saying).
Prior to January 1, 2015, Florida courts have routinely held that the smell of cannabis indicates criminal activity. As we said before, any form of cannabis was illegal. But now, the possession of cannabis is no longer illegal. Now, cannabis possession is legal if possessed under Florida Statute 381.986. Now, the odor of this legal substance should no longer constitute probable cause to search anything.
How Florida’s cannabis statute will impact the determination of probable cause remains to be seen, but several states have had medical marijuana for a while now, so we can gain some wisdom from their decisions. For example, in Arizona, their appellate court addressed “the effect of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) on determinations of probable cause. That Act renders possession, cultivation, and use of marijuana lawful under some circumstances. Accordingly, those circumstances—not the mere possession itself—now determine whether such activity is criminal or permitted under state law. For this reason, and for the reasons state below, we hold that the scent of marijuana, standing alone, is insufficient evidence of criminal activity to supply probable cause for a search warrant.” State v. Sisco, 359 P.3d 1 (2015).
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After more than a year of delays, the Florida Department of Health on Wednesday will begin accepting applications for five geographically distributed licenses to grow non-euphoric marijuana, process it into a concentrated oil and market it to epileptics and people with cancer.
It is a process that was expected to get underway last summer, but was prevented when various would-be applicants made legal challenges to the rules.
How many applicants there will be is unknown, but the number has likely dwindled from what it would have been a year ago.
At that time, companies were hooking up with Florida nurseries qualified under the law with the aim off getting a license in advance of the potential passage of the proposed medical marijuana amendment 2, which received 58 percent of the popular vote — 2 percentage points less than the 60 percent required for ratification.
The applications must be made by Florida nurseries that have been in existence for 30 years or longer and have 400,000 or more plants under cultivation.
“Ninety-two nurseries are eligible to apply,” said David Kotler, a Boca Raton attorney who specializes in medical marijuana legal consulting. “The scuttlebutt was 15 were probably capable of applying. Frankly I think the number is going to be a little less.”
The Southwest Florida license takes in a north-to-south strip of Hillsborough, Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and Collier counties.
The South Florida license covers the largest portion of Florida’s population. Using conservative estimates, Kotler and a client figured they should only count on 1,400 monthly clients. “The expected revenue was pretty good after ramp-up, but start-up costs were high,” he said.
Overall, it will cost each successful license winner more than $2 million just to set up shop. Submitting an application requires a $63,000 nonrefundable fee. If successful in winning a license, the enterprise must post a $5 million bond, which costs $50,000 to $300,000 per year to maintain. Building an indoor grow operation could cost $1.75 million or more. The processing plant and lab together would bring that total to a minimum of $2.25 million.
Officials at Sarasota County’s AltMed LLC, which in the past has described a working relationship with a qualified Sarasota County nursery, on Monday declined to comment on whether they would be part of an application by July 8, when the state’s narrow window will close.
The health department now claims it could have the extract in the hands of patients by the end of 2015, but potential suppliers say spring 2016 would be more likely.
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by Hunter Stuart
A constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana in Florida has enough verified signatures to make it onto the ballot this year. But before the vote, the state Supreme Court must approve the proposed amendment. | Peeter Viisimaa via Getty Images
Medical marijuana legalization is a step away from being on the ballot in Florida in 2014, which would leave the issue up to voters to decide. Polls show strong support for legal cannabis in the state, but a crucial obstacle remains.
On Friday, the website of the Florida Division of Elections showed that a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical weed in Florida had 710,508 verified signatures -- over 27,000 more than the 683,149 required to get the issue on this year's ballot. Constitutional amendments in Florida must win at least 60 percent of the vote before they can become law, but that shouldn't be much of a problem: A poll taken in November showed 82 percent support for legalizing medical marijuana, The Miami Herald reported at the time.
Still, Florida's ballot initiative must first be approved by the state Supreme Court -- before it can be voted on by the public.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says the amendment's wording is vague and could be exploited by people who don't have medical conditions, according to local cable news channel Bay News 9. If the Supreme Court agrees with Bondi, the Tampa Bay Times points out, the initiative would be invalidated.
Supporters of medical marijuana say the drug can be used to treat a variety of ailments, including seizure disorders, PTSD, Crohn's disease, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and even cancer. Opponents say there are legal drugs that already treat those conditions, and that marijuana has a high potential for abuse.
Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have working medical marijuana programs, and a handful of other states are currently toying with legalizing cannabis for various purposes.
Via Huffington Post
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By: Jeff Skrzypek
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Voters in Florida will soon decide the fate of medical marijuana in a few short months during the November election.
The Florida Supreme Court approved the amendment for the ballot on Monday in a 4-3 decision.
The development instantly sparked the debate surrounding medicinal use of cannabis among users and those who fear it will create abusers.
Jeff Kennedy, who can legally buy and smoke marijuana in California, is one of those people who could soon buy what he deems as "medicine" in his home state.
"My reaction beyond the politics is that it's long overdue," said Kennedy.
Recently diagnosed with cancer and suffering from severe neuropathy, Kennedy said legalizing cannabis is critical to his health.
"What it means to me is that I will be able to hopefully in the next several months light up without fear," said Kennedy.
But Jeff Kadel at the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition fears medical marijuana is a gateway to widespread drug addiction.
"With our history with the pill mills and the doctors, there's going to be no shortage of people writing these certificates for whatever medical reason is necessary," said Kadel.
If access is increased for marijuana, Kadel said recreational usage of the drug will skyrocket throughout the state.
"This 60's reefer madness attitude has to go away. We all know now that this is not a dangerous drug and it's actually much safer than other drugs," said Democrat Jeff Clemons, a Florida State Senator.
Clemons, who introduced the original bill, said marijuana would be prescribed under the same strict guidelines between patient and doctor.
Kennedy, who continues to make long trips to California for his medical marijuana, feels his road trips could soon be coming to an end.
"It's not 'if'," said Kennedy, "But 'when' it becomes legal because it is going to happen."
Clemons said if voters approve the amendment, legislators would work out the fine details and enact the law in March 2015.
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Is anyone not moving for legalization now?
Marijuana -- a taxable form of medicine or a dangerous gateway drug?
The controversial issue has been gaining attention across the country now that 18 states are allowing it in some form.
Florida Cannabis Action Network president Jodi James said she’s an advocate for "sensible cannabis policy.”
"What’s happening right now is that people who truly need access to the medicine don’t have it,” James said.
James leads a state movement that would like to see medical marijuana legalized in Florida, just like other states.
“They regulated it, they controlled it. The sky didn’t fall down and it makes more sense for public safety,” James said.
Right now there’s an effort by Democratic Senator Jeff Clemens from District 27 from Palm Beach County to create a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
Other bills have failed but supporters said the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado for recreational use have opened the doors of opportunity.
But there are people against.
A groups like the Centers for Drug Free Living in Orlando said they don’t take a stance on whether it should be legal or not but think their treatment facilities would feel an impact.
"The easier to get it, the more likely it will probably be used and the more it’s used the more addiction and abuse you are going to see out of it,” said Center For Drug Free Living official Todd Dixon.
Dixon also said there are serious downfalls to smoking it.
"Smoking in general, whether it’s marijuana or tobacco has a whole other host of negative health side effects,” Dixon said.
The group partnership at DrugFree.org issued News 13 a statement regarding the issue:
"Legalization of marijuana does not change the reality that use of marijuana, alcohol or any drug in adolescence poses risks to childhood brain development and significantly increases the likelihood of progression to addiction.
What legalization may well increase is the availability of marijuana to teens – and the kind of aggressive marketing to underage users that alcohol and tobacco companies have consistently engaged in – to the clear detriment of young people’s health and well-being.
In the interest of protecting kids, and based on the perspective of parents, we believe that adding marijuana to the menu of legally available substances and marketed products will make it more likely that kids will use it. The need for education, prevention and guidance toward effective treatment increases dramatically with legalized marijuana. Our role in motivating and equipping parents to prevent or get help with a child’s involvement with drugs does not diminish, but instead becomes all the more important.
From this perspective, The Partnership at Drugfree.org does not support legalized and marketed marijuana."
"You can’t go to the mall without being bombarded with something with a pot leaf, so what kind of message are we sending to our kids,” James said.
Whether you agree or not, the issue is being talked about both in homes across the country and in Tallahassee.
“Marijuana is already here, cannabis is already here, now get to make some tough decisions on how we are going to regulate it or control it, who we are going to let have access to it, and who shouldn’t have access to it, so we want to have that conversation I think this is the year,” James said.
Clemens said the bill is currently in the drafting phase. It should be completed within the next few weeks.
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- If you ask me they prob should have just sank it. -TG
The U.S. Coast Guard is boasting that one of its cutter crews seized 8,500 pounds marijuana off the coast of San Pedro this week.
That's a lot of weed headed for a region where it's essentially legal to sell it in storefronts. Makes you wonder.
Anyway, Coast Guard officials said the catch was worth ...
... a whopping $7.7 million. The haul means that our friendly USCG men and women of the sea have tallied "a 50-ton milestone for waterborne marijuana seizures in Southern California and the Pacific Southwest border region this fiscal year," according to a statement.
That's nearly $91 million worth of weed. Wow. Did we mention that it's basically legal to sell pot in California?
The Coast Guard says there has been an "increase" in, er, high-seas pot busts this year.
|U.S. Coast Guard
The seizure was made Wednesday by the San Francisco-based Coast Guard Cutter Aspen about 160 miles offshore, according to the USCG. (The Aspen patrols the entire California coast).
Petty Officer Cory Mendenhall told the Weekly the pot was found on a 33-foot "panga" boat that likely came from Mexico.
Six people on the boat were detained as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigates.
Capt. James Jenkins, commander of the Coast Guard's Los Angeles/Long Beach area, says:
Stopping these drugs from reaching our streets is a great accomplishment, but it's just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the impact on the drug trafficking organizations.
Gosh, has anyone bought weed on "our streets" around here in the last five years?
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By Kyle Munzenrieder,
Wed., Mar. 2 2011 @ 1:32PM
With 14 states and the District of Colombia allowing the legal medical use of marijuana, acceptance of the issue is steadily growing in America. A new poll shows that 57 percent of Floridians support legalization of medical marijuana as buzz grows that the issue could be placed on the ballot as soon as 2012.
Bob Norman reports that the poll was conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, a Republican firm that worked with Rick Scott's gubernatorial campaign. The pollsters asked point blank: "If there was a Constitutional Amendment on the statewide ballot to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes only when prescribed by a practicing physician and the election were held today, would you vote YES to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes or NO to stop it?"Fifty-seven percent said they would vote yes (roughly 41 percent said they definitely would, and about 17 percent said they probably would). A recent ABC News poll shows that across the nation, 81 percent of voters support medical marijuana. It's possible this poll might even be conservative in estimating support.
Norman reports that such an amendment could come to the ballot in 2012, but 60 percent of voters would need to check yes for such a measure to pass.
Although there wasn't a big statistical difference based on gender and race, slightly more women were supportive of the measure than men. Fifity-nine percent of whites, 58 percent of Hispanics, and 55 percent of blacks would vote yes.
Voters in Miami would support the measure at 58 percent, but West Palm has the biggest munchies for medical marijuana, with 73 percent. Seventy-nine percent of voters 18 to 24 would vote yes, while even a majority of voters 65 and older are supportive of the measure, at 53 percent.
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Second person to recieve medical marijuana speaks at NORML event
By Kendall Bierer, Central Florida Future
Published: Monday, February 21, 2011
Irvin Rosenfeld isn't your stereotypical stoner.
The 58-year-old stockbroker has smoked 10-12 cannabis sativa cigarettes every day for more than 28 years.
Rosenfeld, who was the second person to get medical marijuana ever and NORML's third speaker for Medical Marijuana Month, spoke to the UCF community on Feb. 16 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Key West Ballroom.
In 1971, his first year of college, Rosenfeld was introduced to marijuana for the first time. As a young man who'd had numerous surgeries and chemical drugs to treat his rare bone disease, Rosenfeld did not understand why a healthy person would need to use illegal drugs. He admitted that he had been an advocate against it.
At that time, Rosenfeld was prescribed to take more than 30 pills a day including but not limited to morphine, Quaalude and Valium to treat his multiple congenital cartilaginous exostoses, which he's had since he was 10 years old. His body had more than 200 tumors in it and even after his growth plates had halted, a second rare disease, pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, developed. His doctors told him it was a death sentence.
Before using marijuana medically, his use was purely social even though he didn't agree with it.
"It was a way of making friends, and even though I thought it was garbage, I liked being able to make friends through the use of it," Rosenfeld said.
The tenth time he smoked was the first time he'd sat for more than 10 minutes without discomfort and medication.
"Once I discovered that cannabis was the medicine I needed, I knew I would be arrested and I would be sunk if caught with it," Rosenfeld said. "I am not a criminal, I am a patient."
Since age 21 Rosenfeld has not had another tumor form. His doctors were astounded and couldn't figure out why, but Rosenfeld knew it was because of his recently discovered medication.
He decided to drop out of college after his third semester and move back to Virginia to take on the Federal government. He gained support from his family and doctor and started the persistent fight to gain access to his medicine, a battle that would last 10 years.
In 1982, Rosenfeld, who has the Federal right to smoke his cannabis sativa cigarettes wherever smoking is permitted, received his first tin canister of 320 cigarettes. The government refers to his medication as an experimental new drug that only four patients currently have access to.
When it came time for his doctor to write a report on the success of his use, Rosenfeld knew how it'd be received.
"I told him the truth," Rosenfeld said of the conversation with his doctor. "Any positive report was going to be buried because the government has no interest in the positive aspects of cannabis."
On the report written after that, his doctor decided to write on every page in big red letters "it's working."
The government said nothing.
"The truth is that the government only gave me medicinal cannabis because I backed them in a corner," Rosenfeld said. "They have no interest in continuing this program once the patients are gone."
As stated in his book, My Medicine, the program will terminate when the patients do. He realized four years ago that he needed to share his story; otherwise, it would die with him.
"I know I am taking a risk with the Federal government and my book, but I need to educate people," said Rosenfeld. "The government doesn't want to know and that's what we are up against. I went public so I could be the face of the medical marijuana movement."
Rosenfeld made sure to distinguish between the words ‘cannabis' and ‘marijuana.'
"What I get every 25 days is cannabis sativa, not marijuana," he said. "By using the word ‘marijuana' or ‘pot' you demonize the drug. Every time we use the word ‘pot', we are playing into their hands."
Rosenfeld is creating a new company, Medical Cannabis Solutions, which is going to attempt to achieve something never done before, write its own state law. As the face of the movement, Rosenfeld has credibility when speaking about the battle for his medicine and the necessity to make it available to all patients. He estimates that it will take about six months to a year to complete the project.
Music education junior Chelsey Sprouse can personally attest to the benefits of marijuana used as medicine. Sprouse, who suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, was prescribed eight pills a day by her doctor, but has opted to use marijuana instead.
"Now I get home and I take one hit of cannabis and instantly I am better," said Sprouse. "It helps me eat. It is almost a miracle because it is something nothing else has been able to do. Cannabis is a better choice."
Rosenfeld hopes his work will make cannabis a choice for others.
"This battle is a lot longer and harder than any of us realized, but we are a step closer than we were before."
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