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.
The midterm elections refer to general elections in the United States that are held two years after the quadrennial (four-year) elections for the President of the United States (i.e. near the midpoint of the four-year presidential term). Federal offices that are up for election during the midterms are members of the United States Congress, including all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, and the full terms for 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate.
This year, people in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia will in addition to voting for their favorite representative, be able to vote to legalize marijuana in these so-called ballot initiatives. While in Florida, people will be able to vote to legalize the medicinal use.
The elections are scheduled for Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
Which is why we brought this page to life: to raise awareness of the upcoming elections and to encourage people to go out and vote in the 2014 Marijuana Ballot Initiatives!
Do you live in one of these four states? Make sure to check out and find out how to help the individual campaigns:
Medical Marijuana In Florida: Legitimate Legislative Efforts or Just Pipe Dreams?
By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
For the second consecutive year, medical marijuana legislation has been filed in the Florida legislature. In fact, when state Sen. Larcenia Bullard filed a companion bill to Rep. Jeff Clements’ House bill, it was the first time that medical marijuana bills have been filed in both chambers.
It’s progress for medical marijuana proponents. But it’s also questionable whether such efforts are simply — pardon the expression — pipe dreams.
Florida, after all, is a state that seems to pride itself on being on the opposite coast from California, the medical marijuana homeland. The Golden State being perceived as young. The Sunshine State perceived as old. Mountains, snow and deserts on one side; coastal flats, thunder and lightning, and everglades on the other. Earthquakes vs. hurricanes. Cold Pacific vs. warm Atlantic. Disneyland vs. Disneyworld. Marijuana vs. OxyContin Express. Politics controlled by liberals versus politics controlled by conservatives.
And yet, we both grow oranges and avocados. In both states, a majority favor the idea of medical marijuana. Here in Florida, the figure is 57 percent, according to a poll earlier this year from Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates. And that’s no pothead polling firm. Tony Fabrizio was Rick Scott’s pollster.
Granted, that 57 percent is well below the 73 percent level nationally. And it’s worth remembering that, despite comprising only 36 percent of registered voters, Republicans hold the governor’s mansion and majorities in both chambers. In other words, Florida Republicans are motivated and organized, and run the show in the Sunshine State. And save maverick, libertarian-leaning Republicans such as Ron Paul and Jesse Ventura, Republicans are notoriously hard-line on marijuana.
But it’s also worth noting that Republicans have maintained control by capturing a significant part of the 20 percent of Floridians who consider themselves unaffiliated. It would seem the 20 percent are key to any hopes for medical marijuana advocates. In the Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates poll, Florida independents favored medical marijuana by a 65-35 margin.
Medical marijuana efforts here are fairly nascent. They’ve only been underway since 2009.
And as in all states that have looked at medical marijuana, Florida advocates’ biggest initial hurdle is the perception that anyone who supports medical marijuana supports open drug use. That’s made the issue a political pariah (remember the dismissive answer provided by then-candidate Barack Obama, who acknowledged he smoked pot as a youngster when asked about marijuana legalization during a televised town hall meeting. That perception makes people reluctant to even discuss the issue, despite clear support for it. In state newspapers, the issue has gotten little more than “how cute” coverage.
But that’s not the case in college newspapers, such as The Alligator. Or on internet sites such as Toke of the Town.
You can also read about the issue on the lawyerly Medical Marijuana Blog, get a more stoner view in The Weed Blog, or the more (again, pardon the double entendre), high-minded, serious approach from The Marijuana Policy Project and The 420 Times.
One of the state leaders, People United for Medical Marijuana, (PUFMM — puff medical marijuana, get it?) is trying to bypass the Republican legislature by collecting enough signatures on a petition to force the issue on the ballot. But as of Oct. 29, PUFMM had only gathered 29,922 signatures — only four percent of the 676,811 it needs by Feb. 1.
The attention from college newspapers and blogs shows not only the depth and diversity of support for medical marijuana, but that this is an issue defined as much by generational differences as the typical conservative-liberal divisions. Previous generations were the ones who classified marijuana as being more dangerous and having less medicinal value than Heroin. Marijuana would actually have to be downgraded from its current position as a schedule 1 drug to a mere schedule 2 drug to be considered equal to heroin.
For young people, who are increasingly using marijuana (more than one-fifth of 18 to 25 year olds smoke), that assessment of pot as among the most dangerous known drugs rings false.
But everyone knows that young people, at worst, don’t vote, and at best aren’t a dependable voting constituency.
Now, if seniors were to get involved …
… It could get interesting in Tallahassee.
Man nabbed after requesting blunt, herbs at Burger King
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office reports that 32-year-old Shawn Porter and a friend placed an order for "blunt and some herbs" at a Deltona Burger King Thursday night.
A cashier smelled marijuana coming from their car and jotted down the license plate of the car, and then a supervisor called 911.
A deputy located Porter's house by running the tag number and was waiting when Porter arrived home with a Burger King bag in his hand. The deputy reported finding 28 grams of marijuana in the car.
Porter was charged with drug possession. He was being held on $1,000 bond. It's not immediately known if he has an attorney.
Medical Marijuana Resolution Now in Both Chambers of Florida Legislature
By Matthew Hendley Mon., Nov. 21 browardpalmbeach.com
Resolutions to let voters decide on an amendment to the Florida Constitution to legalize medical marijuana have now been proposed in both chambers of the Legislature.
Miami Democratic Sen. Larcenia Bullard dropped Senate Joint Resolution 1028 in the hopper on Friday, becoming the Senate side to Lake Worth Rep. Jeff Clemens' House Joint Resolution 353, which would put a medical-marijuana amendment up to the consideration of state voters next year.
The problem is that both the Senate and the House have to pass the resolution by a three-fifths margin for the amendment to make it to the ballot.
Add in the fact that the People United for Medical Marijuana's citizen petition is around 600,000 signatures short of earning a spot on the ballot and medical weed in Florida still looks like a distant pipe dream.
Still, the idea of legally gettin' high on something other than OxyContin might sound a bit more appealing to Floridians.
The amendment proposed by both Clemens' and Bullard's legislation would take effect on July 1, 2013, if the issue were passed by the voters, and as we've explained before, the resolution gets into some of the details of how Florida's medical-marijuana program would work.
The resolution's language states that a medical-marijuana patient must have been diagnosed with a "debilitating medical condition" by two doctors and can't have more weed than "legislatively presumed to be medically necessary."
A patient can't affect another person's health or well-being with their weed-smoking, patients wouldn't be able to smoke in public places, workplaces don't have to accommodate an employee's medical-marijuana use, and patients must be at least 18 years old to participate unless their parents give consent.
The resolution also would come with rights afforded to the patient, doctors, and caregivers.
Patients with children wouldn't have their kids taken away just for using medical marijuana unless their "behavior creates an unreasonable danger" to the youngsters.
No caregiver could face arrest, prosecution, penalty, or disciplinary action from any professional licensing board for assisting with a patient's use of medical marijuana.
If state or local law enforcement confiscates the medical weed in the event of an arrest, the resolution calls for the cannabis to be kept safe and never destroyed and must be returned "immediately" if the person isn't prosecuted, the charges are dismissed, or the person is acquitted of the charges.
Oak Hill dissolves Police Department
Power corrupting, and absolute power corrupting absolutely.......-UA
news-journalonline.com MARK I. JOHNSON
OAK HILL -- The city no longer has a Police Department.
City commissioners voted Monday night to dissolve the department and ask the Volusia County Sheriff's Office to handle law enforcement for the community rather than continue with the ongoing conflicts and controversies that have arisen over the past several months.
Commissioners Doug Gibson, Ron Engele and Mayor Mary Lee Cook supported eliminating the department, which has six paid officers, including its chief. Kathy Bittle and Lynda Hyatt voted no.
Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said his agency was ready to provide law enforcement services to the city and, in fact, started Monday night.
The decision came on the heels of Gibson's motion to fire Police Chief Diane Young, seconded by Mayor Cook, who said she had "never felt comfortable with the chief."
During the special meeting which she called, Cook presented a litany of complaints against the chief, who had been Oak Hill's top cop for 17 months.
Cook said they ranged from Young's association with a known drug dealer to knowledge she allowed someone else to take certification tests for two officers on the force, and that she gave an officer who failed his drug test two months to clean up, during which time he was involved in a high-speed chase during which shots were fired.
Cook noted that Young had admitted to cocaine use in her original job application in 2002. When the revelations came to light in media reports in 2009, Young said the "social cocaine use" occurred over a two-year period in the mid-1980s, and she hoped people judged her by what she had done for the city.
On Monday night, Cook also pointed to several lawsuits against the city filed by former Oak Hill police officers and the public, including one by Young herself.
"Our problem is not with the department, but with an inexperienced chief," the mayor said.
However, before Young's termination could be brought to a vote, Gibson withdrew the motion in favor of a proposal from Commission Ron Engele that the city would be better "starting over with a clean slate."
"The entirety of the department needs to go away," Engele said.
Cook initially opposed the disbanding the agency, saying the commission should take a first step with Young.
However, Commissioner Kathy Bittle, who said Cook should abstain from any vote to fire the chief because of her personal feelings against her, supported the idea.
"If you are going to terminate the chief, terminate the entire department and start over," Bittle said.
City Attorney Scott Simpson warned the commission against taking such action without having a contract with the Sheriff's Office in hand spelling out how it would oversee law enforcement in the city.
Cook, however, said she had already received assurances from Sheriff Ben Johnson and his Chief Deputy Bill Lee that "they would aid the city any way they could."
She said that included hiring Oak Hill officers who met Sheriff's Office qualifications and possibly staffing a substation within city limits.
Gibson added he believed the cost of having the Sheriff's Office provide law enforcement to the city would be the same as taxpayers now pay for the municipal department.
Sheriff's spokesman Davidson said neither Johnson nor Chief Deputy Lee were available to comment Monday night due to their involvement as hosts of the Florida Sheriffs Association convention in Daytona Beach.
Davidson said sheriff's officials were aware of the conflicts regarding Oak Hill Police Department and had been notified of the commission's action.
"We have shifted some of our patrol resources to cover the city," he said, adding deputies were prepared to respond to any calls for service. "This is nothing new for us. We know how to patrol a city."
In addition to questions about a contract with the Sheriff's Office, Simpson also warned the commission might be criticized for taking such action without detailing its consideration on the meeting's agenda. While he did not believe this was a violation of the state's Sunshine Law, he recommended eliminating the Police Department from the city's budget rather than terminating the officers.
"You need to end the relationship with all the employees," Simpson said. Commissioners followed that advice.
Reserve Police Officer Thad Smith told Cook while he respected her, he did not respect her attack on the chief, particularly related to her veiled allegations the police chief had planted marijuana plants on the mayor's property in an effort to force her to resign. While never naming Young, Cook alluded to the chief being involved in the June discovery of the 10 marijuana plants.
After Monday night's vote, Young declined to speak with the media, saying she first needed to talk to her officers.
Sgt. Manny Perez, the subject of recent conflicts with Young, announced over his police radio while standing in the back of the commission chambers that an officer could not respond to a call for service because the department had been shut down.
Perez isn't the only officer who has clashed with Young. In July, a former police sergeant fired after spending more than a year on unpaid leave filed suit against Oak Hill to get his job back. The whistle-blower lawsuit filed by Mike Ihnken claims Chief Young retaliated against him because he made formal complaints of "illegal conduct" by Oak Hill police personnel.
After the Police Department vote, the commission also voted to terminate City Clerk/City Administrator Laura Goodearly.