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Weekly Roundup: Parsing Pot, Felons' Rights

April 6, 2019 - 8:00am

Florida’s Constitution is in the crosshairs.

A little more than two years ago, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. In November, nearly two-thirds of Floridians signed off on an amendment to restore the right to vote to certain felons who’ve completed their sentences.

Backers of both proposals maintain that the constitutional changes don’t require action from the Legislature.

Judge Backs DeSantis in Sheriff Suspension

April 5, 2019 - 9:00am
Scott Israel

Siding with Gov. Ron DeSantis, a judge Thursday threw out a lawsuit filed by suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, finding the Republican governor acted within his authority when he removed the embattled law-enforcement official.

DeSantis suspended Israel shortly after taking office in January, accusing the sheriff of “neglect of duty” and “incompetence” related to two mass shootings in Broward County, including the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

State Reaches Settlement in Pot Dispensary Fight

April 2, 2019 - 7:00am
Trulieve's medical marijuana warehouse, Quincy

State health officials have dropped an appeal of a Tallahassee judge’s ruling and agreed to allow Florida’s largest medical marijuana operator to open more dispensaries than a state law allowed.

Quincy-based Trulieve challenged a limit on the number of storefronts that was included in a 2017 law aimed at carrying out a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Lawmakers Look at Limiting Marijuana Highs

March 29, 2019 - 7:45am

Florida patients can now smoke medical marijuana, but some Republican legislative leaders want to put a limit on how high they can get when lighting up.

The House is considering a proposal that would cap THC levels in medical marijuana at 10 percent, Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, said in an interview with The News Service of Florida.

No bill has been filed, and Rodrigues, who’s shepherded medical-marijuana legislation in the House since low-THC cannabis was first authorized in 2014, said legislation is still “up in the air.”

Five Questions for Kathleen Passidomo

March 26, 2019 - 7:15am
Kathleen Passidomo

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo started off the 2019 legislative session by giving each of her Senate colleagues a copy of “A Land Remembered,” Patrick Smith’s intergenerational novel that’s also a cautionary tale about the Sunshine State’s history.

And the Naples Republican will finish out the session with another treat for her legislative pals: an Italian feast that’s become a much-loved annual tradition when tensions are at their highest and fuses at their shortest.

Weekly Roundup: Fired up about Medical Weed

March 23, 2019 - 9:00am
Doug Dixon
Clad in a flannel shirt, jeans and a Florida State University baseball cap, Doug Dixon might easily blend into the crowd almost anywhere in Tallahassee.
 
But the 59-year-old construction worker wound up at the center of a media frenzy this week, just for taking his medicine.
 
The soft-spoken Crawfordville man on Thursday became the first Floridian to legally purchase whole-flower cannabis, three days after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure that did away with the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana.
 

House Felons' Rights Plan Spurs Questions

March 19, 2019 - 9:00am
Jamie Grant
Hookers who’ve been convicted of prostitution three times, cyberstalkers and inmates who expose themselves to prison workers wouldn’t be eligible to have their voting rights automatically restored, under a House proposal aimed at carrying out a constitutional amendment approved in November.
 

Backroom Briefing: Gillum Plays the Tease

March 15, 2019 - 9:00am
Andrew Gillum
Andrew Gillum is toying with us.
 
The Tallahassee Democrat, who narrowly lost a bid for governor to Republican Ron DeSantis in November, has started to tease supporters and critics with a slick “save the date” video.
 
The promo features chants of Gillum’s “Bring It Home” campaign slogan in the background, alongside tidbits from the trail.
 

Smokable Medical Marijuana Gets Legislative Green Light

March 14, 2019 - 9:00am

In their first full action of the 2019 legislative session, Florida lawmakers --- many of them grudgingly --- ceded to a demand by Gov. Ron DeSantis and overwhelmingly approved a proposal doing away with the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana.

DeSantis issued an ultimatum to the Legislature shortly after the Republican governor took office in January, threatening to drop the state’s appeal of a court decision that found the smoking ban ran afoul of a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

With DeSantis Urging Cooperation with ICE, Florida Sheriffs Are Looking at Options

March 12, 2019 - 8:15am
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing more Florida sheriffs to cooperate with the federal government to keep potentially deportable criminals behind bars until they’re handed off to immigration agents.

Following the governor’s lead, the state Senate is moving forward with a proposal that would require state and local law-enforcement agencies to “use best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

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