marijuana

Taimy Alvarez / South Florida Sun Sentinel

After more than five years, Boca Raton decided to join the growing number of South Florida communities that allow medical marijuana dispensaries.

Boca had banned the dispensaries in 2014. In a 3-2 vote Tuesday night, the City Council approved repealing the ban and allowing the businesses within the city. Companies can start applying for permits immediately.

Councilman Andy Thomson introduced the bill. He, Councilwoman Monica Mayotte and Mayor Scott Singer voted in favor, while Councilwoman Andrew Levine O’Rourke and Councilman Jeremy Rodgers were opposed.

With the new year come many new state laws across the country. There are the usual suspects — gun laws, marijuana legalization and housing protections — but there are also some new frontiers: groundbreaking laws concerning Internet user privacy and the classification of contract workers in California, for example.

Here are some of the most notable laws taking effect Jan. 1, in no particular order:

Red flag

It wasn’t the most important issue or event of 2019.

Whether you think the new decade starts at midnight Tuesday or a year from then, the eve of 2020 seems like a good time to look back on the top political stories of the 2010s.

EMILY MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD

A marijuana lobbyist became the only statewide Democrat sworn into office. Smoking medical marijuana became legal in Florida. A new hemp program gave farmers statewide the optimism for a new cash crop. On the whole, 2019 proved to be a monumental year for cannabis in the state.

In February, The state hired its first “cannabis czar,” in August the Miami-Dade State Attorney announced it will no longer prosecute minor marijuana cases and in October, two associates of Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani’s sought pot licenses in the state.

Group Lacks Signatures To Put Recreational Pot On 2020 Ballot

Dec 16, 2019

Backers of a recreational-marijuana legalization effort announced Monday their proposal will not be on Florida’s 2020 ballot -- though a separate legalization drive continues.

DAVID ZALUBOWSKI / AP

It’s been less than four years since Florida voters gave medical marijuana a green light but the plant could wind up on the ballot again next year.

There are three efforts hoping to ask voters to okay recreational pot use. The second Florida petition for recreational marijuana has gathered enough signatures to merit a review by the Florida Supreme Court. The "Make It Legal Florida" petition would allow Florida adults to possess and use marijuana.

About 57 Tons Of Smokable Medical Marijuana Ordered For Florida Patients In A Span Of 6 Months

Nov 21, 2019
Emily MICHOT / Miami Herald

More than 1.82 million ounces of smokable medical marijuana were ordered for 128,040 patients over a six-month period, a new state report shows. That translates to 113,922 pounds, or 57 tons, of flower marijuana.

The report, compiled on behalf of the state Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine, shows that 44 percent of 291,865 patients certified to use medical marijuana as of Sept. 30 are smoking it.

Jennifer had a rough start to her pregnancy. "I had really intense food aversion and really intense nausea," says the 28-year-old mother of a five-month-old girl. "I wasn't eating at all."

She was losing weight instead of gaining it, she says, and couldn't even keep down her prenatal vitamins or iron pills, which she needed to deal with anemia. (NPR is only using her first name to protect her privacy.)

David Zalubowski / AP

A new petition drive to legalize recreational marijuana has gathered 100,000 signatures in its first 20 days, giving supporters high hopes that Florida could be on its way to joining other states in ending the prohibition of cannabis.

The goal is to put the legalization question before Florida voters in next year’s election, said Nick Hansen, chairman of Make It Legal Florida, the group circulating the petition.

hemp vs marijuana
Image by TechPhotoGal on Pixabay

Now that smoking hemp is legal across Florida, it's causing problems for local governments who want to prohibit smoking illegal marijuana. 

The alcohol Breathalyzer came to life slowly, over the course of decades.

At a time when more than 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational use, the U.S. surgeon general says no amount of the drug is safe for teens, young adults and pregnant women.

Last week, the U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Northern District said he’s willing to step in and prosecute marijuana offenses that the state attorney will not. On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe offered more specifics.

C.M. GUERRERO / MIAMI HERALD

In a significant policy change spurred by new Florida law, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office announced it will no longer prosecute minor marijuana cases. And for amounts large enough for felony charges, police will now be required to get lab tests to confirm that marijuana is, well, actually marijuana.

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