marijuana legalization

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.

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.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida got a big boost this week from Orlando attorney John Morgan. He's credited with helping to legalize medical marijuana by advocating for Amendment 2 in 2016. 

Morgan backs the inclusion of a question about the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state's 2020 ballot. The proposed initiative would require nearly 800,000 signatures of registered voters and a review by Florida's Supreme Court to make it to the voters. The proposed amendment would require 60 percent of  approval to become law.

Shea Castleberry works in a time capsule of sorts. He walks through the aisles of the Family Video store he manages in Murray, Ky., a small city surrounded by rolling farmland about two hours north of Nashville.

Next to the movies and popcorn, there's a new addition to his store that surprises some of his regulars.

"A lot of people are like 'a video store selling CBD?' But it really does tie into our values. Which is, we're here for the community," Castleberry said.

Florida lawmakers this month approved a controversial bill that is expected to make it harder to put citizens’ initiatives on the ballot.

Normally, a chief financial officer's job involves poring over balance sheets and bank statements. But in the pot business, the job still bears a lot of similarities to the illicit trade — transporting loads of cash under the watchful eye of big guys carrying lots of guns.

Just ask Tom DiGiovanni.

This chief financial officer and former Ernst & Young accountant leans into an unmarked armored van where there's a metal cage to protect the revenues for his company, Canndescent, from would-be thieves.

The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida has a new poll of Florida registered voters that reveals a majority approve of the job Ron DeSantis is doing as governor after he was inaugurated nearly months ago. The survey also shows job approval for Sen. Marco Rubio is higher than job approval for newly elected Sen. Rick Scott.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of half a dozen Democratic senators running for the White House, is reintroducing a bill on Thursday that would fundamentally end the federal government's prohibition on marijuana.

medical marijuana
Flick Creative Commons via Mark / WLRN

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried has been an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana her first two months in office.

Senate Marijuana Smoking Bill Rolls Along

Feb 21, 2019

A Senate proposal that would allow patients to smoke medical marijuana is ready to go to the full Senate after the Rules Committee unanimously signed off on the measure Wednesday. 

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