New Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced by GOP Rep. Jeff Brandes

Categories: Marijuana

photo: Brandon Marshall
A new bill looking to legalize medical marijuana has been filed for the upcoming legislative session. Rep. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg, has introduced the Florida Medical Marijuana Act, which would authorize a doctor to use medicinal marijuana to treat patients afflicted with specific illnesses. Among the ailments listed would be cancer, epilepsy, AIDS, ALS, Crohn's disease, and Parkinson's disease.

According to the proposed bill, there would be a license for cultivation and processing medical marijuana and another for selling it. The bill would also allow county commissioners to decided where medical marijuana could be sold.

The bill is being introduced just weeks after United for Care launched another petition drive to get medical marijuana on the 2016 ballot.

See also: Petition Approved to Get Medical Marijuana on Florida Ballot Again in 2016

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Florida Has the 12th Cheapest Marijuana in the Country

Categories: Marijuana

Photo by Brandon Marshall
You ain't gotta be rich to get high.
Sunshine, beaches, alligators, corruption -- you name it, Florida's got it. But now there's another reason to love this place: We have the 12th cheapest marijuana in the country.

The average price of pot in Florida goes for $9.09 per gram, according to stats compiled by The Economist, which compared the cost of illegal marijuana to legal marijuana across the country. A common complaint among people who live in states with legal weed is that even though they're allowed to buy it in stores with pretty packaging, the price is much higher than when they buy it from a street merchant with ziplock bags. Not surprisingly, the cost of weed everywhere around the country (except for North and South Dakota) is much lower than in our more open-minded counterparts in Colorado and Washington, as well as California, which has easily obtainable medical marijuana.

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Jeff Kottkamp, Former Lieutenant Governor, Joins Fight for Medical Marijuana

Categories: Marijuana

Ken Hamblin
Terrapin Care Station, a recreational marijuana store in Boulder, Colorado.
Don't count out legal weed just yet. Although medical marijuana racked up only 58 percent approval at the polls this election year, supporters are already mounting a campaign to get a similar proposal on the 2016 ballot. The thinking is that a general election will draw more Floridians off their asses to vote than a gubernatorial contest. As proponents begin planning for another push, they just added another big name to their ranks: former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp.

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Petition Approved to Get Medical Marijuana on Florida Ballot Again in 2016

Categories: Marijuana

Brandon Marshall
After failing to get it passed by a very slim margin, medical marijuana advocates prepare for another run.
This past November, Amendment 2, which would have made it legal for those with debilitating diseases to obtain medical marijuana legally, needed 60 percent of the vote to pass. It fell short by 2 percent. It was as close as Florida has ever come to joining 23 other states and Washington, D.C., in having some form of legalized marijuana.

Still, big numbers showed up to the polls to vote for Amendment 2. In fact, more people voted for legalized marijuana in Florida than voted for Rick Scott for reelection.

And now United for Care, the medical marijuana group that made Amendment 2 possible, has officially launched a campaign to get the initiative back on the ballot for 2016.

See also: Florida's Top Pot Backer, John Morgan Sees Hope Through Dope For His Paralyzed Brother, Tim

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Conference to Discuss the Future of Medical Marijuana in Florida Happening This Week

Categories: Marijuana

Photo: Philip Poston
Florida For Care, the group that put together a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Committee to dictate regulatory standards had the medical marijuana amendment passed back in November, is hosting a couple of conferences they've dubbed "The Future of Medical Marijuana in Florida."

With Amendment 2 defeated in the polls in November, the group is moving forward to start, as they put it, "strategizing and planning in advance of Florida's Legislative Session."

The next legislative session is scheduled for March.

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Native Americans Can Grow and Sell Marijuana Without Government Interference, Justice Department Says (UPDATE)

Categories: Marijuana

Update: Reached for comment by New Times, spokesman for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Gary Bitner, said that the growing and selling of marijuana on sovereign tribal land is "not on the Seminole Tribe's radar."

Messages to the Miccosukee Tribe have remained unreturned.

Florida remains one of the last few states where growing and selling marijuana in any capacity is still illegal. But that might change, at least in one aspect, according to a report by the L.A. Times that says the U.S. government will not stop Native American tribes from growing or selling pot on sovereign land.

The report says the Justice Department will not try to enforce federal marijuana laws on Native American reservations, even if it's otherwise illegal in a respective tribe's state. Which essentially means tribes can grow and sell weed on their land without government interference.

Just as casinos have been big moneymakers down here for Native American tribes such as the Miccosukees and Seminoles, so too can selling marijuana, potentially.

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Richard DeLisi, Man Sentenced to 90 Years over Marijuana Crime, to Have Fate Decided in 30 Days

Categories: Marijuana, News

Back in October, New Times published a feature on people doing hard time for marijuana. One of the men profiled in the piece, Richard DeLisi, was sentenced in 1989 to 90 years for marijuana-related crimes, including trafficking and conspiracy to traffic.

Aging and in declining health, the 65-year-old DeLisi's fate is in the hands of a court hearing that will decide if he will have one of his felony conspiracy charges reduced to a second-degree misdemeanor. Last week, Judge Michael Raiden of the Polk County Courthouse began a 30 day deliberation over a motion filed by DeLisi's attorney, despite the state's objections.

"I've watched murderers, rapists, and child molesters all get out of jail before me," DeLisi told New Times via phone from the South Bay Correctional Facility for the October feature. "When I was smuggling, I always knew the consequences. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would end up like this."

DeLisi is due to be released in 2026, when he will be 77.

See also: Meet the Americans Serving Life in Prison for Weed

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Medical Marijuana Rejected: What Went Wrong, Where to Go From Here

Amendment 2 got more votes than Rick Scott, Jeff Atwater, and Pam Bondi. More Floridians voted yes on 2 than they did no. Yet, Florida remains a state without legalized medical marijuana. Simply because it couldn't get those final two percentage points to push it over the top.

What did Amendment 2 in was, not surprisingly, demographics.

Sixty-three percent of those 65 years of age or older voted no on 2. That came down to 25 percent of the vote. Not shockingly, it was the younger voters who came out in force for Amendment 2, with 79 percent of the 18-to-29 demo voting for the initiative to pass.

Yet it wasn't enough. Because the amendment needed 60 percent to pass.

And Florida is the only state that requires 60 percent to pass a ballot initiative.

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Robert Platshorn on Amendment 2: "Seniors Are Going to Make or Break This"

Categories: Marijuana

screen grab
So it's go-time for Sunshine State supporters of medicinal smoking. For the first time, Floridians are going to polling places weighing a choice on the legalization of marijuana. By this time next week, Florida's weedscape could look drastically different -- or unfortunately the same. With such a possible historical swing in the offing, we decided to touch base with one of Florida's biggest proponents of marijuana reform, a guy who's truly given his life to the cause: Robert Platshorn. But even Bobby Tuna himself is iffy on the amendment's chances.

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Florida Medical Marijuana Is Actually Not Done, According to Latest Poll

Categories: Marijuana

As we enter the final stretch for elections, news had been quite somber for the passage of medical marijuana. After a year of strong initial polling that indicated Amendment 2 would be pushed through by voters, recent weeks have shown that the initiative was in danger of falling short and failing to pass.

One pollster even said medical marijuana in Florida "is done."

But a new poll conducted in the past week by public opinion research firm Anzalone Liszt Grove -- called one of the most reliable pollsters by FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver -- shows that Amendment 2 is still very much alive and, according to this data, will pass come November 4.

See also: Florida Medical Marijuana Is "Done," According to Latest Poll

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