Our Cover Story: A Ten-Step Program on How You Can Become a Pot Mogul, Maybe

Illustration by Collin Hayes
This week, our cover story in the print edition of New Times dispenses a ten-step program on how you can jump in on the medical marijuana craze that is expected to hit Florida soon and become a pot mogul.

Or, not.

Writer Francisco Alvarado went out and did all the research on what it takes to become a marijuana entrepreneur and learned it's not as easy as it might seem.

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Floridians Remember Their First Time Getting High

Photo by Kyle Huninghake
Do you remember the first time you got high? Who were you with? How did it feel? Were you nervous? Excited?

Did you suddenly realize just how weird fingernails are?

Most of the 47 percent of Americans who have smoked weed probably have a lot to say about their first time.

"I know that I was screaming that I had brain damage."

That's one of them.

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4/20 News: Five Best Places to Get High in Broward County

Photo by Brandon Marshall
4/20 is upon us, and that means two things: Jesus and marijuana. Because while thousands and thousands of the devout and faithful step into Churches to celebrate Easter and Jesus, thousands more will sink into bean bag chairs to celebrate cartoons and Cheez-Its.

But getting high is like buying a house: location is everything. So if you do participate in the upcoming stoner Christmas (responsibly, safely, and always with a designated driver) here are the best places to do it.

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Eight Dumb Florida Pot Arrests to Celebrate 4/20

Categories: The Pot

via Wikimedia Commons
With 4/20 coming this weekend, chances are some of your friends are going to be all, "Woo hoo! 4/20, bro! Let's smoke!"

And that's fine, bro. But keep in mind that, while 4/20 is officially pot day, it doesn't mean it's legal to smoke it for one day. As it stands, you can still get busted in Florida for pot on 4/20.

Of course, 4/20 does open the door for discussion. And we don't mean the kind of discussion about how we might all be living in a universe that is just a speck of dirt on some enormous being's fingernail.

We mean, the kind of discussion about how the powers that be need to just relax on marijuana laws and lift the prohibition already.

Lots of people are getting in trouble with the law over pot for some dumb reasons. That means people who really aren't evil, hardened criminals are getting arrested, which means our tax dollars are being wasted on frivolous things.

Here is a list of eight dumb arrests where pot was involved. Some are idiotic, but some are actually pretty serious. And this is just in the past couple of years. So when you toke up on 4/20, think of these people. Also, don't get arrested yourself.

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United for Care's Ben Pollara to Debate Former Drug Czar Who Once Claimed Smoking Weed Leads to AIDS

Categories: The Pot

Now that the Florida Supreme Court has approved to have a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana on the ballot this November, the group responsible for getting it there, United for Care, is all about getting the word out.

This week alone, the group has a daylong campaign scheduled to call registered voters and get the word out about Amendment 2.

Also on the docket will be United for Care's campaign manager, Ben Pollara, going head-to-head in a debate with former Ronald Reagan drug czar Carlton E. Turner.

Turner is famous for coming up with the "Just Say No" campaign that bombarded radio, TV, and comic books back in the 1980s, warning kids of the dangers of drugs. He's also known for claiming that marijuana is not only a gateway drug to other illegal substances but apparently also the gateway drug to AIDS.

"Marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and ultimately, AIDS," Turner famously said in 1986.

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Fort Lauderdale Man Busted Transporting Pot Worth Over $300,000 From California

Categories: Crime, The Pot

Gainesville Police
Michael John Cefola had been driving for days, transporting cargo in his vehicle all the way from California. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or maybe it was just carelessness. But Cefola couldn't keep his blue Chevy four-door from swerving in and out of the lane on a Gainesville highway.

A police officer noticed this and pulled Cefola over. Turns out, the officer happened to be a member of the Gainesville-Alachua County Drug Task Force.

Also, turns out Cefola was allegedly transporting about 90 pounds of pot worth around $356,000 on the streets.

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Raul Medina, Former Wynwood Drug Kingpin and Influential DJ, Gets Ahead of Medical Weed Game in Broward

Categories: The Pot

C. Stiles
Raul Medina Jr. was the subject of a 2007 New Times cover story.
Raul Medina Jr. walks into a Starbucks in Hollywood's Young Circle and asks for a cup of black coffee with light hazelnut syrup and exactly two ice cubes. Better-known as DJ Raw, Medina brought hip-hop to Miami from his native South Bronx and founded Hoodstock, a free, big-name festival in Wynwood in the '90s. He's also a former cocaine kingpin who did a ten-year prison stint for trafficking. Today he's a 50-year-old vegan father of five who prefers the quiet life up in Broward to the neighborhood he helped transform into a graffiti artist's mecca.

"When I got out, people were like 'Let's go take over 40th Street again,'‚ÄČ Medina says. "I was like, 'You can keep 40th Street; I'm going to Broward.'"

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Ten Reasons to Vote Against Medical Marijuana in Florida

Categories: The Pot

Photo by Philip Poston
Kevin Sabet is not one of the more than 70 percent of Floridians who want Amendment 2 to pass in November.

Sabet -- director of the drug policy institute at the University of Florida and a professor at the college of medicine there too -- is one of the few experts who's been outspoken in opposition to the medical marijuana movement. Originally from California, he witnessed the effects of legalization there and claims it's one of the reasons he's so passionately against medical marijuana. He's worked in the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations, so he insists that he comes at the issue with a nonpartisan point of view. He's cofounder and director of Smarter Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and works closely with Patrick Kennedy on the left and David Frum (former speechwriter for George W. Bush) on the right.

Sabet spoke up to explain his side of the medical marijuana debate.

See also: United For Care's Ben Pollara Counters Arguments by Anti-Medical Marijuana Crowd

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United for Care's Ben Pollara Blasts Child Protective Services Investigation of Medical Marijuana Advocate

Categories: The Pot

Photo by Philip Poston

United for Care campaign manager Ben Pollara is expressing outrage after a Florida woman was abruptly visited by Florida Child Protective Services last week on an anonymous tip that she had been administering marijuana to her son, who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy.

Turns out, Renee Petro was not administering any marijuana to her 12-year-old son, Branden. Petro has, however, been an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana. The real crime, it would seem, was the intrusion of CPS agents arriving at her home to interrogate her 9-year-old daughter and the nurse who takes care of Branden.

See also: 74 Percent of Floridians Support Medical Marijuana, According to Latest Poll

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74 Percent of Floridians Support Medical Marijuana, According to Latest Poll

Categories: The Pot


Another poll, another strong showing for medical marijuana in Florida.

According to a new University of North Florida poll, 74 percent of Floridians say they support and will vote "yes" for Proposition 2 in November, which would legalize the use of medical marijuana.

This, along with the recent news that a House committee approved the measure for Charlotte's Web, it looks like the Sunshine State is well on its way to allowing medical weed.

The UNF poll, however, seems to crush any dreams of legalizing pot for recreational use. But, one measure at a time!

See also: Florida Medical Marijuana's Biggest Opponents and Threats

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