Florida House passes medical marijuana implementing bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A bill to implement Florida’s medical marijuana amendment passed the House of Representatives and is heading to the Senate.

HB 1397 – approved in a 105-9 vote Tuesday – allows patients who suffer chronic pain related to one of 10 qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana. It also allows patients to visit a doctor once every seven months to receive a prescription of three 70-day supplies. The previous limit was 90 days total.

The bill, which allows for 17 medical marijuana treatment centers by July 1, 2018, removes the ban on low-THC use in public, and allows for the selling of edibles and vaping products while reducing training requirements and costs for doctors and caregivers.

Rep. Ray Rodrigues says this is 95 percent in line with the Senate’s proposed legislation.

Florida senators drop fentanyl mandatory minimum sentences

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — As Florida lawmakers craft legislation to address the rise of opioid overdoses, they’ve moved away from imposing mandatory minimum sentences for people caught with fentanyl.

Senators voted on Tuesday to send the Florida House an amended bill (SB 150) that would give judges discretion to break from the three-year mandatory minimum sentence for someone caught with more than 4 grams of fentanyl. The vote followed a hearty debate on whether criminalizing fentanyl is a more effective solution than rehabilitation and education programs to address the state’s opioid epidemic.

Among the provisions in the measure is a penalty under the state’s drug trafficking statute that would charge drug dealers with murder in cases where the buyer dies from an overdose.

Survey: Consumer confidence in Florida dropped in April

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Consumer confidence in Florida dropped in the last month, but researchers say Floridians seem more optimistic than they were a year ago.

The monthly University of Florida consumer survey released Tuesday measured confidence at 95.7, which is 3.5 points lower than it was in March. The lowest index possible is a 2, and the highest is 150.

Hector Sandoval of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research said that while the numbers have shifted somewhat that the perceptions are relatively stable reflecting “favorable economic conditions in the state.

Sandoval said the decline in the April numbers was due to “unfavorable expectations” about the economy in the future. He noted, however, that those with incomes over $50,000 have favorable perceptions.

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.