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James Call has 398 articles published.

Judge allows Charlotte’s Web rule challenge to continue

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Baywood Nurseries’ challenge to a proposed regulatory structure for a medicinal marijuana industry will move forward. Judge W. David Watkins, on Monday, rejected a Department of Health’s motion to dismiss the challenge based on the Apopka growers’ lack of standing. DOH had cited a 30-year-old ruling in a Medicaid case in which a challenge to a rule prohibiting payment for an abortion was rejected because the petitioner was not pregnant. DOH had argued that like, Alice P., Baywood lacked standing…

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Medical marijuana advocates push towards ballot initiative for 2016

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Stymied by legislative inaction and thwarted by legal challengers, medical marijuana supporters are taking it to the streets. People United for Medical Marijuana and United for Care have begun collecting signatures and raising money to get a constitutional initiative on the November 2016 ballot allowing doctors to use marijuana to treat sick people. A spokesperson says they are confident voters will pass what the Legislature failed to do and the campaign will become more visible starting this month. “Until this…

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State moves to dismiss Charlotte’s Web challenge

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The Florida Department of Health is requesting a hearing Tuesday or Wednesday for dismissal of a suit holding up the state’s medical marijuana law. Baywood Nurseries of Apopka challenged a proposed rule. During a two-day hearing in April it argued the proposed regulations favor deep-pocket investors and would exclude smaller family-owned nurseries from a medicinal marijuana industry. DOH says because Baywood lacked standing when it filed its petition the Division of Administration Hearing shouldn’t even have accepted the challenge. “Baywood’s…

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A deserted Capitol has tourists looking for tumbleweeds

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The state Capitol is quiet. Usually the 4th-floor rotunda on the last day is packed with lobbyists, lawmakers and staff. The noise of chattering dealmaking bounces off the terrazzo floor and travertine marble columns and walls reaching the decibel level of a steroid-fueled chainsaw in a shouting match with an oncoming steam locomotive. The House left Tuesday. The Senate finished what work it could Wednesday. Then the place went empty and quiet. Thursday, an Orlando bus driver stopped at the…

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Epilogue: Lawmakers hit new low in number of bills passed

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Friday morning lobbyist Ron Watson was preparing reports for clients whose interests he represents before the Florida Legislature. The curtains close officially on the 2015 regular session Friday, but for all intents and purposes, it ended Tuesday with the House and Senate exchanging insults and the House adjourning with no state budget in place for the fiscal year beginning in July. “In the latest episode of As Tallahassee Turns,” Watson joked, citing the opening line of the dispatch he’s sending clients.…

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How pink became a Sine Die tradition in Tallahassee

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Pink is what distingusihes the last day of Florida’s legislative sessions. Lobbyists, consultants, former lawmakers and observers, clad in pink outfits, roam the Capitol hallways during the session’s final hours. Pink is the tradition for Capitol veterans to pay tribute to the late lobbyist Marvin Arrington. “Marvin was here for a long time and he had a tradition of wearing a pink sports coat on the last day of session,” said Wayne Malaney, who lobbies for newspaper publishers. In 2002, Arrington succumbed to a…

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Lawmakers tweet insults over budget dispute

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Now Florida lawmakers are arguing on Twitter. The 2015 regular session came to a screeching halt Tuesday when the House adjourned three days before the session’s scheduled end. Thursday Senate Democrats filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court to order the House back in session for the Friday. Senate Republican leaders say the House’s move is unconstitutional, trying to leverage power over the Senate by its absence. Thursday Senate Democrats filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court to…

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