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Taylor Patrick Biehl

Legislature makes slow progress on medical pot rules

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Florida’s voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in November that formally legalized medical marijuana for chronic pain and other ailments, but with less than a month to go in their session, Florida legislators remain far apart on how to implement it. Bills in the Senate and House don’t agree on the details of expanding access to the drug, from adding pot distributors to deciding whether doctors can prescribe marijuana to people who haven’t been their patients for at least three…

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Treadwell Nursery hires Gunster lobbyists Joanna Lee Clary Bonafanti and J. Larry Williams

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Treadwell Nursery appears to be sticking with Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart. Joanna Lee Clary Bonafanti and J. Larry Williams registered with the state to lobby the Florida Legislature on behalf of the Central Florida nursery on Dec. 13. The nursery, which was one of several applicants seeking a permit to grow and distribute medical marijuana, enlisted the help of two other Gunster team members earlier in 2016. State records show Derek Bruce and Cameron Yarbrough registered to lobby the Legislature…

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City of St. Petersburg chooses Capitol Alliance Group as new lobbyist

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen the Capitol Alliance Group of Tallahassee to be the city’s lobbyist in the state capitol. Although Kriseman has made the choice, details of the contract have not been ironed out, spokesman Ben Kirby said. Capitol Alliance will replace the city’s current lobbyist, Peebles and Smith, also based in Tallahassee, in the upcoming Legislative Session. St. Petersburg’s contract will Peebles expired Sept. 30. The contract was worth $50,000 last year. Capitol Alliance has a…

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San Felasco tees up first protest over medical marijuana

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San Felasco Nurseries is filing what is thought to be the first protest over the state’s licensing process for growers of medical marijuana, according to documents obtained Friday by FloridaPolitics.com. The 41-year-old nursery, based in Gainesville, is challenging its rejection in favor of Chestnut Hill Tree Farm for the state’s northeast region. In its petition to the Florida Department of Health, the nursery says it was the highest-ranked applicant to grow and process medicinal pot in the region, but that a bureaucratic bungle…

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“Right to Try” expansion bill adding medical marijuana passes Senate panel

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A bill to allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana passed its first committee stop in the Senate on Tuesday, hours after a House panel OK’d a similar bill. Debate focused on eliminating roadblocks to care amid nearly two years of delays since a bill to allow low-THC cannabis derivatives was enacted in 2014. Bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley acknowledged the 2014 Compassionate Use Act passed by the Legislature “could have been better.” Asked by Sen. Don Gaetz – Senate president at the time…

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Capitol Alliance Group to lobby for Havana Ferry Partners in planned Florida-Cuba ferry

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As America improves trade and cultural relations with Cuba, one of the ways U.S. tourists will soon be able to visit the Caribbean island is by ferry; luxury vessels offering entertainment, gambling and restaurants. One Florida company — Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale – has been granted approval by the U.S. government to begin commercial service to Cuba. The Havana Ferry trip would originate in Key West – with possibly adding Fort Lauderdale and Miami routes – carry as many…

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Compassionate Use director Patti Nelson leaving DOH

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Patricia “Patti” Nelson, who has led the Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use since its inception in 2014, is leaving the department and joining the Executive Office of the Governor, according to a DOH spokesman on Monday. “Patricia Nelson will be rejoining the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget,” read a response to an inquiry. “The Florida Department of Health is grateful for her service and wishes her well in her new position.” That leaves a key position unfilled…

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