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All Bets Off on Passage of Gambling Deal?

January 4, 2016 - 11:45am

It's a sure bet that lawmakers won't sign off on a $3 billion agreement with the Seminole Tribe that Gov. Rick Scott handed over last month.

Challenges Pile Up over Pot Licenses

December 14, 2015 - 11:00pm

Nurseries have filed more than a dozen challenges to the medical-marijuana licenses granted by Florida health officials, with some asking that the licensing process be put on hold until their petitions are heard in court.

As of Monday's 5 p.m. deadline to challenge the licenses, the Department of Health had received 13 petitions, according to agency spokeswoman Mara Gambineri.

Pot 'Copter Saves the Day for Nursery

December 9, 2015 - 8:15pm

In what sounds like a line out of a Jimmy Buffett song, one of the state's soon-to-be medical marijuana purveyors used a helicopter and a landing at a golf course to squeak in minutes before a 5 p.m. deadline Wednesday to prove he had nailed down a requisite $5 million bond.

Bruce Knox, an owner of Lake Mary-based Knox Nursery, was the last of the five cannabis dispensing organizations --- picked by a Department of Health panel late last month --- to post a surety bond required by state law for licenses to go into effect.

Gambling Deal Met With Scrutiny, Skepticism

December 8, 2015 - 9:15pm

Far from a sure bet, Gov. Rick Scott's $3.1 billion gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida is getting a tepid response from some legislative leaders, virtually guaranteeing that the proposal could require major changes to win enough support for passage.

The agreement, signed by Scott and tribal Chairman James Billie on Monday, equates to a major expansion of gambling in Florida, bringing to the state craps and roulette for Seminole casinos and opening the door for slots and blackjack in areas where a previous agreement prohibited the games.

Supreme Court to Decide on Slot Machines

December 1, 2015 - 3:45pm

The Florida Supreme Court will decide whether a Gadsden County racetrack should be allowed to have slot machines without the express permission of the Legislature, in a case with widespread implications for gambling throughout the state.

The court on Tuesday accepted jurisdiction in the Gretna Racing case after a split appellate court reversed itself on the issue in October.

Medical Marijuana Back in Florida Political Spotlight

November 25, 2015 - 9:30pm

Voters next November will almost certainly have the chance to again decide whether Florida should legalize medical marijuana, after narrowly rejecting an almost-identical proposal a year ago.

A Quinnipiac University poll last month found that nearly 90 percent of Florida voters support allowing adults to use medical marijuana. Numerous other surveys in Florida and across the country consistently show that a majority of voters endorse medical marijuana for sick and dying patients.

And voters aren't the only ones who've warmed up to the once-sticky issue.

Medical Marijuana Industry Gets off the Ground

November 24, 2015 - 5:30pm

Nearly a year behind schedule, Florida health officials on Monday selected five "dispensing organizations" to grow, process and distribute non-euphoric medical marijuana for a select group of sick patients.

But many in the industry believe that the biggest challenge in the drawn-out process is yet to come.

State Asks Court to Dismiss Seminoles' Lawsuit

November 18, 2015 - 6:30pm

In the latest twist in dueling lawsuits over blackjack in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott's administration is asking a federal court in Tallahassee to dismiss a legal challenge filed last month by the Seminole Tribe.

Pot Proposals for Terminally Ill Push Forward

November 17, 2015 - 6:00pm

Measures that would legalize full-strength medical marijuana for terminally ill patients received preliminary approval from House and Senate committees Tuesday, but not before one version underwent a major change that could have a dramatic impact on the state's current cannabis law.

Lawmakers Pitch Pot Proposals as Amendment Looms

November 16, 2015 - 9:15pm

With a constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana looming for next year's ballot, some Florida legislators are floating proposals that would expand on a limited pot law that's almost a year behind schedule.

One measure --- backed by sponsors of the 2014 law that authorized non-euphoric marijuana, commonly known as "Charlotte's Web" --- would allow terminally ill patients to use full-strength medical marijuana. House and Senate committees are slated to give the proposal a first vetting Tuesday.

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