Author Jerry Iannelli

medical-marijuana-florida-amendment-weedShutterstock.com

Attitudes toward medical marijuana are shifting as more states pass laws recognizing it as a form of treatment — not a way to get high. But as Floridians gear up this November to vote on a constitutional amendment that would legalize curative cannabis, it seems that the City of Wilton Manors is scheming to keep it out.

A new ordinance that will go through its first reading at tonight’s commission meeting will place heavy restrictions on business owners looking to obtain a medical marijuana permit. If passed, it will impose a 1,000-foot buffer around daycares, churches, rehab facilities, and schools — leaving only a sliver of available property on the outskirts of town.

Two years ago, a cloud threatened to cast a shadow over the Sunshine State — a cloud of medical marijuana, which would have become legal if Floridians had voted to ratify Amendment 2. Although the measure narrowly failed to clear the 60 percent threshold needed to become law in 2014, Amendment 2 is back on the ballot this year, and the ad campaign against it is back on the air.

Last time, the “No on 2” campaign, bankrolled by Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, suggested that if medical marijuana were legalized, pot cookies would become “the new face of date rape.” This summer, the no campaign is out with a new round of over-the-top TV spots. New Times Broward Palm Beach ranked the five funniest ones so far in this election cycle.

publixJerry Iannelli | Toke of the Town

Florida loves Publix, the supermarket chain routinely ranked the most valuable and beloved company in the whole state thanks in no small part to the fantastically salty sub sandwiches. So it’s sure to jar a few hard-core Publix fans to learn that the family that founded the chain just donated $800,000 to a conservative-led campaign fighting medical marijuana legalization.

State election records show that the Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust donated $800,000 July 14 to Drug Free Florida, the lobbying group running a scare-tactics campaign to kill Florida’s medical marijuana amendments. The same group helped squash 2014’s medical marijuana amendment, which fell just two percentage points short of the 60 percent vote it needed to pass statewide.

cannabis_stock_image_photo_by_lindsey_bartlett_5_Lindsey Bartlett

Florida’s anti-pot lobby is back. And just like in 2014, it’s spreading straight-up lies about medical marijuana to try to frighten voters. Two years ago, Amendment 2 netted 58 percent of the vote — just short of the 60 percent it needed to pass.

That result likely had something to do with Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s scare campaign to shut the amendment down: Adelson spent more than $5 million to help fund the Drug Free Florida Committee, an anti-pot political action committee and PR campaign.

Now, with another medical marijuana amendment on the ballot this November, the Drug Free Florida Committee is back, but minus Adelson’s largesse so far. This time, Mel Sembler, a former U.S. ambassador and major Mitt Romney donor, is the money man behind the push.

Last week, Drug Free Florida sent New Times one of its first mass mailers — and it is extremely silly. The list, titled “The Top 10 Reasons to Vote NO on Amendment 2,” is chockfull of factual inaccuracies and half-truths straight out of the film Reefer Madness.

We debunked them so you don’t have to do it yourself.

legal_medical_cannabisNicolás Rivero

The man on the corner of North Miami Avenue and 24th Street in Miami didn’t say much, but he didn’t have to. His sign did the talking. “Legal Medical Cannabis,” it said, and it pointed straight to NugBrand, a weed-themed apparel shop in Wynwood.

Inside, employee Kevin Machin let curious passersby down easy. No, the store wasn’t selling the potent medical marijuana you might find in a dispensary in California. It wasn’t even peddling the low-THC “Charlotte’s Web” strain recently made legal in Florida.

florida_bongsPhoto by Stian Roenning

Jay Scott, sporting a brown ponytail and a shirt that exposes his tattoos, walks through Habatat Galleries in West Palm Beach, past Dale Chihuly’s fluorescent, coral-like cylinders and William Morris’ display of ancient tools. The 39-year-old weaves among pieces created by some of the world’s most renowned glass artists and then stops at the back of the store. Then he picks up a spiky blue alien sculpture.

His partner Lindsey, who inherited the gallery from her retired parents in 2009, flashes a coy smile as Jay twirls the $20,000 piece, revealing its bright colors and elaborate workmanship. But this one is different. It’s “functional,” Jay says.

In other words, it’s a bong. And Scott is far from the only South Florida glassblower making a killing in the luxury bong market.