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Florida: Despite Tampa Decriminalizing Marijuana, Cops Keep Throwing Users In Jail

Despite Tampa decriminalizing marijuana, cops keep throwing users in jail.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Although the City of Tampa recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, some law enforcement agencies plan to continue throwing pot users in jail.

WFLA News Channel 8 released a report indicating that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which oversees the city of Tampa and its outlying areas, refuses to acknowledge the decriminalization ordinance that allows police to issue a citation and not arrest anyone found with 20 grams of pot or less. Instead the sheriff's office advised its deputies that marijuana is still against state law, and that means criminal charges for anyone caught possessing marijuana.

“If the sheriff’s office or the highway patrol or whatever agency, does issue a criminal charge on a marijuana within the city limits of Tampa and they refer it to us, we will treat it as a criminal charge just like we always have,” said Hillsborough State Attorney spokesman Mark Cox.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn signed the ordinance in March that gives police officers the flexibility to issue tickets for simple possession, instead of taking offenders to jail. The law went into effect on April 1.

“Incarcerating people, particularly young people, for a very small amount of marijuana absolutely alters their career path for the rest of their life,” Buckhorn said in a recent statement.

Florida: Tampa Begins Marijuana Decriminalization Law

Florida marijuana.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Starting Friday, April1, 2016, people caught for possessing marijuana in the City of Tampa will face lesser punishment.

The City of Tampa passed an ordinance last month stating that people caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana will face a citation instead of arrest.

People caught possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana will receive a $75 citation for the first offense, and a $150 citation for the second offense. Three or more citations will result in a fine of $300.

Possession of more than 20 grams will still be considered a felony criminal offense.

Before the new ordinance, possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana resulted in a misdemeanor charge.

Tampa council members passed the mew ordinance with a vote of 5 to 1.

Florida: Tampa Mayor Approves Ordinance To Decriminalize Marijuana

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn signs ordinance to decriminalize marijuana.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Tampa now officially has an ordinance that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The Tampa City Council approved the ordinance last week on a 5-1 vote, said spokeswoman Ashley Bauman. Mayor Bob Buckhorn signed the ordinance Monday, making it official.

Buckhorn had previously voiced support for the measure. "There is almost a universal recognition that we need to do this better," he said earlier this year. "Doing this doesn't make us any less anti-drug, but it's a realization that the penalties that have been imposed have done more damage to the trajectories of young peoples' lives than the offenses have warranted."

Under Florida state law, possession of 20 grams of marijuana or less is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison or probation and a $1,000 file. Offenders can also lose their driving license for up to one year.

The new law would impose a fine of $75 for first time offenders. A second offense would mean a fine of $150, $300 for a third, and $450 for any following violations.

The city could implement the program as early as next month.

Florida: Tampa City Council Approves Marijuana Measure

Florida marijuana.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Tampa City Council approved a new law Thursday morning that will allow police to fine people possessing small amounts of marijuana and not arrest them.

The vote was 5-1 in favor of the law, which gives police the option to issue a civil citation for possession of up to 20 grams, roughly three quarters of an ounce. It is now just up to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to sign the law, who supports the measure.

Under Florida state law, possession of 20 grams of marijuana or less is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison or probation and a $1,000 file. Offenders can also lose their driving license for up to one year.

The new law would impose a fine of $75 for first time offenders. A second offense would mean a fine of $150, $300 for a third, and $450 for any following violations.

“We are not talking about legalizing marijuana,” said Council member Lisa Montelione. “We are talking about decriminalizing a certain amount of marijuana.”

The one nay vote came from Council member Charlie Miranda, who made no comment on the law.

Florida: Medical Cannabis Conference Set For October


The Florida Medical Cannabis Conference & Exhibition (FMCCE 2016) will be held October 5-7, 2016, at the Saddlebrook Resort located just north of Tampa. This conference is a networking and educational forum on the subject of medical cannabis.

The event is designed for attendees who are actively engaged or interested in the medical cannabis industry and the opportunities and challenges it creates.

For medical professionals and entrepreneurs, the conference will cover a range of topics, all relevant to the medical cannabis industry, as it pertains to the state of Florida, including but not limited to:

• Government Regulation & Policies
• Anticipated Reform
• Cultivation
• Processing
• Dispensing
• Legal Concerns
• Emerging Topics
• Running a Medical Cannabis Business

For medical professionals, topics will include:

• Introduction to Cannabis as Medicine
• Research for Specific Medical Conditions
• Symptoms and Diagnosis
• Proper Dosage
• Contraindications & Drug Interactions

“Education is the key to raising awareness of the clinical uses for medical cannabis.” said Ron Watson, CEO of Watson Strategies. “This conference will provide a forum for industry leaders to expand their social capital, and healthcare professionals to expand their knowledge about medical benefits and applications.”

Those that should consider attending include:

• Advocacy Groups
• City and County Commissions
• Entrepreneurs
• Equipment Suppliers
• Insurance Providers
• Investment Bankers and Venture Capitalist
• Legal Experts
• Legislators
• Lobbyists

Florida: First Cannabis College Opens In The Sunshine State


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first cannabis college in Florida opened on Tuesday, starting classes in an old cigar factory in Tampa.

The school, named Medical Marijuana Tampa, offers a four-week course for $499 including the e-textbook, videos and articles, according to the college's website, reports Adrienne Cutway at the Orlando Sentinel.

Included on the syllabus are classes on the history of cannabis, types of marijuana, cultivation, making bubble hash and edibles, and building the grower network.

"It will cover the historical, legal, botanical aspects of medicinal marijuana, plus what's going to happen in the marketplace in Florida in 2015 based on our analysis of the ballot language," Jeremy Bufford, the proprietor, told Deirdra Funcheon at Broward Palm Beach New Times.

"We can make educated guesses and prepare our students for careers or opportunity that's going to develop in that space," Bufford said.

"We do know according to the language that we'll be able to cultivate and w'ell be able to procure that medicine on behalf of our patients," he said, reports Jason Beisel at ABC Action News. "

U.S.: Marijuana Refugees Face Moving Challenges


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Moriah Barnhart's determination to help her 2-year-old daughter, Dahlia, fight a cancerous brain tumor led them to become part of a new social phenomenon: medical marijuana refugees.

Within weeks of Dahlia being diagnosed, Barnhart packed the family's bags to move from Tampa, Florida, to Memphis, Tennessee, where the toddler could undergo treatment at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, reports Kelli Grant at CNBC. While in Memphis, Barnhart learned through her research that medical marijuana was a worthy treatment, and might mitigate the harsh effects of chemotherapy.

"It just was the safest and most viable, effective option," Barnhart said. "But it was illegal in Tennessee and Florida."

Thus the Barnharts joined the ranks of marijuana refugees who have relocated or are planning to move in order to gain safe access to medicinal cannabis. Twenty states and the District of Columbia currently allow the medical use of marijuana for certain conditions, and several other states have such laws being considered this year.

Advocates say they hear from plenty of families who move for safe access. "As soon as we have the intake form up, we're swamped with requests," said Lindsey Rinehart, cofounder of the Undergreen Railroad, organized to help patients and their families defray the expenses of moving to medical marijuana states.

Rinehart herself had to move from Idaho to Oregon last summer to treat her multiple sclerosis with cannabis.

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