originally posted on saintpetersblog.com
State Rep. Cary Pigman, who last week was charged with drunk driving, has stepped down as chair of the House Health Quality Subcommittee.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced the move Tuesday. He appointed Jeanette Nunez, the House Speaker pro tempore, as acting chair of the the subcommittee.
Pigman, an Avon Park Republican first elected in 2012, is an emergency medicine physician and U.S. Army Reserve doctor who served in Iraq.
“Having spent a career fighting for and defending this country, Dr. Pigman knows that it is honorable to take responsibility for one’s actions,” Corcoran said. “It is the honorable thing to do. Dr. Pigman has done both by informing me that he wishes to step down as chairman of the Health Quality Subcommittee.”
Pigman, who was traveling alone, was pulled over late last Thursday on Florida’s Turnpike after a trooper noticed his southbound Jeep “drifting” between his lane and the highway’s shoulder. (Story here.)
Pigman then failed field sobriety tests, including almost falling and not following instructions, the report said. His blood alcohol level later was measured at .14 and .15, it added. A DUI in Florida is .08 or above.
This all transpired hours after the controversial group Floridian’s for Cannabis launched a meme attack on Pigman.
Originally reported: yoursun.com
SEBRING — State Representative Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, faces a driving under the influence charge after an arrest early Friday morning at the Fort Pierce Service Plaza on Florida’s Turnpike in Port St. Lucie.
Arrest reports state that, in two breath tests taken approximately three hours after the traffic stop, his blood alcohol levels were 0.140 and 0.150. Florida Highway Troopers also noted in their report that they saw an open wine bottle in the front passenger seat.
All of this transpired shortly after when the controversial group “Floridians for Cannabis” targeted his Facebook page with their 55k+ followers on Thursday. Floridians for Cannabis has been known to use controversial viral attack ads in the past and has become a powerful force in the fight for reform in the state of Florida. It is rumored that they are being funded by a wealthy investor in Central Florida but no one knows for sure who is behind this mysterious group.
below are some of the viral memes they released
The Hillsborough county commission will hear public comments and take a vote on a controversial proposed medical marijuana zoning ordinance.
Draft language of the new ordinance in Hillsborough plans to create a 30-day window for marijuana companies to apply for a limited number of licenses. That means that only the 7 current state licence holders would be able to apply
the county is not protecting patients but a handful of politically connected growers. Fewer competitors will lead to higher prices and less access for consumers, said Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who has sponsored a bill to open up Florida to more medical marijuana businesses.
This ordinance would only allow for only 13 Dispensaries for all of Hillsborough county for the next year. To put that into context, unincorporated Hillsborough county has over 120 pharmacies.
this ordinance is sponsored by
District 4, Chairman
Sources say that Stacy White could be accepting money and favors from lobbyist groups representing 1 of the 7 licensed growers. This would explain why he is so eager to pass this ordinance that heavily favors one license holder. here is his facebook page
San Felasco Nurseries, a licensed grower, is pushing for the county to adopt these rules through its lobbyist, Igniting Florida. Since Hillsborough enacted a six-month medical marijuana moratorium in October, Beth Leytham and Todd Pressman, lobbyists for Igniting Florida, have registered 24 meetings with county commissioners and staff, including eight with commissioner Stacy White, according to county records.
We need to tell the Hillsborough county commission and commissioner Stacy White to slow down and not pass legislation that favors one grower. We need to let our presence be seen
Where and when is the public hearing?
3/7/17 6:00 P.M.
County Center 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. 2nd Floor, Boardroom Tampa FL, 33602
Speculation about the DOJ’s approach to states with legal cannabis laws under president Donald Trump has led to many hypothetical best and worst case scenarios.
The first declarative statement on cannabis since trump election was a strongly worded letter from the US attorney to a sovereign native American reservation. This marks the first blow to the US DOJ not respecting states cannabis laws.
Those attending the upcoming High Times cannabis cup in Nevada will notice that there is nothing “Cannabis” nor “High” about this cup.
An exclusive report by the Reno Gazette-Journal revealed a stern letter of warning, sent by U.S. Attorney General Daniel Bogden to the Moapa Paiute Tribe, which is scheduled to host the cup on their sovereign tribal reservation just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the letter, Bogden informs the tribe that the DOJ is aware of its intentions to host the event and reminds them that cannabis is still illegal under federal law.
“I am informed that the tribal council is moving forward with the planned marijuana event referred to as the 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup because it is under the impression that the so-called ‘Cole Memorandum’ and subsequent memoranda from the Department of Justice permit marijuana use, possession and distribution on tribal lands when the state law also permits it,” Bogden wrote. “Unfortunately, this is an incorrect interpretation of the Department’s position on this issue.”
Tribal Chairman, Darren Daboda, told the Gazette-Journal that the tribe is not attempting to promote illegal activity and that he believes they are within their rights.
“To us, we’re looking at it as utilizing our sovereignty… as long as [marijuana] is not visible, we’re told it will be OK,” Daboda said. “The tribe is promoting it as a vendors’ crafts, food and concert event. We’re not promoting the distributor or selling [marijuana].”
High Times has responded by sending a message to vendors and attendees telling them not to bring any cannabis to the cup.
“Federal authorities have intervened directly with our host venue, the land of the Moapa Band of Paiutes,” the message said. “Our upcoming Cannabis Cup event in Nevada on March 4-5 can proceed as planned, but vendors, guests, performers and attendees are advised to comply with all local, state, and federal laws regarding the use and distribution of cannabis and cannabis related products.”
Sources tell Canna Chronicle that many vendors and businesses are canceling plans to attend the cup.
Friday was a bloody day for the cannabis sector and the weakness was concerning as it stems from comments regarding recreational cannabis delivered by Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer has reason to destroy the emerging domestic legal cannabis industry…his wife is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for National Wholesale Beer Distributor’s Association. Coincidence, think not!!
Meet the woman behind the Spice…Rebecca Spicer
“As chief communications officer, Rebecca Spicer manages NBWA’s communications strategy – including internal, membership and external communications – and executes key public relations strategies to advance the association’s advocacy priorities”
A Claim Not Supported by Intelligence
On Thursday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the President understands the value of medical cannabis for those in need, however, recreational cannabis or adult-use is an issue for the Department of Justice to provide further clarification.
Spicer seemed to link marijuana use to the opioid addiction crisis plaguing the United States. Despite his un-educated attempt to link cannabis use to opioid addiction, a Johns Hopkins report published in August 2014 determined that states with legal marijuana programs have fewer prescription overdose deaths.
In January 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine also released a review of 10,000 medical cannabis studies published since 1999. These data associated with these studies provide substantial evidence that supports the use of cannabis or its extracts for the treatment of chronic pain.
In November 2015, Forbes Magazine reported about a 60-Minutes episode that blamed the opioid crisis entirely on big pharmaceutical companies.
A Relationship to Look Into
Although there is no direct link between the National Wholesale Beer Distributor’s Association and Sean Spicer, it is easy to understand he would profit from the rollback of marijuana legalization.
Plus, the possibility of collusion is much more likely than claims by Spicer as he tried link marijuana use to the opioid addiction crisis plaguing the United States.
Although the Nasdaq traded at a new all-time high and was the top performing exchange yesterday, biotech stocks moved lower as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) fell less than 1%.
Despite the post-election rally, the biotech sector has been under pressure due to President Trump’s comments pertaining to lowering drug prices. Although we expect to see several biotech companies negatively impacted by future changes in pricing, many companies will not be affected.
We consider this weakness to be transitory and believe that it has created a great opportunity for investors to buy higher quality biotech stocks levered to the cannabis industry.
A Stock to Watch
Yesterday, we recommended Insys Therapeutics (INSY) while the shares were trading at $9.90. INSY rallied off its lows of the day (traded as low as $9.57) and the shares are trading at $10.00 after a less than 1% dip.
We view Insys as an acquisition candidate and expect to see the company acquired during 2017. In early July, INSY announced that the FDA approved Syndros, an orally administered liquid formulation of the pharmaceutical cannabinoid dronabinol, a pharmaceutical version of THC.
Syndros is approved for anorexia patients suffering from AIDS as well as patients with nausea as a result of cancer chemotherapy. At the time of this announcement, INSY said that Syndros is awaiting scheduling by the DEA.
Two Top Picks
Two other Nasdaq-traded biotech cannabis stocks we are favorable on are Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) and GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH).
GWPH has rallied off its recent lows and we remain bullish on the company due to its deep pipeline of pharmaceutical products that are in advanced stages of FDA testing. The company has a number of catalysts in the back half of 2017 and we see significant upside to current levels.
ZYNE continues to remain one of our top picks in the cannabis sector as we see significant upside to current levels. The average Wall Street price target on ZYNE is north of $30 and we view the company as an acquisition candidate for any biotech company interested in the cannabis industry.
We continue to view GWPH as one of the top investment opportunities within the cannabis sector as it is the only Nasdaq traded company focused on developing treatments from the actual cannabis plant.
Unlike Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) and Insys Therapeutics (INSY), which develop its treatments from synthetic cannabis, GWPH uses the actual cannabis plant and the benefits of this are reflected in its continued success in FDA trials. In late September, GW reported its second positive Stage 3 Clinical trial for its Epidiolex product for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).
Jeff Sessions had his confirmation hearing recently, during which he was asked all types of questions from Senators. Some of those questions specifically touched on Cannabis. The nomination of Jeff Sessions for The United States Attorney General has caused a great amount of uncertainty in the Cannabis community, both in America and abroad. President Donald Trump has made comments in the past that he supports reform, but has also made comments contradicting what he previously said.
Jeff Sessions provided answers to the Cannabis-related questions from his confirmation hearing. Those answers were neatly compiled and included in today’s ‘Tom Angell Report.’
- “While I am generally familiar with the Cole memorandum, I am not privy to any internal Department of Justice data regarding the effectiveness and value of the policies contained within that memorandum… I will certainly review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future.”
- “I will not commit to never enforcing Federal law. Whether an arrest and investigation of an individual who may be violating the law is appropriate is a determination made in individual cases based on the sometimes unique circumstances surrounding those cases, as well as the resources available at the time.”
- A recent federal court ruling that a Congressional rider prevents the Justice Department from going after people complying with state medical marijuana laws “is relatively recent, and I am not familiar with how other courts may have interpreted the relevant appropriations language or the Ninth Circuit’s opinion. As an emerging issue, that is one that will need to be closely evaluated in light of all relevant law and facts… I will conduct such a review. Of course, medical marijuana use is a small part of the growing commercial marijuana industry.”
- On “good people don’t smoke marijuana“: “My words have been grossly mischaracterized and taken out of context… I was discussing the value of treating people for using dangerous and illegal drugs like marijuana, and the context in which treatment is successful.”
- “I echo Attorney General Lynch’s comments [on marijuana being illegal], and commit, as she did, to enforcing federal law with respect to marijuana, although the exact balance of enforcement priorities is an ever-changing determination based on the circumstances and the resources available at the time.”
- “I will defer to the American Medical Association and the researchers at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere about the medical effects of marijuana. Without having studied the relevant regulations in depth, I cannot say whether they may need to be eased in order to advance research; but, I will review this.”
BOTTOM LINE: Sessions is still being very guarded in discussing the Trump administration’s intentions toward state marijuana laws. Probably the most important revelation above is that he is going to review and evaluate the Cole memo that gives states a roadmap for how to avoid federal interference with their cannabis laws.
Originally posted in TheLedger.com
Black adults were five times more likely to be arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana than white residents in Polk County’s largest two cities in 2015. Black juveniles were arrested at a rate six times higher than white juveniles for possession.
Though making up 20 percent of Lakeland’s population, based on 2014 U.S. Census estimates, blacks comprised 57 percent of the 405 arrests of adults for misdemeanor possession. Black juveniles were arrested at a rate six times higher than white juveniles with 30 arrests to 19.
In Winter Haven, black residents made up 28 percent of the city’s population but accounted for 63 percent of the 137 arrests of adults for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Of the 28 juveniles arrested in Winter Haven, 13 were black, 13 were white, meaning black juveniles were more than twice as likely to be arrested than white juveniles. No race was indicated or recorded for two of the arrests.
The Lakeland City Commission is scheduled to discuss whether to decriminalize marijuana inside the city during a workshop at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Hollingsworth Ballroom at The Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime St.
The arrest statistics do not assume the Latino or Hispanic origin of the person arrested. Census surveys account for Hispanic or Latino origin separately from race. There can be black Hispanics and white Hispanics.
Officials in the two biggest cities in the county say arrests are not based on race.
“The arrests are what they are,” Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens said. “It depends on the actions of someone.”
Giddens said many of the arrests could have been connected to additional charges the defendant faces.
Winter Haven Deputy Chief David Brannan agreed.
He said, of the 165 cases, 52 involved additional charges, such as domestic violence or possession of other, stronger drugs.
“We deploy where crimes have been occurring,” Brannan said. “We don’t pick where crimes are occurring.”
Prosecutors said they handled 1,543 misdemeanor marijuana cases in 2015, including 334 diversions. The State Attorney’s Office diversion program enables defendants to avoid a conviction if they complete the program. After that, defendants can seek to have their arrest records sealed and expunged.
One item not included in a request for data by The Ledger was the race of each defendant prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office.
Incoming State Attorney Brian Haas said there is no need to track prosecutions by racial breakdown. He said prosecutors review specifics of each case and the criminal history of the defendant.
“The race of the defendant does not have anything to do with that analysis,” Haas said.
The number of misdemeanor violations for marijuana in Lakeland was made public earlier this year following a request by City Commissioner Justin Troller.
Troller has been the most vocal in a push to discuss the decriminalization of the drug. City commissioners in Lakeland plan to discuss the decriminalization of marijuana at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Hollingsworth Ballroom at The Lakeland Center.
Supporters of decriminalization want to make possession of under 20 grams a civil citation, similar to a parking ticket.
“I’m leaning toward favoring it,” Troller said of a possible upcoming vote to decriminalize. “These policies affect the middle class at a much greater rate than an affluent person.”
Troller said he doesn’t have a problem with police departments sending more officers to areas that have more crime, but he said arrests and prosecution of people for small amounts of pot can ruin a person’s life.
“There is no value to it at all,” Troller said, adding that costs and an arrest record damage a young person’s ability to find a good job.
Giddens is opposed to decriminalization, saying it sends the wrong message to young people and that commissioners need to “hold the line at marijuana.”
The discussion of decriminalization comes after the recent release of a report by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch that shows:
• Black adults were more than 2½ times as likely as white adults to be arrested for drug possession in 2015.
• Nearly half of all drug possession arrests — more than 574,000 — were for marijuana possession. By comparison, there were 506,681 arrests for violent crimes.
• In 2014, black people were nearly six times more likely than white people to be in prison for drug possession.
• Black adults were more than four times as likely to be arrested as white adults in the 39 states that provided sufficient data.
Tess Borden, a fellow at the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, said it’s highly likely that residents aren’t as concerned about police arrests for drug possession as they are stopping violent crimes.
“Some departments reward arrests,” said Borden, who wrote the report. “There is a problem with saying you measure productivity by arrest numbers because police go out and bust for drugs.”
She noted that, although there has been a drop in violent crime arrests since 1995, the number of arrests for all drug possession, including marijuana, has increased by 13 percent.
And although police may be patrolling where there is crime, Borden said, marijuana arrests aren’t the crimes people are worried about.
“People don’t believe this is the No. 1 safety concern,” Borden said of marijuana arrests.
Central Florida NORML and Floridians For Cannabis is Working with the city of Lakeland to change this. There will be a meeting open to public discussion at The Lakeland Center
701 W Lime St, Lakeland, Florida 33815 11/9/16 at 5:30 in the Hollingsworth Ballroom of the Lakeland Center.
Florida Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group Claims to Have Damning footage about the
Dark Forces behind the No On 2 Campaign
Floridians for Cannabis is releasing, what they claim to be as damning footage about the organizations, money, and politicians behind the No On 2 campaign. The video is to be released at 10am on their Facebook Page. Be sure to watch the video that Drug-Free America and No On 2 don’t want you to see.