Syntthetic marijuana banned, but readily available

TAMPA - It’s banned, but it’s still being sold in local stores.

And all evidence points to the fact that synthetic marijuana is far more dangerous than many first thought.

“It's scary. It will destroy your brain,” said a local homeless woman we saw loitering in a park in downtown St. Petersburg.

She didn’t want to give her name, but told us she recently witnessed a man high on synthetic marijuana beat a brick wall with a baseball bat until his hands were splintered and bleeding.

The man told her he was fighting Satan.  

“It brought the Satan out in me,” said former user William Jump, who said he often got in fights when he was high on the drug.

He was recently arrested for possession of the drug and vows never to use it again.


Medical marijuana to expand in Florida?


Representatives from the governor’s office and state Legislature gathered Wednesday to hear Florida economist’s projections for revenue from a potential expansion of medical marijuana. They’re using data from 20 other states that have already legalized pot for medical use.

"Estimating how doctors will be involved and how they’ll treat this, and what people will do and the behavioral side of it is much harder, and that’s really what we’re looking to other states for," said Florida Chief Economist Amy Baker.

Potential revenue could shift either way based on what types of diseases are covered by medical marijuana.

Supporters said hundreds of millions of dollars could be at stake.


NTRR Leads Effort to Satisfy Cannabis Industry's Search for Non-Toxic Plant Remedies

TAMPA, Fla., Sep 29, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The absence of industry-wide pesticide testing standards leaves the emerging U.S. cannabis industry highly vulnerable to legal and health risks, but Neutra Corp. NTRR, -2.00% is offering a potential solution to the problem.


Students showcase pot-influenced art

Marijuana was a gateway drug to Polynesian dance for Alex Couture.

Now a 19-year-old UF physics freshman, he started attending music festivals when he started smoking pot about a year ago. He said seeing people there spin poi, an art form from New Zealand in which dancers spin sometimes-flaming balls on ropes, inspired him to try it for himself.

Tuesday night in a Little Hall classroom, Couture showed off his skills at a meeting of NORML Gators dedicated to the influence of cannabis on art. He and five other students showed performances and artwork they said weed helped them create to an audience of about 15.


Police Organization Wants Marijuana Legalized in Florida

Ray Strack worked as a U.S. Customs special agent on JFK International Airport’s drug squad in New York during his 27-year career. He constantly busted people — two per day on average — who were attempting to smuggle narcotics into the country. But today, the now-retired Strack is working to get drugs legalized.


Jury convicts Miami man who says he grew pot for cancer-stricken wife

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Miami jury convicted a man who faces up to 35 years in prison for growing marijuana in a bedroom of his house in what he says was an act of love to help his wife who is recovering from breast cancer, local media reported.

Ricardo Varona, 43, was arrested in July 2014 and charged with marijuana trafficking after police said they seized 15 live marijuana plants that could have produced more than 30 pounds of usable weed.

In closing arguments on Friday, Varona's lawyer, Jose Aguirre, told jurors in Miami state court that detectives did not find any money ledgers, drug scales or packaging equipment at Varona's house that would show he was selling pot for money.


Colorado marijuana industry cited in Miami growhouse trial

Ricardo Varona is accused of trafficking the drug in Southwest Miami-Dade

He claims he grew the plants to help ease his wife’s cancer-related suffering

A pot businessman testified the defendant’s operation was ‘amateur’

With its established medical and recreational pot industry, Colorado loomed large Thursday over the trial of a Miami man who insists he operated a marijuana growhouse only to help ease the suffering of his cancer-stricken wife.


Accused Miami marijuana trafficker claims he grew plants to help cancer-stricken wife

Ricardo Varona makes no apologies for running a sophisticated, high-powered hydroponics lab inside a second-floor bedroom of his Southwest Miami-Dade home. He went to trial on Tuesday to insist he was innocent of breaking the law — arguing he was growing the marijuana solely to help his wife stricken with breast cancer.

“Love and compassion, that’s what this case is really about,” Assistant Public Defender Adam Bair told jurors. “In particular, this case is about a man willing to do anything to ease his wife’s suffering.”

The unusual defense, in a state where medical marijuana is not yet allowed, was unconvincing to prosecutors. They tried walking a tight rope Tuesday, offering sympathy for Varona’s wife but casting her husband as a big-time dope dealer.


An Alternative Anti-Drug Policy: Economic Resilience

Yuri Soares is chief of development effectiveness at the Multilateral Investment Fund. He holds a PhD in economics from Michigan State University and a Master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Florida. He has worked in the United States and Brazil.


Florida's Medical Marijuana Campaign Has Gathered Over Half A Million Signatures

The United for Care campaign came very close to legalizing medical marijuana in Florida during the 2014 Election. The initiative received roughly 58% of the vote (Florida requires 60% of the vote in order for the initiative to pass). The campaign took the loss in stride, regrouped, and has been working towards a 2016 effort. The campaign is on a roll right now, having gathered over half a million signatures already. Per The Joint Blog:


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