Tag Archives: legislature

Dog Racing in Florida

Information about dog racing in the city of Miami and other parts of the state of Florida. Approximately thirty percent of the greyhound racing track in the United States are located in the state of Florida.”

The above quote prefaces the list of dog racing events and activities in the Miami area:  racing tracks and associations, etc.  Included in the list is a link to a website for the Florida Greyhound Association which represents breeders, owners, kennel operators, etc. and they are represented by a lobbying group in Tallahassee.

This is what happens when things go right.

This is what happens when things go right.

In fairness, there are some tracks that do show they care about the dogs.

This is what happens when things go wrong.

This is what happens when things go wrong.

On the other side of the coin, is a coalition of animal advocates, which just recently announced that it’s forming a political action committee called, “Committee to Protect Dogs,” which has as its purpose, to place on the ballot, reforms and a phasing out of greyhound racing in Florida.

There is also an advocacy group called, “Grey2K USA.”

“Greyhound racing in [Florida] is regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  In May 2013, GREY2K USA lobbied successfully for an animal welfare rule that contained several greyhound provisions and required that all greyhound deaths that occur at track facilities be reported.  Florida remains one of two states, along with Alabama, where greyhound injury reporting is not mandated.”

In today’s Sun-Sentinel, reporter Dan Sweeney posted his article, “Tougher Rules Sought For Racing Industry.”  The advocacy groups are slowly, surely, lobbying for better racing conditions and better holdings areas, and for the reporting of not only deaths, but also for injuries that befall these mistreated dogs.  Treating injuries means expenditures; killing the injured dogs is a viable option with some owners and trainers.

The best fulfillment of the advocacy would be for the dog racing to end; however, given the ingrained mentality of gambling and racing in general, here in Florida, this is not likely for the time being.  The gambling and racing enthusiasts and the tourism trade probably would not make it doable at this time.  The only possibility, as I see it right now, is for better and humane treatment, until there is a turnaround, and the dog racing institution will be closed down.

[Dog racing images are from bingdotcom]

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Florida’s Slow-Moving Medical Marijuana Bill

 

It was in 2014, that Florida’s legislature passed a medical marijuana bill – please see my previous post on Florida’s medical marijuana bill.  And, to date, no one has been helped.

One of the things holding it up is the fact that only 5 growers would have been allowed to grow the specific Charlotte’s Web strain under the current law.

A bill proposed for the 2015 legislature session never got a hearing.

Another bill has been filed for the 2016 session.  Supposedly, that limit of number of growers would be removed; and currently, only cancer patients and seizure sufferers are covered.  The number of eligible diseases would be increased.  Those that would be added include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • MS (multiple sclerosis)
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • or any terminal illness.

Of course, the thing bogging down the implementation of the current law is RED TAPE.  So, what else is new?  The Florida Department of Health is in the fray, and nursery owners’ litigation is attempting to position their companies in the small “pot” of eligibility.

As you can imagine, families of sick members are keenly frustrated and angry with these legislative shenanigans while their ill family members of all ages are crying out for relief from their debilitating, painful symptoms.

Will we ever see a medical marijuana bill coming out of the Florida legislature?  Last year’s legislature passed that 2014 bill, hoping to have the “topic” done with. The passage was timed to take place before the last mid-term election.  They believed there was a great possibility that the voters would pass the amendment to the Florida constitution.  As it turned out, the voters missed out on that passage by approximately 2% of the required 60%.

There is a difference between passing a bill into law, and having the voters pass an amendment to the state’s Constitution.  A big difference!  A law can be changed at the whim of the state’s legislature at any time; however, an amendment needs to be added by the state’s voters.  The Florida legislature would rather keep control of the medical marijuana “problem,” and be able to change at will.  That’s why that legislative body wanted so desperately, to be able to pass a law and not wait for a possible state constitutional change.

Things are looking very good for the passage of an amendment in next year’s election.  More on that in another post.

 

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Florida Legislature’s House Introduced Their Bill for Medical Marijuana

The Florida Legislature is continuing to tackle the “medical marijuana” enigma.  This week, the House introduced its bill to address the concerns raised by the Florida Sheriffs Association.  (A Senate bill was introduced last month [January]).

The new bill has raised concerns among medical marijuana advocates because it excludes many patients who could benefit from using medical marijuana.  The list of “accepted” diseases is too short and leaves out many diseases.

The item on the bill that surprised and gave me concern states that if a doctor would be able to estimate if an illness not on the list would kill the patient within a year, then that disease (illness) would be approved and the patient would be allowed to use medical marijuana.  It is not mentioned that if that patient lives for longer than the estimated year, would the patient be allowed to continue using medical marijuana past the year?!!

November’s mid-term election was a great disappointment for the 57-58% of the voters who voted “yes” for the Amendment 2 on the ballot.  Signatures are again being gathered to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2016.  It is obvious that the strong pressure of supporters of medical marijuana is pushing the Florida Legislature to come up with its own version of a law to allow its very ill citizens to hopefully reap the benefits of medical marijuana for their symptoms.

Please see my other posts concerning the Florida trials and tribulations of medical marijuana here and here and here.

 

Charlotte’s Web In Florida – Maybe Not So Quick

An article that appeared in Sunday’s Local section of the Sun-Sentinel is about an action that the Florida legislature has taken that I did not know about before.

The Florida Department of Health has been “mum” since a law was approved last spring, creating an Office of Compassionate Use.  This Office is charged with working out regulations for up to five Florida plant nurseries to grow and process “Charlotte’s Web” marijuana and then make it available to eligible patients.

Paige Figi, the mother of the child for whom Charlotte’s Web was named, testified before the Florida legislature:

Her daughter Charlotte, had her first seizure at 3 months.  It lasted four hours.  Doctors later diagnosed her with Dravet syndrome.  Racked by seizures, she was unable to eat, walk or talk.

Now, after nearly two years on “Charlotte’s Web,” she can talk, eat on her own and even ride a bike.  Her story was featured in a CNN special, “Weed,” by Dr. Sanjay Gupta last year.

“We are just asking for leniency to treat these children,” Figi said.  “Doctors are telling their patients to move to Colorado.  We don’t have time to wait 10 years for a pill to go to market.”

char web

Thanks to the advocacy of patients and their families, and of lobbyists, one of which is Louis Rotundo, who represents the Winter Park-based Florida Medical Cannabis Association, the Florida legislature made the decision to push through a law.

This law is in limbo now, due to the judicial consideration of regulations of the plant nurseries.  The law, which was approved last spring, under which the Department of Health was expected to have rules in place by Sept. 30th, has been placed on the back burner.

A judge, last month, ordered the Florida Department of Health to rewrite its regulations for an oil made from the non-euphoric cannabis, “Charlotte’s Web,” that can be “used to treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders and cancer.”

The Department of Health has kept this ruling under wraps, and the Department was given until Monday to appeal the judge’s order.

The delay occurred due to the challenging of several Florida nurseries about the requirement of one of Florida’s proposed rules:  licenses would be decided by a lottery.  This challenge sent the matter into court, and Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins in Tallahassee, threw out the proposed regulations.

At the beginning of the year, Florida lawmakers were already considering legislating a law to allow medical marijuana in the state.

“We want to be on the right side of history and medicine,” said Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, after a hearing in Tallahassee held by the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice. “The work begins today to take into account the pleas of people all around the state to do something and do it quickly, to make sure these individuals can gain access to the safest treatment without playing politics or hiding behind antiquated arguments.”

Well, it looks like quick access is a dream for the parents of children suffering seizures, and for patients for whom the cannabis oil will make their lives better.  The rule for using a lottery to decide which nurseries will plant and grow the marijuana is holding up the relief of a growing number of patients with illnesses that could be helped with the oil.