Issues of Interest

MEDICAL MARIJUANA The Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use starts a week-long tour on February 6th to gather public input for the rules they will write to govern the use of medical marijuana.  To attend one of the hearings, see this schedule. Meanwhile, Senate and House members are introducing bills to either implement Amendment 2, which was approved by the voters last November and became effective in January, or to repeal existing laws governing the medical marijuana program.

CUBAN CARGO ARRIVES IN FLORIDA For the first time in over half a century, the first legal cargo from Cuba landed in Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades on January 24th. Shortly afterward, Governor Scott said he would not financially support any Florida port which enters into an agreement with the Cuban government.

SANFORD BURNHAM Faculty at the struggling Sanford Burnham Institute in Orlando have hinted that they are seeking outside opportunities for employment amid continued concerns for the Institute’s future. Some key administrative and support staff have already left. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity wants the Institute to reimburse $77 million of the $155 million in incentives it was given in 2006, saying they fell short of promised job creation in the Central Florida area.

LETHAL INJECTION PROTOCOL The Department of Corrections has issued a new procedure for lethal injections in death penalty cases.  The new protocol involves two new drugs in the three drug “cocktail”.  There is certain to be legal challenges as the new sedative has never been used before in such cases and the killing agent has only been accidentally used once in Oklahoma.

 NEW LAWS TOOK EFFECT JANUARY 1ST A few laws passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Scott went into effect at the start of the year. They include a law that prohibits the sale of cough medicines containing the synthetically produced dextromethorphan to people under 18 years of age and requiring identification from those presumed to be under 25. Dextromethorphan can be found in common over-the-counter medicines such as NyQuil, Robitussin, Alka Seltzer Plus, and Tylenol Cough & Cold. Another law prohibits insurance policies that cover opioid medications from requiring prior authorization for abuse-deterrent versions of the medications.

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