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Dave Plotkin


Recent Stories from Dave Plotkin


From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: A key part of the 2017 medical marijuana law known as “vertical integration” created cannabis oligarchs

When it comes to the law, language is precise. That’s especially true when it comes to Florida’s medical marijuana laws, which are at the heart of a battle before the state supreme court. Florida voters passed an amendment in 2016 legalizing medical marijuana, and defining who could prescribe it, grow it, and package it. The language voters passed to define treatment centers includes the wording “acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes … transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana …” Note the word “or” – which means Florida businesses could serve any of those roles in the new industry. But the law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2017 was different. Instead of “or” they used the word “and,” meaning that, …

Image: Fireworks tent sales, Adobe Stock via Orlandoweekly.com

Orlando Weekly: Senate Bill 140 Would Make it Easier for Floridians to Buy Holiday Fireworks

Amid the fireworks in Washington over the Trump impeachment, another debate involving truth and government is taking place in Florida. The state Senate is advancing a bill that would lift the ban on fireworks sales in Florida. If you’ve ever bought fireworks and forgot they were even banned, it’s likely because you’re among the millions of people who signed a waiver certifying your fireworks would be for farming purposes – specifically, “frightening birds from agricultural work and fish hatcheries.” That means, well … you’ve lied. To yourself, to your state, and to the good people hawking gunpowder-packed toys under hot tents every July fourth. So have I. I’ve signed the waiver too, and I’m pretty sure there were no birds …

Photo: Image from the Rybovich superyacht marina’s facebook page, facebook.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Rick Scott granted tax breaks meant to help the poor to rich donor’s instead

When Rick Scott was governor of Florida, he was given a blank check by the Trump Administration to create so-called “opportunity zones” anywhere he chose, where developers wouldn’t have to pay millions in federal taxes. The money was supposed go to “needy areas” for development and jobs. Who did Rick Scott give it to? Billionaire developers, sports team owners, donors to his political campaigns. The opportunity zones were pitched as the prime anti-poverty measure of Trump’s signature Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. But the law has no public reporting requirements. In the new zones, investors don’t have to pay capital gains taxes up front and any appreciation they accrue is tax-free after a decade. That one is the …