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Image: Cannabis, adobe Orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Florida GOP plans to cap THC levels on smokable cannabis


Republican lawmakers in Florida have never hidden their discomfort with the use of medical marijuana. Even after more than 70 percent of Florida voters approved an amendment making it legally available, the Republican-controlled Legislature has dragged its feet on implementation every step of the way. Amendment 2 passed in 2016, yet some of its key aspects are still being hashed out five years later. Now a pair of 2021 bills propose a 10 percent THC cap on smokable cannabis, and a 16 percent limit on THC levels in other products. Physicians say the proposed caps are unnecessary and not scientifically based, and according to Ben Pollara of MMJ advocacy group Florida for Care, this simply will force patients to spend …
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Image: Murder the Media Screenshot from Jessica O’Donnell twitter account
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Proposed Florida Legislation “The Offenses Against Members of the Press” Bill would give Journalists pre-existing Hate Crime Protections


https://wmfeimages.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/24165957/OrlandoWeekly022521.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: RSSState Sen. Janet Cruz proposed legislation Tuesday that would make attacking or threatening a journalist in the state of Florida a hate crime. The Offenses Against Members of the Press bill would give journalists pre-existing hate crime protections and would escalate penalties when a crime is committed against a member of the media. Florida code defines a hate crime as a criminal act against a person that is an expression of hatred of the victim because of personal characteristics, like race, color, gender, gender identity, religion, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, …
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Image: Orlando Sentinel Logo, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: The Tribune Company, parent of the Orlando Sentinel, will be bought by Alden Global Capital


This is a rough week for anyone who cares about local news. On Tuesday it was announced that the Tribune Company, parent of the Orlando Sentinel, will be bought by Alden Global Capital. The Manhattan-based hedge fund has become known as “the destroyer of newspapers” as it buys local publications across the country and enacts brutal layoffs. For instance, after being acquired by Alden in 2016, a network of regional papers in California went from an editorial staff of 1,000 to 150, and reporters say their newsroom now features rats, mildew, and falling ceilings. Last year, when Alden acquired a stake in Tribune, Orlando Sentinel reporters felt the cold breath on their neck and accelerated their efforts to form a …
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Image:  Tampa Super Bowl Street Party, Kimberly DeFalco, Orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor “Happy” with Super Bowl Pandemic Compliance


Cognitive dissonance reigns supreme in the United States once again. George W. Bush declaring “mission accomplished” in 2003 arguably launched our modern age of political inconsistency. Presidents have long said one thing and done the opposite, but that speech ushered in an era of brazen divergence from reality that was brought to high art by our 45th fully unclothed emperor. So Americans of this generation are used to hearing our leaders make statements contradicted by the evidence of our own senses, but Central Florida — Tampa, to be specific — is the locus of the biggest whopper of this young year. Last weekend’s Super Bowl brought tens of thousands of fans together in the middle of a deadly airborne pandemic. …
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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: The FL Legislature has taken up a proposal to thwart the determination of their constituents


How many times does the Florida Legislature need to demonstrate how little they value the opinions of their constituents? Once again, they’ve taken up a proposal to directly thwart the determination of the voters. This time, it’s the minimum wage. A question on the 2020 ballot proposed a constitutional amendment that would gradually boost the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 and passed with more than 60 percent support. The amendment was self-executing and did not need legislative action. But that hasn’t stopped Sen. Jeff Brandes from trying to exempt certain workers. He proposes a reduced minimum wage for workers under age 21, for workers convicted of felonies, for state prisoners and for what he calls “other …
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Image: Florida State Flag , dos.myflorida.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Collecting Florida State Sales Tax from Online Purchases


Were you aware that when you buy something online, for instance, a book from Amazon  if you aren’t charged sales tax, you’re supposed to download Form DR-15MO from the Florida Department of Revenue, calculate what the local sales tax would be, and send in a payment? It’s a little-known and rarely enforced rule that could be costing the state millions. The Legislature has taken up a proposal that would require online retailers to take on the task, rather than leave it to uninformed and, let’s face it, unmotivated consumers. Sen. Joe Gruters says his proposal requires businesses with no physical presence in Florida to collect sales tax when customers in Florida make purchases, and it could pump more than $600 …
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Image: Sofia by Wilson Romero, downtownartsdistrict.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Orlando’s Arts Organizations have had to pivot in light of the pandemic


As the nation turns a page, all of us are ready for fresh beginnings, and not just political. After four years of chaos in government and almost a year of COVID lockdown, everyone is eager for something to celebrate. And not to be premature, but there’s light on the horizon. Orlando’s arts organizations have had to pivot in light of the pandemic, and it’s no surprise that they’ve come up with creative solutions to share artistic inspiration with us all along. A good example is the current exhibition at the University of Central Florida Art Gallery, which can be visited in person or enjoyed online in a very well-crafted virtual presentation. Now monetary help is here to support that ingenuity, …
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