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Florida's kratom industry; DeSantis a distant second in Iowa caucuses; and federal lawsuits could upend the real estate industry

Kratom products are legal in most states and are widely available. But the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration worry that kratom carries the risk of physical and psychological dependency and, in some people, addiction.
Catie Dull
/
NPR
Kratom products are legal in most states and are widely available. But the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration worry that kratom carries the risk of physical and psychological dependency and, in some people, addiction.

Tampa Bay Times’ investigation into the kratom industry 

Kratom comes from the leaves of a tree in Southeast Asia and is turned into a powder that’s sold across the state at stores, gas stations and online. It’s often marketed as a herbal supplement to boost energy, improve your mood, ease anxiety, treat a cough and help with opioid addiction.

It’s illegal in seven states, but not Florida. Last year, a new law went into effect that you have to be at least 21 years old to buy it. But otherwise it’s largely unregulated.

A Tampa Bay Times investigation found hundreds of kratom-related deaths in Florida. Reporters also spoke with scientists and policy experts about what could be done to make the industry safer.

Guests:

  • Helen Freund, food and dining critic for the Tampa Bay Times. 
  • Sam Ogozalek, health reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. 
  • Langston Taylor, data editor for the Tampa Bay Times. 

DeSantis a distant second in Iowa caucuses 

Round one of 2024 GOP presidential primaries is over. It was the first head-to-head matchup between two Florida men wanting to be president.

Former President Trump ran away with 51% of the votes in Iowa's Republican caucuses — easily beating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Meantime, back in Florida, Democrats scored a win in a special statehouse election.

Guest:

  • Matt Dixon, author of Swamp Monsters: Trump vs. DeSantis ― the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida). 

Federal lawsuits could upend Florida’s real estate industry 

The traditional residential real estate commission is under legal scrutiny across the country. Federal lawsuits are challenging the way real estate agents have been paid for decades. No state has more at stake than the Sunshine State.

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