Blaise Gainey

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Fla. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formely worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter. Follow Blaise Gainey on Twitter: @BlaiseGainey

Community members made arguments Monday for and against a new police headquarters on Tallahassee’s Southside. The plan to build a new public safety campus has garnered discussions about food deserts, community police relations, and the best use of public funds. But, the core of the argument for those on both sides of the issue seems to focus on one thing—safety.

As Florida lawmakers grapple with changes to the state’s medical marijuana rules, others are questioning how hemp fits into the picture. Hemp is a marijuana plant, but is low in THC—meaning it doesn’t get people high. Instead, people say the CBD from the plant can have significant health benefits. But the two products come plants that look and smell the same—making regulation and enforcement difficult and leaving hemp use and sales in something of a legal grey area.

Listen below as cannabis legal expert Michael Minardi and Alex Petrick who manages Natural Life, a shop in Tallahassee that sells CBD products speak on the subject.

A non-euphoric strain of cannabis is being sold in stores across Florida. It’s available as oils, edibles, and even flower. But as questions about the legality of it linger, CBD remains in limbo.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is tapping Nashville hemp consultant Holly Bell for the department’s cannabis director. Bell was instrumental in getting Tennessee’s hemp industry off the ground, and Fried hopes Bell can do the same in Florida.

“The economic impact for our state is enormous. [The] medical marijuana industry alone is projected to have a $1.6 billion economics, creating more jobs in manufacturing by 2020. Hemp can be a multi-billion-dollar industry here in the state,” said Fried.

A bill implementing a constitutional amendment that bans vaping in businesses passed its first committee Tuesday. But as Blaise Gainey reports, legislators, advocates and critics must now answer the question – What is vaping?

Hurricane Michael caused lots of destruction to Florida's gulf coast. Till this day trees are left uprooted and snapped in half, buildings totaled or covered in tarp, and some houses flattened.

Business owner David Smith who owns Smith Motorworks whose building survived in Panama City told his story.

Mexico Beach will be receiving hurricane recovery money soon. Blaise Gainey reports that announcement came Monday at the summit for a Resilient North Florida.

Officials in charge of getting Tyndall Air Force Base back up and running gave an overview Thursday of where they are now and where they hope to be in the future. The base hosted it's first "Industry Day" since Hurricane Michael severely damaged it in October. 

Leaders in state government gathered Wednesday as they do every year for the Associated Press’ Legislative Planning Session. Each came to voice priorities for the coming session and field questions from the Capital press corps. From education to medical marijuana to infrastructure, WFSU was on hand to catch it all. The following is an overview of what speakers, including the entire Florida Cabinet, brought to the table:

The Assignment of Benefits issue that has been plaguing the property insurance industry for a few years may finally be changed. During Wednesdays Associated Press Legislative Planning Session Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis blamed bad actors who he says are twisting the law.

The Florida Department of Revenue is getting a new Executive Director. The cabinet named Jim Zingale the new Executive Director of the Department of Revenue Tuesday.

Zingale served in the position for 7 years during former governor Jeb Bush’s tenure. He’s also served as a Research Director for the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.

The cabinet unanimously chose Zingale to lead the state’s Department of Revenue, taking over the job of now former director Leon Biegalski who was handpicked by former Governor Rick Scott in 2016.

Hurricane Michael was more than 100 days ago, but it’s still fresh on the mind of North Florida residents. House District 8’s Democratic Representative Ramon Alexander says that’s most of what he’s been hearing when he speaks to his constituents. Blaise Gainey sat down with the representative following a Gadsden County meeting.

Former Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Allison Tant is kicking off her political campaign for 2020 February 5th at Food Glorious Food.

"I am running for House District 9. That is the seat that Representative Lorraine Ausley currently holds. She’s running for senator montfords seat in 2020 he’s termed out," Tant said.

She announced the event Monday at the Democratic Club of North Florida in Tallahassee.

Tant is known for her nonprofit that focuses on housing for people with developmental disabilities.

Where to place a memorial recognizing the four Jim Crow era Leon County lynching victims? That’s under consideration by a group calling itself the Community Remembrance Project Task Force.

Byron Greene addressed the Democratic Club of North Florida Monday.

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved Danny Burgess Jr. Thursday as the Department of Veterans' Affairs Director. Burgess is a former Pasco County Republican Representative who in November defeated his opponent by a nearly 2-1 margin. 

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