Dara Kam - News Service of Florida

Dara Kam is the Senior Reporter of The News Service Of Florida.

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Patients could have access to long-awaited, non-euphoric pot products by the end of the year, after a judge on Wednesday rejected a challenge to a proposed rule setting up the medical marijuana industry in Florida.

Department of Health officials could begin processing applications for the low-THC cannabis within 41 days of Wednesday's decision by Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins, according to an agency spokeswoman.

Watkins pointedly began his 68-page ruling with an excerpt from "Charlotte's Web," by E.B. White.

Jeb Bush is keeping Sunshine State governors in the global-warming crosshairs with comments this week in which he called the science surrounding the issue "convoluted."

On the campaign trail last year, Gov. Rick Scott demurred when asked about climate change, saying, "I'm not a scientist."

Former Florida Gov. Bush isn't a scientist either --- he earned a bachelor's degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones plans to bar the use of chemical agents on prisoners with histories of respiratory ailments and is changing procedures to reduce the use of force on severely mentally ill inmates.

The changes to the policy regarding inmates with respiratory ailments, such as asthma, come after reports of at least two prisoners dying as a result of complications from preexisting breathing-related medical conditions. The inmates had been gassed by guards.

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Three-year-old Dinah is the latest face joining the entourage pushing for medical marijuana in Florida, arriving on the scene just as the Senate is poised to broaden the state's non-euphoric cannabis law approved last year.

Like others whose loved ones pleaded for the law, Dinah suffers from frequent seizures caused by severe epilepsy. The biggest difference is that Dinah is a dog.

The bulldog-labrador mix's owner, Lisa Miller, has spent nearly three decades walking the halls of the Capitol as a lobbyist and regulator pitching lawmakers on insurance issues.

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Florida inmates serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles should be resentenced under guidelines that went into effect last year, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.

In four separate cases, the justices ordered lower courts to apply the 2014 law to inmates who, as juveniles, were sentenced in the past either to life in prison or to terms that would have effectively kept them behind bars until they die. Two of the inmates were convicted of murder.

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After spending at least $300,000 of taxpayer money on legal expenses, Gov. Rick Scott is abandoning his fight to force welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug tests.

A federal appeals court ruled in December that the state's mandatory, suspicion-less drug testing of applicants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program is an unconstitutional violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.

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A "child support-esque" formula could determine the amount of alimony divorcing spouses would receive under a radical overhaul of the state's alimony laws now in the works.

In contrast to hotly contested legislation that prompted an outcry from the National Organization for Women and pitted alimony-reform advocates against divorce lawyers two years ago — and ultimately resulted in a veto by Gov. Rick Scott — the new plan floated by House Rules Chairman Ritch Workman so far has the blessing of people on both sides of the issue.

marijuana plant
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A panel comprised of the director of the state Office of Compassionate Use, an accountant and a member of the Drug Policy Advisory Council would pick five nurseries to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana under a revamped rule released Thursday by the Florida Department of Health.

The selection committee would take the place of a lottery system initially proposed by the agency but nixed by an administrative law judge last year and is one of a number of changes included in the 10-page draft rule.

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