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5/18/2018: Opioid Lawsuit; Medical Marijuana; Hyperloop And Brightline Train

Opioid Lawsuit

The state of Florida is going after major opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Tuesday at a recovery center in Tampa announced the state is seeking to recover all damages allowable. She predicted a likely settlement in the billions.

Bondi said 15 people die every day in Florida from opioid abuse. More than 10,000 Floridians have died from what Bondi calls the state’s “opioid crisis.”

Medical Marijuana

If patients can use medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms, they should be able to smoke the drug.

That was the argument made Wednesday before Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers. Plaintiffs are challenging a law passed last year that bans patients from smoking medical marijuana after a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2016 broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida.

Supporters of the ban say smoking is a health hazard for users and bystanders, but challengers contend the ban on smoking the medication is unconstitutional.

Orlando attorney John Morgan, a key organizer of the constitutional amendment, initiated the lawsuit that was heard this week.

The judge hadn’t issued a ruling as of Friday afternoon.

Hyperloop and Brightline

It’s like something out of the Jetsons. Picture that family flying through the air in an enclosed tube, and what’s being proposed now isn’t too far off.

Hyperloop One is a private company that wants to create environmentally-friendly, fast, easy transportation options for long-distance trips.

Hyperloop is sort of like an enclosed train. Picture the Disney monorail encapsulated in a tube, but it doesn’t move on a track. The vehicle levitates thanks to magnets and accelerates through electric propulsion. The tube it’s housed in may be on land or underwater.

The makers say the Hyperloop won’t be any noisier than a big “whoosh” as it zips through the tube at speeds up to 670 mph.

The proposed route would be between the Miami and Orlando airports along U.S. 27.

In the meantime, privately-funded Brightline commuter trains begin shuttling passengers on Saturday between Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Tickets start at $6 round trip on the weekends, with higher fares for weekday commuters.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.