Billion-dollar industry blooms as acceptance for marijuana becomes widespread
As you drive around the state, the once unthinkable has happened. The selling, dispensing and testing of marijuana products have overtaken shopping centers and moved into space previously occupied by restaurants and retailers. According to the MJBIZ Factbook, an industry publication, retail sales of cannabis in the U.S. this year will pass $33 billion and will exceed $52 billion by the end of 2026 as more states begin to allow the sale of recreational and medical use marijuana. The publication expects 2022 sales in Florida, which only allows marijuana medicinally, to fall somewhere between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion. [Source: Business Observer]
Under 18 and transgender? Florida says no to medical or social treatment for you
The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday released guidance that said treatment such as puberty-blocking medication and hormone therapy should not be used for transgender youths, clashing with federal officials over the issue. The guidance came amid debates in other states about such treatment and is the latest move by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration and Republican leaders to target transgender issues. More from the News Service of Florida and the Miami Herald.
Could reform of Hurricane Catastrophe Fund help solve Florida’s insurance crisis?
Soaring insurance premiums have left Florida homeowners stunned. Industry experts say the crisis is caused by out-of-control litigation but, to date, lawmakers have not stopped the abusive lawsuits. At a Senate committee meeting three months ago, State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, floated a different idea to lower rates. Sen. Brandes wants to change the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund – the CAT fund. The CAT fund sells insurance to every property insurer in the state. Insurance companies must have insurance too. [Source: WFLA]
Report: Childhood poverty in Florida far worse than federal data shows
Far more children face financial hardship than federal data used to measure poverty shows, according to a recently published United Way study. The disparity is particularly acute in Florida, with its reliance on service sector jobs, according to the study that attempts to better track families struggling to meet basic needs. During a virtual panel discussion on Tuesday, organized by United Way Florida, experts from the behavioral health, housing and business sectors came together to discuss the findings of the report, and noted the repercussions of poverty on health and well-being, as well as on the economy. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida Senate approves DeSantis-drawn congressional map
The Republican-controlled Florida Senate voted 24-15 along party lines Wednesday to approve a controversial congressional redistricting map handed to them by Gov. Ron DeSantis that eliminates two Black districts and tilts the balance of the delegation more Republican. Both the Senate and House took up the redistricting plan as well as two bills affecting the future of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District DeSantis also called on them to approve this week. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Orlando hotel business travel revenue still far behind pre-pandemic levels
As vacationers spend billions on destination lodging this year, the U.S. hotel industry is still missing its top source of revenue: business travel. According to a report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Kalibri Labs, hotels in the Orlando market are projected to earn 26% percent less from business travel this year compared to 2019. That equates to a loss of $722,329,630, the report shows.
› Co-Work LatAm, with 18 locations, expanding in Miami
Latin America’s largest rental co-working space company is looking to expand through seven new locations in South Florida after opening its first US location in Brickell in December. Co-Work LatAm, which has 18 locations in Chile – its country of origin – five in Colombia, two in Uruguay, one in Mexico and now one in Brickell, is expecting to double its footprint in 2022 to 50 offices across the Americas, it recently announced.
› Tampa zoo, craft brewery strike long-term sponsorship deal
ZooTampa at Lowry Park and Coppertail Brewing Co. have agreed to a partnership that will make Coppertail the zoo’s official craft beer brand through 2024. The multifaceted sponsorship deal, according to a news release, also includes the establishment of ZooBrews, a special evening event for guests 21 and older that will raise money for conservation, animal care and education programs.
› CSX to pay workers more in advance of expected rail raises
CSX has agreed to start paying some of its employees more in advance of raises the railroad expects to agree to as part of ongoing national contract talks. CSX said the payments of up to $600 a month are expected to start next month for members of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division union. The Jacksonville, Florida based railroad plans to reach similar agreements with its other unions.
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