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Sunburn – The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics – 8.4.22

Good Thursday morning.

Six years ago, the very first sale of medical marijuana in Tallahassee was to a customer who had to be medically transported for two hours to the nearest ordering physician.

Fast forward to today and there are more than 735,000 registered patients, over 2,400 physicians, and 454 total dispensaries in the state. The medical marijuana industry in Florida has continued to evolve and expand to meet the changing needs of its patients; approved products have expanded from low-THC oil to include flower, edibles, concentrates, and more innovative and creative offerings.

The Florida Department of Health deserves immense credit for overseeing this program and playing a critical role in improving the lives of Floridians; it has not been an easy feat.

While there are now 22 licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs), the undisputed market leader is Trulieve — and has been since Day One.

Trulieve started big — and keeps getting bigger.

The word “trailblazer” is an understatement regarding the nation’s largest cannabis company. Trulieve was one of the first licensees in the state, the first to open a dispensary, the first to sell, and the first to make home delivery.

Then, last October, Trulieve acquired Harvest and became not only the largest MMTC in Florida but one of the leading multistate operators nationwide. Headquartered in Tallahassee with over 65% of its dispensaries in its home state, Trulieve has made it its mission to invest back into the communities where they operate.

In 2016, Trulieve employed less than 75 people companywide. In 2022, the cannabis leader employs over 10 times that many in Gadsden County alone, where the company has its cultivation and processing facilities — a location chosen to bring reliable, well-paying jobs to a community often overlooked. As a majority-minority county, the economic impact that Trulieve has had by operating out of Gadsden County cannot be understated.

Since November 2021, an added 1,312 employees have been hired in the northern Florida market alone. During that time, the Gadsden County unemployment rate decreased from 4.1% to 3.3%, and the Jefferson County employment rate (where Trulieve recently opened a grow facility) decreased from 3.3% to 2.6%.

Apart from the economic impact, Trulieve has remained a model corporate citizen and made it clear that they are dedicated to giving back in ways that truly matter. Nonprofit partners across the state include Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Lutheran Social Services Pantry, Florida Justice Center Expungement Clinics, Epilepsy Alliance of Florida, Parkinson’s Foundation, and Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend.

More recently, when many companies were closing their doors and laying people off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trulieve expanded its statewide delivery fleet, continued hiring in large numbers, and made keeping patients and employees safe and protected a priority in their dispensaries and facilities.

Still, Trulieve continues to grow, bringing high-paying jobs to Florida at a steady pace. They know patients rely on high-quality medical cannabis products for relief, providing that is still their primary focus.

The growth seen in only six years has had a monumental impact on the state’s economic landscape and the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients. The future of the medical marijuana industry is truly anyone’s guess, but the future looks as bright as the Florida sun.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has more backers than any potential Republican presidential candidate not named Donald Trump — and while the former President is still No. 1 in most GOP Primary polls, the momentum has been tilting toward DeSantis for a while.

Sportsbooks have noticed the trend and started shifting the line in DeSantis’ direction.

According to OddsChecker, sportsbooks now list the Governor as the favorite to win the 2024 Presidential election, not just the Republican nomination.

Oddsmakers give Ron DeSantis the benefit of momentum.

His current odds of becoming the next President are +350 — the equivalent of a 22.2% chance. Trump is a hair behind at +360 (21.7%). Oddsmakers aren’t big on a second term for President Joe Biden, currently sitting at +780 (11.4%).

While sportsbooks are high on DeSantis, bettors have yet to follow suit. Just under half (49.9%) of bets in the past week are that Trump will return to the White House. DeSantis is in a distant No. 2 at 12.3%.

Biden, meanwhile, isn’t even the top among Democrats. That title belongs to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who recently signaled he’s considering a bid by running anti-DeSantis TV ads in Florida.

Of course, DeSantis’ 2024 odds are contingent on him winning re-election in the fall, which OddsChecker spokesperson Kyle Newman said is far from guaranteed.

“If he can’t fend off either Charlie Crist or Nikki Fried in November, then it’s going to be difficult to win the Republican nomination, let alone the Presidential election,” Newman said.

“The polls say that’s a very real possibility, especially if Crist wins the Democratic nomination. Still, sportsbooks are giving DeSantis -1100 odds or an implied 91.7% chance to win re-election. Are they overestimating DeSantis or are the polls underestimating him?”

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💸💸💸 Gov. DeSantis’ campaign and committee coffers are overflowing with cash and he’s on pace to break many state-level fundraising records. His donor sheet not only includes prominent Trump donors who have cut six- or even seven-figure checks, it features hundreds of pages worth of small-dollar donors. Why? There are many reasons, and POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon has a video explaining a half-dozen of them.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@BrianSchatz: It is time to re-evaluate the conventional wisdom about the midterms after this vote in Kansas. People are mad as hell at having their rights taken away.

@ClaireMC: Thing I never thought I would say …. thank God for Kansas.

@RexChapman: Pay attention to all of the right-wingers tonight who aren’t coming to Alex Jones’ rescue on social media because they know they’ve communicated with Alex Jones via email and/or text in the past three years.

Tweet, tweet:

@FSWisen: The DeSantis ad reminds me of TPaw’s 2012 ads. Slick. Well produced. But ineffective as a political ad.

@LtGovNunez: As a result of Biden’s dangerous open border policies, drug trafficking and overdoses linked to fentanyl and other opioids have reached a record high. @GovRonDeSantis’ new recovery program will help Floridians suffering from addiction recover from substance abuse.

@SierraClubFL: Let’s be clear: @CharlieCrist created a climate change task force as Governor, has advocated against offshore drilling as a congressman, and has been a vocal advocate for clean water. This is an easy choice for environmentalists.

@DrNealDunn2: Today, we lost my colleague, @RepWalorski & two of her dedicated staffers. Jackie was a kind soul & a real team player. I know how difficult this must be for her family, her team, & their families. They all will truly be missed.

@BadDebutante: The wonderful Trevor Noah on the Kabul drone strike: “America never forgets — unless it’s slavery.”

Tweet, tweet:


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.

The post Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.4.22 appeared first on Florida Politics – Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government..

FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comAug. 4, 2022

Republished with permission 

This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.

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