Florida’s pot industry on track to hit $1 billion -- but when?
Since Florida voters overwhelmingly legalized medical marijuana in 2016, the state has experienced a green rush but projections for the size of Florida's medical marijuana market vary. Challenges remain for the industry's expansion, for example many municipalities and landlords have given cannabis dispensaries the cold shoulder. [Source: Palm Beach Post]
Florida legislators pass rival $87 billion budgets
With less than a month to work out substantial differences, the Republican-controlled Florida House and Senate on Thursday passed dueling $87 billion budgets for the coming year. While the two chambers propose spending roughly the same, they are not spending the same in key areas, including on environmental programs, public schools and on state universities. [Source: AP]
Opinion: Affordable housing good for Florida business, economy
Fully funding our affordable housing programs is good for all Florida businesses and our economy. Affordable housing generates jobs in home construction, which is a major economic driver in the state. This industry also fosters growth in local businesses when they draw upon and use local resources. [Source: Florida Politics]
Visit Florida predicts hotel boom statewide
According to Visit Florida, the hotel industry is expected to grow by roughly three percent over the next year. The tourism organization says there are 109 hotels under construction across the state. Another 307 are expected to break ground over the next two years. [Source: WCTV]
» Gov. Scott keeps up pressure on tourism funding
Russian hackers breached U.S. voter registration rolls, but not in Florida (really?)
Florida, home of the butterfly ballot and long voting lines, can finally claim it's not the nation's worst when it comes to the latest example of Election Day chaos: Russian hackers. Individual supervisors of elections throughout Florida confirmed they weren't hacked. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Ybor Rays? Team may be ready to announce Tampa ballpark site [Tampa Bay Times]
After years of speculation and courtship, the Tampa Bay Rays are finally expected to announce Friday that they want to relocate the team to Tampa, according to Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan.
› Florida could provide option for traffic ticket discounts [AP]
Florida drivers could soon get an 18 percent discount on their traffic tickets if they take a driver improvement course. A Senate committee approved the bill Thursday. It would apply to non-criminal traffic infractions.
› Alico's first-quarter results show effects of Hurricane Irma, new federal tax law [Naples Daily News]
Fort Myers-based grower and land manager Alico Inc. reported a swing to a quarterly profit, but it was mostly due to a change in its federal corporate tax rate.
› It’ll take $40 million to rebuild a hospital battered by Hurricane Irma [Miami Herald]
Following extensive roof damage and flooding during Hurricane Irma, Fishermen’s Community Hospital in Marathon will undergo a $40 million rebuild next year.
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› Huge Mote aquarium proposed for Nathan Benderson Park [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Sarasota’s world-class marine research institution and aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory, plans to open a new aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park by late 2021, Mote’s president announced at a press conference Thursday.
› Voter referendum on JEA sale possible [Florida Times-Union]
The first City Council discussion to air questions about the potential sale of JEA brought a crowd of utility employees to City Hall where they burst into applause when a JEA customer said she does not see how the utility could be sold without residents first having a chance to vote on it.
› Why is Drake donating so much money in Miami? [Miami Herald]
Drake just can’t do enough for the people of Miami. On Monday, he freaked out students by popping up at Miami Senior High School to shoot parts of his new video for “God’s Plan.” Before leaving, Drake donated $25,000 and announced that all students will be supplied with uniforms he designed with his clothing label, OVO.
› Parking provider near Orlando airport accused of illegal wetlands destruction [Orlando Sentinel]
As Park, Bark and Fly was being fined $200,000 last year by the state for wetlands violations, the parking provider near Orlando’s airport was destroying more wetlands illegally, according to Orange County investigators.