Stakeholders predict economic boom if Florida permits recreational weed
Florida's marijuana industry could triple in size if voters approve recreational use next year. That's according to one of the state's largest medical cannabis producers, Trulieve. The company is helping bankroll the ballot initiative to legalize weed for those 21 and older. It's already contributed nearly $40 million to the effort and gotten the signatures needed to get on the ballot. Trulieve's CEO Kim Rivers said it could be big business for the Sunshine State. Their internal estimates suggested the $2 billion medical marijuana industry could expand to $6 billion with recreational use permitted. [Source: WPTV]
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Tropical depression likely in Caribbean this weekend on heals of storm that soaked South Florida
Forecasters have increased the odds of a tropical depression forming out of a low pressure system in the west-central Caribbean sea, near Nicaragua, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday. The system now has a 70% chance of developing. Regardless, it may drench parts of Central America’s Caribbean coast and cause mudslides, the latest advisory said. It could produce heavy rains, flooding and landslides later this week in Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The NHC also warned the southeastern Bahama and the Turks and Caicos Islands to monitor the progress of the system. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Digital currency sales tax holiday getting a push
A bill introduced in the Florida Senate would create a sales tax holiday for people who pay for purchases with digital currency. State Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, sponsor of Senate Bill 352, believes it will help introduce residents to the benefits of digital currency. Customers who pay with virtual currencies would not have be charged sales taxes at businesses such as gas stations and restaurants. The holiday would start June 1, 2025 and go through July 31, 2025. [Source: The Center Square]
Beyond the Beaches: Industry members excited to share Florida’s rich cattle legacy
As the Sunshine State prepares to host the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) CattleCon this year, Florida’s cattlemen and women are gearing up to share their rich heritage with visitors from all corners of the country. “When most people think of Florida, they envision alligators, palm trees, and beaches,” said Jim Handley, the Executive Vice President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association. “While we are indeed a tourist destination, many are surprised to discover the extensive ranching operations in the interior of our state." [Source: RFD TV]
PNC building stronger communities through the arts
Tampa Bay’s thriving arts scene offers a variety of entertainment options for its residents and visitors, but these cultural amenities also serve as a catalyst for community well-being and economic growth. PNC, one of the largest diversified financial institutions in the United States, views supporting the arts as an opportunity to build stronger, more vibrant communities. [Sponsored report]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Gateway Jax receives DIA recommendation for incentives package of nearly $100 million [Jacksonville Daily Record]
The Downtown Investment Authority board voted 7-0 on Nov. 15 to recommend approval of almost $98.58 million in city incentives for four blocks of Gateway Jax, the mixed-use residential and retail development planned in the North Core area of Downtown Jacksonville. The project is also known as The Pearl Street District.
› If retail is dying, why are so many new stores opening in Southwest Florida? What to know [Naples Daily News]
Deanna Wallin scoffs at the notion that retail stores are dying. In fact, as the founder and CEO of the Naples Soap Co., she continues to set her eyes on opportunities to grow the retailer's footprint of stores in Florida – and beyond. This year, the locally based company, known for its quality natural skin and hair care products, has added four new locations in Florida. The new stores are in Santa Rosa Beach, Plantation, Wellen Park and The Villages.
› How Central Florida businesses are working together to bridge the digital divide [Orlando Business Journal]
Access to technology has evolved from a luxury to an indispensable necessity in our modern world. It underpins not only youth and adult education but also career advancement and essential daily activities. Despite its undeniable importance, equitable access to technology remains an elusive goal. In a 2021 report, the Pew Research Center reported that “roughly a quarter of adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year (24%) say they don’t own a smartphone.
› Is Miami-Dade, once the leader in strong building requirements, now out of step? [Insurance Journal]
For almost three decades, Florida contractors and building officials have operated under two different building codes: One for most of the state and another for the southeastern corner – Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, known as the High Velocity Hurricane Zone. Those counties in the 1990s were allowed the special carve-out because they were deemed the most vulnerable to the strongest hurricane winds and, as such, required stronger construction rules.
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› City team calls Edgewater tower ‘totally in the wrong place’ [Miami Today]
A developer planning a 55-story multi-family residential tower in Edgewater met opposition from neighboring condo owners and the city’s Urban Development Review Board. After a very vocal assessment of the proposed tower, board member Robert Behar said he was ready to move to deny the project.
› Beebe named marketing director at Space Coast Office of Tourism [Florida Today]
The Space Coast Office of Tourism recently announced the hiring of Laura Beebe as its marketing director. Beebe comes to the Space Coast from the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she has worked for 10 years as its marketing director, overseeing creative services, strategic planning, branding and messaging, content development and other responsibilities.
› There's a new Margaritaville Beach Resort opening in Florida — here's how to be the first to visit [Travel + Leisure]
Margaritaville Beach Resorts is expanding. The brainchild of the late (great) Jimmy Buffett announced the opening of its newest location in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. And, according to a statement provided to Travel + Leisure, it really does sound like the paradise Buffett always sang about.
› Pasco moves to take over new CARES Dade City senior center [Tampa Bay Times]
Pasco County could soon take over the site where Community Aging and Retirement Services, known as CARES, had planned to relocate its senior day care program in Dade City. Commissioner Ron Oakley made a motion during this week’s commission meeting for county staff to bring back whatever is needed to approve so that Pasco County would become the owner and step in to complete the construction on the site. The commission agreed.