Wednesday, July 18, 2018
News Roundup

In split vote, Port Richey council votes to decriminalize marijuana possession

PORT RICHEY — Marijuana activist and local businessman Garyn Angel was nothing short of elated after the Port Richey City Council became the first government body in Pasco County to decriminalize the possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

After many weeks of debate, the council passed an ordinance on a 3-2 vote Tuesday night that will allow police the discretion to issue a $155 civil citation in lieu of an arrest on a criminal misdemeanor charge for possessing less than 20 grams of pot, as long as the offender is age 18 or older and not engaged in any other simultaneous crime.

Angel, who owns the company Magical Butter — an internationally successful Port Richey business specializing in the manufacture of machines that extract plant oils he markets to customers seeking to make marijuana edibles — spearheaded the lobbying effort that led to the council's consideration of the ordinance.

On Tuesday night, Angel stood in front of City Hall with Port Richey's seal behind him to celebrate the vote, making a speech to a two-man video crew he employs. It went out on Facebook Live to his followers, who he said number in the hundreds of thousands. He clapped his hands, praised his hometown and offered that his efforts are proof that activism on marijuana issues can work. He urged his followers to "pick up the phone" and "get off the couch" to get involved.

"Now is the time!" he chanted.

The vote was not without contentious debate as dozens of people spoke for or against the ordinance during previous informational hearings and a first reading of the ordinance. The council vote was split, with Mayor Dale Massad and council members Jennifer Sorrell and Will Dittmer in favor. Massad argued the ordinance will offer a one-time reprieve to people whose records would be damaged by an arrest for possessing a small amount of marijuana and free up police to deal with more pressing crime.

Vice Mayor Terry Rowe and Nancy Britton opposed the ordinance, fearing it will encourage drug dealing and use in the city.

By Tuesday night, there was little debate, as no one from the public or on the council spoke.

"That was easier than I thought it was going to be," Massad said with a grin.

After his speech, Angel told the Tampa Bay Times he will now continue to lobby Pasco County commissioners to lift a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensary businesses, which the board extended last month to Dec. 31. In extending the moratorium, however, the commission vowed to hold a workshop to discuss the issue further.

Comments
Rays place Wilson Ramos on DL for potential extended absence, seek replacement

Rays place Wilson Ramos on DL for potential extended absence, seek replacement

ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays made the inevitable move Wednesday of placing catcher Wilson Ramos on the disabled list while still looking for a replacement.Ramos, 30, strained his left hamstring Saturday in Minnesota, which forced him out of Tuesda...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Must-see golf history with Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome

Must-see golf history with Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome

Thursday is history.There is no way around it, even for Brittany Lincicome, who loves finding her way around it. That's just her. She played with boys growing up, neighborhood football and basketball, baseball — and golf. I remember when she wa...
Updated: 3 hours ago
At St. Pete rally, protesters call Trump’s remarks on Russia ‘treason’

At St. Pete rally, protesters call Trump’s remarks on Russia ‘treason’

ST. PETERSBURG — Linda and Jack Miller braved the humidity at Demens Landing on Wednesday night for a simple reason:"Treason," said Linda Miller, 66.The St. Petersburg couple joined more than 100 protesters toting signs, pins and megaphones at the "T...
Updated: 4 hours ago
An all-or-nothing All-Star Game

An all-or-nothing All-Star Game

WASHINGTON — Tuesday's All-Star Game was exciting, dramatic, historic — and perfectly representative of the 2018 season, what with the unprecedented power show, display of blazing arms creating a fan club (25 strikeouts), and the emotion ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Deputies: Masked shooter wounds Dunedin woman in home invasion

DUNEDIN — Deputies are searching for a black-clad gunman who shot and wounded an 18-year-old woman during a home invasion attack Wednesday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.The shooting was reported at about 1:03 p.m. at 1144 New Yor...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Hernando deputies: Cave diver fails to resurface at the Eagle’s Nest

Hernando deputies: Cave diver fails to resurface at the Eagle’s Nest

WEEKI WACHEE — A diver exploring the Eagle’s Nest, a notoriously dangerous underwater cave, failed to resurface from a Wednesday night dive, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.The person was free diving, according to the Sheriff’s Offi...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin launches spacecraft higher than ever

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin launches spacecraft higher than ever

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket company shot a capsule higher into space Wednesday than it’s ever done before. The New Shepard rocket blasted off from West Texas on the company’s latest test flight. Once the booster separated, t...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Wed., July 18, midday:308730160e_SRit11605Wed., July 18, evening:227903781e_SRit60091LottoWed., July 18:...
Updated: 5 hours ago
SEC media days: No answers on Alabama quarterback battle

SEC media days: No answers on Alabama quarterback battle

ATLANTA — Alabama coach Nick Saban had little to say Wednesday about the biggest topic of the offseason.Who will be the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback: Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts?"I think the number one thing that you will want to ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
New board members at CareerSource Pinellas press for answers

New board members at CareerSource Pinellas press for answers

CLEARWATER— New board members at a troubled job placement center received a call for oversight Wednesday — something all but absent in recent years at the agency."Question, question, question," said CareerSource Pinellas board chair Jack Geller durin...
Updated: 6 hours ago