Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Outspoken Darryl Rouson treads lightly on medical marijuana

This is awkward. State Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, the incoming Democratic leader of the Florida House overseeing all House campaigns in the 2014 cycle, is a passionate antidrug crusader who for years has been trying to make illegal in Florida the sale of glass pipes, bongs and other "utensils of death," as he calls them, commonly used to ingest pot and other drugs.

Rouson is also an attorney who works for John "For the People" Morgan, who is leading the campaign to legalize marijuana for sick Floridians.

The outspoken Rouson disagrees with Morgan on the issue but has been evading questions on the matter since Morgan jumped to the forefront of the medical marijuana campaign.

Rouson couldn't avoid it in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9, but he did manage to tread lightly on a pet cause of his boss. Morgan's dad fought cancer and emphysema and found marijuana helped him.

"I'm not in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. Let me say this about my boss: He has spent his life and part of his fortune trying to feed the homeless, trying to help the hungry, trying to bring relief to the suffering — people who have debilitating injuries or illnesses," Rouson said in the interview airing at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. "While I might disagree with my boss' method at this moment, I can't disagree with the intent of his heart, and that is to bring relief to help suffering people."

Quote of the week

"It's a great country. There are a lot of great families, and it's not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we've had enough Bushes."

That's Barbara Bush, telling the Today show she does not want Jeb Bush to run for president (or, by implication, Hillary Rodham Clinton), even though, "He's by far the best-qualified man."

Push for immigration

Jeb Bush's top political strategist and former chief of staff, Sally Bradshaw, is helping lead a new political committee trying to sell the Senate Gang of Eight's immigration reform bill to conservatives. Americans for a Conservative Direction is funded by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and has a TV ad featuring Sen. Marco Rubio touting the "toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States" running in Florida and five other states (Texas, Utah, North Carolina, Iowa and Kentucky).

"Conservative leaders in Congress have put forward a bold plan with the toughest enforcement measures to secure our broken borders and hold those who have broken our laws accountable," said spokesman Rob Jesmer. "Americans for a Conservative Direction is committed to supporting this effort as Congress gets to work on the real solutions that will fix our broken immigration system, secure our borders and help grow our economy."

Rubio under attack

Rubio's leadership on immigration reform has included aggressive outreach and push-back against conservative skeptics and critics accusing him of supporting amnesty for undocumented immigrants. It's too soon to know how effective he's been, but Republican pollster Frank Luntz lamented to Republicans at the University of Pennsylvania last week that conservative talk radio hosts are ripping Rubio apart. The liberal Mother Jones outlet obtained surreptitiously recorded audio. From the transcript:

"And they get great ratings, and they drive the message, and it's really problematic. And this is not on the Democratic side. It's only on the Republican side … (inaudible). (Democrats have) got every other source of news on their side. And so that is a lot of what's driving it. If you take — Marco Rubio's getting his a-- kicked. Who's my Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He's getting destroyed! By Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others. He's trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn't the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That's what's causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy," Luntz said.

Detert leaves legacy

State Sen. Nancy Detert , R-Venice, was surprised to find out there was an amendment to her bill to extend foster care until age 21, but she was brought to tears when she learned what it said. Thanks to Senate President Don Gaetz, the bill will be named the Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act.

"It's a legacy and I thank you for putting my name on it," Detert said, later adding that "Anyone who has heard these kids is their champion."

SB 1036, which passed the Senate 38-0, would give teens who currently "age out" of the system at 18 a "safety net" and allow them to stay in foster care until age 21.

Alex Leary and Rochelle Koff contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of the week

Florida TV stations. New campaign finance rules passed by the Legislature stand to increase even more the amount of money political campaigns and allied interest groups can raise and spend, with the campaign limit going from $500 to $3,000 and political committees being allowed to pay for more direct political communication. The only question is whether Gov. Rick Scott will veto the bill.

Loser of the week

Uninsured Floridians. Whether you call it fiscal prudence or insanity, all but one House Republican — state Rep. Mike Fasano of New Port Richey — voted against a plan to accept billions of dollars in federal money to help hundreds of thousands of low-income Floridians obtain health insurance.

Outspoken Darryl Rouson treads lightly on medical marijuana 04/27/13 [Last modified: Saturday, April 27, 2013 10:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests


    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]