Last Call for 6.17.24 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Tallahassee-based Trulieve is one of the largest legal cannabis corporations in the world, and it may become even larger if voters approve a recreational marijuana proposal, which will appear on the November ballot as Amendment 3. Florida Politics spoke with company CEO Kim Rivers about Trulieve’s recent milestones, the potential federal rescheduling of marijuana, and what benefits Floridians could see if recreational marijuana is legalized.

FP: First of all, congratulations on your 200th store opening — that’s a huge accomplishment. Can you share some perspective on achieving this major milestone?

Rivers: It has been an incredible journey and so inspiring to see firsthand the passion and dedication of everyone on the team. Trulieve made its first sale just under eight years ago. At that time, we were first to open in the Florida market. The first patient was medically transported to Tallahassee for the first sale, in part because there were no physicians in the program. Back then, patients had to wait months to receive a medical card, which sadly proved too late in some cases. Today the medical program has almost 900,000 patients, highlighting the need for the program and its success. Since the beginning, we focused on delivering exceptional customer experiences and expanding access to cannabis. Fast forward to today, we are celebrating our 200th dispensary opening, serving thousands of customers every day. 

FP: What impact will the proposed federal rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III have on companies like Trulieve?

Rivers: Rescheduling of cannabis represents a meaningful step forward for the entire cannabis industry. We believe rescheduling is the first major domino to fall, ultimately leading to additional federal reform. This move carries great significance because the federal government is recognizing the medical value of cannabis while acknowledging that cannabis is less dangerous than other scheduled drugs such as heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. Rescheduling would open the door for additional research, reduce the stigma associated with cannabis, and permanently remove the punitive 280E tax burden.    

FP: Finally, can you discuss Amendment 3 and its potential benefits for Floridians if it passes in November?

Rivers: As you know, Trulieve has been the lead supporter of Amendment 3, the citizen’s initiative to permit personal cannabis use by adults in Florida. No one should be in jail for personal cannabis, and YesOn3 in November decriminalizes adult-use cannabis for personal use. Providing adults in Florida the freedom to consume state-legal cannabis products is a win-win. Deaths from illicit fentanyl-laced cannabis can be avoided if a safe alternative is available. Consumers can purchase safe, tested and regulated products in a normalized retail environment with strict controls to prevent underage access. Tax revenue collected on sales can be used to fund important statewide programs. Industry growth leads to job creation in Florida contributing to economic growth. Don’t believe the tired rhetoric and scare tactics served up by the “Just Say No” crowd. YesOn3 is right for Florida this November.       

Evening Reads

—”The 2024 ‘Deciders’: Who are they and what makes them tick?” via Scott Clement, Emily Guskin and Dan Balz of The Washington Post

—“Joe Biden campaign eyes disaffected Republicans” via David M. Drucker, Charles Hilu and Grant Lefelar of The Dispatch

—“If everyone voted, would Biden benefit? Not anymore.” via Nate Cohn of The New York Times

—“The 46 most unhinged lines from Donald Trump’s Turning Point speech” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—“Black farmers in Georgia cool to Biden, reflecting a bigger challenge” via Alan Rappeport of The New York Times

—“Biden’s secret weapon against Trump: Older voters” via Ken Thomas and Dante Chinni of The Wall Street Journal

—”U.S. Supreme Court rejects plea to hear Florida online sports betting case” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—”A new airport could spark the economy in a rural part of Florida. Will the workforce be ready?” via Nick Fouriezos of The Associated Press

—”Inside Snapchat’s teen opioid crisis” via Paul Solotaroff of Rolling Stone

Quote of the Day

“Unfortunately, the moral code doesn’t seem to come into play sometimes.”

— Lake Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays, on candidate qualifying drama in the Lake Property Appraiser race.

Put It on the Tab

Look to your left, then look to your right. If you see one of these people at your happy hour haunt, flag down the bartender and put one of these on your tab. Recipes included, just in case the Cocktail Codex fell into the well.

Many of us knew the case challenging the Seminole Compact was bunk, but SCOTUS just shook up a D.O.A. for West Flagler Associates by denying its request to take up the case.

The UF advancement team deserves a fist bump — and a High Five — for scoring a five-star ranking on Money’s Best Colleges in America list. Just make sure you go for the Cocktail Codex version since it has an orange tint!

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Clerk of the Court Ken Burke, Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, and Adam Ross, who ran unopposed to replace retiring Tax Collector Charles Thomas each get a Flying Solo for winning re-election without opposition. You could also snag one for Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus, since she’s the lone Pinellas constitutional officer with a challenger this year.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Olympic swim trials continue

The U.S. Olympic swimming trials continue in Indianapolis this evening (8 p.m. ET, NBC).

The finals will be held in five events: the women’s 400 individual medley, the men’s 200 freestyle, the men’s 100 backstroke final, the women’s 100 breaststroke final, and the women’s 200 freestyle final.

Swimmers from the state of Florida will feature in the evening’s competition including Florida Gators teammates Emma Weyant, Bella Sims, and Zoe Dixon in the 400 IM.

Gator Jake Mitchell will swim in the finals of the men’s 200-meter freestyle. Mitchell swam the 400-meter freestyle in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Ten-time Olympic medalist Katie Ledecky, who is a volunteer assistant coach for the Florida Gators and is training with Gators’ coach Anthony Nesty, will compete in the finals of the women’s 200-meter freestyle after setting the fastest time in qualifying.

Four-time Olympic gold medalist and former Bolles School (Jacksonville) swimmer Ryan Murphy will try to earn a spot on his third Olympic team. He will swim in the finals of the men’s 100-meter backstroke along with Florida Gator Adam Chaney.

Of the 1,007 men and women who qualified for the trials, a maximum of 52 swimmers can make the U.S. Olympic team and compete in Paris this summer.


Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson, with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.

Staff Reports


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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