Florida dispensaries aim to ‘normalize’ medical marijuana

By : Wire Report
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Vials of cannabis-laced sprays, lotions and tinctures line display shelves a few steps from handbags specially designed to tote marijuana products.

A stylish kitchenette and table is on the opposite side of this Surterra Wellness Center medical marijuana showroom, space used to host educational sessions on the merits of the drug — something legal only under very strict circumstances in Florida until Amendment 2 took effect last week.

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Training aims to help police better serve LGBT community

By : Wire Report
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)  Providence police are introducing additional training to help officers interact with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Mayor Jorge Elorza and Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements say they’re dedicated to creating LGBT-inclusive policies for members of the department as well as specific training curriculum for the next police academy.

Clements says the goal is to help officers become more aware of issues facing the LGBT community in Providence.

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Planned Parenthood lists resources for marches this weekend

By : Billy Manes
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There’s nothing clever to be said here beyond the resonating jokes about the president-elect and the Alec Baldwin impersonations on SNL that make us feel like we’re laughing while crying. BUT! BUT! BUT! Not giving up is part of life, and we can’t really give up on minority rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, can we? To that end, there are some fairly well publicized marches in the works for the Trump inaugural weekend. Below, after the jump, you can find ways to get involved. This info comes from Planned Parenthood, which stands to lose any federal funding if the incoming administration has its way. There are events in most of our readership areas, as well, of course, in Washington, D.C. Know what you can do, where you should be and how you should act in the face of adversity. This isn’t just a march for women, it’s a march for all of us. Hold tight. We’ll get through this.

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Lisa Lampanelli ticket giveaway ahoy! Enter now … like, NOW!

By : Billy Manes
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We could all use a little bit of laughter during this time of our shady glances and crossed fingers, so Watermark is giving away two tickets to Lisa Lampanelli’s Orlando show at Hard Rock on Friday, Jan. 20! Don’t be insulted, just laugh at the pieces. The queen of mean promises to bring some super-shady fun to the area on inauguration weekend – so much more fun than the existential crisis we’ll all be enduring under an orange fop of hair on a figurehead. To enter, just place a message below with the meanest thing you can say (legally). Let’s play a game, shall we? You have to pick up your tickets at our office,414 N. Ferncreek Ave. by 3 p.m. on Friday. We’ll be doing our drawing on Thursday at noon, so hurry up!

Wife of Pulse shooter may be charged with aiding and abetting (updated)

By : Billy Manes
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Seven months and four days ago, the worst gun massacre on American soil happened in our own backyard. The shooter – who we don’t like to name here – took the lives of 49 (later 50) people, injuring dozens of others. Today, the New York Times is reporting that authorities have arrested the shooter’s wife, Noor Salman, who has since relocated to San Francisco. “A person familiar with details of the arrest said Ms. Salman was charged with obstruction,” the Times reports. Local news outlet WESH-2 News reported that she assisted the shooter by driving him around to assist him in committing the crime. There is a court date in San Francisco scheduled for tomorrow. More when we know it.

Edited to add:

Statement from Barbara Poma

Owner, Pulse Nightclub

“We are grateful to know that the investigation into the Pulse tragedy continues and with positive results. What is most important is justice for the families, victims and all others affected. My hope is that this helps in the journey of healing.”

The reasons why Jennifer Holliday pulled out of the Trump inauguration

By : Wire Report
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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has backed out as a performer at next week’s presidential inaugural following protests from her gay and black fans, further dimming the event’s already low celebrity wattage.

Holliday, best known for her Tony-winning role in Broadway’s “Dreamgirls,” said in an interview Saturday she hadn’t considered that singing at a Thursday concert by Washington’s Lincoln Memorial would be judged a statement of support for President-elect Donald Trump.

She decided to withdraw at 3 a.m. after reading commentary about how her participation was being seen. She apologized for a lack of judgment.

“It just really hit home for me,” she said. “The gay community has been a big part of my life and my career. I feel there really wouldn’t be a Jennifer Holliday or a `Dreamgirls’ in the 21st Century without them. I needed to at least hear them out and learn why it would be such a great disappointment for them.”

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156 LGBTQ elected officials just sent a letter to Donald Trump. It’s pretty strong.

By : Billy Manes
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Thanks to our friends at Logo and NewNowNext, this came across our transom this Friday afternoon. Following a week of bizarre behavior from the President-elect, golden showers included, it’s nice to read that some people take their jobs as elected representatives seriously. Among those cosigning the letter are Florida Reps. David Richardson and Carlos Smith. Well done. Read the whole thing after the jump.

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Pride. Prejudice. Protest.: Preserving Orlando’s GLBT Community History in a Digital Age event Saturday

By : Billy Manes
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In what is being called a “history harvest,” the UCF History Department, the GLBT History Museum, and UCF’s RICHES Project, a digital platform for historic documents and photos, will be at Orlando’s GLBT Center from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, hoping to collect any bits of LGBTQ historical value – yes, they are giving them back to you after they are scanned – for an ambitious project meant to create a comprehensive online hub of perpetual posterity. Any old news articles, bits of memory, photos from formative Pride parades and filigree are welcome. You can also record an interview for an oral history video that is being developed. In times like these, it’s important to remember where we came from and how far we have come. Donors will also receive free digital copies.

St. Petersburg and Orlando are very, very queer according to the Advocate

By : Billy Manes
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Though it may just be clickbait fodder for the nation’s beloved LGBTQ glossy the Advocate, we can’t help but take pride in the fact that both St. Pete and Orlando clipped into the highest of echelons in the Advocate‘s annual list of places where gays play the best.

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Gay teacher sues over firing from North Carolina high school

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)  A gay teacher sued a Roman Catholic school on Wednesday for firing him after he announced his wedding to a man, the latest in a series of legal fights over antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

The lawsuit argues Charlotte Catholic High School violated federal employment law by firing Lonnie Billard from a substitute teaching role in 2014 after a Facebook post about his wedding. While the lawsuit doesn’t invoke state law, it comes amid protracted litigation over a North Carolina law limiting protections for LGBT people.

Billard taught English and drama full time at the school for more than a decade, earning its Teacher of the Year award in 2012. He then transitioned to a role as a regular substitute teacher, typically working more than a dozen weeks per year, according to the lawsuit.

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Trump’s pick for top diplomat breaks from him in many ways

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP)  Rex Tillerson’s foreign policy isn’t sounding much like Donald Trump’s.

At his confirmation hearing Wednesday, the former Exxon Mobil CEO selected by Trump for secretary of state called Russia a “danger” and vowed to protect America’s European allies. He rejected the idea of an immigration ban on Muslims. He treaded softly on the human rights records of key U.S. partners like Saudi Arabia.

In the words of Sen. Bob Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s GOP chairman, Tillerson “demonstrated that he’s very much in the mainstream of foreign policy thinking.” But doing so forced Tillerson to break with several of the president-elect’s most iconoclastic statements on diplomacy and international security.

Again and again, Tillerson hewed more closely to long-standing, bipartisan positions on America’s role in the world, and who are its friends and foes.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Safety last

By : Staff Report
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Everybody already knows about Sen. Marco Rubio’s absence of affinity for the LGBTQ community, his general towing of the party line, his teeter-totter take on immigration and his (alleged) past of defrauding taxpayers via his party when he was in the Florida Legislature. Everybody also already knows that he ran for president this one time and he lost. He also was noticeably absent from many votes in his previous senatorial stint. It’s easy to get bored when your laundry list gets long, but Rubio remains a bit of a bore, regardless of any of those terms. Somebody shake him and wake him up!

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