Olivia Newton-John talks cannabis, Christmas and community ahead of ‘Grease’ sing-a-long in Tampa

By : Kirk Hartlage
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This holiday season Olivia Newton-John is dreaming of a green Christmas in more ways than one.

Despite battling breast cancer for the third time, the singer and actress is maintaining a busy schedule of events that keeps her connected to her fans while still raising money and awareness about the disease.

Just a few weeks ago she raised lots of green – a reported $2.7 million – through an auction of outfits and other items from her career. Among the items sold: Newton-John’s “Bad Sandy” leather jacket and skintight pants from “Grease.” The black satin pants were purchased by Spanx founder Sara Blakely, a Clearwater native and “Grease” superfan who once hired Newton-John to sing at her wedding.

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Etheridge extols pot virtues on new record

By : Joey DiGuglielmo of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Melissa Etheridge is easy to take for granted. She’s sturdy, reliably good and one of not many ‘90s hitmakers still releasing new music on a regular cycle.

Her new release “The Medicine Show,” her 15th studio album and third on her own label, is full of big melodic choruses; churning, easy-on-the-ear mid-tempo lite rock cuts; punctuations of harder, tougher rock edges and logical (some might say predictable, but they largely work) chord progressions. It’s a surprisingly melancholy record, not quite as heavy overall as her 2014 release “This is M.E.,” but more in that vein musically than 2012’s slinkier, more soulful project “4th Street Feeling.”

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Florida AG candidate Sean Shaw fights ‘for the people, not the powerful’ if elected

By : Layla Ferris
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TAMPA | Rep. Sean Shaw (D-Tampa) pledges to fight “for the people, not the powerful” if elected as Florida’s next attorney general.

Shaw, a Sunshine State native who studied law at the University of Florida, has represented District 61 for the State House of Representatives since 2016. While in office Shaw supported The Florida Competitive Workforce Act and voted to ban conversion therapy statewide.

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Go beyond gay cruises in two LGBTQ-friendly Caribbean cultural hotspots—the island of Curacao and the Mexican Caribbean coast

By : Holly V. Kapherr
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You might think the Caribbean is all Irie Times and liquid sunshine, but for LGBTQ travelers, the landscape can be surprisingly unwelcoming. Because the Caribbean culture is super relaxed about other cultural mores like marijuana use, many might also assume they feel the same about sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, on many islands, this isn’t the case. The Caribbean islands still maintain a highly traditional society, especially when it comes to gender roles and religion. Gay men and women may still experience some level of discrimination on many of these tiny nations. In fact, just this year, Bermuda rescinded its previous law allowing same-sex marriage.

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West Virginia governor signs broad medical marijuana bill

By : Wire Report
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP)- Gov. Jim Justice signed a law April 19 making West Virginia the 29th state to allow the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.

The law lets doctors prescribe cannabis to patients who are terminally ill or have seizures, cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS and other specified conditions.

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Lawmakers pushing for expanded medical marijuana

By : Wire Report
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ATLANTA (AP)- Georgia lawmakers, citizens, and advocates are continuing to push for expanded access to medical marijuana.

The Medical Cannabis Working Group met at the state capitol Wednesday to discuss the bill and hear public testimony.

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Marijuana, gun control, minimum wage hikes win at the polls

By : Wire Report
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Filling a void created by congressional inaction, voters in a scattering of states tightened gun control laws and approved increases in the minimum wage. The campaign to legalize marijuana achieved a major breakthrough, with victories in at least six states.

In all, more than 150 measures appeared on statewide ballots in Tuesday’s election.

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First vote on marijuana decriminalization in Orlando today. Show up at 2 p.m.!

By : Billy Manes
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As you may have noticed, Florida – and, indeed, Orlando – is hedging toward the rather valiant goal of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana possession. While super-attorney John Morgan and his United for Care brethren fight for the medical marijuana amendment that should show up on your ballots this fall, Organize Now (locally, via its Racial Justice Committee) is pursuing a certain leniency on the matter with Orlando’s city council. Today, the dais of all daisies will hear a first-read on an an ordinance that  activists suggest could save millions for the city and its manifold needs by forcing its municipal hand on small-time arrests that accomplish nothing. You can read the text of the ordinance here.

“[R]esearch shows that mass incarceration is due, in part, to thousands of new laws at the federal, state, and local levels that allow police to make a record-breaking number of arrests based on minor, non-violent offenses,” Organize Now’s RJC argued, in a story we posted last week. “This over-policing of neighborhoods has done nothing but fill prisons and put a band-aid on the underlying causes of crime.”

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1.28.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

Where were you while we were getting high?

By virtue of political plate tectonics and the mahogany-and-starched-shirt drudgery of a state legislative cycle in full swing during a presidential election year, you wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that the earth is actually moving under your feet right now. Nope, not vertigo. Nah, you aren’t drunk (maybe?). High? Hopefully!

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Young Republicans not in line with party on social issues

By : Wire Report
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – At a recent meeting, the Tampa Bay Young Republicans recited the Pledge of Allegiance, prayed and then tackled the night’s topic: marijuana.

Their guest? Personal injury lawyer John Morgan, a huge Democratic Party donor campaigning to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. Months earlier, the same group supported a Supreme Court opinion that was a victory for gay marriage advocates even as Republican leaders insisted marriage should be between only a man and a woman.

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