Feds eye schools as potential flu vaccination sitesUS Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that schoolchildren may be a top priority if federal officials decide to use novel H1N1 flu vaccines and that children might be immunized at school, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Sebelius is meeting with school superintendents to ask them to collaborate on plans for possibly using schools for mass vaccination sites.[Jun 16 AP story]US poll finds pandemic declaration raised little worryThe World Health Organization’s Jun 11 pandemic declaration did not prompt new worries about novel H1N1 in the United States, according to a Gallup poll conducted just after the announcement. Only 8% of Americans said they worried “yesterday” about getting the novel flu, down from 13% in mid-May and 25% in late April. Gallup said Americans have had 2 months to assess the effects of the disease, which appears to be similar to seasonal flu. The findings were based on calls to 998 adults.[Jun 15 Gallup poll report]Qatar, Jordan, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Samoa report first casesFive countries have reported their first cases of novel H1N1 flu. Qatar identified cases in two 2-year-old children, one a New Zealander and the other an American, according to Reuters. The same story said Yemen’s case involved a Yemeni student who had returned from the United States. Other press reports said the cases in Jordan involved two young girls from the United States, the Sri Lanka case was in an 8-year-old boy from Australia, and Samoa’s first case was in a visiting Australian student.[Jun 16 Reuters report]FDA says many sites have quit selling illegal H1N1-related productsThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that since May 1 it has sent warning letters to more than 50 Web sites that promote illegal products related to the novel H1N1 flu, and two thirds of them have removed the offending claims or products. The illegal products said to protect against or cure the illness included a shampoo, dietary supplements, an antimicrobial hand spray, and several unapproved tests for the virus, among others, the FDA said in a Jun 14 press release.[Jun 15 FDA statement]California students in China hospitalized for novel fluChinese officials have hospitalized six students and a teacher from a California high school in Yingchang after they tested positive for the novel H1N1 virus, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported yesterday. Four others from the group are also hospitalized but apparently don’t have the virus. The rest of the school group, 26 students and 5 teachers, are quarantined at a hotel near the hospital, and all from the school have received antiviral treatment.[Jun 15 Union-Tribune story]
August 31, 2020
MIAMI, Florida – Floridians anxious to join residents from 10 other states like Colorado and California where recreational use of marijuana is legal, will have to continue waiting, at least for another two years.Make It Legal Florida, which took the initiative to place a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana on Florida’s November 2020 general election ballot, on Monday announced it was ending the initiative for this year. The group added that they will focus on the amendment being on the ballot in 2022.The decision not to place the initiative on this year’s ballot had nothing to do with the potential of the initiative not securing the necessary votes to be included on the ballot, but rather because the time to get the required 766,200 signatures verified to place the constitutional amendment on the ballot was too short. Moreover, a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in June 2019 found that 61 percent of Florida voters supported the sale of legal marijuana, while 65 percent agreed for adults to be allowed to possess small amounts of ganja for personal use.According to reports, Nick Hansen, chairman of Make it Legal Florida, said the group gathered well over 700,000 of the needed signatures, but the signatures had to be submitted and verified by February 1, and meeting that deadline was deemed to be too narrow. Another indication of the public’s general support legalizing recreational marijuana is that Make It Legal Florida raised over $8.6 million to support its petition for signatures.However, among some Caribbean-American residents in South Florida, particularly female residents over 50, the support for legalizing recreational marijuana is compromised. Residents like Janet Morrison of North Miami Beach, a Jamaican-American secretary with three adult sons, said they are not convinced “there is good sense” in making marijuana use legal. “Legalizing weed for medical purposes is cool. I have no problem with that. But I have seen the negative effects smoking weed has on people, including two of my sons, so I cannot support legalizing it for recreational purposes.”On the other hand, 73-year-old, Antiguan-American, Johnny Mason, coincidentally a mason by trade, said he fully supports legalizing recreational marijuana. “I smoke weed every day, and mi nuh mad yet, and mi nuh pose no danger to anyone. Instead, the weed gives me a serene peace,” he told CNW.In 2016, Florida voters approved an amendment which legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Currently, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana.For a Florida constitutional amendment to be approved it requires 60 percent of the votes cast in an election. Make it Legal Florida is confident of securing the required majority when the amendment is eventually placed on the ballot.Another group, Regulate Florida, was also attempting to have a constitutional amendment to have Floridians grow and use recreational marijuana, but it earlier dropped its efforts, unable to secure the required signatures.Recreational marijuana is currently legal in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Maine, California, Alaska and, as of January 1, in Illinois.The initiative is set to be on the ballot this year in elections in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota and South Dakota.Meanwhile, there are initiatives underway in the Florida Legislature that could result in legalizing recreational marijuana. On Monday, Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, St. Petersburg, filed a bill to make marijuana legal for use by adults, and according to reports, Democratic Rep Carlos Guillermo Smith, Orlando, filed a companion bill in the Florida House.