Hoping for legalized cannabis

There is some hope.

Getting medical cannabis legalized in Florida took a while. The constitutional amendment was passed on a second attempt on November 8th, 2016. It passed with 71.3% of the vote. I have been reluctant to go through the time, paperwork and expense of getting my medical marijuana card. Living in Lakeland, Florida, I have access to several nearby dispensaries. Without the card, I am not allowed to even purchase CBD products or cannabis topicals, despite those options causing no psychoactive effects. I suffer from a variety of minor medical concerns. I have psoriasis on my knees and elbows, plantar fasciitis in my feet and arthritis in my hands. I periodically deal with nocturnal leg crams and migraines. I once tore my trapezius muscle and it flairs up every now and then. None of my symptoms are life-threatening, but they do negatively impact my productivity, sleep and quality of life. I am unwilling to take synthetic pharmaceuticals due to the long-range side-effects. I am convinced the consequences of the medicine would be worse than my current problems. I would like to enjoy the benefits of a plant-based medicine. Cannabis has shown amazing potential for treating pain, inflammation and skin conditions. CBD in particular would be very helpful to me. CBD is completely safe and doesn’t result in a high sensation. I find it ridiculous that I can take harmful synthetic drugs but am not permitted a safe and natural medicine. While I could spend the money on an MMJ card, it would expire in one year and I’d be back where I started. I keep hoping recreational weed will be legalized in Florida. There is some hope. A recent, proposed initiative received almost one million signigatures, allowing the legalization of recreational marijuana to qualify for the 2024 general election ballot. The campaign for legalized weed is being pushed by Smart & Safe Florida and is backed by Trulieve. If the measure passes, it would allow adults 21+ to use and possess up to three ounces of marijuana.

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Visiting Kingsley Plantation nearby Jacksonville

One of the features is the “tabby” construction which is made from oyster shells.

Although I’ve lived in Jacksonville for nearly seven years, this past summer was the first time I’ve made it to the Kingsley Plantation. Located on Fort George Island, it’s an amazing representation of the complex and often difficult history of the American South. The property is beautifully preserved by the National Park Service and offers an opportunity to explore the remnants of a historic plantation complex. From it’s thriving colonial beginnings to it’s modern historical significance, Kingsley Plantation is a fascinating place to tour. In the early nineteenth century, Zephaniah Kingsley, a planter from North Florida, took possession of the land. He purchased it from a friend and business partner named John McQueen in 1814. John McQueen had obtained it through a Spanish land grant. The transition from Spanish to American rule was a turbulent period in Florida’s history. A remarkable fact of Kingsley Plantation’s story is the marriage of Zephaniah to Anna Jai, an African women he’d originally purchased as a slave but later freed. He also granted freedom and land to their children. His views and actions definitely went against what was the norm at the time. I was able to tour the main house, kitchen house, barns and slave quarters of this cotton plantation. The architecture and layout of the property offer unique insight in the daily lives and work of the enslaved people of the time period. One of the features is the “tabby” construction which is made from oyster shells. Life at that time was typically harsh, including the long hours and hard labor required for cultivating cotton and other crops. Fortunately, Jacksonville prioritzes preservation efforts, making sure that the future of this historical site is protected. The National Park Service offers informative tours and education programs catered to students, families and history buffs.


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Attractions found in Elgin, Illinois

Visitors to Illinois typically focus on Chicago.

However, the nearby city of Elgin offers a vibrant cultural scene, rich history and a wide array of attractions.

Located on the banks of the Fox River in the northern part of the state, the area experiences four very different seasons and each one has something unique to offer. From the first blooms of spring, sunshine of summer, changing leaves of autums and snowy wonderland of winter, the Fox River Bike trail is always an enjoyable outing. It stretched along the river, offering a scenic view for cyclists, joggers and walkers. For indoor entertainment, the Elgin History Museum to the place to go, Housed in a lovely historic building, the museum showcases the city’s history, beginning with the founding in 1835 and all the way to present day. There are exhibits dedicated to Elgin’s industrial heritage, pivotal moments in development and famous residents. Another outdoor option is the Lords Park and Zoo. An ideal destination for families, the park includes a gorgeous lagoon, playgrounds and shaded picnic areas. The highlight is definitely the zoo, where visitors can get an up-close look at exotic and native animals. Admission to the zoo is free! For anyone interested in the arts, the Hemmens Cultral Center in Elgin offers live performances. The venue hosts Broadway shoes, ballets, opera and concerts throughout the year. For adult-style excitement, there’s the Grand Victoria Casino. From gaming options to multiple restaurants and entertainment, it’s got everything. At various times of year, Festival Park in downtown Elgin provides holiday celebrations, live concerts, outdoor move nights, food festivals and more.



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A worthwhile visit to Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama, is often called the “Magic City.” Located in the southeastern United States, this vibrant and historic city offers numerous attractions, an exciting culinary scene and beautiful parks.

  • I visited Birmingham for the first time almost ten years ago and realized it’s a must-see destination.

Since then, I’ve returned five separate times. Each visit has been equally exciting. For an education experience, I tour the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This museum and cultural center provides an immersive opportunity to better understand the difficulties and triumphs of the 1960s Civil Rights Movements. There are exhibits and documentary films offering insight into this period of American history. When I prefer to get outside, breathe fresh air and take in gorgeous scenery, I head to Vulcan Park and Museum. Vulcan statue is one of Birmingham’s most well-known landmarks. The cast-iron statue is a symbol of the city and located atop Red Mountain. There are panoramic views of Birmingham and the museum is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the city’s industrial history. I like to stroll through the gardens and take the elevator to the top of the observation tower. When one of the city locals recommended the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, I doubted it would be anything I’d enjoy. I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised. The museum showcases a huge collection of vintage motorcycles and race cars. The display is so extensive that it has been acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest motorcycle collection. My visit was fascinating. On the weekend, I look forward to the Pepper Place Saturday Market. The fresh produce, artisanal goods and local crafts are such fun.