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Hur kommer Donald Trumps presidentskap att påverka restaurangbranschen?

Hur kommer Donald Trumps presidentskap att påverka restaurangbranschen?


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Amerikanerna är inte de enda som ifrågasätter deras framtid

Shutterstock/ Evan El-Amin

Landets klyfta fördjupas, även i livsmedelsindustrin.

Under valet 2016 har restaurangbranschen har lidit förluster i näringslivet och ifrågasätter nu fortfarande dess öde efter att Donald Trump valdes till USA: s nästa president på tisdagen.

Arizona, Colorado och Maine röstade för att öka minimilön till $ 12 per timme år 2020, och Washington State röstade för att öka den till $ 13,50 per timme till 2020, enligt Nationella restaurangnyheter.

Det är dock osannolikt att det kommer att bli en höjning av den federala minimilönen under Trumps presidentskap, rapporterade NRN.

"Vi uppmuntras av dessa statliga höjningar och ser fram emot fortsatt tillväxt för vårt företag och ekonomin med framtida statliga och federala höjningar", säger Bill Phelps, medgrundare och VD för Wetzels Pretzels, i ett uttalande.

De inom restaurangbranschen tog sig till sociala medier för att uttrycka sina åsikter om valresultatet.

Gregg Majewski, en franchisetagare från Jimmy John, skrev på Twitter: ”Kostnaderna för hälso- och sjukvårdskostnader och löner kommer att minska. Min lön kommer fortfarande att öka men till en rimlig takt. Överlag positivt. ”

Å andra sidan sa New York City -krögaren Andrew Carmellini att ”trångsynthet och kvinnofientlighet har vunnit” i en serie tweets motsätter sig Trump.

Wall Street -analytiker David Tarantino sa i en rapport att han trodde att valcykeln hade spelat en stor roll för konsumenternas utgifter på restauranger under de senaste sju månaderna. Han sa på måndagen att han skulle leta noga efter tecken på att den underliggande efterfrågan började komma tillbaka.


Hur Gaetz -sonden växte från sexhandel till medicinsk kruka

Fox News Flash -rubriker finns här. Kolla vad som klickar på Foxnews.com.

När rep. Matt Gaetz semestrade på Bahamas 2018 fick han sällskap av en läkare som donerade till hans kampanj och en tidigare kollega i Florida -lagstiftningen.

Den republikanska kongressledamoten, doktor Jason Pirozzolo och Halsey Beshears var enade i sin njutning av politik, snygga resor och sällskap med vackra kvinnor. De hade också ett annat ömsesidigt intresse: Floridas medicinska marijuanaindustri på 1,2 miljarder dollar.

Bahamasresan är ett centralt inslag i en federal utredning kring Gaetz som plötsligt har äventyrat hans politiska karriär. Det som började som en utredning om sexhandel och om Gaetz betalade kvinnor och en mindreårig tjej i utbyte mot sex har vuxit till en större översyn av offentlig korruption, enligt personer som är bekanta med utredningen.

Utredarna tittar på om Gaetz och hans medarbetare försökte säkra statliga jobb för några av kvinnorna, sa folket. De granskar också Gaetzs kopplingar till den medicinska marijuanasektorn, inklusive om Pirozzolo och andra försökte påverka lagstiftning som Gaetz sponsrade. Undersökningen inkluderar lagstiftning från 2018, när Gaetz var i kongressen, och tidigare arbete på lagstiftaren, enligt en av personerna.

FIL - I detta 16 oktober 2002, filfoto, rep. Matt Gaetz, R -Fla, talar publiken under ett president Donald Trump -kampanjmöte på Ocala International Airport i Ocala, Fla. Innan Gaetz steg till nationell framträdande som en ivrig stödjare av Trump, skapade han ett ovanligt rykte i Florida: en republikansk lagstiftare som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, fil)

Trycket på kongressledamoten kan byggas upp under de kommande veckorna då Joel Greenberg, en Gaetz -medarbetare som har anklagats för att ha handlat en minderårig för sex, står inför en tidsfrist den 15 maj för att ingå en överenskommelse med åklagare. Om han gör det kan Greenberg bli pressad att samarbeta med federala utredare och leverera skadlig information mot Gaetz.

Ingen av personerna på resan till Bahamas har åtalats för brott. Gaetz har förnekat att han gjort något brott och har behållit kraftfulla advokater. Kongressledamoten och hans representant svarade inte på ett meddelande som ville ha kommentarer till denna berättelse.

Beshears och en advokat för Pirozzolo avböjde att kommentera denna berättelse.

Associated Press talade med mer än 10 personer som var bekanta med dynamiken bland Gaetz, Pirozzolo och Beshears. Tre av personerna hade kunskap om utredningen. De talade alla på villkor av anonymitet eftersom de inte fick offentligt diskutera den pågående utredningen.

Gaetzs intresse för medicinsk marijuana går tillbaka nästan ett decennium, när han var medlem i Floridas representanthus. Väl innan han skulle få nationell uppmärksamhet för sitt fasta stöd till Donald Trump, skulle Gaetz skaffa sig ett ovanligt rykte i Tallahassee som en republikan som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar.

I februari 2014 sponsrade Gaetz den första statliga insatsen för att tillåta marijuana för medicinskt bruk. Hans förslag som tillät användning av ett icke -hallucinogent marijuana -extrakt var begränsat till patienter med cancer eller en svår form av epilepsi och fick långsamt stöd av sin far, Don Gaetz, som då tjänstgjorde som president i Floridas senat och sa att han "var pummeled "av sin son om att stödja den.

Gaetz kastade sitt förslag som ett nedskalat alternativ till en statlig omröstningsåtgärd som i stort sett skulle ha legaliserat medicinsk marijuana. Gaetz lag godkändes med brett tvåpartistöd och undertecknades av lag av republikanska regeringen Rick Scott i juni 2014, medan den statliga åtgärden knappt misslyckades vid valurnan den november.

Den dag Gaetzs åtgärd stod för en slutlig debatt och omröstning i Florida House, var både Pirozzolo och Beshears på golvet.

FIL - I denna 1 maj 2014, filfoto, rep. Matt Gaetz, R -Fort Walton Beach, svarar på frågor om den medicinska marijuana -räkningen under sessionen i Tallahassee, Fla. Innan Gaetz steg till nationell framträdande som en ivrig backer av Donald Trump , huggade han upp ett ovanligt rykte i Florida: en republikansk lagstiftare som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears var en republikansk medlem av lagstiftningen som gick med i Gaetz för att stödja lagstiftningen. Pirozzolo, handläkare och pilot i Orlando, var där som läkare för dagen för lagstiftarna - en roll han ofta skulle ta på sig genom att flyga sitt eget plan till Tallahassee.

När lagstiftningen passerade skapade den lukrativa nya möjligheter för Beshears familj och Pirozzolo.

Den mångåriga plantskolan som ägs av Beshears familj tilldelades en av fem mycket eftertraktade licenser för odling och utlämning av medicinsk marijuana.

Lagstiftningen skrevs för att specificera - och begränsa - vem som kunde vinna en sådan licens. Ett ändringsförslag som lagts till av en annan lagstiftare i statens hus begränsade antalet sökande till plantskolor som hade varit i kontinuerlig verksamhet i 30 år och hade en inventering av 400 000 eller fler växter.

Beshears familjehem, tillsammans med två andra odlare, uppfyllde den standarden.

Tampa Bay Times rapporterade 2014 att Beshears hade misslyckats med att lämna en intressekonflikt när han röstade om lagförslaget, och lagstiftaren som sponsrade ändringsförslaget ville "ta fel på sidan om att begränsa vem som skulle kunna kvalificera sig nu" när han började på sådant en ny bransch. Fler licenser har sedan dess beviljats, men branschen är fortfarande hårt kontrollerad.

Ytterligare ett ändringsförslag som lagts till 2014 års lagstiftning den dag Pirozzolo såg i statens hus krävde att dispensärsökande skulle anställa en läkare som medicinsk chef.

Åtta dagar senare startade Pirozzolo ett konsultföretag som ansluter marijuanaföretag med medicinska direktörer, rapporterade Orlando Sentinel. Han grundade senare en grupp som heter American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, som förespråkar läkare som rekommenderar medicinsk cannabis.

Gaetz har talat minst två gånger på föreningens årliga konferenser, inklusive ett uppträdande med Trumps förtrolige Roger Stone, enligt gruppens inlägg på sociala medier och minnen från en medlem.

Med rekommendationer från Gaetz och Beshears 2018 utsågs Pirozzolo av den nuvarande guvernören, republikanen Ron DeSantis, att sitta i en styrelse som driver Orlando International Airport. År 2019 stod han bredvid DeSantis på en asfalt på flygplatsen och hälsade på Trump när han anlände till Orlando för att starta sin omvalskampanj, enligt video som publicerades online av en Sentinel -reporter.

Två år efter Gaetz första medicinska marijuana-lag sponsrade han ytterligare en åtgärd i lagstiftningen för att utöka den, så att nära döda patienter kunde använda icke-rökbar marijuana av alla styrkor och doser.

Dagen det kom till omröstning i delstatshuset röstade Beshears för det, och Pirozzolo bevittnade det, som återigen fungerade som dagens läkare.

När Gaetz var i kongressen 2018 införde han lagstiftning som skulle öka antalet enheter som skulle bedriva cannabisforskning. Lagstiftningen innehöll bestämmelser som liknade vad Pirozzolos grupp pressade för att också utöka forskningen.


Hur Gaetz -sonden växte från sexhandel till medicinsk kruka

Fox News Flash topprubriker finns här. Kolla vad som klickar på Foxnews.com.

När rep. Matt Gaetz semestrade på Bahamas 2018 fick han sällskap av en läkare som donerade till hans kampanj och en tidigare kollega i Florida -lagstiftningen.

Den republikanska kongressledamoten, doktor Jason Pirozzolo och Halsey Beshears var enade i sin njutning av politik, snygga resor och sällskap med vackra kvinnor. De hade också ett annat ömsesidigt intresse: Floridas medicinska marijuanaindustri på 1,2 miljarder dollar.

Bahamasresan är ett centralt inslag i en federal utredning kring Gaetz som plötsligt har äventyrat hans politiska karriär. Det som började som en utredning om sexhandel och om Gaetz betalade kvinnor och en mindreårig tjej i utbyte mot sex har vuxit till en större översyn av offentlig korruption, enligt personer som är bekanta med utredningen.

Utredarna tittar på om Gaetz och hans medarbetare försökte säkra statliga jobb för några av kvinnorna, sa folket. De granskar också Gaetzs kopplingar till den medicinska marijuanasektorn, inklusive om Pirozzolo och andra försökte påverka lagstiftning som Gaetz sponsrade. Undersökningen omfattar lagstiftning från 2018, när Gaetz var i kongressen, och tidigare arbete på lagstiftaren, enligt en av personerna.

FIL - I denna 16 oktober 2002, filfoto, rep. Matt Gaetz, R -Fla, talar publiken under ett president Donald Trump -kampanjmöte på Ocala International Airport i Ocala, Fla. Innan Gaetz steg till nationell framträdande som en ivrig stödjare av Trump, skapade han ett ovanligt rykte i Florida: en republikansk lagstiftare som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, fil)

Trycket på kongressledamoten kan byggas upp under de kommande veckorna då Joel Greenberg, en Gaetz -medarbetare som har anklagats för att ha handlat en minderårig för sex, står inför en tidsfrist den 15 maj för att ingå en överenskommelse med åklagare. Om han gör det kan Greenberg pressas att samarbeta med federala utredare och leverera skadlig information mot Gaetz.

Ingen av personerna på resan till Bahamas har åtalats för brott. Gaetz har förnekat att han gjort något brott och har behållit kraftfulla advokater. Kongressledamoten och hans representant svarade inte på ett meddelande som ville ha kommentarer till denna berättelse.

Beshears och en advokat för Pirozzolo avböjde att kommentera denna berättelse.

Associated Press talade med mer än tio personer som kände till dynamiken bland Gaetz, Pirozzolo och Beshears. Tre av personerna hade kunskap om utredningen. De talade alla på villkor av anonymitet eftersom de inte fick offentligt diskutera den pågående utredningen.

Gaetzs intresse för medicinsk marijuana går tillbaka nästan ett decennium, när han var medlem i Floridas representanthus. Väl innan han skulle få nationell uppmärksamhet för sitt fasta stöd till Donald Trump, skulle Gaetz skaffa sig ett ovanligt rykte i Tallahassee som en republikan som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar.

I februari 2014 sponsrade Gaetz den första statliga insatsen för att tillåta marijuana för medicinskt bruk. Hans förslag som tillät användning av ett icke -hallucinogent marijuana -extrakt var begränsat till patienter med cancer eller en svår form av epilepsi och fick långsamt stöd av sin far, Don Gaetz, som då tjänstgjorde som president i Floridas senat och sa att han "var pummeled "av sin son om att stödja den.

Gaetz kastade sitt förslag som ett nedskalat alternativ till en statlig omröstningsåtgärd som i stort sett skulle ha legaliserat medicinsk marijuana. Gaetz lag godkändes med brett tvåpartistöd och undertecknades av lag av republikanska guvernören Rick Scott i juni 2014, medan den statliga åtgärden knappt misslyckades vid valurnan den november.

Den dag Gaetzs åtgärd stod för en slutlig debatt och omröstning i Florida House, var både Pirozzolo och Beshears på golvet.

FIL - I denna 1 maj 2014, filfoto, rep. Matt Gaetz, R -Fort Walton Beach, svarar på frågor om den medicinska marijuana -räkningen under sessionen i Tallahassee, Fla. Innan Gaetz steg till nationell framträdande som en ivrig backer av Donald Trump , huggade han upp ett ovanligt rykte i Florida: en republikansk lagstiftare som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears var en republikansk ledamot av lagstiftningen som gick med i Gaetz för att stödja lagstiftningen. Pirozzolo, handläkare och pilot i Orlando, var där som läkare för dagen för lagstiftarna - en roll han ofta skulle ta på sig genom att flyga sitt eget plan till Tallahassee.

När lagstiftningen passerade skapade den lukrativa nya möjligheter för Beshears familj och Pirozzolo.

Den mångåriga plantskolan som ägs av Beshears familj tilldelades en av fem mycket eftertraktade licenser för att odla och ge medicinsk marijuana.

Lagstiftningen skrevs för att specificera - och begränsa - vem som kunde vinna en sådan licens. Ett ändringsförslag som lagts till av en annan lagstiftare i statens hus begränsade antalet sökande till plantskolor som hade varit i kontinuerlig verksamhet i 30 år och hade en inventering av 400 000 eller fler växter.

Beshears familjehem, tillsammans med två andra odlare, uppfyllde den standarden.

Tampa Bay Times rapporterade 2014 att Beshears hade misslyckats med att lämna en intressekonflikt när han röstade om lagförslaget, och lagstiftaren som sponsrade ändringsförslaget ville "ta fel på sidan om att begränsa vem som skulle kunna kvalificera sig nu" när han började på sådant en ny bransch. Fler licenser har sedan dess beviljats, men branschen är fortfarande hårt kontrollerad.

Ytterligare ett ändringsförslag som lagts till 2014 års lagstiftning den dag Pirozzolo såg i statens hus krävde att dispensärsökande skulle anställa en läkare som medicinsk chef.

Åtta dagar senare startade Pirozzolo ett konsultföretag som ansluter marijuanaföretag med medicinska direktörer, rapporterade Orlando Sentinel. Han grundade senare en grupp som heter American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, som förespråkar läkare som rekommenderar medicinsk cannabis.

Gaetz har talat minst två gånger på föreningens årliga konferenser, inklusive ett uppträdande med Trumps förtrolige Roger Stone, enligt gruppens inlägg på sociala medier och en medlems minnen.

Med rekommendationer från Gaetz och Beshears 2018 utsågs Pirozzolo av den nuvarande guvernören, republikanen Ron DeSantis, att sitta i en styrelse som driver Orlando International Airport. År 2019 stod han bredvid DeSantis på en asfalt på flygplatsen och hälsade på Trump när han anlände till Orlando för att starta sin omvalskampanj, enligt video som publicerades online av en Sentinel -reporter.

Två år efter Gaetz första medicinska marijuana-lag sponsrade han ytterligare en åtgärd i lagstiftningen för att utöka den, så att nära döda patienter kunde använda icke-rökbar marijuana av alla styrkor och doser.

Dagen det kom till omröstning i delstatshuset röstade Beshears för det, och Pirozzolo bevittnade det, som återigen fungerade som dagens läkare.

När Gaetz var i kongressen 2018 införde han lagstiftning som skulle öka antalet enheter som skulle bedriva cannabisforskning. Lagstiftningen innehöll bestämmelser som liknade vad Pirozzolos grupp pressade för att också utöka forskningen.


Hur Gaetz -sonden växte från sexhandel till medicinsk kruka

Fox News Flash -rubriker finns här. Kolla vad som klickar på Foxnews.com.

När rep. Matt Gaetz semestrade på Bahamas 2018 fick han sällskap av en läkare som donerade till hans kampanj och en tidigare kollega i Florida -lagstiftningen.

Den republikanska kongressledamoten, doktor Jason Pirozzolo och Halsey Beshears var enade i sin njutning av politik, snygga resor och sällskap med vackra kvinnor. De hade också ett annat ömsesidigt intresse: Floridas medicinska marijuanaindustri på 1,2 miljarder dollar.

Bahamasresan är ett centralt inslag i en federal utredning kring Gaetz som plötsligt har äventyrat hans politiska karriär. Det som började som en utredning om sexhandel och om Gaetz betalade kvinnor och en mindreårig tjej i utbyte mot sex har vuxit till en större översyn av offentlig korruption, enligt personer som är bekanta med utredningen.

Utredarna tittar på om Gaetz och hans medarbetare försökte säkra statliga jobb för några av kvinnorna, sa folket. De granskar också Gaetzs kopplingar till den medicinska marijuanasektorn, inklusive om Pirozzolo och andra försökte påverka lagstiftning som Gaetz sponsrade. Undersökningen inkluderar lagstiftning från 2018, när Gaetz var i kongressen, och tidigare arbete på lagstiftaren, enligt en av personerna.

FIL - I denna 16 oktober 2002, filfoto, rep. Matt Gaetz, R -Fla, talar publiken under ett president Donald Trump -kampanjmöte på Ocala International Airport i Ocala, Fla. Innan Gaetz steg till nationell framträdande som en ivrig stödjare av Trump, skapade han ett ovanligt rykte i Florida: en republikansk lagstiftare som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, fil)

Trycket på kongressledamoten kan byggas upp under de kommande veckorna då Joel Greenberg, en Gaetz -medarbetare som har anklagats för att ha handlat en minderårig för sex, står inför en tidsfrist den 15 maj för att ingå en överenskommelse med åklagare. Om han gör det kan Greenberg bli pressad att samarbeta med federala utredare och leverera skadlig information mot Gaetz.

Ingen av personerna på resan till Bahamas har åtalats för brott. Gaetz har förnekat att han gjort något brott och har behållit kraftfulla advokater. Kongressledamoten och hans representant svarade inte på ett meddelande som ville ha kommentarer till denna berättelse.

Beshears och en advokat för Pirozzolo avböjde att kommentera denna berättelse.

Associated Press talade med mer än 10 personer som var bekanta med dynamiken bland Gaetz, Pirozzolo och Beshears. Tre av personerna hade kunskap om utredningen. De talade alla på villkor av anonymitet eftersom de inte fick offentligt diskutera den pågående utredningen.

Gaetzs intresse för medicinsk marijuana går tillbaka nästan ett decennium, när han var medlem i Floridas representanthus. Väl innan han skulle få nationell uppmärksamhet för sitt fasta stöd till Donald Trump, skulle Gaetz skaffa sig ett ovanligt rykte i Tallahassee som en republikan som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar.

I februari 2014 sponsrade Gaetz den första statliga insatsen för att tillåta marijuana för medicinskt bruk. Hans förslag som tillät användning av ett icke -hallucinogent marijuana -extrakt var begränsat till patienter med cancer eller en svår form av epilepsi och fick långsamt stöd av sin far, Don Gaetz, som då tjänstgjorde som president i Floridas senat och sa att han "var pummeled "av sin son om att stödja den.

Gaetz kastade sitt förslag som ett nedskalat alternativ till en statlig omröstningsåtgärd som i stort sett skulle ha legaliserat medicinsk marijuana. Gaetz lag godkändes med brett tvåpartistöd och undertecknades av lag av republikanska regeringen Rick Scott i juni 2014, medan den statliga åtgärden knappt misslyckades vid valurnan den november.

Den dag Gaetzs åtgärd stod för en slutlig debatt och omröstning i Florida House, var både Pirozzolo och Beshears på golvet.

FIL - I denna 1 maj 2014, filfoto, rep. Matt Gaetz, R -Fort Walton Beach, svarar på frågor om den medicinska marijuana -räkningen under sessionen i Tallahassee, Fla. Innan Gaetz steg till nationell framträdande som en ivrig backer av Donald Trump , huggade han upp ett ovanligt rykte i Florida: en republikansk lagstiftare som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears var en republikansk medlem av lagstiftningen som gick med i Gaetz för att stödja lagstiftningen. Pirozzolo, handläkare och pilot i Orlando, var där som läkare för dagen för lagstiftarna - en roll han ofta skulle ta på sig genom att flyga sitt eget plan till Tallahassee.

När lagstiftningen passerade skapade den lukrativa nya möjligheter för Beshears familj och Pirozzolo.

Den mångåriga plantskolan som ägs av Beshears familj tilldelades en av fem mycket eftertraktade licenser för att odla och ge medicinsk marijuana.

Lagstiftningen skrevs för att specificera - och begränsa - vem som kunde vinna en sådan licens. Ett ändringsförslag som lagts till av en annan lagstiftare i statens hus begränsade antalet sökande till plantskolor som hade varit i kontinuerlig verksamhet i 30 år och hade en inventering av 400 000 eller fler växter.

Beshears familjehem, tillsammans med två andra odlare, uppfyllde den standarden.

Tampa Bay Times rapporterade 2014 att Beshears hade misslyckats med att lämna in en intressekonflikt när han röstade om lagförslaget, och lagstiftaren som sponsrade ändringsförslaget ville "ta fel på sidan om att begränsa vem som skulle kunna kvalificera sig nu" när han påbörjade sådana en ny bransch. Fler licenser har sedan dess beviljats, men branschen är fortfarande hårt kontrollerad.

Ytterligare en ändring som lagts till 2014 års lagstiftning den dag Pirozzolo såg i statens hus krävde att dispensärsökande skulle anställa en läkare som medicinsk chef.

Åtta dagar senare startade Pirozzolo ett konsultföretag som ansluter marijuanaföretag med medicinska direktörer, rapporterade Orlando Sentinel. Han grundade senare en grupp som heter American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, som förespråkar läkare som rekommenderar medicinsk cannabis.

Gaetz har talat minst två gånger på föreningens årliga konferenser, inklusive ett uppträdande med Trumps förtrolige Roger Stone, enligt gruppens inlägg på sociala medier och minnen från en medlem.

Med rekommendationer från Gaetz och Beshears 2018 utsågs Pirozzolo av den nuvarande guvernören, republikanen Ron DeSantis, att sitta i en styrelse som driver Orlando International Airport. År 2019 stod han bredvid DeSantis på en asfalt på flygplatsen och hälsade på Trump när han anlände till Orlando för att starta sin omvalskampanj, enligt video som publicerades online av en Sentinel -reporter.

Två år efter Gaetz första medicinska marijuana-lag sponsrade han ytterligare en åtgärd i lagstiftningen för att utöka den, så att nära döda patienter kunde använda icke-rökbar marijuana av alla styrkor och doser.

Dagen det kom till omröstning i delstatshuset röstade Beshears för det, och Pirozzolo bevittnade det, som återigen fungerade som dagens läkare.

När Gaetz var i kongressen 2018 införde han lagstiftning som skulle öka antalet enheter som skulle bedriva cannabisforskning. Lagstiftningen innehöll bestämmelser som liknade vad Pirozzolos grupp pressade för att också utöka forskningen.


Hur Gaetz -sonden växte från sexhandel till medicinsk kruka

Fox News Flash -rubriker finns här. Kolla vad som klickar på Foxnews.com.

När rep. Matt Gaetz semestrade på Bahamas 2018 fick han sällskap av en läkare som donerade till hans kampanj och en tidigare kollega i Florida -lagstiftningen.

Den republikanska kongressledamoten, doktor Jason Pirozzolo och Halsey Beshears var enade i sin njutning av politik, snygga resor och sällskap med vackra kvinnor. De hade också ett annat ömsesidigt intresse: Floridas medicinska marijuanaindustri på 1,2 miljarder dollar.

Bahamasresan är ett centralt inslag i en federal utredning kring Gaetz som plötsligt har äventyrat hans politiska karriär. Det som började som en utredning om sexhandel och om Gaetz betalade kvinnor och en mindreårig tjej i utbyte mot sex har vuxit till en större översyn av offentlig korruption, enligt personer som är bekanta med utredningen.

Utredarna tittar på om Gaetz och hans medarbetare försökte säkra statliga jobb för några av kvinnorna, sa folket. De granskar också Gaetzs kopplingar till den medicinska marijuanasektorn, inklusive om Pirozzolo och andra försökte påverka lagstiftning som Gaetz sponsrade. Undersökningen inkluderar lagstiftning från 2018, när Gaetz var i kongressen, och tidigare arbete på lagstiftaren, enligt en av personerna.

FIL - I denna 16 oktober 2002, filfoto, rep. Matt Gaetz, R -Fla, talar publiken under ett president Donald Trump -kampanjmöte på Ocala International Airport i Ocala, Fla. Innan Gaetz steg till nationell framträdande som en ivrig stödjare av Trump, skapade han ett ovanligt rykte i Florida: en republikansk lagstiftare som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, fil)

Trycket på kongressledamoten kan byggas upp under de kommande veckorna då Joel Greenberg, en Gaetz -medarbetare som har anklagats för att ha handlat en minderårig för sex, står inför en tidsfrist den 15 maj för att ingå en överenskommelse med åklagare. Om han gör det kan Greenberg pressas att samarbeta med federala utredare och leverera skadlig information mot Gaetz.

Ingen av personerna på resan till Bahamas har åtalats för brott. Gaetz har förnekat att han gjort något brott och har behållit kraftfulla advokater. Kongressledamoten och hans representant svarade inte på ett meddelande som ville ha kommentarer till denna berättelse.

Beshears och en advokat för Pirozzolo avböjde att kommentera denna berättelse.

Associated Press talade med mer än 10 personer som var bekanta med dynamiken bland Gaetz, Pirozzolo och Beshears. Tre av personerna hade kunskap om utredningen. De talade alla på villkor av anonymitet eftersom de inte fick offentligt diskutera den pågående utredningen.

Gaetzs intresse för medicinsk marijuana går tillbaka nästan ett decennium, när han var medlem i Floridas representanthus. Väl innan han skulle få nationell uppmärksamhet för sitt fasta stöd till Donald Trump, skulle Gaetz skaffa sig ett ovanligt rykte i Tallahassee som en republikan som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar.

I februari 2014 sponsrade Gaetz den första statliga insatsen för att tillåta marijuana för medicinskt bruk. Hans förslag som tillät användning av ett icke -hallucinogent marijuana -extrakt var begränsat till patienter med cancer eller en svår form av epilepsi och fick långsamt stöd av sin far, Don Gaetz, som då tjänstgjorde som president i Floridas senat och sa att han "var pummeled "av sin son om att stödja den.

Gaetz kastade sitt förslag som ett nedskalat alternativ till en statlig omröstningsåtgärd som i stort sett skulle ha legaliserat medicinsk marijuana. Gaetz lag godkändes med brett tvåpartistöd och undertecknades av lag av republikanska regeringen Rick Scott i juni 2014, medan den statliga åtgärden knappt misslyckades vid valurnan den november.

Den dag Gaetzs åtgärd stod för en slutlig debatt och omröstning i Florida House, var både Pirozzolo och Beshears på golvet.

FIL - I denna 1 maj 2014, filfoto, rep. Matt Gaetz, R -Fort Walton Beach, svarar på frågor om den medicinska marijuana -räkningen under sessionen i Tallahassee, Fla. Innan Gaetz steg till nationell framträdande som en ivrig backer av Donald Trump , huggade han upp ett ovanligt rykte i Florida: en republikansk lagstiftare som ville liberalisera marijuana -lagar. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears var en republikansk ledamot av lagstiftningen som gick med i Gaetz för att stödja lagstiftningen. Pirozzolo, handläkare och pilot i Orlando, var där och fungerade som dagens läkare för lagstiftarna - en roll han ofta skulle ta på sig genom att flyga sitt eget plan till Tallahassee.

När lagstiftningen passerade skapade den lukrativa nya möjligheter för Beshears familj och Pirozzolo.

Den mångåriga plantskolan som ägs av Beshears familj tilldelades en av fem mycket eftertraktade licenser för odling och utlämning av medicinsk marijuana.

Lagstiftningen skrevs för att specificera - och begränsa - vem som kunde vinna en sådan licens. Ett ändringsförslag som lagts till av en annan lagstiftare i delstatens hus begränsade antalet sökande till plantskolor som hade varit i kontinuerlig verksamhet i 30 år och hade en inventering på 400 000 eller fler anläggningar.

Beshears familjehem, tillsammans med två andra odlare, uppfyllde den standarden.

Tampa Bay Times rapporterade 2014 att Beshears hade misslyckats med att lämna en intressekonflikt när han röstade om lagförslaget, och lagstiftaren som sponsrade ändringsförslaget ville "ta fel på sidan om att begränsa vem som skulle kunna kvalificera sig nu" när han började på sådant en ny bransch. Fler licenser har sedan dess beviljats, men branschen är fortfarande hårt kontrollerad.

Ytterligare ett ändringsförslag som lagts till 2014 års lagstiftning den dag Pirozzolo såg i statens hus krävde att dispensärsökande skulle anställa en läkare som medicinsk chef.

Åtta dagar senare startade Pirozzolo ett konsultföretag som ansluter marijuanaföretag med medicinska direktörer, rapporterade Orlando Sentinel. Han grundade senare en grupp som heter American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, som förespråkar läkare som rekommenderar medicinsk cannabis.

Gaetz har talat minst två gånger på föreningens årliga konferenser, inklusive ett uppträdande med Trumps förtrolige Roger Stone, enligt gruppens inlägg på sociala medier och en medlems minnen.

Med rekommendationer från Gaetz och Beshears 2018 utsågs Pirozzolo av den nuvarande guvernören, republikanen Ron DeSantis, att sitta i en styrelse som driver Orlando International Airport. År 2019 stod han bredvid DeSantis på en asfalt på flygplatsen och hälsade på Trump när han anlände till Orlando för att starta sin omvalskampanj, enligt video som publicerades online av en Sentinel -reporter.

Två år efter Gaetz första medicinska marijuana-lag sponsrade han ytterligare en åtgärd i lagstiftningen för att utöka den, så att nära döda patienter kunde använda icke-rökbar marijuana av alla styrkor och doser.

The day it came up for a vote in the state House, Beshears voted for it, and Pirozzolo witnessed it, again serving as the doctor of the day.

By the time Gaetz was in Congress in 2018, he introduced legislation that would increase the number of entities that would conduct cannabis research. The legislation included provisions similar to what Pirozzolo's group was pushing to also expand research.


How the Gaetz probe grew from sex trafficking to medical pot

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com.

When Rep. Matt Gaetz vacationed in the Bahamas in 2018, he was joined by a doctor who donated to his campaign and a former colleague in the Florida Legislature.

The Republican congressman, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo and Halsey Beshears were united in their enjoyment of politics, fancy travel and the company of beautiful women. They also had another mutual interest: Florida’s $1.2 billion medical marijuana industry.

The Bahamas trip is a central element of a federal investigation surrounding Gaetz that has suddenly endangered his political career. What began as an inquiry into sex trafficking and whether Gaetz paid women and an underage girl in exchange for sex has grown into a larger review of public corruption, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Investigators are looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said. They are also scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to the medical marijuana sector, including whether Pirozzolo and others sought to influence legislation Gaetz sponsored. The investigation includes legislation from 2018, when Gaetz was in Congress, and earlier work in the Legislature, according to one of the people.

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2002, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addresses the crowd during a President Donald Trump campaign rally at the Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Pressure on the congressman could build in the coming weeks as Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz associate who has been accused of trafficking a minor for sex, faces a May 15 deadline to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. If he does, Greenberg may be pressed to cooperate with federal investigators and deliver damaging information against Gaetz.

None of the people on the trip to the Bahamas has been charged with a crime. Gaetz has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has retained high-powered lawyers. The congressman and his representative did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story.

Beshears and a lawyer for Pirozzolo declined to comment for this story.

The Associated Press spoke with more than 10 people familiar with the dynamic among Gaetz, Pirozzolo and Beshears. Three of the people had knowledge of the investigation. They all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

Gaetz's interest in medical marijuana dates back nearly a decade, when he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Well before he would gain national attention for his steadfast support of Donald Trump, Gaetz would carve out an unusual reputation in Tallahassee as a Republican who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws.

In February 2014, Gaetz co-sponsored the first state effort to allow marijuana for medical use. His proposal allowing the use of a nonhallucinogenic marijuana extract was limited to patients with cancer or a severe form of epilepsy and slowly earned the support of his father, Don Gaetz, who was then serving as president of the Florida Senate and said he was "being pummeled" by his son about supporting it.

Gaetz cast his proposal as a pared-down alternative to a statewide ballot measure that would have broadly legalized medical marijuana. Gaetz's law was approved with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in June 2014, while the statewide measure narrowly failed at the ballot box that November.

The day Gaetz's measure was up for a final debate and vote in the Florida House, both Pirozzolo and Beshears were on the floor.

FILE - In this May 1, 2014, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, answers questions about the medical marijuana bill during session in Tallahassee, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Donald Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears was a fellow Republican member of the Legislature who joined Gaetz to support the legislation. Pirozzolo, an Orlando hand doctor and pilot, was there serving as the physician of the day for the lawmakers — a role he would frequently take on by flying his own plane to Tallahassee.

Once the legislation passed, it created lucrative new opportunities for Beshears' family and Pirozzolo.

The long-standing nursery owned by Beshears' family was awarded one of five highly coveted licenses to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana.

The legislation was written to specify — and restrict — who could win such a license. An amendment added by another lawmaker in the state House limited the pool of applicants to nurseries that had been in continuous business for 30 years and had an inventory of 400,000 or more plants.

The Beshears family nursery, joining with two other growers, met that standard.

The Tampa Bay Times reported in 2014 that Beshears had failed to file a conflict of interest report when he voted on the bill, and the lawmaker who sponsored the amendment wanted to "err on the side of limiting who could qualify now" when embarking on such a new industry. More licenses have since been awarded, but the industry is still tightly controlled.

Another amendment added to the 2014 legislation the day Pirozzolo watched in the state House required dispensary applicants to employ a doctor as a medical director.

Eight days later, Pirozzolo started a consulting firm connecting marijuana businesses with medical directors, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He later co-founded a group called the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, which advocates for doctors who recommend medical cannabis.

Gaetz has spoken at least twice at the association’s annual conferences, including an appearance with longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, according to the group’s social media posts and the recollections of a member.

With recommendations from Gaetz and Beshears in 2018, Pirozzolo was appointed by the current governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, to serve on a board that runs Orlando International Airport. In 2019, he stood next to DeSantis on an airport tarmac and greeted Trump as he arrived in Orlando to kick off his reelection campaign, according to video posted online by a Sentinel reporter.

Two years after Gaetz's first medical marijuana law, he sponsored another measure in the Legislature to expand on it, allowing near-death patients to use nonsmokable marijuana of all strengths and doses.

The day it came up for a vote in the state House, Beshears voted for it, and Pirozzolo witnessed it, again serving as the doctor of the day.

By the time Gaetz was in Congress in 2018, he introduced legislation that would increase the number of entities that would conduct cannabis research. The legislation included provisions similar to what Pirozzolo's group was pushing to also expand research.


How the Gaetz probe grew from sex trafficking to medical pot

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com.

When Rep. Matt Gaetz vacationed in the Bahamas in 2018, he was joined by a doctor who donated to his campaign and a former colleague in the Florida Legislature.

The Republican congressman, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo and Halsey Beshears were united in their enjoyment of politics, fancy travel and the company of beautiful women. They also had another mutual interest: Florida’s $1.2 billion medical marijuana industry.

The Bahamas trip is a central element of a federal investigation surrounding Gaetz that has suddenly endangered his political career. What began as an inquiry into sex trafficking and whether Gaetz paid women and an underage girl in exchange for sex has grown into a larger review of public corruption, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Investigators are looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said. They are also scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to the medical marijuana sector, including whether Pirozzolo and others sought to influence legislation Gaetz sponsored. The investigation includes legislation from 2018, when Gaetz was in Congress, and earlier work in the Legislature, according to one of the people.

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2002, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addresses the crowd during a President Donald Trump campaign rally at the Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Pressure on the congressman could build in the coming weeks as Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz associate who has been accused of trafficking a minor for sex, faces a May 15 deadline to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. If he does, Greenberg may be pressed to cooperate with federal investigators and deliver damaging information against Gaetz.

None of the people on the trip to the Bahamas has been charged with a crime. Gaetz has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has retained high-powered lawyers. The congressman and his representative did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story.

Beshears and a lawyer for Pirozzolo declined to comment for this story.

The Associated Press spoke with more than 10 people familiar with the dynamic among Gaetz, Pirozzolo and Beshears. Three of the people had knowledge of the investigation. They all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

Gaetz's interest in medical marijuana dates back nearly a decade, when he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Well before he would gain national attention for his steadfast support of Donald Trump, Gaetz would carve out an unusual reputation in Tallahassee as a Republican who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws.

In February 2014, Gaetz co-sponsored the first state effort to allow marijuana for medical use. His proposal allowing the use of a nonhallucinogenic marijuana extract was limited to patients with cancer or a severe form of epilepsy and slowly earned the support of his father, Don Gaetz, who was then serving as president of the Florida Senate and said he was "being pummeled" by his son about supporting it.

Gaetz cast his proposal as a pared-down alternative to a statewide ballot measure that would have broadly legalized medical marijuana. Gaetz's law was approved with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in June 2014, while the statewide measure narrowly failed at the ballot box that November.

The day Gaetz's measure was up for a final debate and vote in the Florida House, both Pirozzolo and Beshears were on the floor.

FILE - In this May 1, 2014, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, answers questions about the medical marijuana bill during session in Tallahassee, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Donald Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears was a fellow Republican member of the Legislature who joined Gaetz to support the legislation. Pirozzolo, an Orlando hand doctor and pilot, was there serving as the physician of the day for the lawmakers — a role he would frequently take on by flying his own plane to Tallahassee.

Once the legislation passed, it created lucrative new opportunities for Beshears' family and Pirozzolo.

The long-standing nursery owned by Beshears' family was awarded one of five highly coveted licenses to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana.

The legislation was written to specify — and restrict — who could win such a license. An amendment added by another lawmaker in the state House limited the pool of applicants to nurseries that had been in continuous business for 30 years and had an inventory of 400,000 or more plants.

The Beshears family nursery, joining with two other growers, met that standard.

The Tampa Bay Times reported in 2014 that Beshears had failed to file a conflict of interest report when he voted on the bill, and the lawmaker who sponsored the amendment wanted to "err on the side of limiting who could qualify now" when embarking on such a new industry. More licenses have since been awarded, but the industry is still tightly controlled.

Another amendment added to the 2014 legislation the day Pirozzolo watched in the state House required dispensary applicants to employ a doctor as a medical director.

Eight days later, Pirozzolo started a consulting firm connecting marijuana businesses with medical directors, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He later co-founded a group called the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, which advocates for doctors who recommend medical cannabis.

Gaetz has spoken at least twice at the association’s annual conferences, including an appearance with longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, according to the group’s social media posts and the recollections of a member.

With recommendations from Gaetz and Beshears in 2018, Pirozzolo was appointed by the current governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, to serve on a board that runs Orlando International Airport. In 2019, he stood next to DeSantis on an airport tarmac and greeted Trump as he arrived in Orlando to kick off his reelection campaign, according to video posted online by a Sentinel reporter.

Two years after Gaetz's first medical marijuana law, he sponsored another measure in the Legislature to expand on it, allowing near-death patients to use nonsmokable marijuana of all strengths and doses.

The day it came up for a vote in the state House, Beshears voted for it, and Pirozzolo witnessed it, again serving as the doctor of the day.

By the time Gaetz was in Congress in 2018, he introduced legislation that would increase the number of entities that would conduct cannabis research. The legislation included provisions similar to what Pirozzolo's group was pushing to also expand research.


How the Gaetz probe grew from sex trafficking to medical pot

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com.

When Rep. Matt Gaetz vacationed in the Bahamas in 2018, he was joined by a doctor who donated to his campaign and a former colleague in the Florida Legislature.

The Republican congressman, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo and Halsey Beshears were united in their enjoyment of politics, fancy travel and the company of beautiful women. They also had another mutual interest: Florida’s $1.2 billion medical marijuana industry.

The Bahamas trip is a central element of a federal investigation surrounding Gaetz that has suddenly endangered his political career. What began as an inquiry into sex trafficking and whether Gaetz paid women and an underage girl in exchange for sex has grown into a larger review of public corruption, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Investigators are looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said. They are also scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to the medical marijuana sector, including whether Pirozzolo and others sought to influence legislation Gaetz sponsored. The investigation includes legislation from 2018, when Gaetz was in Congress, and earlier work in the Legislature, according to one of the people.

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2002, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addresses the crowd during a President Donald Trump campaign rally at the Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Pressure on the congressman could build in the coming weeks as Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz associate who has been accused of trafficking a minor for sex, faces a May 15 deadline to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. If he does, Greenberg may be pressed to cooperate with federal investigators and deliver damaging information against Gaetz.

None of the people on the trip to the Bahamas has been charged with a crime. Gaetz has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has retained high-powered lawyers. The congressman and his representative did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story.

Beshears and a lawyer for Pirozzolo declined to comment for this story.

The Associated Press spoke with more than 10 people familiar with the dynamic among Gaetz, Pirozzolo and Beshears. Three of the people had knowledge of the investigation. They all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

Gaetz's interest in medical marijuana dates back nearly a decade, when he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Well before he would gain national attention for his steadfast support of Donald Trump, Gaetz would carve out an unusual reputation in Tallahassee as a Republican who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws.

In February 2014, Gaetz co-sponsored the first state effort to allow marijuana for medical use. His proposal allowing the use of a nonhallucinogenic marijuana extract was limited to patients with cancer or a severe form of epilepsy and slowly earned the support of his father, Don Gaetz, who was then serving as president of the Florida Senate and said he was "being pummeled" by his son about supporting it.

Gaetz cast his proposal as a pared-down alternative to a statewide ballot measure that would have broadly legalized medical marijuana. Gaetz's law was approved with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in June 2014, while the statewide measure narrowly failed at the ballot box that November.

The day Gaetz's measure was up for a final debate and vote in the Florida House, both Pirozzolo and Beshears were on the floor.

FILE - In this May 1, 2014, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, answers questions about the medical marijuana bill during session in Tallahassee, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Donald Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears was a fellow Republican member of the Legislature who joined Gaetz to support the legislation. Pirozzolo, an Orlando hand doctor and pilot, was there serving as the physician of the day for the lawmakers — a role he would frequently take on by flying his own plane to Tallahassee.

Once the legislation passed, it created lucrative new opportunities for Beshears' family and Pirozzolo.

The long-standing nursery owned by Beshears' family was awarded one of five highly coveted licenses to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana.

The legislation was written to specify — and restrict — who could win such a license. An amendment added by another lawmaker in the state House limited the pool of applicants to nurseries that had been in continuous business for 30 years and had an inventory of 400,000 or more plants.

The Beshears family nursery, joining with two other growers, met that standard.

The Tampa Bay Times reported in 2014 that Beshears had failed to file a conflict of interest report when he voted on the bill, and the lawmaker who sponsored the amendment wanted to "err on the side of limiting who could qualify now" when embarking on such a new industry. More licenses have since been awarded, but the industry is still tightly controlled.

Another amendment added to the 2014 legislation the day Pirozzolo watched in the state House required dispensary applicants to employ a doctor as a medical director.

Eight days later, Pirozzolo started a consulting firm connecting marijuana businesses with medical directors, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He later co-founded a group called the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, which advocates for doctors who recommend medical cannabis.

Gaetz has spoken at least twice at the association’s annual conferences, including an appearance with longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, according to the group’s social media posts and the recollections of a member.

With recommendations from Gaetz and Beshears in 2018, Pirozzolo was appointed by the current governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, to serve on a board that runs Orlando International Airport. In 2019, he stood next to DeSantis on an airport tarmac and greeted Trump as he arrived in Orlando to kick off his reelection campaign, according to video posted online by a Sentinel reporter.

Two years after Gaetz's first medical marijuana law, he sponsored another measure in the Legislature to expand on it, allowing near-death patients to use nonsmokable marijuana of all strengths and doses.

The day it came up for a vote in the state House, Beshears voted for it, and Pirozzolo witnessed it, again serving as the doctor of the day.

By the time Gaetz was in Congress in 2018, he introduced legislation that would increase the number of entities that would conduct cannabis research. The legislation included provisions similar to what Pirozzolo's group was pushing to also expand research.


How the Gaetz probe grew from sex trafficking to medical pot

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com.

When Rep. Matt Gaetz vacationed in the Bahamas in 2018, he was joined by a doctor who donated to his campaign and a former colleague in the Florida Legislature.

The Republican congressman, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo and Halsey Beshears were united in their enjoyment of politics, fancy travel and the company of beautiful women. They also had another mutual interest: Florida’s $1.2 billion medical marijuana industry.

The Bahamas trip is a central element of a federal investigation surrounding Gaetz that has suddenly endangered his political career. What began as an inquiry into sex trafficking and whether Gaetz paid women and an underage girl in exchange for sex has grown into a larger review of public corruption, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Investigators are looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said. They are also scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to the medical marijuana sector, including whether Pirozzolo and others sought to influence legislation Gaetz sponsored. The investigation includes legislation from 2018, when Gaetz was in Congress, and earlier work in the Legislature, according to one of the people.

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2002, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addresses the crowd during a President Donald Trump campaign rally at the Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Pressure on the congressman could build in the coming weeks as Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz associate who has been accused of trafficking a minor for sex, faces a May 15 deadline to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. If he does, Greenberg may be pressed to cooperate with federal investigators and deliver damaging information against Gaetz.

None of the people on the trip to the Bahamas has been charged with a crime. Gaetz has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has retained high-powered lawyers. The congressman and his representative did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story.

Beshears and a lawyer for Pirozzolo declined to comment for this story.

The Associated Press spoke with more than 10 people familiar with the dynamic among Gaetz, Pirozzolo and Beshears. Three of the people had knowledge of the investigation. They all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

Gaetz's interest in medical marijuana dates back nearly a decade, when he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Well before he would gain national attention for his steadfast support of Donald Trump, Gaetz would carve out an unusual reputation in Tallahassee as a Republican who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws.

In February 2014, Gaetz co-sponsored the first state effort to allow marijuana for medical use. His proposal allowing the use of a nonhallucinogenic marijuana extract was limited to patients with cancer or a severe form of epilepsy and slowly earned the support of his father, Don Gaetz, who was then serving as president of the Florida Senate and said he was "being pummeled" by his son about supporting it.

Gaetz cast his proposal as a pared-down alternative to a statewide ballot measure that would have broadly legalized medical marijuana. Gaetz's law was approved with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in June 2014, while the statewide measure narrowly failed at the ballot box that November.

The day Gaetz's measure was up for a final debate and vote in the Florida House, both Pirozzolo and Beshears were on the floor.

FILE - In this May 1, 2014, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, answers questions about the medical marijuana bill during session in Tallahassee, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Donald Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears was a fellow Republican member of the Legislature who joined Gaetz to support the legislation. Pirozzolo, an Orlando hand doctor and pilot, was there serving as the physician of the day for the lawmakers — a role he would frequently take on by flying his own plane to Tallahassee.

Once the legislation passed, it created lucrative new opportunities for Beshears' family and Pirozzolo.

The long-standing nursery owned by Beshears' family was awarded one of five highly coveted licenses to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana.

The legislation was written to specify — and restrict — who could win such a license. An amendment added by another lawmaker in the state House limited the pool of applicants to nurseries that had been in continuous business for 30 years and had an inventory of 400,000 or more plants.

The Beshears family nursery, joining with two other growers, met that standard.

The Tampa Bay Times reported in 2014 that Beshears had failed to file a conflict of interest report when he voted on the bill, and the lawmaker who sponsored the amendment wanted to "err on the side of limiting who could qualify now" when embarking on such a new industry. More licenses have since been awarded, but the industry is still tightly controlled.

Another amendment added to the 2014 legislation the day Pirozzolo watched in the state House required dispensary applicants to employ a doctor as a medical director.

Eight days later, Pirozzolo started a consulting firm connecting marijuana businesses with medical directors, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He later co-founded a group called the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, which advocates for doctors who recommend medical cannabis.

Gaetz has spoken at least twice at the association’s annual conferences, including an appearance with longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, according to the group’s social media posts and the recollections of a member.

With recommendations from Gaetz and Beshears in 2018, Pirozzolo was appointed by the current governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, to serve on a board that runs Orlando International Airport. In 2019, he stood next to DeSantis on an airport tarmac and greeted Trump as he arrived in Orlando to kick off his reelection campaign, according to video posted online by a Sentinel reporter.

Two years after Gaetz's first medical marijuana law, he sponsored another measure in the Legislature to expand on it, allowing near-death patients to use nonsmokable marijuana of all strengths and doses.

The day it came up for a vote in the state House, Beshears voted for it, and Pirozzolo witnessed it, again serving as the doctor of the day.

By the time Gaetz was in Congress in 2018, he introduced legislation that would increase the number of entities that would conduct cannabis research. The legislation included provisions similar to what Pirozzolo's group was pushing to also expand research.


How the Gaetz probe grew from sex trafficking to medical pot

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com.

When Rep. Matt Gaetz vacationed in the Bahamas in 2018, he was joined by a doctor who donated to his campaign and a former colleague in the Florida Legislature.

The Republican congressman, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo and Halsey Beshears were united in their enjoyment of politics, fancy travel and the company of beautiful women. They also had another mutual interest: Florida’s $1.2 billion medical marijuana industry.

The Bahamas trip is a central element of a federal investigation surrounding Gaetz that has suddenly endangered his political career. What began as an inquiry into sex trafficking and whether Gaetz paid women and an underage girl in exchange for sex has grown into a larger review of public corruption, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Investigators are looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said. They are also scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to the medical marijuana sector, including whether Pirozzolo and others sought to influence legislation Gaetz sponsored. The investigation includes legislation from 2018, when Gaetz was in Congress, and earlier work in the Legislature, according to one of the people.

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2002, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addresses the crowd during a President Donald Trump campaign rally at the Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Pressure on the congressman could build in the coming weeks as Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz associate who has been accused of trafficking a minor for sex, faces a May 15 deadline to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. If he does, Greenberg may be pressed to cooperate with federal investigators and deliver damaging information against Gaetz.

None of the people on the trip to the Bahamas has been charged with a crime. Gaetz has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has retained high-powered lawyers. The congressman and his representative did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story.

Beshears and a lawyer for Pirozzolo declined to comment for this story.

The Associated Press spoke with more than 10 people familiar with the dynamic among Gaetz, Pirozzolo and Beshears. Three of the people had knowledge of the investigation. They all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

Gaetz's interest in medical marijuana dates back nearly a decade, when he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Well before he would gain national attention for his steadfast support of Donald Trump, Gaetz would carve out an unusual reputation in Tallahassee as a Republican who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws.

In February 2014, Gaetz co-sponsored the first state effort to allow marijuana for medical use. His proposal allowing the use of a nonhallucinogenic marijuana extract was limited to patients with cancer or a severe form of epilepsy and slowly earned the support of his father, Don Gaetz, who was then serving as president of the Florida Senate and said he was "being pummeled" by his son about supporting it.

Gaetz cast his proposal as a pared-down alternative to a statewide ballot measure that would have broadly legalized medical marijuana. Gaetz's law was approved with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in June 2014, while the statewide measure narrowly failed at the ballot box that November.

The day Gaetz's measure was up for a final debate and vote in the Florida House, both Pirozzolo and Beshears were on the floor.

FILE - In this May 1, 2014, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, answers questions about the medical marijuana bill during session in Tallahassee, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Donald Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears was a fellow Republican member of the Legislature who joined Gaetz to support the legislation. Pirozzolo, an Orlando hand doctor and pilot, was there serving as the physician of the day for the lawmakers — a role he would frequently take on by flying his own plane to Tallahassee.

Once the legislation passed, it created lucrative new opportunities for Beshears' family and Pirozzolo.

The long-standing nursery owned by Beshears' family was awarded one of five highly coveted licenses to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana.

The legislation was written to specify — and restrict — who could win such a license. An amendment added by another lawmaker in the state House limited the pool of applicants to nurseries that had been in continuous business for 30 years and had an inventory of 400,000 or more plants.

The Beshears family nursery, joining with two other growers, met that standard.

The Tampa Bay Times reported in 2014 that Beshears had failed to file a conflict of interest report when he voted on the bill, and the lawmaker who sponsored the amendment wanted to "err on the side of limiting who could qualify now" when embarking on such a new industry. More licenses have since been awarded, but the industry is still tightly controlled.

Another amendment added to the 2014 legislation the day Pirozzolo watched in the state House required dispensary applicants to employ a doctor as a medical director.

Eight days later, Pirozzolo started a consulting firm connecting marijuana businesses with medical directors, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He later co-founded a group called the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, which advocates for doctors who recommend medical cannabis.

Gaetz has spoken at least twice at the association’s annual conferences, including an appearance with longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, according to the group’s social media posts and the recollections of a member.

With recommendations from Gaetz and Beshears in 2018, Pirozzolo was appointed by the current governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, to serve on a board that runs Orlando International Airport. In 2019, he stood next to DeSantis on an airport tarmac and greeted Trump as he arrived in Orlando to kick off his reelection campaign, according to video posted online by a Sentinel reporter.

Two years after Gaetz's first medical marijuana law, he sponsored another measure in the Legislature to expand on it, allowing near-death patients to use nonsmokable marijuana of all strengths and doses.

The day it came up for a vote in the state House, Beshears voted for it, and Pirozzolo witnessed it, again serving as the doctor of the day.

By the time Gaetz was in Congress in 2018, he introduced legislation that would increase the number of entities that would conduct cannabis research. The legislation included provisions similar to what Pirozzolo's group was pushing to also expand research.


How the Gaetz probe grew from sex trafficking to medical pot

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com.

When Rep. Matt Gaetz vacationed in the Bahamas in 2018, he was joined by a doctor who donated to his campaign and a former colleague in the Florida Legislature.

The Republican congressman, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo and Halsey Beshears were united in their enjoyment of politics, fancy travel and the company of beautiful women. They also had another mutual interest: Florida’s $1.2 billion medical marijuana industry.

The Bahamas trip is a central element of a federal investigation surrounding Gaetz that has suddenly endangered his political career. What began as an inquiry into sex trafficking and whether Gaetz paid women and an underage girl in exchange for sex has grown into a larger review of public corruption, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Investigators are looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said. They are also scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to the medical marijuana sector, including whether Pirozzolo and others sought to influence legislation Gaetz sponsored. The investigation includes legislation from 2018, when Gaetz was in Congress, and earlier work in the Legislature, according to one of the people.

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2002, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addresses the crowd during a President Donald Trump campaign rally at the Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Pressure on the congressman could build in the coming weeks as Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz associate who has been accused of trafficking a minor for sex, faces a May 15 deadline to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. If he does, Greenberg may be pressed to cooperate with federal investigators and deliver damaging information against Gaetz.

None of the people on the trip to the Bahamas has been charged with a crime. Gaetz has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has retained high-powered lawyers. The congressman and his representative did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story.

Beshears and a lawyer for Pirozzolo declined to comment for this story.

The Associated Press spoke with more than 10 people familiar with the dynamic among Gaetz, Pirozzolo and Beshears. Three of the people had knowledge of the investigation. They all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

Gaetz's interest in medical marijuana dates back nearly a decade, when he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Well before he would gain national attention for his steadfast support of Donald Trump, Gaetz would carve out an unusual reputation in Tallahassee as a Republican who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws.

In February 2014, Gaetz co-sponsored the first state effort to allow marijuana for medical use. His proposal allowing the use of a nonhallucinogenic marijuana extract was limited to patients with cancer or a severe form of epilepsy and slowly earned the support of his father, Don Gaetz, who was then serving as president of the Florida Senate and said he was "being pummeled" by his son about supporting it.

Gaetz cast his proposal as a pared-down alternative to a statewide ballot measure that would have broadly legalized medical marijuana. Gaetz's law was approved with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in June 2014, while the statewide measure narrowly failed at the ballot box that November.

The day Gaetz's measure was up for a final debate and vote in the Florida House, both Pirozzolo and Beshears were on the floor.

FILE - In this May 1, 2014, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, answers questions about the medical marijuana bill during session in Tallahassee, Fla. Before Gaetz rose to national prominence as an ardent backer of Donald Trump, he carved out an unusual reputation in Florida: a Republican lawmaker who wanted to liberalize marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

Beshears was a fellow Republican member of the Legislature who joined Gaetz to support the legislation. Pirozzolo, an Orlando hand doctor and pilot, was there serving as the physician of the day for the lawmakers — a role he would frequently take on by flying his own plane to Tallahassee.

Once the legislation passed, it created lucrative new opportunities for Beshears' family and Pirozzolo.

The long-standing nursery owned by Beshears' family was awarded one of five highly coveted licenses to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana.

The legislation was written to specify — and restrict — who could win such a license. An amendment added by another lawmaker in the state House limited the pool of applicants to nurseries that had been in continuous business for 30 years and had an inventory of 400,000 or more plants.

The Beshears family nursery, joining with two other growers, met that standard.

The Tampa Bay Times reported in 2014 that Beshears had failed to file a conflict of interest report when he voted on the bill, and the lawmaker who sponsored the amendment wanted to "err on the side of limiting who could qualify now" when embarking on such a new industry. More licenses have since been awarded, but the industry is still tightly controlled.

Another amendment added to the 2014 legislation the day Pirozzolo watched in the state House required dispensary applicants to employ a doctor as a medical director.

Eight days later, Pirozzolo started a consulting firm connecting marijuana businesses with medical directors, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He later co-founded a group called the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, which advocates for doctors who recommend medical cannabis.

Gaetz has spoken at least twice at the association’s annual conferences, including an appearance with longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, according to the group’s social media posts and the recollections of a member.

With recommendations from Gaetz and Beshears in 2018, Pirozzolo was appointed by the current governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, to serve on a board that runs Orlando International Airport. In 2019, he stood next to DeSantis on an airport tarmac and greeted Trump as he arrived in Orlando to kick off his reelection campaign, according to video posted online by a Sentinel reporter.

Two years after Gaetz's first medical marijuana law, he sponsored another measure in the Legislature to expand on it, allowing near-death patients to use nonsmokable marijuana of all strengths and doses.

The day it came up for a vote in the state House, Beshears voted for it, and Pirozzolo witnessed it, again serving as the doctor of the day.

By the time Gaetz was in Congress in 2018, he introduced legislation that would increase the number of entities that would conduct cannabis research. The legislation included provisions similar to what Pirozzolo's group was pushing to also expand research.