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International airport in Florida bans medical marijuana

It is now illegal to have any type of marijuana, even medical marijuana, at the Orlando International Airport.

>> Read more trending news

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board unanimously approved the medical marijuana ban Wednesday.

A draft policy published this week by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority puts medical marijuana users at risk of arrest when flying out of Orlando International Airport, despite 71 percent of Florida voters choosing to legalize weed for medical uses last November. 

The draft policy seeks “to clarify that, despite the Florida constitutional amendment legalizing the use of Marijuana for medical purposes and the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of Marijuana by the City of Orlando, Marijuana is prohibited from being brought onto Airport Property.”

It goes on to say marijuana, including items for medical use, will be confiscated going forward. And that “any person violating this provision will be detained or arrested by a Law Enforcement Officer.”

"We are not a law enforcement agency. We are not walking around trying to look in anybody's pocket," said Marcos Marchena, GOAA general counsel.

Read: Legislature reaches agreement on medical marijuana bill

Among OIA’s 42 million visitors each year, the Transportation Security Administration doesn’t actively search for marijuana, a representative told Eyewitness News on Tuesday. But she said if agents find it, they’ll notify local law enforcement, who would then be acting under GOAA’s policies.

The rules ban all forms of marijuana and its extracts, including items like the low-THC, high CBD medical cannabis Bruce Grossman relies on to fight chronic pain. He said he can’t imagine going on a trip without the medical marijuana.

“I would be in pain. Very simple,” Grossman said.

Read: Some proposed medical marijuana dispensaries don't meet Orlando criteria

A GOAA spokesperson told Eyewitness News the authority’s legal team had determined federal funding received by the airport could be rescinded if the OIA began tolerating marijuana on-site.

"If the federal government comes to look, to make a determination of whether the airport is following all federal laws and regulations, that we can say, "Here's our policy. We're following all federal law,'" Marchena said.

Though local laws and ordinances have legalized and decriminalized the drug in various capacities, federal law considers marijuana a Schedule I narcotic. It contains no exceptions for alternative formulations or medical usage.

"I think it's only a matter of time until things change,” Grossman said.

Eyewitness News asked whether airport officials whether waivers would be available for people who can't leave their medication behind, but received no response Tuesday.

Other airports rules

Representatives from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said if passengers have the proper documents, medical marijuana is allowed. And anyone at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport can have marijuana thanks to the state of Washington’s full legalization.

However, in Denver, any kind of marijuana is banned at the airport despite legalization in Colorado.

Ben Pollara, with United for Care, said since marijuana is being used by many people as a medicine, it should be treated that way by airport officials. 

"You wouldn't ask a patient to get on an airplane without their penicillin, and you shouldn't ask them to get on without their marijuana, if that's what their doctor has recommended," he said. 

Orlando police won't enforce OIA medical marijuana ban

The Orlando Police Department has said it will not arrest anyone lawfully carrying medical marijuana, even on airport property.

Airport administrators have not determined what the penalty would be for a passenger found by OIA staff lawfully carrying medical marijuana. 

The measure goes into effect immediately. The airport authority plans to post signs advising flyers of the changes and to document what’s prohibited on-site.

Myrtle Beach shooting captured in shocking Facebook Live video

When volunteer firefighter Bubba Hinson decided to visit the popular tourist destination Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the last thing he expected was to be live cameraman of a mass shooting.

In the video, which we are not showing in full due to its graphic nature, Hinson yelled, “Multiple people down!” after a gunman opened fire and sent a crowd of people scattering early Sunday.

>> Watch a news report with an edited version of the clip here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

According to Myrtle Beach Online, three shootings occurred over the weekend in Myrtle Beach, leaving eight people wounded.

“If you’re watching this, stay away from Fourth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard,” Hinson said while filming. “There’s multiple people been shot!”

He said later: “I thought they were dancing. That’s why I started filming it. Then they started fighting. Then they started shooting."

>> Read more trending news

WGHP reported that the shooter pulled out his weapon, fired and then carjacked a vehicle. The gunman reportedly was eventually shot by an armed security officer.

His name has not yet been released.

Although seven people were taken to the hospital, one of whom was the gunman, the injuries are not considered to be life-threatening, officials said.

Police said the gunman will be named once he is medically cleared to leave the hospital and warrants are served.

Read more here.

Southwest offers $39 flights to celebrate 46th birthday

Southwest is giving a present to customers in celebration of its 46th birthday.

The budget airline is offering low-priced flights with a sale that offers tickets for as low as $39 for a one-way trip, according to Travel & Leisure.

>> Read more trending news

The seats, travel days and markets for the offers are limited and blackout dates -- like holidays -- apply, according to the Southwest website.

Regional travel -- to and from East Coast cities, for example -- are the cheapest, with one-way travel from Oakland, California, to Reno, Nevada, at $39. 

Other trips include $130 one-way from Atlanta to Las Vegas or $132 one-way from Atlanta to Los Angeles; $59 one-way from Columbus, Ohio, to Washington; $69 one-way from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Nassau, Bahamas; and $135 one-way from Austin, Texas, to Seattle.

Travel & Leisure reported that most sale prices are on Monday through Thursday flights between August 22 and December 16.

Reservations for low-price tickets must be made by June 15 at 11:50 p.m. in the time zone in the city of departure. The tickets are non refundable.

The full list of destinations under the Southwest sale can be found at Southwest.com.

Longest Uber drives: Ride from DFW to Nashville totals 11.5 hours, 650 miles

An Uber driver might have earned nearly $1,000 with one drive.

>> Read more trending news 

Brent Pfieffer received a notification on his cellphone on Sunday night about passengers requesting a pickup at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. 

Soon after accepting the request, Pfieffer got a phone call from one of the customers.

“They said, ‘I have an issue here. I need these people delivered to Nashville, Tennessee,’” Pfieffer told WFAA.

The customers were travelers from China who had arrived in Texas on Sunday morning. Their connecting flight to Nashville had been delayed multiple times before it was finally canceled.

“The next flight they could get on wasn’t until Monday afternoon,” Pfieffer told WFAA. “And they had a business meeting at noon Monday they had to be at.”

The passengers piled into Pfieffer’s SUV, and the group rode 11.5 hours to Nashville, covering 650 miles.

“We had a few stops on the way,” Pfieffer said. “They spoke enough broken English [so] we could converse. They were in a good mood. They were upset they didn't have their bags and didn't get the flight, but other than that it was a fun ride.” 

Pfieffer said Uber still hasn’t processed the fare but he estimates he’ll receive about $800 from the ride after Uber claims its share of the fare. He also negotiated gas expenses with the customers.

The ride is believed to be one of the longest Uber drives completed.

Read more at WFAA.

Southwest Airlines offers limited-time $100 round-trip fares

For a limited time, Southwest Airlines is offering some of its lowest fares during one of its biggest annual sales. 

According to USA Today, the sale is one of two big limited-time sales offered by the airline each year.  

>> Read more trending news 

Dozens of the carrier’s shortest routes are available for $49 each way. Other non-stop one-way fares are offered for $79, $99 and $129 for longer flights. The prices of flights are loosely tied to distance, according to USA Today.

>> Related: American Airlines to decrease legroom for passengers

Discounted flights can be purchased for travel between Aug. 22 and Dec. 13 every day except Fridays and Sundays. Some days surrounding Labor Day and Thanksgiving holidays are not included.

Some international flights (Cuba, Aruba, Belize, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Bahamas) are also being offered at extreme discounts. 

The sale ends Thursday, June 8 at 11:59 p.m. local time in the city of the departing flight. 

See more at Southwest.com.

>> Related: Delta will pay passengers up to $10K to give up seats

5 tips to keep you from getting sick on vacation

It’s easy to get sick when you’re traveling, because your immune system is exposed to new environments and germs it isn’t used to fighting. Plus, if you tend to eat less healthy food on vacation, your body might be missing some key nutrients it needs to stay in tip-top shape.

>> Read more trending news

Use these tips to keep yourself healthy:

Use hand sanitizer

You may want to use hand sanitizer after any outing in a public space, which, let’s be honest, is pretty much constant when traveling. After riding public transportation or in a cab, be sure to clean your hands with sanitizer. You don’t know who touched the handrails, doors or ticket machines before you.

>> Related: 10 ways to save money on gasoline during your summer travels

Carry sanitizing cloths

If you’re traveling by bus, airplane or train, be sure to wipe down your tray table and arm rests, as these places often harbor cold germs. In fact, airplane tray tables were recently found to be the most germ-filled surface on an airplane. Carry sanitizing cloths for wiping down surfaces as well as hand sanitizer.

>> Related: These 5 travel apps will help you find the best restaurants, WiFi and bathrooms in any city

Stay hydrated

Drinking water is especially important when flying. The combination of cabin pressure and dry, recirculated air in planes can rob your skin of moisture and lead to dehydration. Water will keep you naturally hydrated and feeling great for when you arrive at your final destination.

>> Related: These 5 tips will leave your skin glowing even after a long flight

Exercise, exercise, exercise

Not everyone wants to exercise on vacation, but dietitians recommend getting as much exercise as possible to keep you feeling great. Walking tours and bicycle rentals are great ways to not only learn about your destination, but to also burn calories in the process.

>> Related: 10 road trip tips for every traveler

Fight motion sickness

If you’re prone to bouts of motion sickness, your doctor may be willing to write you a prescription for promethazine, an anti-nausea medication used by NASA to fight space sickness and recommended by Dr. Joanne Feldman of UCLA’s Department of Emergency Medicine. Feldman is considered an expert in motion-sickness treatments.

10 ways to save money on gasoline during your summer travels

With the summertime driving season here, gas consumption is at a premium.

>> Related: 10 road trip hacks every traveler needs to know

Here are 10 tips on keeping your gas costs low:

1. Don’t overfill

As tempting as it is to fill your tank right to the brim, try and refrain. Overfilling results in gas sloshing over and running down the side of your car. That’s bad for your paint job, the environment and your wallet.

Once the nozzle clicks the first time, stop there.

2. Low-octane is OK

Unless you’re driving a car that specifically requires it -- which should be noted in the owner’s manual -- there’s no need to fill up with pricey high-octane fuel.

Buy the lowest octane that’s appropriate for your vehicle to save on money.

3. Tighten your gas cap

A loose gas cap will allow gas to evaporate from your car along with the cash you just filled up with.

Gas caps are part of your car’s Evaporative Emission System (EVAP). Loose, missing or damaged gas caps mean your EVAP system isn’t working, which allows for gas evaporation.

>> Read more trending news

4. Tune up your car

If your car is out of tune, or has failed an emissions test, getting it tuned up will boost gas mileage.

A key point to look for in a tune-up is worn spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug can dramatically reduce a car’s fuel efficiency.

5. Find credit card discounts

Some credit cards will give you savings on gas when you use their card for purchases. It’s a similar program to airline-linked credit cards that give you frequent flier miles.

PenFed, Chase and Discover are three of the companies that have some of the best promotions.

>> Related: Nothing will ruin a vacation faster than these 5 common money mistakes — here’s how to avoid them

6. Belong to the club

Some gas stations have their own membership groups or they are tied in to area department and grocery store chains. Using these store memberships can save you serious money at the pump.

7. Don’t bother with the brand names

Does your locally owned and operated corner store have gas pumps? They get the same gas as the shiny brand-name gas station that’s on every corner. They’re using the same refineries, trucks and pipelines. If your local store has better prices, buy there.

8. Get away from the highway

The highest prices on gas are usually at highway rest areas or at gas stations just off the exit ramp. These stations are feeding on that traffic, and charging higher prices as a result.

If you can get off the highway and get into town at least a few blocks, you’ll find less expensive gas prices.

9. If you’re in the city, stay local

While a penny-pincher might crow with success at driving across town to find gas that’s a nickel cheaper, in reality all the miles you’ll drive will more than likely negate your savings. Stop-and-go traffic does not do good things for fuel efficiency or greenhouse gas emissions.

10. Keep a log

If you’re taking a summer trip, keep a journal of the “mileage wins” and “mileage losses” of your trip.

For example, you could note: “Drove to the restaurant downtown only to find they had a two-hour wait. Should have made a reservation.” Or “Headed to the ballpark at 4:30 only to be stuck in traffic for 90 minutes and couldn’t find parking for another 45. Should have used mass transit.”

10 road trip tips for every traveler

Road trip season is here.

>> Related: 10 extreme vacations every adventure seeker or adrenaline junkie must take

Whatever your destination, use these tips to help you get there.

1. Binder clips

Trying to figure out where you are going but don’t have a GPS on your dashboard? A large binder clip and some rubber bands will do the job.

Bend the metal ends 90 degrees. Wrap rubber bands around the metal arms. Then clip it to a vent, and slide your phone into place.

2. Pick a side

Here’s a subtle tip about highway exit signs: If the exit number at the top of the sign is on the left, the exit is on the left. If the number is on the right, the exit is on the right.

3. Charge up

You’re at a hotel. You’ve got two video game systems, four phones, three e-readers and a laptop to charge. What do you do?

When you run out of plugs, look at the back of the hotel TV, which usually has a USB plug-in that you can use.

>>Related: 5 hacks to keep your smartphone charged during a power outage

4. Save your nose

Odors get stale if you’re around them too much, especially if you’re in a confined space for several days in a row. Bring a box of dryer sheets to help freshen up the smell in the vehicle.

5. Screenshots

If you’re setting out to wander the great beyond, remember that cell service in Beyond is not great.

To have a copy of your directions, take screenshots on your phone so you can refer to them later.

6. Pack in cubes

Instead of loading and unloading a million suitcases every night, try packing in see-through plastic cubes. That way you can grab exactly what you need for each night’s stay instead of pawing through tons of stuff that you’ll have to repack later.

7. Change up

Don’t be ashamed if you don’t know how to change a tire. Find some basic instructions online, print them out and keep them in the car. If you’re really feeling nervous about possible blowouts, practice in your garage.

The same goes for charging a flat battery.

>> Read more trending news

8. Gamers

Want to keep your carload amused with games of the non-video variety? If you have a dice-based game, try keeping the dice in a small, sealed, see-through plastic container. Spend more time playing and less time fumbling under the seat for the lost dice.

9. Shoes made for driving

You’ve got a pile of toys, books, maps, a camera and other gear spread around the car by the time you’re an hour in. Hang a shoe organizer with pockets over the back of your seat and keep all miscellaneous items in one place and out from underfoot. If you want to take off your shoes during a car ride, put them in the organizer.

10. Bring small bills

You might find yourself confused when trying to decipher the lanes approaching a toll booth.

>> Related: If you don’t carry cash, you should start to, and here are 5 reasons why

Bring enough small bills for you to get through and don’t ask the toll taker to change a $50 bill. That’s how summertime traffic jams are created, and who wants that?

Orlando airport standoff: Mother with children feared she'd be shot in the back

Operations at Florida's Orlando International Airport resumed as normal Wednesday morning, hours after the end of a standoff involving a 26-year-old man holding a fake gun, the Orlando Police Department said.

>> Watch the news report here

Michael Wayne Pettigrew was undergoing a psychological evaluation following the two-hour standoff during which he threatened to harm himself and pointed a fake gun at officers at a rental car area on the airport's ground floor, Orlando police Chief John Mina said.

>> Read more trending news

Police said that shortly before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, they received a report that there was an armed man at the airport.

>> On WFTV.com: Watch: Passengers describe standoff at Orlando International Airport

"Our negotiators did a phenomenal job talking with the subject for about two hours and finally got him to peacefully surrender," Mina said.

The suspect surrendered at about 10 p.m.

Crystal Oliphant said she was picking up her husband from the airport Tuesday night.

>> On WFTV.com: Watch: Orlando police Chief John Mina news conference on OIA standoff

"(We were) terrified," she said. "Immediately, we think that there's a bomb or that there's a shooting going on. And we're not getting any information. And there's hundreds of police (officers) just coming in."

Passengers and employees bolted once they realized what was happening.

Witness Kim Turner told WFTV that she saw the suspect dressed in black but she couldn't make out his face because she was hiding with her two children.

>> On WFTV.com: Photos: Standoff at Orlando International Airport

Turner waited for an opportunity to run to safety, and when she did, she said she saw the suspect point what appeared to be a gun at his own head.

Although the gun was fake, it seemed very real to Turner.

"I actually had a thought of me getting shot in the back," she said. "I was standing here, literally just sitting here, looking at him, waiting, because everybody else is gone."

No one was injured in the incident.

Same-sex couple claim Southwest discriminated during boarding

A Florida same-sex couple claim Southwest Airlines refused to let them board with their three children and a grandparent as a family.

Grant Morse says the family was rebuffed at the family boarding area at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York Saturday, The Associated Press reported. Morse said a Southwest Airlines gate agent told them that they were not a family, even though Morse told the agent that Morse and his husband, Sam Ballachino, are legally married. 

>> Read more trending stories

Morse said the family was forced to wait while other families were allowed to board, then the airline told them they'd saved four seats in the back of the plane, not enough for the family to sit together. Morse claimed that Ballachino's 83-year-old grandmother was placed in an emergency exit row seat.

Southwest defended its actions in a statement, saying that both parents were invited to board with their children but the third adult was not eligible to board under the airline's family boarding policy.

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