Now that I am the male co-chair of the Green Party of Florida, and running for the District 87 seat of the Florida House of Representatives, people ask me, “Why are you doing all this? What moves you to stick your neck out in these perilous, polarized times?”
Or why we need to pay attention to what is happening with the Brett Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court.
We all know the lines from the Second Coming by WB Yeats:
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;”
Indeed the centre is falling apart. I recall Rose and I watching from our 15th floor Jersey condo as the flames destroyed the Twin Towers on 911. I was on the phone to my brother in Ohio, telling him that one tower had just gone down, while Rose was frantically trying to get my attention and pointing out the window. I looked. There were NO towers. Only an unending plume of smoke that hovered for days.
1.) Double Registered Greens in Florida to 16,000
2.) Start 15 new Local Chapters (5 a year)
3.) Field a Full Slate of Candidate’s (State-Wide, Congress, State Legislative, County Commissioner, School Board, Sheriff, Mayor, City Council, Soil & Water Districts)
4.) Develop and Maintain State-Wide network of Phone/Text bankers, and canvassers for campaigns through the 10 More Votes App (or other identified platforms.)
5.) State-Wide Constitutional Amendments by the GPFL (Rank Choice Voting, Electoral College Reform, $15 minimum wage, Civilian Police Oversight Boards at the State/County/City levels)
6.) County Charter Amendments on above issues to address at a Local Level if we are unable to address at a State Level.
7.) Peer 2 Peer Conflict Resolution App
8.) Op-Ed/Newspaper Writers (Letters to Editors/Paid Opinion piece placements)
9.) Community Outreach (Community Events/Tabling/Materials & Resources)
10.) Community/Organizational Coalition Building (Faculty Forward, Black Lives Matter, Equality Florida, Unions, NAACP, ACLU, Planned Parenthood)
11.) Issue Advocacy to promote Systemic Change (Medicare4All, Banking Reform, Modern Monetary Theory, Israeli & Fusil Fuel Divestments)
12.) Digital Infrastructure Capacity Development (GPFL Software, Nation Builder, Loomio, other proposed and approved upgrades to our Website or Digital Office Space.)
In order for the Green Party of Florida to turn these 12 Goals into 12 Realities by 2020 we need 200 Sustainer Donors of $10 a month or more so that the Green Party of Florida has the resources necessary to achieve these goals. You can take a stand towards putting People, Planet, and Peace over Profit in Florida every month at www.gpfl.org/Donate To sign up for a re-occurring monthly donation scroll down to the bottom of the page and there is our PayPal donation form. Select your donation amount and then check the box marked “I would like this donation to automatically repeat each month.” Then fill in the rest of your information which the GPFL must collect for Campaign Finance Reporting purposes and click submit!
As many of you know environmental degradation is no single issue, it is embedded in the same system that has plagued workers, minorities, and various other oppressed groups for going on centuries; this system, of course, is capitalism and it was this realization within our organization that got us much closer to the actual Green Party platform and got us into the streets.
wThis young student organizer and president and founder of Green Party Alliance of USF, launched our annual state conference with this thoughtful opening speech, where he spoke of the systemic problems of capitalism and imperialism and of the actions he and his fellow student greens and activists are taking on, including calling for USF to divest from all fossil fuel use and investments by 2020. He speaks eloquently about the bigger picture as well as concrete efforts on the ground and the work ahead for all of us working for a fair, just and sustainable future.
Jared Austin, president of the Green Party Alliance, USF.
Good afternoon, I want to first thank Cathy Gilbert and Josh Pritchett for allowing the Green Party Alliance at USF to host this wonderful event today, our organization is truly honored and excited especially given where we began, the current state of the world today and given what events like today will mean in the future. I would also like to thank the members of the Tampa chapter of the Green Party who saw a young student passionate Continue reading “Student Leader, Jared Austin, Kicks Off State Green Party Annual Meeting”
Cannabis specialist Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, and President of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, offers critique of North Florida pharmacist Karl Metzger’s dismissal of Medical Marijuana. (Metzger’s article appeared on the website of the Bay County Green Party of Florida, entitled “The Fallacy of the Medical Marijuana Movement – A Pharmacist’s Perspective.” It can be found here.)
Hergenrather introduces us to the field of whole plant therapeutics, and sheds light on the amazing synergistic properties of the cannabinoids and terpenes present in marijuana.
With Medical Marijuana appearing on the ballot in Florida in November, as Amendment 2, the battle is heating up for the hearts, minds, and votes of Floridians. It is essential that voters have an informed view. In that interest, Hergenrather’s response to Metzger’s article is presented here.
From Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD:
I believe that it is very important to integrate the pharmacist Metzger’s viewpoint into a discussion of the use of cannabis as medicine. Mine is a clinical perspective coming from consulting with thousands of patients for over 35 years. Lacking that clinical perspective Metzger’s viewpoint is flawed in many respects.
To begin with, when patients are recommended cannabis and cannabis extracts and products, it’s true that we want to have measured medicine in administering with the most safety and efficacy while minimizing adverse facts. It is also true that cannabis is one of the safest substances known to man. In his conclusion, Francis Young, DEA administrative law judge, on page 68 of his 1988 judgement said:
The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record. The administrative law judge recommends that the Administrator conclude that the marijuana plant considered as a whole has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, that there is no lack of accepted safety for use of it under medical supervision and that it may lawfully be transferred from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2. The judge recommends that the Administrator transfer marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II.
The pharmacist seems concerned that having the right dose will prevent intolerance which would eventually “render medication useless”. This has not been the case in cannabis medicine. Patients find an effective dose by self titration. In my patient population that I have followed closely for 10-15 years or longer the patients use approximately the same amount of cannabis from year-to-year. Some describe increasing their dose with a flareup of pain or autoimmune disorder. After the flare up the dose of cannabis diminishes again, oftentimes to little or none depending on the condition. Most patients simply self titrate and remain within a fairly narrow pattern of use. So the concern of the pharmacist is really not a problem for whole plant cannabis as medicine.
We are in agreement about minimizing adverse effects. That is one of the roles of the integrative cannabinologist (the cannabis consulting physician). It is in fact a key role in the patient encounter to determine the appropriate use of cannabis, make recommendations as required by law, advise about strains that may prove best tolerated and effective, and discuss the various methods of administration. The quantities of use are effectively titrated for the best effect to meet the needs of the patient while minimizing adverse facts.
The pharmacist also seems concerned about the number of molecules encountered in the whole plant as if this is a problem. It does create a whole plant research environment with astronomical numbers of different combinations of active ingredients that make it unwieldy for product consistency. Not all pharmacists are hung up on single molecule pharmacology and drug development. Many pharmacists are knowledgeable about the synergism of cannabinoid and terpene molecules providing for much better effects with the whole plant. Single molecule drug development is quite out of touch with using whole plants as medicines. Metzger’s concepts display a lack of knowledge of the “entourage effect” of cannabinoid and terpene molecules that are evident to the cannabis scientific community. These molecules are individually and collectively exceedingly safe. Their efficacy is based at least in part on combining the molecules as they are in the whole plant. The effects on pain and the anti-cancer effects of cannabis are best with combinations of molecules, not with the single molecules.
The commonly encountered terpenes in cannabis are generally considered safe though they may impart a soporific or energizing quality to the cannabis, hence strain selection is an important aspect of recommending cannabis. Some of the herbalists and naturopathic physicians are bringing the term “adaptogen” to the cannabis conversation. Cannabinoids induce homeostasis by down regulating both nervous system and immune system functions, whether that is to aid in eating, sleeping, relaxing, forgetting, or protecting the body in various ways. Cannabinoids are uniquely able to work as retrograde messengers for any neurotransmitters, facilitating the biological needs that are lumped together as ‘homeostasis”.
It is important to recognize that cannabis smoke, unlike most other smoke, is bronchodilating. This is a unique property of the cannabinoids that make it very helpful for patients with asthma. Asthmatics have varying sensitivities to cannabis smoke. Some prefer to not use inhaled forms at all as the vapor or smoke induces some mucous production and low grade irritation from the smoke despite the bronchodilating effect from the cannabinoid exposure. It is remarkable but true that it doesn’t cause COPD, emphysema, or cancers of the lung or airways as researched by Donald Tashkin, MD, professor emeritus of pulmonary medicine at UCLA.
It may be typical of some pharmacists to only look to single molecules as medications, but there is a public acceptance of plant products in herbal medicine, as well as Chinese, Tibetan and other whole plant remedies. If cannabis were not one of the safest plants known to humankind there might be greater concern about cannabis acute overdose or chronic exposure leading to some other harm. This is however a minor concern for the cannabis specialist as the self titration of dosage is effective and has been used for millennia to find the right dose for cannabis for any particular condition.
The culture of disseminating misinformation about cannabis has been coming from NIH, NIDA, FDA, DEA, and the ONDCP for many decades. The fears and uncertainty about cannabis created by these reports can be readily dismantled with a little research into the facts. For example in the Dunedin study alleging diminished IQ in young cannabis smokers, correcting for socioeconomic variables reveals zero differences in the IQ of the study subjects. You must look at the source and funding of the studies to shed light on the conclusions.
I concur with the pharmacist in recognizing that looking to the future, it is important to measure the content of dominant terpenes and cannabinoids. With that information in the hands of the patients, the clinicians will all benefit from the patients teaching the clinicians which kind of medicine works best for them. Meanwhile the novice should understand that you must start the dose at a very small quantity and build up slowly for days or even weeks to reach an optimal dose.
One of the more telling aspects of this science comes from a paper in print last year. It is from a couple of prominent researchers at NIDA, Pacher and Kunos. They say: “modulating endocannabinoid activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans, including obesity/metabolic syndrome, diabetes and diabetic complications, neurodegenerative, inflammatory, cardiovascular, liver, gastrointestinal, skin diseases, pain, psychiatric disorders, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting among many others.
While the monied interest appear positioned to develop cannabis medicines as single molecule pharmaceuticals, people throughout the country wish for the day when we will free the plant from the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and allow cannabis to be grown for personal use and thereby bring an end to the very divisive and destructive War on Drugs here and abroad.
Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, President of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, Sebastopol, CA.
Didier Ortiz: (954) 709-6172
Green Party of Florida Supports Amendment 2
The Medical Marijuana Initiative
“The fact that the medicinal benefits of cannabis are being increasingly understood and documented by the scientific community flies directly in the face of FDA’s refusal to remove the herb from its Schedule 1 most dangerous classification of drugs,” stated Cathy Gilbert, co-chair of the Green Party of Florida (GPFL). Powerful interests like it just that way, having benefited from cannabis prohibition, from big agriculture, the chemical and textile industries, big pharma, to sectors of law enforcement and the profit-driven prison-industrial complex.
“The Florida State legislature has acted to approve the use of one strain of cannabis for specific medical conditions, Charlotte’s Web, which has been approved by the FDA. Beyond that, it will take the will of the people of Florida to get full Medical Marijuana here,” added Gilbert.
Therefore, the Green Party of Florida unequivocally supports Amendment 2, the Medical Marijuana initiative. Beyond that, we strongly support all steps toward decriminalization and legalization of cannabis/hemp, and our party’s support for the initiative has to be understood in that context. This extremely narrow and somewhat flawed measure does not address the massive problems that have been created by Prohibition, such as mass incarceration and the profit-driven prison-industrial complex that feeds off our draconian drug laws.
The Medical Marijuana amendment is to drug laws what the Affordable Care Act is to health care. It is a band aid that is designed to maintain the status quo while providing some opportunities for corporations and special interests to profit from minor changes in law that will benefit a small sector of the population. Yes, Amendment 2 is a small step in the right direction, and most of all it is an opportunity for Greens and others to open up the debate and advocate legalization of industrial hemp (which will benefit family farms in Florida) and recreational use (like beer and wine) which will benefit those who prefer it to alcoholic beverages.
YES on Amendment 2
YES to building a popular movement to END PROHIBITION NOW and LIBERATE/LEGALIZE HEMP & CANNABIS!
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The Green Party of Florida (GPFL) is the Florida branch of the Green Party of the United States with affiliates in the counties of Alachua, Bay, Broward, Hernando, Miami-Dade, Orange, St. Pete, and Tampa.
As stated on their website (http://www.womeninblack.org/en/vigil), Women in Black “is a world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence.” Julia Aires, a founder of the Green Party of Florida, and former GPF co-chair, was also a founder (with Diane Kamleiter) of a Florida local WiB chapter, “Women in Black Gulfcoast.” Below is a statement co-authored by members of WiB Baltimore(MD), Union Square(NY) and Bay Area (CA).
U.S. Women In Black Say
U.S. Policy on Israel Must Change:
END U.S. COMPLICITY IN ISRAELI OCCUPATION AND WAR!
Israel’s massacre of Gaza civilians and massive destruction of homes, hospitals, schools and public works cannot be justified. The most recent attacks on Gaza have killed and injured many thousands of women, children, and non-combatant men. This tiny, impoverished territory, which Israel first occupied and over which it continues to exercise virtually total military control, has been described as “the world’s largest open-air prison.” Closed borders make it impossible for civilians fleeing Israel’s bombings to escape. Israel’s previous attacks and ongoing violations of international law and Palestinian human rights have increased the suffering immeasurably. Continue reading “U.S. Women In Black: End U.S. Complicity in Israeli Occupation & War!”
CAIR has emerged as a defender of the Muslim people in the United States in response to the backlash from the World Trade Center 9/11 attacks & to balance the intense lobbying of our Congress by AIPAC. One of their spokespersons co-hosted a show called True Talk on the community radio station here (WMNF) and this has given people in this part of the state a better vision of realities for Muslim-Americans. It’s not unusual for them to visit their relatives in the Middle East or other parts of the world during school vacations.
Such is the case of young Tariq Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old Palestinian-American from Tampa who visited family in occupied Palestine. This trip became a nightmare for him & the rest of his family when his cousin, Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was abducted & burned alive by Israelis. Tariq, himself, was then severely beaten and held under house arrest. This all in revenge for 3 Israeli youths having been kidnapped & murdered ———— never mind that these 2 young men had nothing to do with that. Israel has encroached on Palestinian land for 60 years now & has made the daily lives of the Palestinians more torturous than we here in the US can imagine.
A vigil for Tariq was held here in Tampa on July 5th, ironically right after we here celebrate Independence Day, along with a massive phone call effort to the state department in DC.
Tampa area Green
Jennifer has been a West Coast Florida activist for the Green Party, since 1996.
On July 10, the 2014 Convention of the Florida Press Association/Florida Society of News Editors will be holding its gubernatorial candidate forum at the Biltmore in Coral Gables. In an all too familiar story, the Libertarian candidate for governor, Adrian Wyllie, will be denied his rightful place at the rostrum. The sponsors claim he lacks public support, even though he is polling between 5% and 6% of the vote. Lacks public support? Catch 22: how can a candidate gain support when he or she can’t be heard?
Over the years, minor party candidates have been systematically excluded from the public dialogue by the two-party system, but Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is fighting back. In his statement below, he declares, “I refuse to accept your rules, and I present you with the following ultimatum. I will attend the FPA/FSNE Gubernatorial Forum on July 10th in Coral Gables. You may either allow me to participate in the forum, or you may have me arrested.”
In fighting for his right to speak, he is fighting for all minor party candidates who have been shut out of the public eye for so many years. The Green Party of Florida therefore insists that his voice be heard on an equal footing with all the gubernatorial candidates.
A friend of a friend, Mimi Eicholtz, shared this on Facebook, and I wanted to share it here.
By now many of you have read or heard about the Supreme Court ruling in favor of CEO Dave Green of Hobby Lobby. There were five male Justices who voted in favor of Mr. Green, allowing him to personally choose what insurance services are available to his female employees. This is a fiasco and a threat to individual rights. To protest this decision here is what I’m doing: To both Dave Green and to the Justices that voted against a woman’s reproductive rights, I am sending a brief letter. One to Mr. Green at his corporate headquarters and another to the group of Justices. I am simply writing that I protest this choice and am enclosing a hermetically sealed condom. Continue reading “SCOTUS and Hobby Lobby”