Ban on Plastic Bags

gpf Plastic Bag Ban in Fla20 years ago the question was “Paper or Plastic.” This fight was won by the plastic industry. The question in our supermarkets changed to, Is plastic OK?

But Plastic is not OK. Plastic bags are an incredible waste of resources.  The average bag is thrown away after 10 minutes of use, many often ending up in our oceans – in Florida only 12% of plastic bags are recycled. They fill our landfills where they are blown away to our waterways. Once in the water and exposed to the sun, plastic breaks down relatively quickly but the plastic particles, toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer, can survive 100’s of years. Of these particles, only 30% stay at the surface,  with the majority of the waste falling below the surface or to the ocean floor or ingested by marine life. Continue reading “Ban on Plastic Bags”

New Documents Show Hughes Planned to Frack Orangetree Well

Naples, FL, October 8, 2014 — New public records documents  reveal that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection knew on December 23 of last year, and possibly as early as October, that the Dan A. Hughes oil company was planning to hydraulically fracture their Orangetree oil well outside of Naples. The documents were received on Friday, when Hughes dropped their “trade secret” opposition to a public records lawsuit filed by Preserve Our Paradise, Inc. against the DEP.

The DEP and the oil industry continues to deny even photographic evidence of fracking
The DEP and the oil industry continue to deny even photographic evidence of fracking with hazardous chemicals

The first released document is a Halliburton “Fracpro 2012 Hydraulic Fracture” recommendation to Hughes dated October 21, 2013.  The second released document is a “Well Proposal” dated 23 December 2013 prepared for Dan A. Hughes Company by the Baker-Hughes oil services company notifying the Florida Department of Environmental Protection of Hughes intention to conduct “fracking-like” activities. Although the second document nowhere uses the term “hydraulic fracturing”, the technical specifications are virtually identical to the earlier Halliburton hydraulic fracturing recommendation.  Hughes has continued to claim that the workover operation conducted at the well was not a “fracking” operation.

Don Loritz, Vice President of Preserve Our Paradise, reiterated the organization’s concern that Hughes had long planned to secretly conduct the fracking operations at the Orangetree well over the Christmas holidays, while no one would be paying attention.  An anonymous phone tip on December 27, 2013 alerted Preserve Our Paradise to an oil services convoy heading for the Orangetree well alerting Preserve to concerns about fracking. Because information and public records on the Orangetree Well was not promptly provided, Paradise filed a public records case in circuit court on April 2, 2014 seeking the release of all public records on the Orangetree Well (1394). Less than a week later, on April 7, 2014, the DEP and Dan A Hughes Company signed a consent order imposing a $25,000 fine on Hughes and requiring Dan A. Hughes Company test for possible contamination. On April 18, the DEP revealed this consent order to the press alleging that it had “caught” Hughes performing an “unauthorized operation” on January 1, 2014.

Loritz explained, “For some reason, these new documents do not include cover letters or the usual DEP timestamps, so we do not know exactly when the DEP obtained the Halliburton recommendation.  DEP has filed a lawsuit against Dan A. Hughes in circuit court regarding the workover, but Preserve or Paradise still has concerns about:

1) what was done to protect the public health in advance of the ‘fracking-like’ incident in Orangetree and 
2) whether fracking that has changed the landscape in many parts of the nation will be allowed in Florida.”

A chronology of events surrounding the “fracking” of the Orangetree well is available at http://preserveourparadise.org/?page_id=3703.
The trade secret documents, along with other public records concerning the Orangetree Well released to Paradise in the DEP records response, are available at ftp://vsymp.org/prr%20fdep%204-2-14/Brookes%2010-3-14.

Cannabis Expert MD Challenges a Pharmacist’s View on Medical Marijuana

 

jeff Hergenrather in Baveno2 4

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.

GPF Supports Amendment 2 for Medical Marijuana

medic marij 1For Immediate Release:
Sept. 15, 2014

Contact:
Didier Ortiz:  (954) 709-6172
https://www.gpfl.org/

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!

# # #

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.

Fight for $15 Heats Up in Miami

Miami Greens showed their colors Thursday in support of fast food workers demand for $15 an hour and the right to unionize at a spirited demonstration in North Miami Beach, held in the rain in front of a McDonald’s restaurant and across from Burger King. Similar demonstrations were held in some 150 cities organized by SEIU (Service Employees International Union) as part of a labor and wage justice movement spreading across America, spurred by the unanimous passage by Seattle’s city commission of a $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance on June 2nd.

Fast Food Strike NMB
Fast Food Strike NMB

Continue reading “Fight for $15 Heats Up in Miami”

Greens speak out in the wake of the police shooting in Ferguson

Press release from GPUS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Green Party leaders and candidates are calling for the demilitarization of civilian U.S. police departments, asserting that military police tactics have created an “occupation mentality” in many communities.

Protests+Continue+Anaheim+Against+Police+Department+mG5Hfz2Q5w2l

Greens said that abuses of police power and disregard for the lives of young black people were on display in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, threats against reporters, and a display of force that turned peaceful protest into a violent confrontation in Ferguson, Missouri. Greens expressed support for the protesters.

“The murder of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson must be investigated and prosecuted aggressively, but the crisis won’t end with the punishment of an individual police officer,” said Howie Hawkins, Green candidate for governor of New York (http://www.howiehawkins.org). “Out-of-control police who respond to minor violations with overwhelming force, toleration of racist cops, siege-like conditions in some cities and city neighborhoods, and record-high incarceration – all of these are evidence of a growing police state.” (See Mr. Hawkins’ statement: “Ferguson, Militarization, Federal Jurisdiction in Police Brutality,” August 20, http://www.howiehawkins.org/ferguson_militarization_police_brutality) Continue reading “Greens speak out in the wake of the police shooting in Ferguson”

U.S. Women In Black: End U.S. Complicity in Israeli Occupation & War!

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!”

Livestream – GPUS Annual Meeting

If you are unable to make it to the  GPUS National Meeting, you can watch via live video Stream. You can also participate by discussing the issues with Greens across the nation via text. Just click the link below.
Thursday July 24  at 5:00pm EDT thru Sunday July 27

http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus

gpus livestream anm2014

Thank you Craig Seeman for sharing this on the GPFL Facebook page.

Beware of Israel

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.

American-teenager Tariq Abu KhdeirMohammad Hussein Abu Khdeir

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.

Jennifer Sullivan
Tampa area Green

Jennifer has been a West Coast Florida activist for the Green Party, since 1996.

Eye Witness report from Gaza. At least 100 attacks through the night.

By Dr. Mona El-Farra
Gaza’s Ark 8 July 2014

Last night and while Israeli army forces launched military attacks all over Gaza, by sea, air and artillery shelling, hundreds of thousands of children were unable to sleep inside their roof tinned homes, clinging to their parents, crying, terrified. The shelling of last night was so strong and went through the tiny strip from north to south, east and west. At least 100 attacks took place.

gazaunderattack-eyewitness by Dr Mona 7-2014

In Gaza we do not have shelters to escape to, during the attack.

These attacks come on top of a deteriorating economic situation. Right now it is Ramadan, the month of fasting and an increasing number of families have difficulty to get basic food, survival is a constant fight.

Thousands of government employees could not reach banks to have their salaries. I know the salaries are affected by internal problems between Fatah and Hamas, but the outcome is severe hardship – in the meantime the bombs keep dropping on top of our heads. The feeling of insecurity throws its shadow against all the population. Continue reading “Eye Witness report from Gaza. At least 100 attacks through the night.”