Republicans and Northwest Florida Water – Step II

This article is a follow-up to Republicans and Northwest Florida Water – Part I

Enter Jay Trumbull, Republican candidate for State Representative, District 6.

The Trumbull family has been in the bottled water and water conditioning business for over 4 generations now, and the family owns 7 Culligan dealerships in north Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. The seat Jay Trumbull is running for was previously held by Jimmy Patronis, whose family is partnered with the Trumbull family in a bottled-water company called Econfina that each month produces 60,000 five-gallon bottles of water and 120,000 half-liter bottles of water from Gainer Spring.

While in office as the State representative for District 6, Jimmy Patronis sponsored and fought for passage of HB 703, which prohibits local governments from enforcing certain wetlands, springs or storm water protections – ultimately taking the decision-making powers and control of our local water out of the hands of local governments, and giving the control to politicians in Tallahassee. It also decreases air and water pollution controls to allow for more lenient standards. What this means is that politicians in south and central Florida will have the ability to make decisions about northwest Florida water. This is a sweet deal for those in the bottled water business, or for mining and oil companies that need hundreds of thousands of gallons of water for their mining and fracking operations. This bill also leaves the door open for northwest Florida water to be piped to south and central Florida, and prevents local government from raising objections to the industrial and agricultural run-off that will ultimately result in increased pollution in our rivers, coastal waters, and aquifer.

While Jimmy Patronis is term limited, and can not run for State Representative in this election cycle, it is important to note that many of the same businesses that have contributed to Patronis’s campaign in the past are now contributing to Trumbull’s campaign. In general, voters believe that term limits are a good idea; however, term limits provide a false sense of security to the voting public. Though an individual may be prohibited from holding a public office indefinitely under term limits, corporations can contribute indefinitely to a “line” of candidates that support favorable regulatory changes. This means that it’s more important than ever for voters to do their homework in researching candidates for public office – both past and present – to pick up trails of corporate support between candidates. See the donations from the bottling beverage industry for Patronis, shown below:

500.00 Bear Cindi F (Beverage Distributor) – Pensacola, FL
500.00 Bear David M (Beverage Distribution – Pensacola, FL

500.00 Bear Belle Y (Beverage Distribution) – Gulf Breeze, FL
500.00 Bbear, Jr, Lewis (Beverage Distribution) – Gulf Breeze, FL
500.00 The LewisBear Company (Beverage Distribution) – Pensacola, FL (more than one donation)
500.00 Trumbull Jay (Bottled Water Distribution) Panama City Beach, FL
500.00 Ttrumbull Bottled water, Inc – Panama City, FL
500.00 Culligan Water Solutions – Ft Walton, FL

500.00 Gold Coast Beverage Distributors – Doral, FL (more than one donation)
500.00 MillerCoors, LLC – Milwaukee, WI
500.00 Anheuser Busch (Brewing Co) – St Louis, MS

Patronis also received sizable donations from construction companies, petroleum companies, and developers as far away as California, Texas, Illinois, Virginia, Washington, and Kansas.

A look at the campaign donations to Jay Trumbull show a large number of donations from the same bottled water companies and beverage distributors, with at least one being from out of state. These include:

1,000.00 Trumbull Water Services of NW Florida – Panama City, FL
1,000.00 Culligan Water Solutions – Ft Walton, FL
1,000.00 Trumbull Bottled Water Inc – Panama City, FL

1,000.00 Consolidated Water Group, LLC – Ocala, FL
500.00 Gold Coast Beverage Distributors – Doral, FL
506.70 Emerald Coast Bottling – Panama City, FL
500.00 MillerCoors, LLC – Milwaukee, WI
500.00 Bear, David M. (Beverage Distribution) – Pensacola, FL
1,000.00 The Lewis Bear Company – Ebro, FL
500.00 Gold Coast Beverage Distributors – Doral, FL
500.00 Florida Independent Spirits AS – Tallahassee, FL

Trumbull has also received sizable donations from many of the same construction companies, petroleum companies, and developers from as far away as Nebraska, Pennsylvania, California, and Kansas that Patronis has received donations from. The amount of money Trumbull has collected from the beverage industry alone is almost as much as collected by his all competitors combined: Jamie Shepard ($10,152), Jerry Wyche ($300), and Henry Lawrence ($1,230).

Though they should be representing the best interests of the people of Bay County, Trumbull and Patronis have both taken donations in the maximum amount allowable under the law from interests not only outside of Bay County, but from interests located outside of Florida. The amount Trumbull has received to date (29, August 2014) from out of state corporate interests has far surpassed the combined amount of donations for the other three candidates. The citizens of Bay County need to be asking their candidates hard questions about where their candidates are getting their political contributions from, and they need to wonder why companies located thousands of miles from Bay County have an interest in supporting a candidate whose district includes only Bay County. Water bills like HB 703 and H.R 5078 leave our pristine waterways and aquifer unprotected by local government, and up for sale to the highest bidder via Tallahassee. We are at a precarious crossroad in northwest Florida, and the people of Bay County need to ask the citizens of Lake County how the corporate takeover of their fresh water springs has worked out for them.

Water bottling companies understand exactly how valuable clean water is. They take our water, purify it, bottle it, then sell it back to us at greatly inflated prices. Southerland’s bill to take the power to protect our water away from the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers, and hand it not to local government, but to Tallahassee, is going to make potable water a much more valuable commodity in the future. Water profiteers stand to gain the most, and they are actively engaging in the politics that guarantee we will all be paying a premium price for clean water in the future. The choice is ours, we can stop this now with our vote.

For Further Reading

Orlando Sentinel – Emerging water plan muddied by bottled water
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-02-10/news/os-water-war-central-florida-20140210_1_water-plan-aquifer-water-floridan-aquifer

Herald Tribune – Environmentalists on edge over regulation bill
http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2014/03/31/bill-environmentalists-edge/

Florida Division of Elections Candidate Tracking -
http://election.dos.state.fl.us/candidate/candidate-index.shtml

1000 Friends of Florida
http://www.1000friendsofflorida.org/2014-florida-legislative-session/hb-703/

Florida spring photo 2011

This image is protected under Creative Commons, and may not be used without permission.

The Green Party of the United States has been actively working to get Citizen’s United repealed. We are forbidden via bylaws from accepting corporate money. This means that when a Green candidate is elected to office we represent you. The Green Party of Bay County, FL is promoting Henry Lawrence for State Representative, District 6. You can read more about Lawrence here, and donate to his campaign here.

The Fallacy of the Medical Marijuana Movement – A Pharmacist’s Perspective

Please note: The following article does not necessarily represent the views of the Green Party of the United States, or the Green Party of Florida. This article is published by the Green Party of Bay County, Florida to provide a different perspective on Amendment 2, and is provided by a respected professional in the health care field. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

This article is published by the Green Party of Bay County, Florida with permission and may not be published in whole or in part without the express permission of the author. Contact baygreens@outlook.com for more information.

medical marijuanamedical marijuanamedical marijuana

The premise for legalizing the use of marijuana is the belief that there is a duty to relieve suffering. Many who currently use marijuana illegally do so, they say, because it relieves suffering in ways legal medications cannot.

Dronabinol, a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol (an active ingredient in marijuana), was approved by the FDA almost three decades ago. Originally, Dronabinol was approved for use in controlling nausea and vomiting in individuals being treated with chemotherapy, and it has since received approval to improve appetite for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients. This synthetic component, which is identical to the highly purified component of marijuana at the molecular level, has been studied and used to treat a variety of other ailments, with limited success, in populations of patients for whom other conventional therapies have had limited or no success. Epidiolex (a plant derived cannabidiol without tetrahydrocannabinol) was approved by the FDA as an “orphan drug” for intractable epilepsy in November 2013. Epidiolex is the highly purified extract touted in “Charlotte’s Webb” and is currently being legally used with the federal government’s and FDA’s approval by over 400 patients.

When prescribing Dronabinol or Epidiolex for a patient, the prescriber can do so knowing that the quality, dose, and means of administering the medication are known, and can thus be controlled, this control gives the prescriber the ability to effectively maximize the results of the prescribed medication with a minimal dosage. This is important for a couple of reasons:
1. It helps prevent intolerance which will eventually render a medication useless.
2. It helps to minimize the negative side-effects from other compounds that may be present. The prescriber can rest assured knowing that the patient is receiving only the active ingredient needed for his/her condition without the patient also ingesting the harmful compounds found in marijuana (ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and several nitrogen-related compounds.)

Marijuana leaves, flowers and extracts have been found to contain more than 480 potentially active pharmacological compounds. Although any one of these compounds might be the most effective treatment we currently have for a particular medical condition, the body is unnecessarily exposed to more than 479 other compounds – each of which may interact with other medications the patient is already taking. These compounds may also produce adverse reactions that appear suddenly, or they may appear several years after ingestion.

The Food and Drug Administration’s primary mission for over 90 years has been to promote and protect the public health under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Public Health Service Act; until there is assurance that marijuana meets the standards of the FDA, it should not be approved for medicinal purposes.

Current FDA approved medications can, and many certainly do, have drug interactions and adverse effects; however, most medications are single-entity compounds that have been studied extensively under controlled conditions, with fairly predictable results. The prescriber and pharmacist can be confident that they are providing a medication that maximizes the benefits of the medication while minimizing the risk(s) of said medication. The appropriateness of any medication prior to dispensing it to a patient is always evaluated by a pharmacist who has completed four years of rigorous in-depth study in pharmacology, and who is registered and licensed to practice pharmacy in the state of Florida. This evaluation includes a cross-check of other medications the patient is currently taking for potential interactions of over the counter and prescription medications, as well an overview of the patient’s personal history of medical conditions, allergies, sensitivities, and a general knowledge of the patient’s history of compliance with medical therapy to ensure the likelihood that the medication will be safe and effective as prescribed.

This is not done with medical marijuana. I recently had a conversation with a dispensary employee engaged in selling medicinal marijuana to a client. The employee was legally permitted by his state to sell marijuana to a client, who had asthma, based on the recommendation of a non-board certified physician to treat chest pain. The dispensary employee had explained to the patient that by smoking marijuana, the diaphragm would relax, making it easier for the asthma patient to breathe. When the dispensary employee was told the patient experienced respiratory distress immediately following the inhalation of the marijuana smoke, the employee who had sold the marijuana to the patient admitted that he had no formal education or training in medical conditions or therapies, and in fact was a high school drop out.

Many of the proponents of medical marijuana are not so much interested in marijuana as a medical treatment, but rather consider the legalization of marijuana as a medicine to be the easiest path to the decriminalization of marijuana as a recreational drug. Studies have shown that many of the people who use medical marijuana for treatment of medical conditions have exaggerated their medical complaints, did not have the reported medical condition, or were non-compliant with other medications or medical treatments for the very same condition for which they were seeking the use of medical marijuana. Many of these patients have never seen a physician who specializes in the area of medicine that could best treat their condition. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the majority of recommendations used to dispense marijuana at dispensaries in one state were from doctors who were not currently board certified in the area of medicine specializing in the condition that it (medical marijuana) was being recommended for. The National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators has found that the processes used by dispensaries to verify the legitimacy of the patient, usage, and recommendation are so lax there is a greater risk of inappropriate use or diversion than if a pharmacy and pharmacist was involved in the dispensing process.

If this is true, then why are pharmacies and pharmacists not involved in the process of dispensing a drug that has been legalized by the state when pharmacies and pharmacists are also licensed by the state – and licensed specifically to dispense medications? Well, the answer comes down to money, and the cooperation of the Federal government.

Prescriptions filled in pharmacies are not subject to taxation at the rate that recommendations of medicinal marijuana are when they are filled by marijuana dispensaries, nor are all of the governmental fees that are normally associated with the process of producing and delivering the goods to the consumer imposed. This is facilitated by a good cop/ bad cop relationship between the state and federal government with regards to controlled substance regulations.

As a health care professional, I would like to see the government allow and encourage studies of the 400+ components of marijuana for various medical conditions and insure profitability to those who invest in the research if that research proves beneficial to the public. If medical marijuana went through the same regulatory channels that every other legitimate medication must go through before it is offered to the public by a physician who specializes in the area for which the marijuana is prescribed, and by a pharmacy that is licensed to legally dispense it – the same safe-guards would be assured for the patient and community that every other prescription medication offers.

As a professional in the field of medicine, I am concerned about the breach of trust that currently protects the medical community and their patients. The goal of these protections is to promote and protect the overall health of the general public from fraud, poor medical counseling by professionals, and the dispensing of incorrect information by untrained individuals – Amendment 2, as it is written, is a throwback to the old days of snake oil sold by traveling hucksters, and is ultimately bad for public health.

By Karl Metzger, DPh

For further reading:

About Amendemnt 2, Ballotpedia:  http://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Right_to_Medical_Marijuana_Initiative,_Amendment_2_%282014%29

Full text of Amendment 2:  http://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_2_%282014%29,_Full_Text_of_Constitutional_Changes

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Republicans and Northwest Florida Water – Step I

When choosing a person to represent our area at the state level, it’s important to choose a person of good character and who will represent our area in a manner that promotes economic development while preserving the way of life and the environment that is uniquely northwest Florida.

All candidates in the race to become the next State Representative of District 6, which encompasses most of Bay County are of good character, and have proven track records in helping Bay County become a better place to live, that much is indisputable: however, to judge the full extent of a candidates interest in becoming the representative for District 6, it’s important to look more deeply, taking in more than just their community involvement.

Northwest Florida is a treasure trove of valuable natural resources, and two of the most valuable are our pristine land and our fresh water. There is no other place in Florida that still has the abundant undeveloped land and plentiful fresh water that northwest Florida has. People in this area understand just how important these resources are, and we have worked to protect our resources even as oil, and construction companies from outside our area eye northwest Florida for development. Many people in northwest Florida hunt and fish for food, just like their ancestors before them, and we are fortunate to be in an area that can sustain the people that live here. That we have managed our resources well in northwest Florida is evidenced by the fact that we are not suffering the ill effects of low aquifer levels the way south and central Florida are.

There is currently a two-step effort on the part of Republicans at both the state and national levels to wrest control of northwest Florida’s fresh water away from the people of northwest Florida, and hand control of our water over to private for-profit corporations.

Congressman Steve Southerland has sponsored H.R. 5078, a bill that reduces EPA regulation over runoff from farms, requires federal regulators to ask permission of states regarding which bodies of water should be federally regulated, and prohibits EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from expanding regulatory authority over bodies of water.

On the surface, this bill seems to protect the rights of northwest Floridians to make decisions regarding bodies of water in northwest Florida. But does it really? In fact, the bill does not give northwest Floridians guardianship over our water – it gives bureaucrats in Tallahassee the authority to manage and regulate our water.

In northwest Florida we depend on fresh and salt water for life, recreation, and for our tourist economy. Local fishermen and oyster-men depend on it for their livelihood. There is a real, documented connection between agricultural run-off and algae bloom. When Steve Southerland fights for the right of farmers and gulf course owners to allow an unlimited amount of their petro-chemical and agri-chemical run-off to pollute rivers and streams that eventually empty into into the Gulf of Mexico, he is killing the fishing industry not only in Florida, but in all of the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. The northwest Florida aquifer is also affected when those agricultural chemicals leach down through the permeable limestone. H.R. 5078 is a clear nod of approval to the corporate interests that have put huge amounts of money into Southerland’s campaign coffers, and it’s clear that he’s got their back – but who is watching out for the people of northwest Florida?

This image is protected under Creative Commons, and may not be used without permission.

This image is protected under Creative Commons, and may not be used without permission.

For further reading

Tampa Bay Times – State environmental chief, Gov. Rick Scott shaking up water management districts
http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/water/state-environmental-chief-gov-rick-scott-shaking-up-water-management/1189732

Full text of H.R. 5078
https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/5078/text

EPA – Harmful Algae Blooms
http://www2.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms