Category Archives: Billy’s Blog

Big Pharma & Kratom

Big Pharma’s BFF Hillary Clinton scored big favor with her financial backers by incorporating stealth product placement technique into the in the January 17, 2016 Democrat Campaign Debate, when she mentioned placing Narcan in the hands of all first responders. Her fans applauded even though they do not know what Narcan is. What started out as a product for a limited segment of trained first responders, e.g., paramedics, Narcan is on a path we all saw before toward mass marketing and production. Two months ago the FDA approved a nasal spray version of Narcan. IMO it will not be long before it is diluted and available by Rx and backed by mega-TV ad campaigns, followed by an over-the-counter version in 10 years.

Because of the market potential for Zubsolv, Subutex, and Suboxone, and products containing Naloxone, such as Narcan, a safe natural herbal remedy commonly referred to as Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa; indigenous to the rainforests of Southeast Asia) in several U.S. cities and states, including my home state of Florida. This is IMO, only; no hard proof is available to me to, but the facts speak for themselves. Kratom is as gentle as coffee and tea, Hillary Clinton is not.

That is why I am proud to be a non-partisan representative of Kratom importers, distributors, and users as a lobbyist before our state legislature, and as an attorney advocate before our federal agencies and the court. (There, I can play the product placement game, too.)

Kratom: The Sober Nightlife Choice of Many

Article written by Matt Wright and posted earlier today here.

It is a bright, sunny, day in Florida. All across the state people are enjoying the oddly perfect January weather. The people who have been living in the state for a while sit around in jeans and light jackets, while the tourists and snowbirds lounge around in shorts and t-shirts. The bars bustle with fans of the Patriots and the Chiefs as the two teams battle it out to find their way into the AFC Championship game. As the beers pour faster and faster, the energy in the bars grows more rabid, and soon two perfect strangers are yelling at each other about whether or not New England cheated, or whether or not Andy Reid is a coach who is capable of coaching a winning team. As the exchange grows more heated the wearied bartender tells them to leave, a recommendation the two angry, drunk, patrons refuse to comply with, and suddenly the local police have arrived in order to hand out trespass orders to the two, usually mild-mannered, citizens who have now embarrassed their friends and family. Continue reading Kratom: The Sober Nightlife Choice of Many

Understanding the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” Ballot Initiative Petition promoted by Regulate Florida.

Regulate Florida is seeking signatures on its constitutional ballot initiative titled, “Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, and Other Restrictions.” The 4-page petition seeks to end cannabis prohibition in Florida by enumerating certain rights and licensable privileges that the state must recognize. When reading Regulate Florida’s petition try to see its overall concept as web of negative rights relating to cannabis. As co-author of the petition I will be glad to respond here to any questions, comments or concerns about Regulate Florida’s petition’s text – whether pro, con, or indifferent. Please enter your comment or response below.

What is Wrong with the Ballot Initiative Petition Sponsored by Floridians For Freedom?

Year 2016 is the year of constitutional ballot initiative movements in Florida. I suspect the heightened participation in this citizen lawmaking option is the result of the unprecedented public awareness, fueled by high profile attorney John Morgan of what was commonly known as “Amendment 2” in 2014 – a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize access to medical marijuana for children and adults seeking treatment for debilitating medical conditions.

Despite Attorney Morgan’s vast resources of competent legal counsel on staff within his law firm, he engaged the legal services of the prominent constitutional law professor and Dean Emeritus of the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Director of the Center for Governmental Responsibility, former House Speaker, Jon L. Mills, Esquire, to draft the petition that would become known as Amendment 2 in 2014’s general election.

In 2013 Professor Mills “worked on ballot wording for months so it [would] pass Florida Supreme Court scrutiny,” said Ben Pollara, Director of United for Care, the organization that managed the rollout of Amendment 2 in 2014, and continues to do so for the 2016 general election. After a few minor revisions, the ballot is now entitled Ballot Initiative 15-01, sponsored by People United for Medical Marijuana, titled, “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions.”

Notwithstanding the diligence and brilliance of Professor Mills, Amendment 2 barely passed Florida Supreme Court review after a full day’s hearing of legal arguments presented by United for Care and trial counsel for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, in November 2013. By a narrow 4-3 ruling issued on January 27, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court rendered a 44-page majority opinion, plus concurring and dissenting opinions (84-pages overall) on its review of Professor Mills’ legal writing. Eighty-four pages! Eighty-four pages expressed by our state’s most learned legal minds. This stuff is not easy, despite the two-bit rhetoric of loudmouth critics who armchair-quarterback the legal profession.

Aside from People United for Medical Marijuana’s renewed (and so far very successful) second attempt to create access to cannabinoid therapy for Floridians of all ages who endure debilitating medical conditions, there are several new ballot initiatives aiming to get on the 2016 general election ballot. Each seek to allow access to marijuana for adults age 21 and up, without requirement to show a medical need. Two ballot petition initiatives in particular are competing for the same two limited resources: financial backing and boots on the ground to gather signatures.

Rather than unite their efforts to reach a common goal, likeminded people embarked on two different paths. One presents a comprehensive plan introduced by “Regulate Florida,” a team of 7 professionals behind Sensible Florida, Inc.’s “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” ballot initiative. The other initiative titled, the “Right of Adults to Cannabis,” is sponsored by a political action committee called Floridians For Freedom, associated with a longtime marijuana advocacy group, Florida Cannabis Action Network; chair, Jodi James. While the Regulate Florida ballot initiative is written on 4 pages in an 8.5 font, the “Right of Adults to Cannabis” ballot initiative is barely written; it is a mere 4 sentences long.

“Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” creates a rock solid plan that forces the legislature to act, does not violate the strict rules applicable to constitutional amendment language, creates minimum guarantees to access and possession, establishes 4 types of commercial licensing, and permits indoor home growing of six plants per adult household member, as of right now. The legislature can increase these mandates, but not go below them.

Regulate Florida modeled its initiative petition after Colorado’s Amendment 64. The success of Colorado’s Amendment 64 resulted in unprecedented reductions in crime, reduction in arrests, reduction in marijuana use by minors, created over 1,000 jobs, and generated $40 (forty) million in recreational marijuana taxes in 2014. Based on Florida’s demographics, those results have the potential to be tripled here.

The Florida Attorney General is charged with the duty under section 16.061, Florida Statutes, to petition the Supreme Court for an advisory opinion regarding the compliance of the text of the proposed amendment or revision with s. 3, Art. XI of the State Constitution and the compliance of the proposed ballot title and substance with s. 101.161, if the petition obtains 10% of the needed number of signatures. In so doing, the Attorney General will articulate a legal argument regarding any specific factual issues that the Attorney General believes would require a judicial determination. As a former and potential future candidate for the office of Attorney General, I publically express my legal opinions from time to time, because I think that is expected of persons who hold or have held themselves out for public office. The expression of relevant opinions provides a record upon which the qualifications of such citizen can be judged. I express my opinion below.

The undersigned blogger cautions all who consider donating time or money to the “Right of Adults to Cannabis” ballot initiative that while its brevity generates a feel-good moment, in this blogger’s opinion it stands no chance of surviving Florida Supreme Court scrutiny. At the end of the day the petition sponsored by Floridians For Freedom will not be on the ballot because it is a fatally flawed document. The undersigned blogger further cautions all who read the following opinion, that it is somewhat biased, as its author is also the primary author of the ballot initiative being advanced by Regulate Florida.

What is wrong with the ballot initiative petition sponsored by Floridians For Freedom (FFF)?

Part I: BALLOT TITLE: “RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS”

Part II: ARTICLE AND SECTION BEING CREATED OR AMENDED: “Article I, Section 28” Article I of the Florida Constitution preserves our most sacred rights as a free people. Article I enumerates the “Declaration of Rights” that “We, the people of the State of Florida, being grateful to Almighty God” … “do ordain and establish.” Among these rights are those of the highest order of self-preservation and manner of governance. For example, the titles of the 27 rights protected in Article I are Political Power, Basic Rights, Religious Freedom, Freedom of Speech and Press, Right to Assemble, Right to Work, Military Power, Right to Bear Arms, Due Process, Prohibited Laws, Imprisonment for Debt, Searches and Seizures, Habeas Corpus, Bail, Prosecution for Crime; Offenses Committed by Children, Rights of Accused, Excessive Punishments, Administrative Penalties, Costs, Treason, Trial by Jury, Right of Privacy, Access to Public Records and Meetings, Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, Claimant’s Right to Fair Compensation, and Marriage Defined1 . The mere titles of these sections of Article I speak for themselves as being Floridians’ inalienable rights.

FFF’s proposed “Right of Adults to Cannabis” is not of the same class as the other Article I enumerated rights and therefore does not belong in Article I. Floridians do not have a constitutional right to grow corn, soybeans, or tomatoes; nor to harvest citrus; nor raise tropical plants. Floridians do not have an inalienable right to cultivate any crop, nor to possess or use any product. Cannabis is no exception to this basic fact.

The Right of Adults to Cannabis does not belong in Article I, and such placement will reflect adversely when interpreting the intent of the drafter of FFF’s proposed amendment. For this improper designation alone, it may fail Supreme Court review.

Part III: FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT:

The First Paragraph: “All people in the State of Florida twenty-one years of age and older shall have the right under state laws to possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis. This right shall not be infringed except that the transfer of cannabis by purchase or sale may be regulated as necessary to ensure health and safety.”

The Second Paragraph: “‘Cannabis’ in this section is defined as all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not, and the seeds thereof.”

The Third Paragraph: “The provisions of this section are severable and if any clause or sentence of this measure, or an application thereof, is adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, other provisions shall continue to be in effect to the fullest extent possible.” The Third Paragraph presents a boilerplate severability clause. It is proper to include such and this one reads well. However, it must be clearly understood that this severance would only apply after the proposed amendment becomes law. The text of the ballot initiative cannot be cured by severance. Any change to an approved ballot initiative would result in voiding all votes obtained prior to the change and starting the petition initiation process over.

It informs the voters about marijuana for adult use, but does not disclose its hidden agenda to create an industrial hemp industry. Our case law on petition initiatives refers to this as “hiding the ball.”

It creates a right to use cannabis, but fails to define “use.” This will result in denial under the constitutional review doctrine known as “void for vagueness.”

It fails to disclose the collateral effects it would have on other aspects of Florida law. Indeed, it completely fails to mention what affect the amendment would have on any existing law whatsoever, resulting in an absolute constitutional bar against medicinal use of cannabis by persons under 21 (twenty-one) years of age.

It commingles multiple subjects, namely: (1) legalizing human consumption of cannabis; (2) creating an industrial hemp industry; and (3) nullifying current laws that allow medicinal use of cannabis by minors under physician care, in violation of the single-subject requirement contained in article XI, Section 3.

It further violates the single-subject rule in that the following statement is facially overbroad: “All people in the State of Florida 21 (twenty-one) years of age and older shall have the right under state laws to possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis.” When such over breadth exists, the single-subject rule is deemed to be violated as a matter of law.

It is facially ambiguous in that it permits possession and use, but does not permit sale and purchase. This violates the requirement that the substance of a public measure be printed in clear and unambiguous language under FS 101.161(1).

Its regulation provision is non-sequitur in that it merely asks the legislature to regulate cannabis, but they already do so. We have a low-THC law, a university research law, and a law allowing synthetic cannabis in pill-form called Marinol.

It does not give a start date or provide any implementation mechanism.

It amends Article I (Declaration of Rights) but is not of the same class as our other Article I enumerated rights. Article I preserves the highest order of self-preservation and manner of governance (e.g., due process, treason, military power, trial by jury). Floridians do not have an inalienable right to cultivate any crop, nor to possess or use any product. Cannabis is no exception to this basic fact.

It requires the legislature to regulate health and safety, but not the third element of the general welfare clause, i.e., to legislate for the well-being of the people (known as police power) resulting in a restrictive application of lawmaking for the public good, adverse to the federal general welfare clause. (Note: state constitutions must comply with the federal constitution.)

The Single-Subject Rule requirement contained in Article XI, section 3 of the Florida Constitution states that any . . . revision or amendment shall embrace but one subject and matter directly connected therewith. Ray v. Mortham, 742 So. 2d 1276, 1277 (Fla. 1999). The Ray court recognized that what may appear as a single-subject to one voter may appear as more than one to another. Id. at 1277. “‘Oneness,’ like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.” Id. The Ray court concludes that “[t]he obvious and unmistakable purpose underlying Article XI, section 3, is to reserve to the voters the prerogative to separately decide discrete issues. On how to apply the single-subject rule.

“Therefore, one way of deciding the question before us today is to determine whether the proposed initiative contains more than one separate issue about which voters might differ. In other words, is there at least one discrete, severable portion of the ballot language that reasonable voters might reject if given the choice, even while accepting the remainder of the ballot language? If the answer is yes, then this Court must find that the initiative contains more than one subject and lacks ‘oneness.’” Accord Evans v. Firestone, 457 So. 2d 1351, 1354 (Fla. 1984) (quoted in Ray v. Mortham, 742 So. 2d at 1288).

“The policy underlying this requirement is self-evident. Where reasonable voters may differ, then the voters should not be placed in the position of accepting an all-or-nothing grab-bag initiative. Each discrete issue should be placed separately on the ballot so that voters can exercise their franchise in a meaningful way. No person should be required to vote for something repugnant simply because it is attached to something desirable. Nor should any interest group be given the power to ‘sweeten the pot’ by obscuring a divisive issue behind separate matters about which there is widespread agreement.” Accord Evans v. Firestone (quoted in Ray v. Mortham, 742 So. 2d at 1288).

The Florida Supreme Court will readily recognize the potential voter confusion as to what the “chief purpose” of FFF’s proposed amendment is, as it is three-fold2 . By letting the people grow and introduce cannabis onto and into the human body, they are also giving carte blanche to cultivate hemp for industrial application. As a practical matter I know that some Florida voters would approve the advent of a hemp industry but not vote in favor of legalizing pot. Vice-versa, some Florida voters understand the need to regulate adult access to cannabis to, among other things, lower the incineration rate. But that same voter will ask him or herself, “When was the last time a Floridian went to jail for growing industrial hemp?” If at all, it was probably shortly after WW II. These voters would not see hemp as a pressing constitutional issue and might vote against that oneness of it, while other voters would vote for or against the oneness of its human consumption but against the advent of an industrial hemp industry. FFF managed to violate the single-subject rule with four sentences (under 200 words). Regulate Florida managed to avoid violating the single-subject rule despite its use of four pages containing 4,251 words.

Ballot Language must be Clear and Unambiguous; must not “hide the ball”. Section 101.161(1), Fla. Stat. (2012) requires that the substance of a public measure be printed in clear and unambiguous language on the ballot. The purpose of this requirement is to provide the voter with fair notice of the content of the proposed measure so that he or she will not be misled as to its purpose and may intelligently cast his or her vote. Matheson v. Miami-Dade Cnty., 40 Fla. L. Weekly D1267 (Fla. 3d DCA May 27, 2015). In Matheson, the appellant cites Armstrong v. Harris,  773 So. 2d 7 (Fla. 2000), in support of his position that the ballot language is misleading by “hiding the ball” and “flying under false colors.”

The Florida Supreme Court disagreed and stated that the ballot in Wadhams had the same problem as the ballot in Askew. Wadhams, 567 So. 2d at 416. The Court stated that the “chief purpose” of the referendum was not communicated to the voters:

By failing to contain an “explanatory statement” of the amendment, however, the ballot failed to inform the public that there was presently no restriction on meetings and that the “chief purpose” of the amendment was to curtail the Charter Review Board’s right to meet. Similar to the ballot summary at issue in Askew, the present ballot “is deceptive, because although it contains an absolutely true statement, it omits to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statement made not misleading.” Askew, 421 So. 2d at 158 (Ehrlich, J., concurring). The only way a voter would know what changes were being effected by an affirmative vote on the ballot would be to know what section 2.11 of the county charter provided prior to amendment. Asthen Judge Grimes noted in his dissent below: “[T]here was nothing on the ballot to inform the voter of the change to be accomplished by the amendment, which is the very reason why section 101.161(1) requires an explanatory statement.” 501 So. 2d at 124 (Grimes, J., dissenting). See also Kobrin v. Leahy, 528 So. 2d 392 (Fla. 3d DCA)(placement on ballot of proposition to provide that the board of county commissioners shall be the governing board of the fire and rescue service district, but making no mention of the elimination of the existing governing body of the Fire and Rescue District, was misleading to voters and violated section 101.161(1), especially in light of simultaneously conducted election of persons to the existing governing board), review denied, 523 So. 2d 577 (Fla. 1988).

Id. at 416-17 (emphasis in original).

Again, the ballot question in Wadhams was misleading because it failed to include the explanatory statement required by section 101.161(1), Florida Statutes, and thus failed to inform the voters of the “chief purpose” of the measure. FFF’s ballot question suffers the same defect. It purports to inform the voters about marijuana for adult use, but fails to define use. And by hiding the hemp ball, the proposed amendment fails to inform voters of its chief purpose.

In Wadhams v. Board of County Commissioners, 567 So. 2d 414 (Fla. 1990), the Board of County Commissioners of Sarasota County (the “Commissioners”) sought to amend a provision of the county charter governing the Charter Review Board (the “Board”), which is charged with reviewing the charter on a regular basis and recommending changes directly to the people. The text of the proposed amendment was printed in full on the ballot and provided inter alia that the Board would meet every four years. The Commissioners, however, neglected to mention on the ballot that the amendment would supersede an existing charter provision that allowed the Board to conduct unlimited meetings-i.e., the proposal was intended to curtail the Board’s right to meet. Armstrong v. Harris, 773 So. 2d 7, 19 (Fla. 2000). Both the trial and district courts approved the amendment; this Court quashed the district court decision. Id.

“Deception of the voting public is intolerable and should not be countenanced.” The purpose of section 101.161(1), Florida Statutes, is to assure that that electorate is advised of the meaning and ramifications of the proposed amendment. Because the ballot at issue failed to comply with . . . 101.161(1) the proposed amendments must be stricken.

Wadhams, 567 So. 2d at 417-18 (emphasis added).

Like the ballot language in Wadhams, the ballot language in the present case is defective for what it does not say: It does not tell voters the “chief purpose” of the amendment. Armstrong v. Harris, 773 So. 2d at 21.

Written by:

Bill Wohlsifer, Esquire
Tallahassee, Florida

1 Marriage defined is likely to be repealed due to subsequent U.S. Supreme Court holdings.

2 Aside from mixing human consumption of cannabis with its industrial uses, the third “chief purpose” of FFF’s proposed amendment is the nullification of medicinal access to cannabis by minors under physician care. This is likely an unintended consequence of the petition’s drafter’s failure to inform the voters of other laws that would be affected by the constitutional prohibition of cannabis use by persons under age 21.

End the War on Drugs

by Matt Wright

The War on Drugs has failed. There is simply no other way to put it. America has been dealing with over 70 years of prohibition and all that has truly been achieved is the increased influx of children illegally crossing America’s southernmost borders, and increased funding for excessively militarized police forces through federal grants. It is time that America calls an end to the drug war, and instead changes their approach for the betterment of society.

As the fascination for drugs has grown in America the business side of the industry has grown. People see the movies and TV shows focusing on narcotics and they see a life filled with opportunity. They see possibility. They see an industry with unwavering growth potential. They see a true free market in it’s purest form. This is a market that has only one regulation: drugs are illegal. The reward has grown greater than the risk, as people continue to search for control over their socio-economic future.

This $100 billion annual industry continues to grow, and cartels in other countries grow in numbers, power and strength, forcing the youth of these countries to search for safer pastures in other countries. America’s leaders continue to throw more money at the problem without attempting to solve the issue, which is to end prohibition on drugs. This would essentially end the illegal drug trade, and we could begin using the excess funds to increase public education and drug treatment.

Former Vice Presidential Candidate Judge Jim Gray stated that “Drug Prohibition has resulted in a greater loss of civil liberties than anything else in the history of our country.” He is correct. America leads in incarceration rates, most of which are due to non-violent drug offenses. He also points out that even though studies have proven that people of all races use drugs at basically the same rate, people of color are incarcerated at an exceptionally higher rate than those of Anglo decent.

By ending the so-called “War on Drugs” and releasing all criminals who have been incarcerated for committing non-violent crime we could free up jail space, and save tax payer money who are paying for the room and board of essentially an alcohol purveyor in the 1920s. The need for SWAT teams, which are essentially federally funded, would be reduced drastically saving federal dollars.

Once the War on Drugs in America ends the cartels no longer have the golden goose of American dollars funding their operations. This would then, in-turn, cut many terrorist organizations off at the knees.

Drug cartels are one of the greatest supporters of terrorist organizations. If America ends the drug war, cutting off the financial backing from American citizens to these cartels they will not be able to fund terrorist organizations. Essentially, by America ending the drug war, they will end the unintended American funding of terrorism across the globe.

This is obviously not something that will happen overnight. It will take time and in order for it to eventually happen, the right leaders have to be in place. It is important to elect the leaders who have the right vision in mind.

Bill Wohlsifer is a leader who has the right vision. He will begin by working to give clemency to all non-violent criminals currently imprisoned in Florida jails. Which will save the tax-payers of Florida money, and give new hope to people who previously had no vision for a future that was filled with anything other than a life of crime. With leaders like Mr. Wohlsifer America can finally end the War on Drugs, allowing families to be together, permitting free markets to grow, slowing down illegal immigration, and ultimately crippling terrorist organizations.

 

 

Matt Wright is a writer and political activist living in south Florida. He has a BS in communications and is currently working for the Bill Wohlsifer for Attorney General campaign. To hear more from Matt you can follow him on Twitter at @mrwright79 or like him on Facebook.

Equality and the League of Women Voters

Voters used to care if candidates received equal billing at election time, but those days seem long passed.  We the people have fallen into a disastrous pattern of a two party system, where even the people who clamor on about wanting equality fail to demand equality. In fact, they even defend inequality and have loaded voters with an arsenal of excuses on why they must vote for one of the two establishment parties.

“The other candidates aren’t polling well.” “I don’t really like either one, but unfortunately they are the only options I have been given to choose from.” “She believes this, and he believes that.” “I don’t really like either one, but unfortunately they are the only options I have been given to choose from. I must pick one.”

In most elections it ends up the equivalent of picking a vacation in the Bog of Eternal Stench or the Fire Swamp.

The problem we have in this country is that many of the groups out there working to inform the citizens of their options in the political process have become so inundated with the duopoly of the system they have forgotten the true nature of their purpose; to inform voters of their options. There are options out there other than the Republicans and the Democrats. The average voter, though, doesn’t know about these options because they are not being informed by the people they have been instructed to trust with this information.

When a group, such as the League of Women Voters, puts out a voters guide and it fails to provide information on all qualified candidates in the race it just proves they have fallen victim to the duopoly in this country they say they are striving to rise above. When the country is faced with a future oligarchy, taking the choice out of the voters’ hands and placing it in the hands of a select few who make deals in back rooms while holding back the citizens who lay wanting for freedoms, one would think equality between the candidates would be at the forefront of the activists groups who strive for equality.

Groups such as these use phrases such as nonpartisan, which is a blatant lie, because they show themselves to be partisan in many different fashions. Yes, they have worked hard to find equality for their core demographic, but shouldn’t the end goal be equality for all those in America? Doesn’t their blatant disregard for any political party that doesn’t begin with an “R” or a “D” show their intrinsic bias toward any candidate who may stand for a more universal equality than the options they allow their followers to learn about?

If these groups actually stood for, and believed in, equality, they wouldn’t disregard candidates who were qualified and give childish excuses for their actions. Instead, they would place these names on the voter guides next to the candidates names of who they have been programmed to educate the voters.

Matt Wright is a writer and political activist living in south Florida. He has a BS in communications and is currently working for the Bill Wohlsifer for Attorney General campaign. To hear more from Matt you can follow him on Twitter at @mrwright79 or Like him on Facebook.

Kava and Kratom:New Options for Florida’s Health Freedom

There has been a new fad that has been sweeping the nation in recent years. This is the recent fad of kava bars opening up in cities nationwide, many of them to great fanfare and with a base of regulars already waiting at the wings. What is it about this new trend that has so many people jumping at the chance to drink what could possibly be just the next in a line of short-lived trends that never seem to grab hold of the general public, like oxygen-bars, or nap-pods?

First, to understand the appeal, one must understand exactly what these bars serve, which is primarily drinks made out of Kava root and kratom leaves. These drinks come with different benefits, according to those who serve them up, such as Hailey B, who is a local purveyor of kava and kratom at Low Tide Lounge in Pinellas County, FL.

image78-150x150
Kratom is a plant from South East Asia and the South Pacific, and a derivative of the coffee tree.

Kratom is the leaf of the kratom tree, a relative of the coffee tree, that comes from South East Asia, and the South Pacific, and has more anti-oxidants than green tea. It has been known to help with pain relief, lowering blood pressure, increasing sexual performance and desire, as well as aiding in opiate and alcohol withdrawal. It also promotes overall happiness and increases a positive work ethic.

Gabi M., another barista at Low Tide Lounge, turned me on to an article by Barbara Lago at the University of Mississippi, who wrote that through testing Dr. Christopher McCurdy concluded kratom has shown positive benefits for addicts who are searching for alternative methods of rehabilitation. Ms. Lago quotes Dr. McCurdy in the article, stating “kratom has long been used for coughs, diarrhea, muscle aches and pain…and has been used to wean people off (opium).”

Kava also hails from the same region of the planet, and many of the people who enjoy one, often will enjoy the other, although mixing Kava with alcohol is not recommended by those who sell the beverage. Kava has been shown to prevent migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, muscle pain, and for certain cancer prevention. It has also been shown to to relieve anxiety, stress, restlessness, and insomnia.

Kava and kratom appear to be more than just another way for people to achieve a sense of heightened consciousness. Maybe those who drink it regularly are looking toward their futures, as opposed to achieving a buzz for that evening. It could be those who enjoy the muddy-flavored beverages on a regular basis are more concerned with the stabilized euphoric feeling and long term health benefits as opposed to the instant gratification, and long term negative harm, caused by alcohol.

It has been shown to give more energy with a smaller crash than coffee.
It has been shown to give more energy with a less severe crash than coffee.

David DiSalvo, of Forbes Magazine and The Daily Brain website, wrote on his blog about kratom and the effects he noticed he experienced while he was experimenting with different brands. He wrote that he started taking the product in the morning and noticed a burst of energy, much like a “strong cup of coffee,” but he never experienced the caffeine crash that is generally associated with coffee drinkers. He also stated that following the initial burst of energy was a period of relaxation, while falling short of “being sedating.” He also stated he saw no reason to ban the substance if anyone can walk into a Starbucks and buy a large cup of coffee, which he feels is more potent than kratom.

Although, just as with any new fad there are those who feel the need to regulate the industry or to banish the plants entirely. We know of the beneficial aspects of these plants, and while they both cause euphoria-like side effects there is little evidence that has supported any reason to regulate them with anything more than age-limits and labeling laws.

Recently there has been a lot of focus on the health freedoms of the people in Florida. Do they have the right to decide what course of medical treatment they take? While kava and kratom may not be at the forefront of the debate, they are just more examples of naturally-created, medically beneficial options for Floridians who may not want to use synthetic medicines such as Oxycontin, Roxicet, Lortab/Vicodin, or Xanax.

Bill Wohlsifer supports the freedoms of individuals to discover and create new potential markets and products in a free market society, where people have the right to make their own decisions when it comes to their health. He also promises that without quantifiable evidence showing public harm he will not add natural remedies on the controlled substances list.

Mr. Wohlsifer has been quoted as saying, “When it comes to healing or nourishing the body, I endorse holistic, spiritual, dietary, pharmaceutical and surgical treatments. I have personally found value in each.”

For more information about kratom, and its multiple benefits, be sure to check out the video at the link below:

http://vimeo.com/97798130

 

Matt Wright is a writer and political activist living in south Florida. He has a BS in communications and is currently working for the Bill Wohlsifer for Attorney General campaign. To hear more from Matt you can follow him on Twitter at @mrwright79 or Like him on Facebook.

3 Way AG Race Shapes Up according to Sunshine State News

Florida’s AG Race Shapes Up as Candidates Maneuver for Ground

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: September 3, 2014 3:55 AM

Bill Wohlsifer, Pam Bondi, George Sheldon

Bill Wohlsifer, Pam Bondi, George SheldonHide

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and her opponents are squaring off in the most competitive statewide election in the Sunshine State outside the gubernatorial contest, and they spent recent days maneuvering for position and looking ahead toward holding debates.

Read the whole article here.