Category Archives: Press Coverage

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Billy discussing Bitcoin, digital technology, and Clearvoter on Tallahassee Talks with Brien Sorne – 93.3FM Freedom Radio, Tallahassee, FL

Tally Talks

Billy on Clearvoter on Tally talks

Billy discussing Bitcoin, digital technology, and Clearvoter on Tallahassee Talks with Brien Sorne – 93.3FM Freedom Radio, Tallahassee, FL

 

Fast forward to 14:12, for anyone who wants to here Bill Wohlsifer’s Radio Interview that aired on June 30th. Guaranteed to keep you awake if you have any interest in debt collection, bankruptcy, or Bitcoin.

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

EPA stepped back, while opposition ramps up against Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline

This PR was originally posted on 12/18/2015 and can be found here

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EPA stepped back, while opposition ramps up against Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline

Hahira and Albany, Georgia, December 18, 2015— (PDF) Mysteriously contradicting a substantive October letter from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 in Atlanta, a different EPA branch last Friday sent a brief and sketchy letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uncritically accepting what Sabal Trail’s attorney’s told it, even as multiple environmental and landowner organizations filed objections with the Corps and multiple state agencies against that invading natural gas pipeline.

“I smell a skunk,” said Frank Jackalone, senior organizing manager, Sierra Club of Florida.

Tim Carroll, Valdosta City Council member, said, “I don’t understand how EPA and FERC can say there will not be a negative impact on our environment, aquifer, streams and rivers. A number of experts testified and spoke up saying the likelihood is very high that there could be damage to the aquifer and the environment. Why would we want to allow this to happen, to run the risk of seriously degrading one of the best water resources in the world.,” Valdosta, Moultrie, and Albany, the three biggest cities along the pipeline path in Georgia, all passed resolutions against Sabal Trail, as did the counties of Terrell, Dougherty, Colquitt, Brooks, and Lowndes, in Georgia, and Hamilton and Suwannee Counties in Florida.

“The one government agency actually defending our drinking in the Floridan Aquifer and the many rivers in Georgia and Florida just stifled itself,” said John S. Quarterman, President of WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS). WWALS advocates for the Withlacoochee River and Okapilco Creek in south Georgia and the upper Suwannee River in north Florida, all of which Sabal Trail proposed to drill under.

Jackalone added, “This sudden, 180-degree reversal raises the question of whether the pipeline’s powerful investors pulled political strings to get EPA to back away from the objections it raised a few months ago in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”

That same Friday, December 11th, WWALS filed four pages of opposition with the Corps, and the Corps got a 38-page letter from Atlanta environmental law firm Greenlaw, representing the Sierra Club, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, the Flint Riverkeeper, the Kiokee-Flint Group, Environment Florida, Our Santa Fe River Inc., Earth Ethics, Inc., Gulf Restoration Network, and the Florida Clean Water Network, incorporating by reference all previous comments or information submitted by any of those organizations or by WWALS.

Also that Friday, Judge Bram D.E. Canter ruled for Sabal Trail and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in a case WWALS brought to stop FDEP from issuing a permit for Sabal Trail to drill under the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers and the Suwannee River State Park. Florida law says those rivers are supposed to receive higher protection as Outstanding Florida Waters, as are state lands, as WWALS pointed out in a three-day hearing.

“I’m not sure if they read the transcript or what happened,” said Leighanne Boone, WWALS co-counsel along with William R. Wohlsifer of Tallahassee, Florida. “But I definitely felt we showed expert testimony of irreversible impacts.” Boone and Wohlsifer are already working up exceptions to file to the judge’s Order, and the WWALS board is contemplating its options for appeal.

Meanwhile in Georgia, many of the same organizations are opposing Sabal Trail’s application for an air quality permit for a compressor station in Albany from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and provisional easements for drilling under Georgia rivers that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources board voted in September.

EPA’s about-face also happened shortly before FERC today published its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) about Sabal Trail and its two companion pipelines.

“I hope Georgia will protect the aquifer and the rivers since the feds don’t seem to be able to get their act together,” said Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper, “We don’t call it the Sinkhole Trail Pipeline for nothing; it doesn’t belong in the Floridan Aquifer.”

“We see no reason to risk local citizens’ property, or taxes, or their drinking water, or any part of the ecology for the profit of a company from some other state,” said Quarterman, “Georgia is already the fastest-growing U.S. solar market, and solar power will bring far more jobs to Georgia and Florida than any pipeline ever would, with no need for eminent domain, no risk to our water, and far faster, cheaper, and safer.”

About WWALS

WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS), a Waterkeeper® Alliance Affiliate and a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 2012, advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Upper Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. All the documents referenced are linked into this WWALS web page:http://www.wwals.net/issues/stt/

Contact:

John S. Quarterman, President
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.
229-242-0102
wwalswatershed@gmail.com
www.wwals.net
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632

Gordon Rogers
Flint Riverkeeper
(229) 435-2241
Gordon@flintriverkeeper.com
www.flintriverkeeper.org
211 North Jefferson Street, Suite 8
Albany, GA. 31701

###

Scott administration helped keep scathing EPA pipeline report out of legal challenge

This article was originally posted this story on 11/25/2015 here.

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott’s top environmental agency helped block a scathing federal report outlining environmental concerns from being submitted as part of a challenge to a controversial natural gas pipeline that would run across some of Florida’s most “environmentally sensitive areas.”

The Sabal Trail pipeline, a joint venture of Spectra Energy, Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light Co.’s parent company, would extend 515 miles from central Alabama to Osceola County. The project, which covers more than 260 miles in Florida, faces a legal challenge to a state permit in Florida from an environmental group named the WWALS Watershed Coalition.

On Oct. 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, saying it had “very significant concerns” about the process of choosing a route because of the threat of pollution to the Floridan Aquifer and the impact on conservation areas.

Four days later, the WWALS Watershed Coalition asked Administrative Law Judge Bram D.E. Canter to take judicial notice of the EPA objections.

But the Florida Department of Environmental Protection joined Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC in objecting, and Canter refused the request.

A spokeswoman for the DEP, which is overseen by Scott’s office, was twice asked whether the permit should be re-evaluated in light of the EPA comments. Each time, she answered with a statement that neither acknowledged nor addressed the EPA concerns.

John Quarterman, president of the WWALS Watershed Coalition, told POLITICO Florida that the permit never should not be issued because of concerns about the project. WWALS refers to the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Upper Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida.

“It would be nice if they [DEP officials] decided on their own to not issue the permit,” Quaterman said. “I can’t say I’d be exactly holding my breath for that to happen.”

In 2009, Florida Power & Light Co. petitioned the Florida Public Service Commission to build a 280-mile natural gas pipeline to serve its Cape Canaveral and Riviera Beach electric generating units. The PSC denied the petition because it said it was not shown to be the most cost effective alternative, but the commission also said the pipeline was needed to meet future energy needs.

The Sabal Trail pipeline project was announced in 2013 as a joint venture to serve Florida Power & Light Co. and Duke Energy of Florida plants beginning in May 2017. Later that year, the PSC approved a request by Florida Power & Light to recover costs for the project from its customers.

In July, the Department of Environmental Protection said it intended to issue a state environmental resource permit for the project, which will affect 408 acres of wetlands. In August, the state Acquisition and Restoration Council granted approval for the pipeline to cross nearly 100 acres of state parks, state forests and state recreation trails. In some cases the pipeline will be drilled under rivers.

Meanwhile, permit applications are pending with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the pipeline and with the Army Corps of Engineers for wetlands and waterway impacts.

A hearing on the state permit challenge was held in mid-October, before the EPA issued its comment letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

At the same time, political opposition to the pipeline was building in Georgia. On Oct. 23, four Georgia congressmen sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission raising concerns about the threat of health and safety risks to disadvantaged black communities where the pipeline crosses.

The commission is obligated to consider environmental justice issues involving the pipeline, wrote Democratic U.S. Reps. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., John Lewis, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. and David Scott.

“Apart from the above legal considerations, common sense would suggest that a pipeline carrying a highly flammable substance and a massive polluting industrial facility should not be placed in any residential community, much less an environmental justice community,” they wrote. They also raised concerns about the region’s vulnerable geology of karst limestone that resemble Swiss cheese with its porous rock and watery passages.

In the Oct. 26 EPA comment letter, Christopher A. Militscher, chief of the agency’s NEPA Program Office, raised concerns about threats in Florida to springs and the Floridan Aquifer and “sensitive and vulnerable” karst geology as well as environmental justice communities. And the project, he noted, will affect 177 acres of numerous conservation areas in the three states, including Florida’s Green Swamp.

“The EPA recommends that the FERC re-evaluate its environmental alternatives analysis for routes that avoid environmentally sensitive areas including jurisdictional wetlands, conservation areas, (environmental justice) communities and sensitive karst terrain areas prior to proceeding with a final EIS (environmental impact statement),” Militscher wrote.

And an attached report with the letter raised numerous concerns about how the pipeline could be damaged by sinkhole collapse and cause contamination of springs and waterways. The report also noted that gas pipeline explosions in other states had left behind huge craters.

“The creation of craters in a sensitive, vulnerable aquifer such as the Floridan Aquifer are a problem to be avoided,” the EPA report said. “FERC provides no assurances with its route selection or karst mitigation that crater creation will be avoided.”

Four days later, the WWALS Watershed Coalition, in its legal challenge to the DEP permit, formally asked Canter to take “judicial notice” of the document in the challenge to the state permit. The group said the flow of the Suwannee River and other waterways could be affected by the pipeline.

“This is significant new evidence that was not available at the time of the expedited hearing,” the motion said.

On Nov. 2, Sabal Trail Transmission filed a motion arguing that the opponents had an opportunity to present facts during an earlier hearing and should not be allowed to retry the case. DEP joined Sabal Trail Transmission LLC in opposition to the opponents’ motion.

The EPA comment letter “is not an excuse to untimely request a second bite at the litigation apple,” the company wrote in its motion.

In denying the environmental group’s request, Canter said that taking notice of the EPA concerns would not have established their validity.

“The fact that EPA expressed concerns to FERC is not material in this state administrative proceeding,” he wrote on Nov. 9.

And Sabal Trail Transmission LLC told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that many of the issues raised by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency don’t apply to the limited commission proceedings under the federal Natural Gas Act or EPA review under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The DEP spokeswoman who twice was asked whether the state, as a result of the EPA letter, should continue moving forward on the permit responded only that the operation had been reviewed to ensure that the pipeline operation protects the environment along with human health and safety.

“The department’s (DEP) intent to issue was based on the determination that the application met all requirements under Florida law, and in this case, DEP determined the applicant demonstrated reasonable assurance that the state’s wetlands and water resources would be protected,” spokeswoman Lori Elliott said.

A Sabal Transmission LLC spokeswoman said the company now is coordinating concerns with state and federal agencies and is not considering changing the proposed project or route.

Spokeswoman Andrea Grover also pointed to the company’s Nov. 9 response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that addresses the EPA letter and other comments, while adding, “Sabal Trail remains on target to begin construction (in the) second quarter next year.”

In its response to the commission, Sabal Trail argued that a key point for the commission to consider is whether there is a market need for the project. Sabal Trail has said the project is needed to improve reliability for the fdelivery of clean-burning natural gas to power plants.

The National Environmental Policy Act, under which the federal EPA was reviewing the project, allows the commission and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider environmental impacts but not redefine the underlying purpose and need for the project, Lisa A. Connolly, general manager of rates and certificates, wrote in the response.

Bill On Tennessee Talks with Brien Soren 11/8/2015

Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer will talk with Brien about the ongoing effort to establish a Florida constitutional amendment legalizing the use of marijuana. As a board member of Sensible Florida, Bill will bring us up to date on the latest activities related to this effort. Listen live on the radio at a special day and time this Sunday, November 8th on Tallahassee’s Freedom93 WVFT 93.3FM from noon to 2pm. Or listen live on the web: http://www.freedom93fm.com/. Can’t listen live? No problem! Go to: http://www.live365.com/stations/alcomentertainment Saturday night at 9:30pm. Available as a podcast too. Go to http://www.tallahasseetalks.com/listen/pod/.

 

November 7th 2015 – Bill Wohlsifer, local attorney and Skip Foster, Tallahassee Democrat Publisher

Regulate Florida Fights For Marijuana Regulation – September 24th, 2015


This was originally posted on CannabisRadio.com on September 24th, 2015. The original article can be found here.

 

William R. Wohlsifer, PA attorney, joins the State of Cannabis to discuss his group called Regulate Florida. Will discusses how his group is looking to get marijuana on the ballot for the upcoming election in efforts to have it regulated like alcohol.

The group sees the need to reform cannabis laws in the state and how the newly announced ballot initiative will protect our children.

Regulate Florida

“The mission of Sensible Florida is to create a practical and enforceable framework for adult use of marijuana. Through a program of regulation and education, we will limit access to minors, prevent abuse and curtail driving while impaired. We will enable the creation of jobs and allow consenting and informed adults to choose to use cannabis responsibly rather than be labeled as criminals. while reducing the use of limited law enforcement resources,” their website explains.

Florida Cannabis Act Would Legalize Marijuana, Regulate Like Alcohol – September 22nd, 2015

This article was originally written by Steve Elliott for Hemp News on 9/22/2015

RegulateFlorida[logo].thumbnailA new drive to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida was launched last week. West Palm Beach attorney Michael Minardi is proposing to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Minardi’s group, Regulate Florida, needs 683,149 valid voter signatures by February 2, 2016, to get the Florida Cannabis Act on the ballot for November 2016, reports Michelle Quesada at ABC Action News. The group is going for a million signatures to make sure.

The proposal would amend the Florida Constitution, making buying marijuana roughly the same as picking up a bottle of liquor at the store, according to Minardi. “We trust people with alcohol; we trust people with tobacco,” he said.

As long as you’re 21 or older, you should be able to buy and use marijuana responsibly, Minardi said. “These people who are using them [drugs] are responsible adults and they should have the choice to do that,” he said.

If approved, the measure would set a deadline of July 2017 for Florida state government to begin licensing and regulating commercial marijuana growers, processors and retailers, reports Michael Pollick at the Miami Herald Tribune.

Education can change people’s perspectives, Minardi said, and the new law would help clear out jails.

“Let’s stop wasting resources,” Minardi said. “I can sit in court for hours based on a cannabis case. We have courts that are clogged, backlogged on systems, hard to get dates for hearings and things of that nature and a big part due to misdemeanor cannabis cases.”

“We’re going to use science, and we’re going to use stats” in the campaign, Minardi said, reports Chris Joseph at Broward Palm Beach New Times.

In March, Minardi won a landmark case successfully using medical necessity as a defense for marijuana charges against a client. Ironically, the recreational legalization initiative could hurt the chances of success for a retry of United For Care’s medical marijuana proposal, which fell just short at the polls in 2014. It takes 60 percent of the popular vote to amend the Florida Constitution, and medical marijuana got 58 percent.

According to conventional wisdom, having two competing cannabis initiatives on the same ballot hurts the chances of both initiatives; the confusion surrounding two separate marijuana initiatives could also negatively impact signature gathering efforts for both camps.

Minardi has teamed with fellow attorney Bill Wohlsifer and cannabis activist Karen Goldstein to form the corporation Sensible Florida and the associated group, Regulate Florida.

While United For Care’s medical marijuana drive two years ago was largely bankrolled by wealthy Tampa attorney John Morgan, Regulate Florida has no such big financial backer to help its campaign, according to Minardi.

“We don’t have a John Morgan or a Sheldon Adelson financing us,” Minardi said. “We’re raising money by selling shirts and spreading the word with our volunteers to sign the petition.”

The petition is available on Regulate Florida’s website for people to download and sign (you must be a registered voter in Florida for your signature to count).

 

Bill Wohlsifer on Reach Out America: Imploding the Illusion Sept 4th, 2015

This was originally published on Blog Talk Radio with Raquel Okyay on Friday, September 4th, 2015. Thank you to all who called in and listened.

Check Out Current Events Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Reach Out America on BlogTalkRadio

On Imploding the Illusion Fri. Sept. 4 from 9-11 PM est my Special Guest:Bill Wohlsifer will be explaining and answering questions about sensible Florida, Inc.’s Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol ballot initiative petition.

Bill Wohlsifer was the first Libertarian candidate in Florida to run for Attorney General, the author of the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, the CEO ofNationalHemp.org, as well as the primary author of the REGULATE MARIJUANA LIKE ALCOHOL ballot initiative. His law practice, William R Wohlsifer, PA, is located in Tallahassee, FL.

Special Guest Anthony Melé, will be on to discuss Hillary, servers, Benghazi, and national security. Anthony served as a Noncommissioned Officer on the US Army Staff at the Pentagon. He is an international security consultant and firearm dealer.

www.amiglobalsecurity.com

www.rocklandvoice.com

Two Florida marijuana legalization measures approved for signature-gathering – Aug 27, 2015

This article was originally written by Michael Pollick on August 27, 2015and posted on heraldtribune.com

Two voter initiatives to legalize marijuana in Florida have been approved by the state’s Division of Elections, clearing the way for their sponsors to attempt the Herculean task of gathering 683,149 verifiable voter signatures apiece.

A very straight-forward proposal backed by some of the state’s best-known cannabis activists, Parrish residents Bob and Cathy Jordan, would simply make marijuana legal.

“The amendment guarantees the right of persons over twenty-one years of age to possess, use and cultivate cannabis (commonly referred to as marijuana),” the ballot summary states.

The measure, “Right of Adults to Cannabis,” would reserve to the state the power to regulate the plant’s purchase and sale in the interest of health and safety.

“Yes, we are affiliated with it, and this is the one we will get behind,” Bob Jordan said.

While that measure is short and sweet, taking just a few sentences to convey, a separate proposal called “Regulate Florida” is highly detailed and takes up four pages.

Regulate Florida’s primary author is Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer. The proposed amendment “is very comprehensive. It doesn’t leave that much for the Legislature to do,” Wohlsifer said.

“Regulate Florida” would legalize adult growing, consumption and possession of cannabis but also would turn marijuana into a legal, regulated product in Florida, much like alcohol. It would be legal for adults 21 or older to own up to an ounce of marijuana, grow up to six plants within their own residence, or give away marijuana to someone else.

If approved, the measure would set a July 2017 deadline for Florida state government to begin licensing and regulating commercial grocers, processors and retailers.

The Florida Legislature is likely to weigh in on taxes and fees on any proposed constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana.

The obstacles

To be sure, to become a constitutional ballot initiative, either Regulate Florida or “Right of Adults to Cannabis” has major obstacles in front of it, just like those faced by the United for Care, which has resurrected its medical marijuana initiative and is aiming for November 2016 ballot boxes.

After gathering the first tenth of the required voter signatures (68,314 out of 683,149), the groups must turn the initiative over to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for review. She is likely to turn it over to the Florida Supreme Court, as occurred with last year’s proposed medical marijuana amendment. Assuming the court finds the ballot language acceptable, the Regulate Florida group will then go after the rest of the signatures required.

Once the issue is on the ballot, either legalization plan would likely need a multimillion-dollar war chest pay for TV ads promoting its cause.

The lineup for 2016 legalization initiatives is getting longer, and the pool of funding for such ventures is limited.

“We are going to have adult legalization in California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine,” said Kris Krane, co-founder and managing partner at 4Front Advisors, a cannabis consulting firm. “When looking at the landscape in 2016, my concern would be the movement is spreading itself very thin.”

“They’re going to need $10 million if they are going to do this right in Florida,” Krane said. “If they’re going to be successful in pulling something like this off, they are going to need to find donors who are in Florida and interested in doing this in their state.”

Some specifics

Where “Right of Adults to Cannabis” is open-ended as to the amount each household could grow, “Regulate Florida” is very specific and limiting in this regard.

Under “Regulate Florida,” adults would be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants within their own primary residence, “provided that the growing takes place in an enclosed, locked space, is not conducted openly or publicly, and the cannabis so grown is not made available for sale.”

In a further limitation, the amendment would specify that three or fewer of the plants could be mature or flowering plants.

Chairing the Regulate Florida group is Michael Minardi, a Stuart-based defense attorney specializing in cannabis cases. He successfully defended the Jordans in 2013 after Bob Jordan was charged with growing marijuana on behalf of his wife, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Floridians for Freedom, the group the Jordans now back, is based in Melbourne, and is chaired by Jodi K. James.

Both of these two legalization efforts are in the process of getting their websites cranked up for public viewing: RegulateFlorida. com and FloridiansForFreedom.com.

Four states plus the District of Columbia have legalized adult use of marijuana, typically with the same kind of limits included in the Regulate Florida petition. Ohio voters will consider legalizing marijuana in November. Nevada’s voter initiative will appear on ballots in November 2016. The other states, such as California, are still raising money and fine-tuning their language.