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Keys tourism would suffer from federal shutdown

Florida Keys backcountry guides have not forgotten the lost days of 2013, when large parts of the the federal government closed due to the federal government not passing a budget.

It was brutal, Key Largo fishing captain Lain Goodwin said Tuesday, recalling the closure of Florida Bay inside Everglades National Park. The possibility of another federal shutdown returned this week with Congress trying to come to terms on a federal budget extension that won t be blocked by President Trump. Without action by midnight Friday, many federal agencies would close. Those agencies include Everglades National Park and Florida Keys national wildlife national refuges. All boaters, including guides who specialize in fishing Florida Bay s shallow waters, were banned from 1,100 square miles of park waters during the 16-day shutdown in 2013.

As we learned a couple of years ago, it s all a gimmick, a game for politicos in Washington D.C., said Steve Friedman, commodore of the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association. Unfortunately, they re playing with our livelihoods. And it winds up costing [the government] more money to keep us out instead of letting us do our jobs.

A sticking point in the federal budget debate includes the Trump administration s demand for some funding for the proposed border wall with Mexico. Many members of Congress either object to spending on the wall or do not consider it a priority. Funding for the Affordable Care Act also is in the mix. The 2013 shutdown took place in October. A spring shutdown would be worse, fishing guides say.

May is the busiest time for everybody, Friedman said. We re talking about hundreds, maybe thousands, of guides.

It s tarpon season and the weather is better, Goodwin said. I m booked for seven straight days. Resorts and restaurants also would suffer, the guides noted. A shutdown just is not good for anybody in the Florida Keys, Goodwin said.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary closed its offices and furloughed workers during the 2013 shutdown, but sanctuary boat trips to the Florida Keys reef were not affected. Sanctuary patrol officers work for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission under the sanctuary s partnership with the state. Sanctuary managers could not be reached at press time. The U.S. Coast Guard would continue its regular water patrols off the Keys as a military agency exempt from shutdowns, said Capt. Jeffrey Janszen, commander of Coast Guard Key West sector. Our personnel will be out there still providing border security and drug enforcement, he said.

Some Coast Guard civilian staff considered non-exempt could be furloughed, he said. Air-traffic controllers and airport security would remain on duty during a shutdown, although travel times could be affected, news reports indicate. Passport applications could take longer to process. Social Security checks will be mailed and the U.S. Postal Service remains in operations, but the Internal Revenue Service will stop issuing refunds and not complete audits. Overall, an estimated 800,000 federal workers nationally would be sent home during a shutdown.

Vireo Health legal fight key to New York, Minnesota marijuana industry

CLOSEVireo Health Legal Fight Key To New York, Minnesota Marijuana Industry Vireo Health Legal Fight Key To New York, Minnesota Marijuana Industry

New York’s medical marijuana program was a boom for lobbyists firms. Yet 17,000 patients out of 200,000 that are eligible have been certified for the program, lohud’s David Robinson reports. Ricky Flores/lohud

Vireo Health Legal Fight Key To New York, Minnesota Marijuana Industry

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)(Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)

Desperate criminals made a daring smuggling run from Minnesota to New York in an armored SUV packed with $500,000 of marijuana oil. Or

Highly respected corporate officers quietly transported state-licensed medical marijuana from a Minnesota-based company to its affiliate in New York. These are the drastically different stories behind a high-profile Minnesota legal battle involving Vireo Health, the parent company of the medical marijuana dispensary in downtown White Plains.

Prosecutors have accused Dr. Laura Bultman and Ronald Owens, the company s former chief medical officer and security officer, of smuggling the drugs 1,200 miles to rescue Vireo from missing a deadline to open up shop in New York in 2016. On the other side, Paul Engh, the attorney for Bultman, has disputed that Minnesota s marijuana law bans shipping the drug across state borders, The Journal News/lohud has learned from court documents, and shifted focus onto why medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law despite being allowed in 28 states.

VIREO HEALTH: Marijuana smuggling scandal[1]

MONEY TRAIL: New York’s marijuana lobbying dollars top $2 million by applicants[2]

LIST: What lobbying firms got from New York’s medical marijuana applicants[3]

Engh s stance is detailed in a 12-page report urging a court to toss the felony drug charges against Bultman. It boils down to one question: How is it illegal for a licensed company’s officer to provide a drug to patients as defined by state law?

We believe the law is with us and are hopeful that the court agrees, Engh said, addressing the court documents in response to an inquiry by The Journal News/lohud. Other defense arguments in Engh’s filing touch on everything from a company’s definition as a person under Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that gave corporations protected rights, to a lack of clarity in Minnesota’s marijuana law.

“Any ambiguity as to the law s language and its application is to be resolved in Dr. Bultman s favor,” Engh wrote in court documents.

Still, the Vireo case has underscored why federal lawmakers idleness and a patchwork approach to state marijuana laws have muddled efforts to treat thousands of patients with serious illnesses, such as cancer and epilepsy. Nick Zerwas, a state representative in Minnesota, described the Vireo scandal as a flaw in that state s law.

When this (law) was moved through several years ago, there was a lot of discussion about the methods of delivery and how many dispensaries, he said, but not nearly enough discussion on insufficient legal leverages necessary to regulate and investigate and hold accountable this industry. Zerwas, who voted to legalize marijuana sales in 2014, has pushed new legislation seeking to tighten the law in the wake of the Vireo case.

The looming threat of the U.S. Justice Department closing down Minnesota s marijuana program also influenced Zerwas reform push.

It s incumbent upon us to act swiftly and signify that the state of Minnesota can handle this, Zerwas said. Vireo Health executives have said little about the situation. Andrew Mangini, a company spokesman, noted medical marijuana sales continue in New York, including a recent launch of a home delivery service to eligible patients in New York City.

We take our legal obligations and regulatory responsibilities in this area very seriously, he said. And will cooperate with the relevant agencies while maintaining our focus on patients who suffer from life-threatening and debilitating diseases like cancer and ALS, and who deserve best-in-class medical cannabis products and compassionate care.”

While federal authorities at the Justice Department would not say if they are investigating the Vireo case, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Barbara Carreno spoke to its prior hands-off approach as state marijuana laws piled up since 2013.

The Cole Memo

Traditionally, the DEA has targeted eight criminal activities by marijuana businesses under a policy that says no to drugged driving, sales to minors, interstate smuggling, and using cannabis-based profits in connection to other crimes.

You have seen over the last few years there have continued to be raids on dispensaries in California and Colorado because they had to do with these eight things, said Carreno. It all stemmed from a 2013 policy, commonly called the Cole memo, and named after a former Justice Department lawyer, James Cole, who established federal law enforcement s approach to the states that legalized marijuana, for medical and/or recreational use.

Cole s memo remains in place as feds await the newly appointed attorney general s marching orders for an apparent federal crackdown on marijuana. At a law enforcement gathering in February, Sessions cited the increased legalization of marijuana, an issue he long railed against while an Alabama senator, as contributing to a culture of acceptance, USA Today reported.[4]

“I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if (marijuana) is being sold from every corner grocery store,” he said. Some medical marijuana advocates have voiced concerns about Sessions apparent attempt to lump together medicinal and recreational uses of the drug, despite his lack of policy details and Congress effectively banning raids on state-approved medical marijuana in 2014.

Sessions general tougher-on-crime stance, however, suggests a drastic turnaround from recent efforts to remove marijuana from the discussion of more dangerous narcotics.

“We don’t need to be legalizing marijuana, and we need to be cracking down on heroin,’ Sessions said.

Read or Share this story: http://lohud.us/2q4mFh1

References

  1. ^ VIREO HEALTH: Marijuana smuggling scandal (www.lohud.com)
  2. ^ MONEY TRAIL: New York’s marijuana lobbying dollars top $2 million by applicants (www.lohud.com)
  3. ^ LIST: What lobbying firms got from New York’s medical marijuana applicants (www.lohud.com)
  4. ^ USA Today reported. (www.lohud.com)

Trident University Professor Receives Teaching Excellence Award

Trident University Professor Receives Teaching Excellence Award

Dr. Patricia Hooper, Professor, Trident University International

If Professor Patricia Hooper is the example of the quality of teachers at Trident, then my experience working on my Masters will be the best that can be provided in comparison to any other online school! – Roger Choiniere, MSHLS student.

Cypress, CA (PRWEB)

Dr. Patricia Hooper[1], Professor in Trident University International s (Trident) College of Health and Human Services[2], has received the Trident Teaching Excellence Award for the Fall 2016 quarter. Dr. Hooper, who joined Trident in 2015, teaches in the University s Homeland Security programs. Dr. Hooper was selected from among 65 faculty members nominated by 89 students based on the strength of commendations from students and faculty leadership.

If Professor Patricia Hooper is the example of the quality of teachers at Trident, then my experience working on my Masters will be the best that can be provided in comparison to any other online school! stated Roger Choiniere, student in Trident s Master of Science in Homeland Security program. Dr. Hooper received a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2010. Her dissertation was titled Vulnerable Populations and Crisis Communications: A model for accessible disaster preparedness campaigns. Her area of expertise is community-based public relations and crisis communication studies.

In addition to Trident, Dr. Hooper has served as a professor at Syracuse University, University of North Dakota, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She was acknowledged as Teacher of the Year at both University of North Dakota and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Dr. Hooper currently serves as the Emergency Manager for the City of Kirkland, WA. She is a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers and is the president elect of the Washington State Emergency Management Association. She worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for 14 years, serving in various leadership roles including operations leader and training management. She has extensive experience in federal response work, including deployment to 23 Presidential disaster declarations like 9-ll in NYC, Hurricane Katrina, and the Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Act. Dr. Hooper s professional presentations include the Australia Resilience Conference, the Emergency Management Institute, Confederated Tribes, U.S. Army and Coast Guard, and the Disaster Emergency Response Association.

Trident is a 100% online university that has been in operation since 1998 and is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Active duty military, veterans, National Guard, and military dependents make up 79% of the University s student population, and Trident is proud to employ many veterans at its faculty, staff, and management levels.

About Trident University
Founded in 1998, Trident University International (Trident) is a leading online postsecondary university serving adult learners. Trident developed the Trident Learning Model, which employs case-based learning in an online setting to teach real-world relevant critical thinking skills to enhance the lives and careers of students. Trident offers high-quality bachelor s, master s, and doctoral degree programs, led by a qualified faculty team, over 80% of whom have doctoral degrees. Visit http://www.trident.edu[3], Trident s Facebook[4] page, or call at (855) 290-0290 to learn more about Trident’s wide range of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.

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References

  1. ^ Dr. Patricia Hooper (www.trident.edu)
  2. ^ College of Health and Human Services (www.trident.edu)
  3. ^ http://www.trident.edu (www.trident.edu)
  4. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)