While reading The Garden Island's “reefer madness” guest commentary on the “dangerous risks” of medical marijuana dispensaries, I couldn't help but reflect on another commentary, this one in yesterday's The New York Times, about heroin addiction.
While Alfred P. Sarmento used TGI to denounce those who have sought medical marijuana for severe pain, making like it's just a scam to get high, Sam Quinones wrote in the NYT:
Fatal heroin overdoses in America have almost tripled in three years. More than 8,250 people a year now die from heroin. At the same time, roughly double that number are dying from prescription opioid painkillers, which are molecularly similar. Heroin has become the fallback dope when an addict can’t afford, or find, pills. Total overdose deaths, most often from pills and heroin, now surpass traffic fatalities.
If these deaths are the measure, we are arguably in the middle of our worst drug plague ever, apart from cigarettes and alcohol.
Hawaii is not immune from this plague. So why is Saramento freaking out about medical marijuana? isn't it kind of a no-brainer to hope, even pray, that people seeking pain relief through highly addictive opioid prescription drugs and heroin would instead find pain relief through medical marijuana?
Because despite Saramento's claims, the only “rising tide of insanity getting ready to hit our shores on Kauai” is the irrational fear about medical marijuana dispensaries.
The other tide of insanity has already hit, namely the freak-out about pesticides — but curiously, only those applied by biotech seed companies. Councilman Gary Hooser, wearing his HAPA hat, plans to ride that tide to Switzerland this week, apparently unaware that it's a land-locked nation.
The purpose of his mission? Cry to the Swiss government about how Syngenta, which is headquartered there, uses pesticides in the U.S. that are banned in Switzerland. As the press release states:
The delegation will be presenting Swiss lawmakers with a petition from Hawai‘i residents and other supporters requesting that Hawai‘i and its people be granted the same respect and protection that is granted to the people of Switzerland.
Now what, exactly, is the Swiss government supposed to do? Shut down Syngenta? Right. And why would the Swiss government give a shit, considering Syngenta is engaged in activities that are perfectly legal in the U.S.?
It wouldn't, of course. But it's all part of the show that Gary and the anti-GMO folks are putting on, replete with the usual lies, as posted on the HAPA Facebook page: “Syngenta sprays literally tons of restricted use pesticides on the tiny island of Kaua`i - next to schools, hospitals, and homes.”
Except it doesn't. The company has voluntarily implemented buffer zones.
Sadly, though, truth-challenged HAPA will be passing off its propaganda as "educamation" to a gullible group of true believers, namely, a “European alliance of environmental organizations, trade unions and political parties tracking the activities and impacts of Swiss transnational corporations around the world.” The press release states:
The purpose of the trip is to educate this international audience on the cultural and historical context of Syngenta’s operations on Kaua‘i, the impacts of the industry’s activities, and the political and social efforts of the community to gain environmental and public health protections (i.e. through Kaua‘i Bill 2491 and state bills such as HB1514).
The HAPA delegation includes Gary, Malia Chun and Fern Rosenstiel, who is laughingly identified as an “environmental scientist.” Do you suppose Gary and Fern are still going to be making their discredited birth defect and cancer cluster claims? And will they reveal how Bill 2491 was passed via fistee mob action, and then struck down in a triumphant display of the state's pre-emptive powers? Or will they stick to the little engine that could fairy tale?
I know it's snarky, so spare me your outraged comments, but frankly, this group is not a good advertisement for a GMO-free diet. And Malia certainly doesn't look like someone residing in a pesticide hell-hole, as she has claimed under threat of perjury in her court documents.
The press release states:
Hooser will be speaking as an individual relating his individual experiences, thoughts and concerns and not in his official capacity.
Which means he has been reading my blog, where I've repeatedly dinged him for testifying to the state Legislature as a Councilman on issues the Council has not considered.
But if he's speaking as an individual, why is he identified first as Kauai County Councilman, and second as HAPA President? Because Gary, once again, is using his elected position to try and give some sliver of credibility to his nonprofit.
I keep waiting for HAPA, which has weighed in on the Mauna Kea telescope and other issues, to say something about the culture-appropriating Princeville project, and its recent application of herbicides — do you suppose they were manufactured by Syngenta? — to 100 acres on the Prince Course greens.
So far, HAPA has been silent. I guess it would be a bit hypocritical for HAPA communications director Elif Beall to say anything when her husband is selling real estate to the same exclusive crowd.
Which brings us back to the question we've always had about Hooser, HAPA and the rest of the anti-GMO crowd: why have they targeted only agricultural companies, which just so happen to be occupying those oh-so-desireable and still undeveloped lands on the westside?