Florida State Rep Gonzalez, M.D., Rejects Proven Cannabis Science
Yesterday, May 2nd, the Florida House of Representatives advanced HB1397. Panned by patient advocates nationwide, this proposed legislation thwarts the will of the people by creating layers of bureaucratic oversight of the mandated expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program.
Nine representatives voted “no” on the measure, but one dissenting vote was curious.
Representative Julio Gonzalez (R-Venice) is an orthopedic surgeon who owns his own practice and lists himself as being chair of the Florida Orthopaedic Society. Unlike many thousands of his peers in the medical community, Dr. Gonzalez fully rejects any proven science to the benefits of cannabis therapy. Rather, he dismisses the existence of any solid scientific evidence that “marijuana” can be a “medicine”.
— Julio Gonzalez,MD,JD (@juliogonzalezmd) May 2, 2017
Dr. Gonzalez doesn’t even appear to know of the existence of the endocannabinoid system:
— Julio Gonzalez,MD,JD (@juliogonzalezmd) May 3, 2017
Most insulting to our practice is that Gonzalez represents the 74th House district, which encompasses Sarasota, Venice, and North Port. Being that the majority of our hundreds of patients reside within Dr. Gonzalez’s district, it angers us greatly that this man of science won’t even acknowledge the existence of any therapeutic evidence that speaks to the positive of this natural plant based remedy that’s been used without fatality for millennia.
Since the taxpayer funded Florida Channel prohibits the public use of their videos for advocacy, we are unable to share Representative Gonzalez’s performance yesterday. We have, however, transcribed the entire speech which you can find below. Read it and share it with other constituents within the district and statewide.
Also, feel free to reach out to Representative Gonzalez and provide him with some education. Likely he will not listen, but as our elected official he needs to know where we stand as a voting public. This doctor’s uneducated opinions do not justify obfuscating the will of nearly 6.5 million Floridians who voted for expanded medical cannabis:
Testimony by Representative Gonzalez on the House floor, May 2, 2017:
Full video link here, skip forward 1:13.
“I am going to rise to speak against this bill, but as opposed to other times, I’m not going to speak in an effort to urge you to vote against the bill and I know that’s a quandary, but at the very least I want to explain why I’ll be voting down on this bill today.
One of those… It really comes down to two reasons. One of which is immutable – it’s part of the quagmire that we find ourselves in today – and the other is improvable.
The first is the simple fact that I don’t believe that medical marijuana exists. I just don’t. We’re in a situation where essentially I’m being asked to vote to regulate Gasparilla.
As you guys may know, Gasparilla is a famed pirate that apparently terrorized our gulf coast and he was finally defeated when the USS Enterprise came by with the flags down, and at the moment when he was no longer able to escape, the flags were raised, and he realized he was done. He wrapped the anchor around him and threw himself overboard and died rather than be captured.
It is said that his real name is Jose Gaspar, and that Jose Gaspar was a guy that got into an affair with a duke or a famous high ranking official and because his life was at stake he decided to instead lead a life a sea and escape from the horrible grips of Spanish justice.
But here’s the thing. There isn’t a single piece of evidence that Jose Gaspar existed, and if you check the USS Enterprise logs there is no entry where such a battle took place with any pirate in the Gulf coast of Florida. There’s even a person that says – and his name is Gomez – who lived in Tampa who said that he served with Jose Gaspar, Gasparilla, but yet if you look at any of his stories, none of the stories fit the scientific evidence.
So I’m stuck as a physician, as a person who has not only given an oath to serve our constitution, to serve our great country and honor the constitution of the United States. I’m also a person who has given an oath that forces him to at first do no harm and second to make sure that if I’m going to use medications and if I’m going to promote the use of medications that it be done for a scientifically valid reason.
There is none here. And I know, leader, you have mentioned numerous times about this quagmire you find yourself in and, whereas, perhaps some of us can put that behind us. Some of us may believe that medical marijuana exists, but in point of fact you will find no convincing scientific evidence that proves that proves that point. So it’s just a belief, just like Gasparilla, just like believing in Gasparilla.
So, whereas some of us may be able to launch over that hurdle and move on to the next step, I’m – unfortunately at least for today – stuck at the “No” vote with Gasparilla, medical marijuana.
The second one is one that we could work on and that’s the issue of the Trojan Horse.
You see, there’s a Trojan horse stuck in this bill whether we meant it or not and that is the chronic non-malignant pain definition. Because, essentially, all I have to do.. It really puts the malingering patient in control of whether medical marijuana gets prescribed or certified or not. Because essentially [as a patient] all I have to do is say to you, “I still have pain. I still have pain. I still have pain. I have glaucoma and I still have pain,” and I will force you the doctor into prescribing, to at least having to consider prescribing medical marijuana for me when there’s no evidence that you can do so.
That Trojan horse is too big and it’s also against what was meant by passing this bill, passing this Amendment. What was meant by passing this constitutional amendment was that there were a certain number of cases that were so refractory to everything that we had, all of our armamentarium that we had to use medical marijuana and this definition doesn’t stick to that.
So members, I hope if this goes back and forth Leader, I hope that perhaps we can discuss with the senate where we can put a refractory treatment language into the amendment and then I would feel a lot better supporting this apocryphal treatment. But until then, I’m going to say no respectfully and with all due deference to all the great work you’ve done. But I’m afraid if we go like this unadultered, I’m afraid that there may be a lot of sightings of Gasparilla riding on a Trojan horse this summer when we meet in Tampa.
Thank you very much.”