Clay Conrad a Houston attorney discusses drug policy at national, state and local levels, Jodie Emery of Cannabis Culture on Canadian cannabis policy + Phil Smith of Stop the Drug War & Alternet re US cannabis laws
Seattle Sheriff John Urquhart eviscerates drug war logic + Dr. Robert Melameade on forward/backward people
Ethan Nadelmann Exec Dir, Asha Bandele Sr Dir, Lynne Lyman CA State Dir, Tamar Todd Dir Legal Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance Conf on new cannabis laws
Congressman Earl Blumenauer joins Mason Tvert & Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project in media teleconference - whats next at federal and state levels
James Gierach, retired Chicago prosecutor, LEAP board member + Piper Kerman, author Orange is the New Black, Deborah Small, Johns Hopkins Public Health Fellow & Drug Policy Alliance’s Asha Bandele
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Cultural Baggage / July 8, 2012
Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.
“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.
DEAN BECKER: Hi, this is Dean Becker. Thank you for being with us on this edition of Cultural Baggage.
As the drug war heads off the cliff of hypocrisy and begins its downward plunge towards impact with reality there is lots of drug war news to share. Let us begin.
It seems that every day of the week there is something new breaking in so far as the drug war in particularly in regards to cannabis and more and more states, more and more politicians saying, “It’s OK. Medical marijuana is a benefit to this nation and to many people who need it.” And even in Washington, D.C. later this year it is planned that dispensaries will begin dispensing cannabis in our nation’s capital.
One of those who has, I guess, won the right to a franchise there in Washington, D.C. is Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn. How are you, sir?
JEFFREY KAHN: I’m very well. Thank you, Dean. How are you?
DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir. It’s good to have you back with us. Now the fact of the matter is there is going to be a limited number of growers and a limited number of dispensers, separated, correct?
JEFFREY KAHN: Absolutely. That’s correct.
Initially the legislation allowed for a maximum of 10 cultivators and 5 dispensaries. There were about 175 applicants all together. In the end they only awarded licenses to 6 cultivators and 4 dispensaries so that’s what we’re working towards opening in the next few months.
DEAN BECKER: And the name of your center is to be the Takoma Wellness Center. Why that name, sir?
JEFFREY KAHN: We’re located in the Takoma neighborhood in Washington, D.C. – just over the state line from Takoma Park, Maryland. So our name really comes from our neighborhood and “wellness” because in addition to providing medical marijuana/medical cannabis we’ll also be offering our patients the opportunity to meet with local (in the Takoma neighborhood) wellness providers; massage therapist, acupuncturist – all kinds of therapist.
It’s a center, really, in the Washington area for alternative medicine.
DEAN BECKER: Rabbi, you know in the past we’ve talked about the religious implications, you know, God created it and who should be damning it, I suppose. And the fact of the matter is there is less people damning it. How do you see this unfolding in our nation’s capital?
JEFFREY KAHN: Well, I think you’re right. There is less people damning it and it’s a matter of information. As you know, Dean, the whole War on Drugs and the situation we’re in in the United States when it comes to drug policy is just crazy and requires so much change in so many areas.
This is really just a very small step but it’s an important one. Being able to provide medical cannabis to patients with five conditions here in the nation’s capital. It’s not going to be a large program. It’s not going to make a giant dent in the black market or illegal sales or make any great changes. But it is, I think, significant because it will be taking place here in Washington.
DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir. You mentioned there’s a limited number of maladies. I know in all the 17 states, I guess now and Washington, D.C., there are many different regulations, many different maladies and requirements, if you will. How is that going to unfold there in D.C.?
JEFFREY KAHN: Well, here in Washington there are only 5 conditions that are mentioned specifically; HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and Multiple Sclerosis. So when we begin, at least, we will only be seeing people with those conditions who have received a recommendation from their physician.
DEAN BECKER: Alright. Rabbi Kahn, the question comes to mind that you will have access to these …was it 10 growers that you said?
JEFFREY KAHN: There will only be 6 initially. The law allowed for 10 but they are only licensing 6. So, yeah, those 6 cultivators their only customers will be the 4 dispensaries and the 4 dispensaries will only be able to purchase their cannabis from those 6 cultivators which will all be cultivated here in the District of Colombia which is another, I think, significant, interesting change.
One of the problems I think the cultivator applicants faced towards the end of the process was they ended up requiring zoning for light manufacturing which I guess makes some sense with the electricity and water that’s required. But there really isn’t any area in Washington that’s zoned for light manufacturing. We don’t usually think of Washington as the place where products are made. But there is some areas and at least 6 cultivators were able to be licensed all very close to each other – in the same neighborhood.
DEAN BECKER: Rabbi, I know that in many states, particularly in California and Colorado, there are the labs. They do a scientific analysis. They determine THC and cannabinoid content. They look for purity. Will you have that available to you there?
JEFFREY KAHN: We’ll definitely have it available and it’s required by our regulations. We’re not exactly how the Department of Health (which is our regulating agency) is going to make the testing work.
Initially the law requires that the cultivators and the dispensaries all test but there is nothing in the law to tell us what to do if our tests disagree with each other or are not compatible. There are also problems with transporting the cannabis and who can and who can’t.
I think once those things are worked out there’ll be an independent lab here that we’ll all be able to use.
DEAN BECKER: As do I. I wish you great success with it and I think what you are doing and, if I can say, daring to do because this is still a bold step in a nation that is very paranoid about the cannabis plant. Your response, sir.
JEFFREY KAHN: Well, I think you’re absolutely right. We’ve gone through a two year process here in Washington with dealing with the rules and regulations and eventually we wrote a 350-page proposal. One of the important things that we had to do was to work closely with businesses and residents in the neighborhood.
We did meet some resistance and we overcame it but there is a lot of fear and a lot of paranoia and a great deal of misunderstanding. We know why because it’s all been pointed in that direction. People are terribly misinformed.
But, it’s interesting. Here in Washington the people in a referendum in 1998 voted in medical marijuana by 69% and congress prevented us from implementing that law. It’s now 14 years and we’re finally getting a chance to implement it.
One of the things we were able to show our neighbors by looking at the results of that election was that they, in fact, voted for it. They voted for it in even larger numbers. It passed with 75% of the vote in our neighborhood. We were giving our neighbors an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is and support a dispensary in the neighborhood. I think we’ve got a lot of support.
DEAN BECKER: I imagine you have, sir. As we talked about earlier, the fear, the paranoia is being dispelled as we speak. The fact of the matter is that the sky is not going to fall no matter how many dispensaries are opened anywhere.
JEFFREY KAHN: Exactly. So it is progress. That’s for sure.
DEAN BECKER: We’ve been speaking with the Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn. He’s going to open up the Takoma Wellness Center, cannabis dispensary in Washington, D.C. later on this year.
Rabbi, is there a website you’d like to share with the listeners?
JEFFREY KAHN: Sure, our website is http://takomawellness.com We’d be delighted if the listeners take a look at it and to be in touch with us about any questions they might have.
DEAN BECKER: The following message is for senior citizens.
I’m worried about you. You say the cops stopped you on the highway and took all your cash - said it was contaminated. They arrested your son for growing weed. Took his house, his car, his kids.
The banks are in kahoots with the cartels. The Taliban thrives growing forbidden flowers. The U.S. gangs prosper by selling contaminated drugs to your grandkids and you remain silent – fearful of what your neighbors might say.
For the sake of our grandkids let’s do what our grandparents did 80 years ago and end this insane policy of drug prohibition. Join up http://endprohibition.org
Sheep Character 1: He needs heeeeeelp!
Sheep Character 2: Help from a druuuuuug!
Announcer: That help is here. Meet Napian.
[Musical intro, audio of someone swallowing pill]
Announcer: Napian activates your brain’s napping centers, and attacks your body’s awakagens. And unlike Sleepia, it won’t cause foot fattening or elbow stink.
Homer Simpson: Okay Napian, do your stuff.
MARY JANE BORDEN: Hello drug policy aficionados! I'm Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts.
The question for this week asks, Does the drug war cause AIDS?
A new report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy seems to think so.
Entitled, "The War on Drugs and HIV/AIDS: How the criminalization of fuels the global pandemic," this report in its opening sentence put it bluntly:
"The global war on drugs is driving the HIV/AIDS pandemic among people who use drugs and their sexual partners. Throughout the world, research has consistently shown that repressive drug law enforcement practices force drug users away from public health services and into hidden environments where HIV risk becomes markedly elevated."
The report goes on to support this bold statement with these telling statistics.
"...the worldwide supply of illicit opiates, such as heroin, has increased by more than 380 percent in recent decades, from 1000 metric tons in 1980 to more than 4800 metric tons in 2010. This increase coincided with a 79 percent decrease in the price of heroin in Europe between 1990 and 2009."
And these shocking percentages:
" ... despite a greater than 600 percent increase in the US federal anti-drug budget since the early 1980s, the price of heroin in the US has decreased by approximately 80 percent during this period, and heroin purity has increased by more than 900 percent."
Recall that that the Global Commission is comprised of the former presidents of Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Brazil, Chile and Switzerland, among others.
The Commission's new HIV/AIDS report concludes:
"Any sober assessment of the impacts of the war on drugs would conclude that many national and international organizations tasked with reducing the drug problem have actually contributed to a worsening of community health and safety. This must change."
These Facts and others like them can be found in the HIV/AIDS Chapter of Drug War Facts at www.drugwarfacts.org.
If you have a question for which you need facts, please e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll try to answer your question in an upcoming show.
So remember when you need facts about drugs and drug policy, you can get the facts at Drug War Facts.
DEAN BECKER: Prohibicaust – a necessary word. Prohibicaust combines prohibition and holocaust.
Prohibicaust – worldwide, criminal crafted – prohibicaust.
Prohibicaust – banker benefitting.
Prohibicaust – millions locked in cages.
Prohibicaust – tens of thousands dying.
Prohibicaust – too many people lying to themselves.
DEAN BECKER: The following segment comes to us courtesy of Doctor Manny and FOX TV.
DOCTOR MANNY: Hello, welcome to Health Talk. I’m Doctor Manny.
With more and more states opting to legalize the sale of medical marijuana research have taken a closer look at the use of cannabis to treat chronic illnesses. Joining me now, for an update, is the medicine hunter, Chris Kilham.
From the medical marijuana perspective as so far as the treatment of chronic illnesses, as I said in the introduction, what is it about cannabis that makes it that special?
CHRIS KILHAM: Well, it seems that there are primarily two things. There’s the THC – that’s what people associate with getting high. That appears to have a salutatory effect on the eyes in the case of glaucoma. For people who are suffering from chemotherapy and can’t eat it helps to get their appetite back. We also know that it is a potent pain reliever. Science on that goes back to the 1890s.
But there is another agent in cannabis that is getting a lot more attention now and that is called cannabidiol. This is something that if you could swallow it by the bucketful it won’t get you high at all but it appears to have profound nerve protective and brain enhancing properties. Interesting enough it also induces an anti-anxiety effect. There was even one piece of literature I read recently suggesting that what psychotic reactions that have been reported among people who have used cannabis and wigged out may be due to cannabis that contains no cannabidiol at all. So this appears to be a very important agent - perhaps useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. A lot of researchers are working on this right now.
DOCTOR MANNY: Are they extracting that particular chemical off the…
CHRIS KILHAM: There seem to be two pathways that people are taking. You’ve got like GW Pharmaceuticals in Britain that has come out with a whole cannabis fluid spray. You’ve got people also isolating cannabidiol and playing with that in the lab.
I don’t know how this is all going to settle out. I mean, as a whole plant person I’m inclined toward the whole extract but it does appear that this may also have anti-cancer properties and that’s very intriguing.
DOCTOR MANNY: So the cliché that I grew up with watching the news where you had a fried egg and “this is your brain on drugs.” It doesn’t apply to marijuana.
CHRIS KILHAM: Look, you can get stoned stupid if all you do is sit around and smoke all day and I don’t advocate that. The worst killer drugs that we have in the United States are alcohol and tobacco.
DOCTOR MANNY: Is it addictive?
CHRIS KILHAM: Is it addictive? I would say that people can absolutely become dependent upon it but not physiologically addicted. And, as you know, that’s not just parsing terms. I mean, physiological addiction you go through very grave withdrawal. But people can become dependent on it just as they can on any substance.
DOCTOR MANNY: Now tell me about this study in the American Journal of Pediactrics about pregnant women Jamaican use of pot. What is that?
CHRIS KILHAM: OK. This is a weird one.
DOCTOR MANNY: I missed this one in rounds this morning.
CHRIS KILHAM: Melanie Dreher who is the Dean of Nursing at Rush Medical Center in Chicago did a study in Jamaica. It was actually published in the American Journal of Pediatrics in 1994 but not it’s recirculating because of all the interest in the neuro-protective…
DOCTOR MANNY: No wonder I missed it.
CHRIS KILHAM: Right, right, right. Basically she studied women during their entire pregnancy and then studied the babies about a year after birth. She studied a group of women who did smoke cannabis during pregnancy and those who didn’t.
She expected to see a difference in the babies with birth weight and some neuro-tests. No difference whatsoever.
The differences that the researchers did notice that are unexplained and kind of curious is that the babies of the women who had smoked cannabis (we’re talking about daily use during their pregnancy) socialized more quickly, made eye contact more quickly and were easier to engage. We don’t know why this is so but all the old saws about smoking during pregnancy will result in low birth weight or other problems did not show up at least with the Jamaican study.
In U.S. studies, where we’ve seen a similar investigation, women have concurrently often been abusing alcohol and other drugs as well.
DOCTOR MANNY: That’s cute. I want to pull that study up because I don’t know if I want to recommend my pregnant…
CHRIS KILHAM: [laughing] I will email that to you. I’m not saying you should.
DOCTOR MANNY: Do you have any health topics you want to talk about - including the use of pot – email me at here at Fox at email@example.com.
Until next time, I’m Doctor Manny.
DEAN BECKER: For more than one hundred years the United States has been the leading proponent of eternal war. The justification for this everlasting prohibition has been steeped in puritanical posturing, hysteria and lies. The drug war is destined to last forever and so Americans, politicians desperately cling to the lies, fabrications and their constituents literally be damned.
Every day in every court room in every city in America the implementation of justice is shown to have no nexus with reality and is, in effect, the modern day equivalent to the Salem Witch Trials.
DEAN BECKER: Seems the NAACP Conference is in Houston, Texas this year and the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition table was set up across the aisle from the Drug Enforcement Administration table but on the first day of the conference the DEA left the building. I know it has something to do with LEAP being there and their inability to defend their drug war policies but it also had a lot to do with the fact that there were thousands of African Americans there who knew the racial disparity in this drug war.
From the opening press conference for the NAACP convention, this is U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee.
SHEILA JACKSON-LEE: If you are a Latino voter of many different backgrounds - the NAACP is fighting for your right to vote.
If you are an Anglo voter living in all parts and you find that you can’t find your voting poll, if you can’t find why you have been purged off of the voting list – the NAACP is fighting for your right to vote.
Why are they relevant? Because they are relevant because they are embedded in the constitution. The NAACP will be writing, speaking, advocating for the preservation of the constitution of the greatest land in the world.
Ask the state governors that were elected in 2010 who contributed to much of the unemployment by laying off teachers, firefighters, municipal workers and police. That digged the numbers down.
The other part of job creation is the vocational training to make people ready for the 21st century jobs. Unfortunately we are seeing draconian cuts in the department of labor and training. Universities are fighting for survival by raising tuition rate which causes a drop-out rate of those who are least economically able.
Do you want to see it an organization that will be fighting against the tide of not educating and training the 21st century workers? Come to the NAACP with labor leaders will be in from all over the nation.
We’re talking about how do we make the 21st century work for us. Is the NAACP relevant? Yes it is.
Then we begin to talk about how do we solve problems. I am again acknowledging that I live in the greatest country in the world and out of my pride for Texas I live in the greatest state in the nation but a state that has an achilles’ heels. And so on the front page of the paper today it indicated that Texas is bottom with respect to health care. And yet on July 11th in the midst of your convention there will be a repeal vote on the floor of the house.
Let me very clear. If you are advocating for access to health care for all of America – the NAACP is relevant. For they were instrumental in advocating for the empowerment of the least of those having access to health care to be included in the Affordable Care Act.
DEAN BECKER: We hope to have much more for you next week from the NAACP convention.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Abolitionist’s Moment.
Do you think the drug war should last forever? Your silence in this regard indicates to the politicians your eternal allegiance to the criminal cartels and the criminal justice system. As a former policeman and as a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition I challenge you to reconsider your allegiance. I understand your revulsion toward drug and alcohol abusers. You must, however, realize that the current circumstance - one hundred years of drug prohibition is an abject, absolute, undeniable failure. Yet you seek to prevent that which is already at hand and growing by continuing down the same failed path.
The black market in drugs is the worlds largest multi level marketing organization. It is already in every neighborhood and nearly every home. What exactly do you think prohibition will eventually accomplish? As is, the prohibition of drugs enriches the Taliban with at least one hundred million dollars each year for daring to grow flowers. It sends twenty to thirty billion dollars each year to the barbarous cartels in Mexico and provides hundreds of billions in profits to nearly every criminal organization on the planet - this according to the United Nations.
I do not want people doing meth, crack, heroin or any debilitating drugs but you must realize that the current system does not prevent anybody from acquiring these drugs. In a regulated market where we actually controlled the distribution of these so-called controlled substances for adults, the price would be one percent of the black market price. And the purity would be known to the user. Therefore crime committed to purchase these drugs would be virtually unknown and overdose deaths would be limited to those committing suicide. In the US our prison population would be fifty percent or less and we would then have plenty of room to hold anybody who would dare sell drugs to our children for as long as you like.
After one hundred years of drug war, do you seriously consider that we should continue this failed policy of drug prohibition forever? With every bust of a street corner vendor, we create another job opportunity and for every king pin brought to justice, we open the door for another corn farmer to begin waging a new and bloody game of Who wants to be a Billionaire. Please reconsider your allegiance. Do it for the children. Dean Becker. drugtruth.net
DEAN BECKER: The following segment comes to us courtesy of PBS talking about the ultra-violence in Mexico.
REPORTER: El Branco – celebrated in song – in games like Branco, the Exterminator but myth making can’t match the brutal statistics. Homicide in the state of Nuevo Leon with Mexico’s wealthiest city, Monterrey, skyrocketed 6-fold in three years from under 300 in 2009 to nearly 1800 last year. Kidnappings, robbery and extortion kept pace.
REPORTER 2: Whether Monterrey contain the plague of drug violence will have profound consequences for this city and for Mexico itself.
JORGE DOMINIC: I say all the time that we were like Disneyland here – nothing happened.
REPORTER 2: We met Jorge Dominic, Nuevo Leon’s Security Spokesman, at a new coordination center for federal, state, local and military anti-cartel operations.
JORGE DOMINIC: We can watch in real-time all the patrols with the GPS. We can be hearing the conversation in real-time and everything is recorded.
REPORTER 2: He blames the explosion on two gangs – the Zetas and the Gulf cartel – battling over drug routes into the U.S. and a ballooning drug market within Mexico.
Principle casualty – peace of mind. Bar owner Lee Travinio runs La Toomba in Monterrey’s once buzzing bar district.
LEE TRAVINO: [via translator] There used to be 90 places that offered all types music, food, cafes. Now there are only about 8 places left.
REPORTER 2: Sugar mill baron, Alberto Santos, says the social toll is huge.
ALBERTO SANTOS: Soldiers and federal policemen and the state policemen and municipal policemen, all armed, patrolling the city. That’s shocking. We are living in the middle of a war.
DEAN BECKER: That’s about it for this week. Please do your part to help end the madness of drug war. Visit our website, http://endprohibition.org Prohibido istac evilesco!
For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.
The Century of Lies.
This show produced at Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org
The James A Baker Institute
Sun - Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses cannabis with Seth Meyers
Sat - Fox Austin - Expect change to Texas cannabis laws
Fri -Chris Bennett: roles of cannabis, other entheogens 5/5
Thu - Chris Bennett: roles of cannabis, other entheogens 4/5
Wed - Chris Bennett: roles of cannabis, other entheogens 3/5
Tue - Chris Bennett: spirituality, mysticism, roles of cannabis, other entheogens 2/2
Mon - Scholar, researcher, writer Chris Bennett: spirituality, mysticism, roles of cannabis, other entheogens