06/17/12 David Bronner

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David Bronner of Dr. Bronner soaps busted at White House + author Robert Platshorn denied income by Feds & Scott Meiner re forfeitures in US + BC Dr. Perry Kendall's call for MDMA, Morgan Fox of MPP

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Transcript

Transcript

Century of Lies / June 17, 2012

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DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.

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DEAN BECKER: Alright we got a great show lined for you. We’re going to hear from David Bronner who got busted at the White House in a trailer full of hemp plants. We’re going to hear from Scott Meiner regarding the seizure by law enforcement of millions of dollars across America. And the author of the “Black Tuna Diaries”, Robert Platshorn is in trouble by his parole officer even though he is not on parole. All that and much more.

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DAVID BRONNER: I’m David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. We import over 20 tons of hemp seed oil every year. We have since 1999 from Canada for use in our liquid and bar soaps. The hemp seed oil is really high in the Omega-3 essential fatty acids. It’s like a vitamin that’s chronically deficient in the typical American diet.

Doctors and the FDA recommend certain types of fish and fish oils. At the same time doctors and FDA are warning expectant mothers about the mercury content and other environmental cautions in certain fish oils and warning them to restrict their intake of certain types of fish oils and fish oil elements.

So hemp oil is one of the very few significant alternative dietary sources of Omega-3. This is what’s really driving the market for hemp seed foods. On the cosmetic and the soap products like ours which have Omega-3s which means triple unsaturated fatty acids which means they are very emmolient, very smooth and it makes the lather smooth and not drying.

We’ve been advocating along with the rest of the U.S. hemp industry for a change in U.S. policy that would permit U.S. farmers to grow and cultivate industrial hemp and to supply the U.S. market for hemp seed and fiber products which is the world’s largest market.

However we have been unsuccessful. It’s been an incredibly long, difficult slog. During the Bush years it was one thing but under Obama it’s really been frustrating and disappointing because an Illinois state senator…and she had voted twice for legalizing industrial hemp and cultivation under Illinois state law. And yet the administration which, you know, is all about reason and scientific policy and rationality and policy is just perpetuated the whole hysterical drug warrior mindset that treats cannabis, even non-drug cultivators of industrial hemp as Schedule I / crack cocaine-type substance.

It has no basis, whatsoever, in science or fact. We’ve been lobbying the Obama administration. We’ve got 13 states with industrial hemp farming programs ready to go including North Dakota which is entirely Republican. They want to meet with the Obama administration which has refused to meet with them.

Basically it’s just a bunch of drug warriors from previous administrations. They’re still in place. Obama has done nothing to get rid of them and they’re still driving policy.

DEAN BECKER: David, you had a situation earlier this week at the White House. Why don’t you just fill us in. What happened?

DAVID BRONNER: Yeah, right. Having really kind of run out of options here. Here we are in the 4th year of this administration. We decided that we had to take more direct action and basically engage in civil disobedience and highlight the absurdity and injustice of those laws that are in place.

I locked myself in a cage. We custom built a cage of half-inch steel bar around an 8 x 12 trailer in which I put myself along with 12 industrial hemp plants that I grew from Canadian hemp seed. The cage was to protect my harvest and processing the seed into oil from police interference.

We parked the cage right in front of the White House, in front of Lafayette Park and invited media and passers-by to witness the harvest and also get educated about industrial hemp and industrial hemp policy in the U.S. and the markets which are booming in the United States being the largest consumer market for hemp seed and fiber but it’s captive to Canadian, European and Chinese farmers who are laughing all the way to the bank because our regressive policy continues to cut American farmers out of this market.

I was there for 3 hours. Basically we designed it so they couldn’t use any kind of clippers and they had to bring in the fire department and use a circular saw to cut me out. This gave me plenty of time to make my point. We had a huge placard above the cage with an image of Obama superimposed on a field of Canadian hemp. It said, “Mr. President, please let Americans grow hemp again.”

It’s an act of civil disobedience. In some ways industrial hemp is not as far along as medical marijuana despite being a clearly noncontroversial issue. There is no drug value whatsoever in these cultivations. With medical marijuana you have a relatively small number of plants at issue that can provide medicine for someone. The people who need it often times are facing life and death and are really motivated to commit civil disobedience. That’s really what’s driven medical marijuana trajectory and why medical marijuana has made so much progress. Whereas with industrial hemp it’s been more difficult because … to commercially cultivate industrial hemp you need to grow hundreds of acres and you’re average farmer is not, you know, they’re not facing life and death. They definitely would appreciate a lucrative rotation crop such as hemp but it’s not enough to compel them to commit civil disobedience especially when the number of plants at issue would technically land them in jail for multiple life times. When, you know, they’re cultivating acres of the crop.

I’m a business man and I’m risking my liberty and jeopardy to basically do a direct action on behalf of the American farmers. They deserve, especially in this recession, to have such a lucrative crop in rotation with their soy and corn and have the opportunity to supply businesses like ours.

I certainly think cannabis prohibition is a disaster across the board but it’s just amazing to me that industrial hemp after all this time still have not been let out of the drug war.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we’ve been speaking with Mr. David Bronner. He’s president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap and lotions and edibles and many other hemp seed products.

David, I wanted to kind of back you up on that. I guess it was ’71 or so that President Nixon declared Operation Intercept and there was no weed to be found in the state of Texas (or I couldn’t find it). Some buddies and I drove to Nebraska, harvested some of that hemp and brought it back. We told people it was hemp. They bought it but they didn’t buy it a second time because there’s just nothing really in it, is there?

DAVID BRONNER: No, there’s not. Well you’re point is there is a real generational history in rural America with industrial hemp. Even though we banned it in ’37 under the Marihuana Tax Act. Back when we commercialized it during World War II when the Japanese cut off our supply of industrial hemp and we had the Hemp for Victory program. Those plants – that’s what’s growing wild – that ditch weed. They’re just all over the place in the Midwest.

Like you say, no one is going to try to smoke that stuff. You might trick them once but it’s not going to work the second time. So, yeah, it’s a preposterous situation we’re in where even countries like China have moved on. They literally will shoot you if you have marijuana but they have no problem with the commercial cultivation of non-drug, industrial hemp.

How can the U.S. be so far behind even the Chinese on an issue like this?

DEAN BECKER: Exactly. Well, sir, my hat is off to you. I recommend that all American citizens to do, to act, to change that which they know to be true and to just stand for a little more justice.

David Bronner, thank you so much. Oh, please, share your website with the listeners.

DAVID BRONNER: Our business website is http://drbronner.com If you’d like to engage on the hemp issue and especially write your Senators....Right now Senator Wyden has introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that has been co-sponsored by Rand Pau so we have bipartisan support and more senators are expected to co-sponsor so if you’d like to write your senators go to http://votehemp.com

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This is the Abolitionists Moment.

Just over one hundred years old, the drug war give no pretense of ultimate success. Deaths, from both contaminated drugs and turf battles, are on the rise. More lives are being ruined by AIDS and Hep. C. Terrorists are thriving. Cartels continue reaping their bloody harvest and the US gangs afford their high powered weaponry, by selling dubious concoctions to addict our children. Surely there must be a better way.

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DEAN BECKER: A few months back we had a chance to speak to the author of “The Black Tuna Diaries”, Robert Platshorn and things were going well with his “Silver Tour” – a reeducation of the nation about cannabis but things have taken a turn have they not, Mr. Platshorn?

ROBERT PLATSHORN: They have taken a turn, Dean. Just when I thought I was all done with the government and came back from a trip out to the High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver and the Patients Out of Time medical conference in Arizona a parole officer showed up at my door and said that he’s my new parole officer and made me pee in a bottle or cup or whatever they call it.

DEAN BECKER: And what was his reasoning. What was the…I thought you were off-paper, Robert.

ROBERT PLATSHORN: Yes. When I showed him the paper and pointed out in these exact words, “By this action you are no longer under the jurisdiction of the United States Parole commission.”

Then it says something about my good behavior for early release.

DEAN BECKER: The fact of the matter is you spent about 30 years behind bars for your “youthful indiscretions”, did you not?

ROBERT PLATSHORN: I spent 30 short years. Ah, yeah, I spent 30 years and the real irony is about 2 months ago Newsweek, their website the Daily Beast, did a good investigative story about me. The two main case agents at that time admitted that, indeed, it wasn’t a very big pot case and there was no violence involved and probably the sentence was way out of order.

The same agents, of course, who were at my trial said something radically different.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Now, Robert, the circumstance…because of this new intrusion, if you will, by the federal government into your life – what’s that doing to your income stream? What’s that doing to your potential, if you will?

ROBERT PLATSHORN: It’s pretty much ended it. Anyone who’s been in prison for a long time doesn’t get very much social security because it’s based on your last 10 years of income and if you’re in prison for your last ten years…So when I got out and turned 65 I got about $600 and change a month.

A year later when my book came out I started to earn a half decent living because I could go to the Cannabis Cups and Hempfest and everybody wanted a signed copy of my book. When the movie “Squared Grouper” came out that picked it up even more. But everything depends on personal appearances. It’s nice to have websites that sell a few books but my living really came from traveling. Now I’m totally prohibited from traveling which has totally cut off my income. And, of course, my wife is a semi-invalid and can no longer work.

So that makes it rough. Since I’m confined to where I am I am spending full time to finish off the Silver Tour half hour TV show, “Should Grandma Smoke Pot?!” That’s going to be aired on network TV hundreds of times. I just need to raise about 5,000 dollars more to finish the show off. It’s almost done. Everything is paid for and it is a shocker. No one has ever gone public with the real facts behind marijuana prohibition.

When I say “going public” I mean going into the mainstream and getting the message out to virtually the entire population in a short amount of time so that we have maximum impact.

The “Silver Tour Live” shows have, as you know, attracted tremendous publicity. It’s gotten a lot of progress in changing the law. It has reached the people who vote, seniors, but now it’s time to go to the next step. While I’m handicapped at earning a living I’m not handicapped at delivering a message.

So, any help I can get in that direction is going to just make the job easier, get it done faster. We filed suit and, of course, the lawyers have all volunteered their work.

DEAN BECKER: Robert, would you share your website with the listeners, please.

ROBERT PLATSHORN: http://thesilvertour.org

DEAN BECKER: Robert, the fact of the matter is because of this new set of circumstance they don’t even want you hanging around with that degenerate, federally-supplied marijuana smoker, Irvin Rosenfeld anymore, do they?

ROBERT PLATSHORN: No and that’s a big subject of the lawsuit. They have absolutely no right to tell me that…I mean, Irv is a fellow director of the Silver Tour and he’s in all the shows with me. They have no right to limit my association. He was never a felon. The only marijuana he smokes is given to him free by the federal government to the tune of 300 joints per month.

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MORGAN FOX: My name is Morgan Fox. I am the Communications Manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. We are a nationally-based non-profit that tries to change marijuana laws by making them closer to the laws governing alcohol.

DEAN BECKER: Let’s first talk Rhode Island.

MORGAN FOX: Well, Rhode Island was able to get their compassion centers put through as was planning the laws they passed last year despite the fact that the Governor was a little trepidatious about possible federal interference but the legislature worked with the Governor very closely and with law enforcement and they were able to determine a plan for enacting compassion centers that would not, you know, bother the U.S. Attorney in that state.

But, just recently, Rhode Island also decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana so that an ounce or less is only $150 dollar traffic ticket, basically.

DEAN BECKER: We got another good situation in Connecticut. Brief us on that.

MORGAN FOX: Well, MPP wasn’t directly involved with that particular bill, however, it is one of the best model bills for the east coast. They all seem to be building along the relatively same structure.

Now patients in Connecticut hopefully will be able to very soon be able to obtain medical marijuana for a very limited number of conditions.

DEAN BECKER: Medical marijuana is gaining public support in New Hampshire as well, right?

MORGAN FOX: Absolutely. We’re only 2 votes shy of the votes we are going to need to override Governor Lynch veto. He has power to veto the bill but we are very close to being able to push it through regardless.

DEAN BECKER: And tell us about the situation in Washington, D.C. What’s going on there?

MORGAN FOX: Well, technically congress won’t be able to obtain marijuana because they will not have been permanent residence of the district, however, they will be able to see that patients can be provided with medical marijuana in a safe and reliable system and the sky doesn’t fall. We’re going to be able to show legislators from around the country that while they’re there doing their regular jobs that this is a program that can be very easily enacted without there being a lot of abuse or a lot of negative consequences.

DEAN BECKER: Would you comment about the recent studies talking about teens and drug use, please.

MORGAN FOX: We’re starting to see now that more teens are using marijuana than cigarettes which you can definitely say, I think, is an improvement considering that cigarette usage is going way down and marijuana has never killed anyone whereas cigarette smoking causes something like 400,000 deaths a year. When teens are provided with actual reliable information regarding the dangers of marijuana they start making safer choices. Alcohol use among teens has gone down quite a bit.

The best way to make those numbers go down for marijuana as well is to treat marijuana exactly the same way as we do alcohol and cigarettes. We put it in the hands of licensed, legal distributors and who have incentive to check ID. We put more money into education instead of putting people in jail. Responsible adults for something that is safer than alcohol.

DEAN BECKER: More and more politicians are willing to speak of this need for change to our laws. The mainstream is beginning to, if I dare say, embrace this need for change. Even the Country Music Awards sent out a salute to cannabis during the Country Music Awards. Your thoughts there, sir.

MORGAN FOX: Well, now that the vast majority of Americans are starting to actually think about the drug war and a clear majority definitely support ending the war on marijuana, I think that you’re going to see a lot of support behind politicians and mainstream culture has traditionally been much more tolerant of marijuana use than politicians. If they don’t get on the right side of this issue they are going to find themselves out of a job.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, friends, once again we’ve been speaking with Mr. Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project. Their website, please check it out, is http://mpp.org

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[country music]

JAMEY JOHNSON: Well just take me out and build a roaring fire
And just roll me in the flames for about an hour
And then pull me out and twist me up
And point me towards the sky
And roll me up and smoke me when I die.

WILLIE NELSON: Roll me up and smoke me when I die
And if anyone don't like it, just look 'em in the eye
Say I didn't come here, and I ain't leavin'
So don't sit around and cry
Just roll me up and smoke me when I die.

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DEAN BECKER: Willie Nelson at the Country Music Awards singing “Roll me up and smoke me when I die” with his friends Jamey Johnson, Zac Brown, Toby Keith and Darius Rucker.

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SCOTT MEINER: I’m Scott Meiner and I’m a policy analyst with Americans Forfeiture Reform.

DEAN BECKER: Scott, the situation regarding forfeiture reform seems to be growing, seems to be expanding, if you will, and there was a recent situation in Sampson County, North Carolina where that became more evident. Am I right?

SCOTT MEINER: Well, all over North Carolina, but, yeah, North Carolina and Sampson County is one of the particular places where currency is regularly seized without any libel indicative of criminality.

DEAN BECKER: Explain to us how this typically unfolds.

SCOTT MEINER: Often what happens is somebody is pulled over for an alleged traffic violation. The, particularly what we’re talking about here, allegedly the driver’s vehicle made an improper lane change and that will lead to questioning of the person who made the alleged traffic violation.

Often they’ll ask if people have any drugs or currency in the vehicle and if they say yes they’ll likely take that. If they say no then often there will be a drug sniffing of the car. If they find currency they’ll, again, likely take it. Whether there is grave doubts about whether the currency has actually been involved with drugs and that’s the operating theory of why they can take the money.

DEAN BECKER: Well, this brings to mind then that it’s often determined that there often is drug residue on said money which then justifies taking of that currency, right?

SCOTT MEINER: Numerous studies have shown that somewhere between 75 to 95% of U.S. circulated currency has drug residue in it. In particular cocaine seems to be the highest quantities that stay in the currency. Starting in the 1990s there started to be grave doubts that were expressed by the courts as to whether the fact that there was cocaine residue in the currency really meant anything because all currency had it. Therefor the person who had money with drug residue in it didn’t really show anything.

A new idea is that methyl benzoate is a hydrolysis byproduct of cocaine and the vapor gets trapped into the currency whenever it’s bundled and so …and that’s what actually the dog is responding to – this methyl benzoate. So, with that new idea is that actually if the dog does alert to the currency it’s actually showing that there was cocaine. Mold also produces that which is a problem.

DEAN BECKER: You know, quite often for minor traffic incidents, you know, anyone can be pulled over. Who are these people? Is there a commonality?

SCOTT MEINER: As far as who gets pulled over? Well, if you’re a minority you’re much more likely to pulled over. Really I think everybody gets pulled over. I, myself, was recently pulled over. I was a passenger. The driver of the vehicle was alleged to have had her one of her tires touch the in a traffic lane and that, in their minds, justified a stop.

Often, at that point, people are scared and will consent to searches thinking that they haven’t done anything wrong and there’s nothing that could be found in their vehicle. But, again, with the idea of the currency, itself, can be taken with the speculative idea that it’s somehow linked to drugs – that’s not advisable for anyone.

DEAN BECKER: And this is not just North Carolina this is America and many of our southern states. People headed east are not stopped so much because they’re carrying the drugs whereas those headed west might be carrying the money. Is that correct?

SCOTT MEINER: Yeah. Particularly what we’ll find is like kind of see, you know, they don’t bother too much with vehicles that are going south it’s production is that they have drugs and it really depends on what the city is and what it is responding to but trying to see, in particular, when in many instances they’re ignoring what they think is the source route for drugs and, instead, going after the money because the police agencies usually get up to 80% of the proceeds of the forfeitures.

DEAN BECKER: One last question for you, Scott. In lieu of the fact that our nation’s economy is not exactly booming many of these municipalities are hurting for cash and this is certainly a way whereby they can increase the municipal coffers. Your response.

SCOTT MEINER: That’s certainly true. What’s also problematic about that is that it ends up where you have a situation where the police are essentially self-funding themselves and they’re, as such, no longer responsive to the city in terms of appropriations which means they’re not really responsive to the people. The more you have a reliance on essentially a self-funding mechanism like asset forfeiture the more problematic it is because then the people don’t get the police that they want.

DEAN BECKER: We’ve been speaking with Mr. Scott Meiner. Scott, please, one more time – your organization and your website.

SCOTT MEINER: We’re the Americans for Forfeiture Reform and it’s http://forfeiturereform.com

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[music]

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DEAN BECKER: We’re just about out of time but I do urge you to go to http://drugtruth.net and check out this week’s 420s. Lots of new stuff you’re not going to hear on the half hour.

Per usual, I’d like to remind you there is no justification to this drug war. Please do your part to end this madness. Do it for the children, alright? Prohibido istac evilesco!

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For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

Drug Truth Network programs are archived at the James A. Baker, III Institute for Policy Studies.

Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org