02/10/13 Neill Franklin

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Neill Franklin Dir of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, stories of Mexican ultra violence & of regaining control, Ethan Nadelmann Vs Kevin Sabet, marijuana for cancer & for consultants

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Transcript

Transcript

Century of Lies / February 10, 2013

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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: Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. We’ve got a great interview with the director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Mr. Neill Franklin. Due to an operator’s error, a malfunction on my part I lost the first few seconds of this interview but I hope it holds together pretty good. Here we go.

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DEAN BECKER: Many folks point to the legalization effort in Colorado and Washington as having been very instrumental in bringing about these additional changes. Your thought there, Neill.

NEILL FRANKLIN: I think you’re right and I think we can even go back to 2010 with Proposition 19 in California. I equate Proposition 19 in California to a military term referred to as softening the beaches. That’s what the navy would do.

There’s a shelling of the beach before landing the marines for a successful landing and that we don’t lose too many of our men and women as they hit the beach. That’s what Proposition 19 did for drug policy reform at the marijuana level.

Because of that effort in California many people were educated, the press started taking this whole thing seriously – it was no longer a comedy show for them. The numbers that came out in California were very good for a first time effort at legalizing marijuana. We learned quite a bit of what to do and what not to do. 2 years later we ended up in Colorado and Washington.

Proposition 19 had a lot to do with the success in Colorado and Washington. Those numbers at the end of the day in both of those states were quite impressive.

DEAN BECKER: Right. The fact of the matter is Oregon almost made it. They were a couple of percentage points away from passing there too, right?

NEILL FRANKLIN: Absolutely and they didn’t have the financial support to run the campaign. However the next time around I have no doubt that they will be positioned quite well for a successful campaign.

DEAN BECKER: Now it’s hard for me to speak with you and not recall our journey across America, our participation with the Caravan for Peace and the situation that’s still so treacherous, so horrible in Mexico. Let’s talk about what we learned from Javier Sicilia and perhaps maybe what we shared with him.

NEILL FRANKLIN: One of the best take aways that I have from the Caravan for Peace, Dean, is the courage - witnessing the courage that those people had. Our brothers and sisters in Mexico, the families that have been devastated, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters, the aunts, the uncles and cousins that have lost loved ones in this war.

Many of them put their lives on the line to join that caravan. Every day they speak out in Mexico about the atrocities of drug prohibition and what’s happening in Mexico and every day they are putting their lives on the line. Their putting the lives of their family on the line but they realize that this is something that has to be done and therefor they do it.

2 weeks ago I just got back from a follow up visit to Mexico City to meet with many of those people who were on the caravan to talk about the future of the campaign. There was one mother and daughter who were on the caravan and I met with the mother in Mexico City 2 weeks ago. She was telling me about her 2 nephews that since the caravan have disappeared. They’ve been kidnapped. We know what the end result is probably going to be. Unfortunately they probably never will return.

She’s telling me about the disappearance of her two nephews. She then turns and points to their wives – their two young wives who are there with her. Here’s a family that have already lost a son and a brother and in just a matter of months two additional relatives end up being kidnapped.

DEAN BECKER: It’s a repeating horror story. The families of the deceased that traveled with us…each evening we’d stop at a church somewhere and usually they’d have a fire and a bit of a fiesta. They’d sit down and eat and then they would talk and share their stories.

NEILL FRANKLIN: They are so appreciative of folks like you. As a matter of fact, Dean, they told me to tell you hi. I have something to send to you. They made a video thanking everyone – you, Sam, Steve Downing, Richard, Diane, Jack – all those folks who joined in on the caravan at one point or another.

You went the entire distance. You and Sam were real troopers during the whole thing. You made the entire journey from San Diego all the way over to Washington, D.C. and they are so appreciative of that. You made a lot of friends.

DEAN BECKER: I hope so. I felt like the warmth of the companionship, the realization that we had the same intentions - to undo this madness.

Neill, I want to mention that I’ve heard reports that there are small cities, pueblos, in Mexico where the citizens are now arming themselves and trying to clean up their streets to let the thugs know that they’re there and they’re not going to take it.

NEILL FRANKLIN: One of the things we talked about was personal security for the people, for the citizens - the different things they can do. One of ladies in my group was talking about some of the small towns, some of the small regions who have done just that.

They decided that since they can’t get the support and help that they need from the authorities (the police and the military) that they would take matters into their own hands and they would protect each other. She said it’s very, very successful. That’s being done on a small town scale but it’s something that we talked about duplicating across the country down there.

Even in this country when you think of public safety – public safety is not first the responsibility of the police it’s the responsibility of the community.

DEAN BECKER: Neill, we speak to a lot of folks. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition are being called on by news agencies, governmental bodies but mostly we speak to the people. We talk to the Elks, the Lions and all these fraternal organization and the fact of the matter is these folks are now starting to chime in. They know this truth. They speak that truth when we speak to these groups. They stand strongly and support what we bring forward. It’s changing everywhere isn’t it?

NEILL FRANKLIN: It’s kind of a good feeling to see the change and to feel the change. For me it encourages me to do more. I’m already doing a lot. In this kind of work you can become discouraged quite easily but it does encourage me to stick at it and to do more.

DEAN BECKER: I think the number of people who stand in opposition, who stand for eternal drug war is diminishing every day. Fewer and fewer people want to stand up against the likes of you or Ethan Nadelmann or anybody else who had educated themselves on this subject and try to put forward that it’s worth continuing. Your response, Neill Franklin.

NEILL FRANKLIN: The proof is in the pudding. Every argument, every attempt at an argument that has ever been brought forth by the opposition has always had holes in it. We finally have been able to plug those holes.

There’s nothing left. Because of that it’s very hard to find anyone who’s going to publically challenge you on this topic. They were talking about addiction rates. Well, they’re still up and they’re going up. They were talking about overdose deaths. You know what? We have more now than ever before.

DEAN BECKER: The main thing I want to point out is that Law Enforcement Against Prohibition in the last about 11 years rose from a 5 man group to now more than 70,000 members and supporters worldwide standing and calling for the end of this prohibition.

Neill, as we close out here I want to remind you of a little tongue and cheek PSA of mine and that is that the drug war is designed to protect the children until they turn 17 when they become meat for the drug war grinder. That’s about the whole of it, isn’t it?

NEILL FRANKLIN: [laughing] Hey, look here’s the message that your friends from Mexico have sent. In the background is the eye of God. Do you remember that?

DEAN BECKER: They gave that for our courage in helping them out, right?

NEILL FRANKLIN: Yes they did and here they are.

[inaudible]

DEAN BECKER: I could see it and I kind of heard it but couldn’t make it out.

NEILL FRANKLIN: They were speaking in Spanish anyway. But basically they were saying, “Gracious, mucho gracious.” Thank you very much for all that you did and for escorting us across the country.

DEAN BECKER: It was an honor. It was a privilege. Let’s wrap this up. Once again we’ve been speaking with Mr. Neill Franklin, the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Please check us out on the web at http://leap.cc

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DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy of NTD.

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REPORTER: Outrage at kidnapping, extortion and theft at the wave of drug-related violence washes over Mexico. Farmers, shop keepers and other residents in the mountainous southern state of Guerra are taking the law into their own hands as community police.

COMMUNITY MEMBER 1: [via interpreter] We have to fight for everyone’s good so we decided to clear away all the bad people. We have to get rid of these animals because they are committing extortion in the community. The whole town and the people are fed up.

REPORTER: With official Mexican police and military forces leaving the community to handle legal affairs themselves some resident recommend severe punishment for offenders.

COMMUNITY MEMBER 2: [via interpreter] Their crime is big and serious. If they have raped then they should be raped to see how it feels and why rape a poor child? Do to them what they have done to others.

REPORTER: The community policing is also bringing its own problems as tensions increase and the community wages an all-out war on the drug cartels. Many an ordinary folks have stopped sending their kids to school. The education minister from Guerra state says:

EDUCATION MINISTER: [via interpreter] Closing schools is no way to combat the social cancer and insecurity. It impacts our schools because teachers are afraid and parents fear sending their children to class.

REPORTER: Mayor of the town says the rebellion against drugs has given courage to the authorities.

MAYOR: [via interpreter] Fortunately, thanks to this movement, and I say this in all honesty and frankness, the community police are good people. They have filled us, the authorities, with courage.

REPORTER: Community police groups have also been used in Colombia and the example is sobering. Drug cartels later cooped the community groups to fight against Marxist guerillas. The drug trade from south and central America to the United States is worth billions of dollars every year.

In 2011 the Global Commission on Drug Policy including former chief Kofi Annan and former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Schultz concluded that the global war on drugs has failed.

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[music]

DEAN BECKER: Darth Drug Czar…you’re a coward, a liar, demon and thief. Seems you can’t face the truth for just one hour…too busy looking at peeeee…

Dean Becker, DrugTruth.net.

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DEAN BECKER: The following courtesy CNN.

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NICK VALENCIA: Reports of assaults have become all too common in Mexico but what is especially shocking about the latest attack is where it took place. Local authorities say 5 armed and masked men burst into a bungalow in the Mexican resort town of Acapulco as a group of 14 tourist group slept. 6 Spanish women were tied up with their own bikinis and raped while the men in the vacationing group were gagged and bound.

A Mexican woman traveling with the group was spared according to Acapulco’s mayor who surprisingly seemed to downplay the incident.

MAYOR: [via interpreter] We know that it is very unfortunate about what has happened but, hey, it happens anywhere in the world.

NICK VALENCIA: Mexico has a poor track record of prosecuting crimes and so far no arrests have been made in the assault.

With its sunny beaches and cool breezes Acapulco hosts millions of foreignors every year. A recent wave of drug violence has sent the murder rates soaring but so far violence has only had a minimal effect. The federal government has sent thousands of troops and federal police to Acapulco to secure hot spots where violence has increased.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.

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DEAN BECKER: The following courtesy Fox.

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REPORTER: Our top story tonight – efforts building in Washington to change, rewrite, totally remake current marijuana laws. These moves would include legalizing industrial production as well as establishing a federal pot tax. Law makers on both sides of the aisle quietly working away on these bills – one of which was introduced just today by two Democratic congressmen, one from Oregon, the other from Colorado. Both of them calling for an end to federal pot prohibition.

Will it work? Joining me now is Kevin Sabet, former Whitehouse Drug Policy Advisor and Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Ethan, I’ll start with you.

ETHAN NADELMANN: Well, Gerry, it’s a lot like the repeal of alcohol prohibition. You see the public turning remarkably quickly to saying this doesn’t work. They’re saying it’s not effective at preventing young people and others from using the stuff. They’re saying it’s costing tens of billions of dollars in tax dollars every year. It’s diverting precious law enforcement resources. It’s funding organized crime in Mexico so a lot better to have a smart, sensible regulatory policy with the state governments control it and the feds provide mode of control.

REPORTER: Kevin, what do you say? Is this prohibition all over again? Do you agree with that?

KEVIN SABET: No. If only this were so easy.

First of all these bills in congress have zero chance because essentially we’re seeing them take up the Barney Frank mantel on the Ron Paul mantel. Those were the two previous representatives that did this. It’s really the extreme right and the extreme left coming together to …

REPORTER: Strange bedfellows…

KEVIN SABET: Exactly. The extremes on a lot of issues often meet. The mainstream on this issue is that marijuana can be a harmful drug especially to young people. The last thing we want to do is legalize it and normalize it. For every dollar we get on alcohol and tobacco tax in this country we spend 10 dollars in lost social cost so people that look at this actually know this is a loss leader. This is not going to work. I wouldn’t make too much of this.

REPORTER: I know Ethan wants to debate you right now but first let’s drill down into this bill that congressman Polis is putting out. He wants to regulate marijuana the way the federal government regulates alcohol. Basically it’s going to de-nationalize the regulation of pot, give it back to the states. Growers would need a permit. Oversight would be given to this – get this – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms.

KEVIN SABET: Obviously the pro-marijuana lobby is giving Representative Polis a lot of money to talk about this. The reality is, again, marijuana can be a harmful drug for a lot of people. It doubles your car crash risk. We don’t need any of these extreme policies.

Actually Ethan and I would agree that we could reform the worst part of our policies. I don’t think people should be locked up in jail - few people do – for small amounts of marijuana but we don’t have to legalize marijuana in order to reverse some of those wrongs.

REPORTER: Ethan, I think you guys have been around this tree a couple of times debating this topic. Is marijuana a gateway drug?

ETHAN NADELMANN: It’s more the gateway drug when it’s illegal because people go to the same drug dealers. If you go to the Netherlands where they separate out the marijuana market from others you don’t see that affect.

More importantly is that regardless of the politicians being chicken on this with a few exceptions so far you have over half the country now saying let’s legally regulate marijuana like alcohol. Polls popping up across the country. People are saying, “Stop wasting police resources. Stop…”

REPORTER: Alright you made that point already. Let’s show a map here. We have 18 states plus Washington, D.C. who allow medical marijuana to be legal so there’s a lot of the country already that’s on this page.

KEVIN SABET: That pro-marijuana lobby has pushed medical marijuana. The average medical marijuana user in California is a 32-year-old white male with no history of chronic illness. They actually…

REPORTER: Is that really medical marijuana?!

ETHAN NADELMANN: The fact of the matter is that 70% of the American public says it’s time to legalize medical marijuana.

REPORTER: So here’s a point that we haven’t already covered in this conversation. These congressmen are saying, “Hey, we’ve got 16 trillion dollars in debt. We’re a trillion in the hole just this year. This is a great way to raise tax revenue.”

Blumenauer’s measure would charge an excise tax on the first sale. If you’re a farmer growing marijuana 50% of your first dollar would go right to the government. Tax producers or importers would pay 1000 bucks annually just for being tax producers and they would require the IRS to produce a study of industry after 2 years. Once you get the IRS involved, my friends, we are talking about a full-on industry that is going to be taxed and it will never go away because the IRS is going to want to get money from it.

[inaudible Nadelmann and Sabet both talking over her and each other]

What do you think about a federal tax on marijuana? Answer my question.

ETHAN NADELMANN: At this point it’s premature because only two states have made it legal….

REPORTER: You’re not going to answer the question? Is it a good idea or a bad idea?

ETHAN NADELMANN: Down the road it could be a good idea but it’s mostly about the states and the revenue from marijuana just like it is for alcohol.

[inaudible all talking over each other]

ETHAN NADELMANN: The poll is about saying, “Let’s allow the states to legally regulate that stuff.” That’s where you start the taxes – let the states tax and regulate it.

KEVIN SABET: We’ve heard about this for the lottery. We’ve heard about this for gambling. We’ve heard about it for tobacco. We’ve heard about it for alcohol. We spend more on the social costs of those substances…

REPORTER: When you say social cost what do you mean?

KEVIN SABET: I’m talking about the health costs, the accidents, the loss of productivity. The Department of Justice report in this administration released last year report 193 billion dollars is what illegal drugs cost the U.S. every year. Alcohol is 200 billion. Tobacco is about 190 from all the deaths.

ETHAN NADELMANN: Alcohol and tobacco are quite a bit more dangerous than marijuana. The costs are greater…

REPORTER: That’s debatable, my friend…

ETHAN NADELMANN: Actually…

REPORTER: We’re going to have to leave it there. The shouting is over for this hour.

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MAC McTABET DEAN: Hi, I’m Mac McTabet Dean and welcome to HuffPost Live. Joining me to discuss all these stories is Ann Broke, a mother and blogger in Knoxville, Tennessee. We have Elma Placeras Diegua, a marketing consultant in Chicago, (I hope I got the name right) Raina Ramirez, development coordinator in Boston, Stephanie Hood, a veteran and mother in Tyler, Texas, William Adams is also joining us, a freelance journalist in London.

First story: Scientist at California Pacific Medical Center have actually found a compound in marijuana (yes, that good green stuff) that could stop metastasis in many aggressive cancers potentially altering the fatality of the disease which on a personal note I will share my mother is currently battling.

I don’t know if any of you have used marijuana recreationally. I’m sure you’ve read the article. What do you make of this? Is this a break through or is this just another one of those studies that might get us nowhere?

FEMALE: I think it’s old news, right? They’ve been using marijuana for relief from nausea and to increase appetites in patients in California and other places. I think that the whole stigma with marijuana as the evil drug, the gateway drug…

MAC McTABET DEAN: That’s an interesting perspective. We do know at least on the federal level that marijuana is a very contentious issue. Politically we’ve seen Obama and the federal government increasing raids on medical marijuana dispensaries. Do you think this kind of study might eventually lead to a place perhaps where it’s not such a polarizing topic? What do you think, Ann?

ANN BROKE: I think that whatever when we’re dealing with loved ones who are going through cancer treatments we need to do whatever we can to support them. It would be wonderful if whatever works could be mainstream acceptable and be used in an appropriate and…to help support the wellness community.

MAC McTABET DEAN: What’s your take on this? I mean you’re not in America. What do you think of this?

WILLIAM ADAMS: It seems so American. I mean, I think science has realized you need to try to find a cure and you should try to do that any way you can and if marijuana is one potential route to do that then obviously we should do that. There should be no controversy surrounding it.

Something that’s puzzling me even more is whether marijuana in a brownie will work because then people can take treatment home.

MAC McTABET DEAN: The truth is I would argue that I would much rather get in the back of a car with someone who is high than someone who has drank a lot. That’s just my take.

FEMALE: The point is, like, you know, in terms of talking about positive health benefits….for how long have we been talking about how a glass of red wine is good for cardio. In the same vein, you know, just because wine is legal does not mean that people can’t abuse it. I think that we should take that same sort of viewpoint towards marijuana and say, you know, everything in moderation.

ELMA PLACERAS DIEGUA: Yah, marijuana is a great solution but is anybody really trying to cure cancer or are they spending so much money creating the drugs to keep the treatments going.

MAC McTABET DEAN: Elma, I have to interrupt you because that makes complete sense to me. I’m so happy that you articulated that. For someone who is about to go travel next week to be with my mother as she continues her chemo treatment I really find the entire approach to the way we treat cancer to be very counter-intuitive.

I’m not an expert. I’m not a scientist but to kill every cell in the body and to risk really killing a person’s body and immune system in the hopes of trying to cure…I’m not trying…this might come across as ignorant and I’m not a scientist but there has to be another option. There has to be another approach.

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DEAN BECKER: The following features a quick intro from Whoopi Goldberg via CNN.

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WHOOPI GOLDBERG: State officials are looking to hire a pot consultant to help them grow, test and bake it into brownies. I’ve got to tell you I’ve put my name into the running.

REPORTER: Whoopi joked on The View but the consultant job is no joke. Washington recently made marijuana legal with users kicking it off with a midnight smoke out. Now the state’s liquor control board wants to hire a consulting firm versed in refer and regulation.

MALE: I kind of feel like the wars over now and now they’ve invited us to this grand hotel on how to grow pot.

REPORTER: The search for a marijuana consultant stopped in Tacoma. A law degree is preferred. They want someone who knows how marijuana is grown, cultivated, harvested, cured and processed, how pot should be transported, labeled, packaged and sold at a retail level. Expertise on how marijuana should be destroyed if over-produced, contaminated or recalled and how to assure quality and consumer safety.

MALE: The board doesn’t have expertise in quality standards for certain types of marijuana.

REPORTER: Washington is entering a whole new world of weed – fancy cigar bar style marijuana stores will open in December when commercial sales can begin. The state estimates the heavily-taxed marijuana business could generate up to almost 2 billion dollars in new tax revenue in its first 5 years.

Reports on what they will pay the consultant got exaggerated and passed around like a joint during the Summer of Love. The liquor control board told CNN the pot consulting job will pay less than $100,000 per year in a state now testing its own big bong theory.

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[music]

This pot’s so good that when I smoke it the government freaks out.

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DEAN BECKER: Well, that’s about it for show. I can only urge you to contact your elected officials, the media, your neighbors, your co-workers, you church-going friends and come to the conclusion that this drug war is an abysmal failure. It needs to be brought to an end. There’s no justification for it whatsoever. Please do your part of end this madness. Visit our website, http://endprohibition.org
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.

This show produced at Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

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