03/31/13 Mary Jane Borden

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Mary Jane Borden of OhioRights.org re effort to legalize Med MJ in Ohio, Doug McVay of Drug War Facts: "Is US World's Leading Jailer?", Terry Nelson of LEAP: "Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel Won the Drug War" + Texas cops refuse to use sensible MJ laws opting to fill the jail & "Is Freedom Over Rated?"

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Transcript

Transcript

Cultural Baggage / March 31, 2013

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[music]

DEAN BECKER: 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.

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DEAN BECKER: Thank you for joining us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. I think we’ve got a great show lined up for you. I’m really proud and happy, uh, not surprised, I guess, anymore by all the activism that’s going on around this nation. People are talking about the need to change these drug laws and especially these cannabis laws because it’s not even half the states in the nation but it’s about a third of the states are considering changing their cannabis laws.

Ohio is foremost among those seeking to make that change. We have with us from the Ohio Rights Group Mary Jane Borden. Hello Mary Jane.

MARY JANE BORDEN: Hi Dean. Seems like old times doesn’t it?

DEAN BECKER: It does. Long term listeners know that Mary Jane produced a weekly report for us for years on behalf of Common Sense for Drug Policy and Drug War Facts. We have Doug McVay doing that for us at this particular point in time.

Mary Jane you’ve got your hands full with this effort don’t you?

MARY JANE BORDEN: Yes I do. I decided to devote my full time effort to it.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us about what you guys …what you seek to accomplish there.

MARY JANE BORDEN: About 3 years ago in 2010 we formed an incubator for a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Ohio. What we have going now in the Ohio Rights Group is the outgrowth of the formation of that think tank.

It was formerly under the name of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Association. In January we re-formed under the name of the Ohio Rights Group.

DEAN BECKER: Tell the folks why. What was the main reason.

MARY JANE BORDEN: Well there’s a number of reasons the least of which was that …if I could backtrack just a little bit so people can understand this in context. We’re on our third initiative. We had one submitted in September 2011 that was way too long and we could go into some of the details of this if you want.

We wrote another one in January of 2012 which was approved for statewide circulation by the Ohio State Attorney General. You have to go through this process to do that. Here we are in January 2012…really when we formed this incubator in 2010 our intent was to get this measure on the ballot in 2012.

For two years we were working with this as our bull’s eye target. Little did we realize in 2012 how much air a national election sucks out of any other advocacy. I realize Colorado and Washington passed but so much is taken up by the presidential election. All the dollars on the media had already been committed. We had 5 little months to get this on the ballot. It just became particularly apparent to us that the stars were simply not going to align.

In June we had a reorganization of the board and I became treasurer and I go to Chase bank and say, “Hi, I want to put my name on the account.” I’ve done this with many organizations before. They said, “No you’re not because we’re going to foreclose your account.”

“Why are you going to foreclose our account?”

“Because you have cannabis in your name.”

I was absolutely stumped. One of the requirements for valid initiatives in the state of Ohio in terms of a statewide issue PAC is it has to have a checking account. When a bank forecloses your checking account you can’t do business as a PAC.

I think that led to our inability to make the 2012 but, without doubt, the last nail in the coffin was when Chase foreclosed the account.

DEAN BECKER: Let me interrupt here. Because the word cannabis was written on the account it’s almost as if it’s illegal as the plant itself. It’s to be demonized. It’s crazy. I’m sorry – go ahead.

MARY JANE BORDEN: It’s a true story. You can’t imagine how shocked I was as treasurer. I had heard about this but thought it was something that happened to other people. We are a political organization. We are in the business of passing ballot initiatives. We’re not dispensing any Schedule I substances.

By extension to say not only will we foreclose a dispensary even though they’re operating legally in California but we’re going to foreclose the account of a political organization to me is an assault against free speech.

DEAN BECKER: I’m going to interrupt you one more time. When we first talked earlier today you pointed me to your website, http://ohiorights.org. I had written down ohigherrights.org and thought it was totally appropriate.

I spoke earlier with Chris Goldstein. He’s based up there in New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. He was talking about how they’re trying to get Pennsylvania to follow along with the New Jersey tact. He was also complaining that in New Jersey it has taken years to unfold, to slowly make its way into existence and even now some several years later it’s severely limited in the amount of patients it can serve and the amount of cannabis it can provide. It’s another example of fear getting in the way of progress isn’t it?

MARY JANE BORDEN: Is it fear or is it this drug war that we see pervasive? There’s a stopping block put every step of the way - if it’s not the U.S. Attorneys going after the dispensaries in California forcing them to close by going after their landlords. Or say you have this issue with the banks not providing services.

I was reading the other day about the EPA trying to apply environmental law to marijuana. I don’t think it’s fair at all. I think it’s this grind of the drug war. We are certainly trying to stop it but I think it’s really the grind of the drug war.

DEAN BECKER: It’s just another example of people…I’ve got to back up…uneducated people clinging to the ignorance and hysteria of old, refusing to see the science, the progress, the health, the reasons for change isn’t it?

MARY JANE BORDEN: Yes, I agree with you there.

DEAN BECKER: I’m looking at ya’ll’s amendment. I’m not a lawyer or an educated person I guess but there is just so many components, so many articles, sections, rights and all this. Is that necessary? Is that ameliorate the fears and hysteria?

MARY JANE BORDEN: It’s interesting. You have to write these things with a little legalese. The truth of the matter is three attorneys collaborated and I did too with them although I’m not an attorney. There is an element of legalese. You have to go in and revise code in order to see if your language matches how the particular phrase or clause.

Let me give you an example. In the Ohio revised code marijuana is not m-a-r-i-j-u-a-n-a. It’s m-a-r-i-h-u-a-n-a.

DEAN BECKER: Thanks to Harry Anslinger but go ahead.

MARY JANE BORDEN: Seriously, if we wrote with the j-u-a-n-a it’s not going to go into effect because that’s not the word used in the Ohio revised code.

DEAN BECKER: Wow, yeah and so much of it does, indeed, go back to Harry Anslinger and his putting forward so many lies and frightening so many people.

MARY JANE BORDEN: I think he gets maybe the root of the blame but to lay it solely there would be missing (and you know this) missing 80 or 90% of the problem.

DEAN BECKER: And really generations of “me too’s” that followed in his example.

Looking at your website I see you guys want to hear from the veterans because they are very instrumental in helping sway public opinion and they are the people who I think often need this most.

MARY JANE BORDEN: That’s right. I had the blessing of receiving a lot of the messages that come into our website. I’m kind of the point person for reading them and then sending them off to the person most capable of responding to them.

Within the last 3,4, 5 or 6 days we’ve had many veterans…I actually printed off a couple of these if you could give me a minute to read one of them. Here’s Nick…He says he’s a veteran of the Operation Iraqi Freedom with a 30% disability rating. He writes:

“When I left the core I came home to a strange and unfamiliar world. I have only found one thing that calms me down without making me lethargic - one plant that diminishes the threat lying around every corner.”

People are writing this stuff to us all of the time. If I could read another one here. This is Jeff.

“We set out for a mission that night.”

He’s talking about being in Iraq.

“Everything went according to plan but on the way back to the FOB my driver ran over a roadside bomb instantly killing him and leaving myself and my truck commander severely injured.”

He goes on and says he’s been on the road to recovery. He’s been on everything – all kinds of morphine, antidepressants, sleep aids, therapy.

“You name it. I began to feel like a mindless zombie. I went over to a friend’s house and he offered me some marijuana. Thinking what else do I have to lose I gave it a shot. 15 minutes later I felt like a little school boy again. I was laughing, socializing, the pain had dwindles, thoughts of my accident had diminished.

“I thought the last time I felt this way was before I deployed. Medical marijuana is a God send.”

That’s a true statement. That’s a person that just sent this message in the last day or so. That is a human being out there who is suffering and found the ability to alleviate his suffering with this miraculous plant.

DEAN BECKER: It’s an example of countless people – veterans or not - people who suffer debilitating conditions and maladies. It doesn’t take away all the pain. It doesn’t put you into some sort of zone – zombied out. It just helps you to diminish the pain, to push it away a bit, to keep it at a distance so that you can live a more productive and useful life, right?

MARY JANE BORDEN: That’s exactly how we approached it in our ballot language. I don’t know how many mentions we have of this but the alleviation of suffering is key to this. We are giving patients the right to use this to alleviate their suffering and to possess an amount of cannabis sufficient to meet their therapeutic needs and alleviate their suffering.

I think this really key here. When you think about it it seems like we’re always in the race for the cure. I think the idea that when we get the cure it’s all going to go away – the sun’s going to come out and every flower is going to bloom and everything is going to be fine. But before you get to the cure there is going to be a lot of suffering and I think society is doing a very poor job with the alleviation of suffering.

You can see with these vets, for example, are saying about the drugs they’ve been put on. They’re not doing the job. They’re not alleviating their suffering. This plant will do it. I think one of the things that you will learn about us is that we did take this constitutional approach.

What we did in the process of doing this is say, “You’ve got to go in and read the constitution for the state of Ohio.”

What struck us….can I read this to you, Dean…this is…

DEAN BECKER: We’ve got just a couple minutes left but go ahead.

MARY JANE BORDEN: this is the Bill of Rights in the Ohio State Constitution. This is what heads up the constitution and was written in 1851.

“All Ohioans are, are, by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety.”

Think about that for a moment.

DEAN BECKER: That sounds like a list of some of the benefits of cannabis.

MARY JANE BORDEN: What that sounds like to us is our mission statement. What we’re trying to do is already there for us in the constitution, the constitution of the state of Ohio already says that we are entitled, as Ohioans, to seek and obtain happiness and safety. We are entitled to inalienable rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring and possessing and protecting property.

In terms of the drug war, in terms of what’s happening with cannabis this essentially forms our mission statement.

DEAN BECKER: And rightly so. I think you could go back to the U.S. constitution – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is so much … I was talking to our engineer, Laura, earlier…there is so many people that are every day more willing to give up a little bit of freedom in receipt of a promise of more security.

We’ve got to walk away from this clinging to fear and go into the future a little more bold, don’t we?

MARY JANE BORDEN: Yes we do. In a way we go into the future by recognizing that 150 years ago our forefathers were talking about these very same things that we are.

I want to point to this. There was an analysis written in 1860 that was a part of the Report of the Ohio State Medical Community on Cannabis Indica. It was written in 1860 by patients and presented at the 15th meeting of the Ohio Medical Society. This report told the benefits of cannabis to treat all kinds of stuff that we are talking about now – insomnia, seizures, pain, nervous disorders. If you would read this (it’s written in 1860 language) but it almost superimposes on the same things we are talking about today. The same things I just read to you from the veterans who just served our country, who are defending this Bill of Rights.

DEAN BECKER: We’ve got about 20 seconds left. I want to turn it over to you – any websites you’d like to point folks towards or closing thoughts.

MARY JANE BORDEN: http://ohiorights.org On that website you’ll find our amendment, a Q & A about it. If you’re a Facebook person we’re at http://facebook.com/ohiorightsgroup

DEAN BECKER: Alright. We’ve got to leave it there. Mary Jane Borden is also a good friend of http://DrugSense.org. Mary Jane, thank you very much.

MARY JANE BORDEN: Thank you.

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It’s time to play Name That Drug by Its Side Effects!

Headache, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, tiredness, cough, flu like symptoms, painful skin, pneumonia, respiratory problems, COPD, infections caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, cancer and death.

Time’s up!

The answer: The answer Abatacept or Orinsia from Bristol Meyers Squibb for rheumatis.

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DOUG McVAY: Everyone by now has heard that the US is the world's biggest jailer, with more people behind bars than any other country.

We've all heard it. Is it true?

The International Centre for Prison Studies, a partner of the University of Essex in the UK, researches global incarceration and regularly publishes the results. Their website at prisonstudies dot org even has a handy tool to make international comparisons easy.

The ICPS reports that in 2011, the US had a prison population of 2,239,751 – enough prisoners to put our nation at the top of the list. Next comes China, with a reported 1,640,000 prisoners. Seems pretty straightforward – except it's not as simple as that.

First, let's unpack the US data. The ICPS is actually lumping prisoners – that is, inmates serving time in prisons – with jail inmates. In the US, we report those numbers separately. That's how a prohibitionist can get away with claiming that few people are ever sent to prison for simple possession of marijuana. People serving time for that offense typically get put in jail, not prison. They're still incarcerated, behind bars, just technically they're not in prison.

Take away the 735,601 held in US jails in 2011, and the remaining US prison population is 1,504,150.

Now let's take a closer look at China.

The ICPS figure of 1,640,000 only represents sentenced prisoners in Chinese Ministry of Justice prisons. It does not include pre-trial detainees, nor does it include people held in administrative detention. In 2009, ICPS reports, the Chinese government admitted to holding more than 650,000 people in detention centers. If that figure held steady through 2012, that would mean a total of 2,300,000 behind bars in China.

So technically, China may actually be number one in terms of sheer numbers.

As far as incarceration rates are concerned however, the US does seem to be way on top. The ICPS web tool also allows comparison of incarceration rates. The US, at 716 inmates per 100,000 population, is well ahead of the next country on the list – the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, with an incarceration rate of 649 per 100,000. China, because of its massive population, has an official incarceration rate of only 121 per 100,000. Adding in those held in administrative detention raises the figure significantly yet it's still nowhere near the US rate.

So the answer is basically Yes. Yet really, it all depends on how you define terms and who you count.

At Drug War Facts dot org, we provide up to date data from the US and around the world, fully cited, with links to the original source material for most of the items. Knowledge is power, so get the facts.

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay with Common Sense for Drug Policy and Drug War Facts.

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TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohbition.

There are reports in the news about some sort of stability beginning along the Mexican border and especially in Juarez, Chih. Mexico. There is decline in violence reported. The question is; is this because the Mexican Army is winning the drug war? I think not. What it means is that Shorty (El Chapo) Guzman’s Sinoloa Cartel now has firmer control of the city after killing many of his rivals.

While our authorities will applaud this as a win for the drug war it only means that there is a new leader in town and that he has consolidated his smuggling routes, bought of the police, army and some rival gangs. It is good for business if one can monopolize the trade in an area and that is what has happened.

So what it really means is that Guzman has won, some say with the help of the U.S. Government, control of this valuable entry point into the United States. It is not a suprise that his organization would have capitulated since he has approximately 50 thousand people on his payroll. The Mexican armed forces have a little less than 200,000 soldiers, navy and air force personnel. So Guzman’s Sinoloa Cartel is one-fourth the size of the Mexican Army. Small wonder that they don’t want to push him to hard. He has plenty of foot soldiers to cause the Mexican Government serious concern if he decided to make war instead of money.

So for now there is a little less violence in Ciudad Juarez. However, further south near Mexico City it is a different story. According to news reports in the daily news; In MORELIA, Mexico — Authorities say the bodies of seven men were found in plastic chairs placed along the side of a street in the drug-plagued Mexican state of Michoacan, while another seven people, including three federal agents, were killed in neighboring Guerrero. Michoacan's Attorney General's Office said in a statement Saturday that the seven bodies had bullet wounds and had been placed individually in the sitting position in chairs near a traffic circle in the city of Uruapan.

The drug war and it associated violence will not end until one cartel controls all of Mexico and the associated gangs that work within the United States. Gangs, 33 thousand of them, which the FBI say have grown to 1.4 million members in the United States and cartel influence has risen to one thousand cities from three hundreds something three or four years ago.

We had better take these numbers seriously and plan ahead more than a little bit. We must reduce these gang numbers here at home. To do this we have to adopt a strategy much different from the one we have followed for the past four decades. A strategy that imprisons our population at a staggering rate. Over 14 million of our citizens have received felony records in the past decade.

Let’s legalize drugs and remove the cartels and their street gangs.
Then we can Regulate and control all drugs, implement a system of Education coupled with treatment to deal with our drug problems and stop trying to arrest our way out of this crazy war.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.copssaylegalizedrugs.com, signing off. Stay safe.

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DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy of KVUE TV, Austin, Texas.

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TYLER SWORDA: If some members of the UT student government have their way the university police department will stop making arrests for possession of marijuana. Backers say the movement will let police focus on more important things. I’m Tyler Sworda.

TERRY GROCA: And I’m Terry Groca. The campus police say the measure student leaders are considering is just actually symbolic and wouldn’t actually change anything. Chris Vetz is live on the UT campus. Chris, this type of student bill has never passed before.

CHRIS VETZ: That’s right, Terry. The student government is proposing a bill that would be the first of its kind on a college campus in the country. The bill asks that university police do not make arrest for any sort of marijuana possession and instead issue a citation.

Cigarettes and second hand smoke according to UT grad student Robert Love are much more bigger problems than marijuana.

ROBERT LOVE: Marijuana is not a threat to safety on campus so let’s take resources away from marijuana and put it on things that are a danger to students.

CHRIS VETZ: So Love is a member of the student government and one of 12 authors of a bill that would ask UT police to issue citations for all marijuana possessions under 4 ounces instead of making arrests.

ROBERT LOVE: I want to make sure that they have the ability to spend those resources investigating violent crime on campus rather than forcing them to investigate marijuana crimes on campus.

CHRIS VETZ: Right now Travis County law allows officers to make an arrest or issue a citation at their discretion. Love says that encourages racial profiling.

ROBERT LOVE: Citations should be the standard. That way blacks, whites, Latinos – everyone gets the same treatment under the law.

CHRIS VETZ: If UT passes this bill it would be the only university in a state without medical marijuana to enforce citations as opposed to arrests however campus police tell me student government cannot change the law.

ROBERT DAWSON: They are welcome to go down to the state legislature and try for a state law change and then that’s what we enforce. As officers of the state of Texas we will follow the laws of the state.

CHRIS VETZ: UT Police Chief Robert Dawson says this bill will not change their policy already in place.

ROBERT DAWSON: The legislation from student government does not change how we will enforce any of the state laws.

CHRIS VETZ: Still UT student government will vote on the marijuana bill to make a statement not a law.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project 19 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws allowing medical use of marijuana. 2 states (Washington and Colorado) have legalized recreational use of marijuana for adults. Those are all state laws.

Here in Texas all marijuana is illegal and it is illegal under federal law.

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DEAN BECKER: Well it seems that an April 1st joke on everybody in Texas. Back 7 years ago House Bill 2391 was passed which says it’s no longer necessary to arrest anybody for under 4 ounces of weed but these cops simply refuse to recognize that law.

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[music]

We all love Big Brother. He protects us from the evil one. Bow down to Big Brother – to his satellites and guns. We need him and adore him. Freedom is so over-rated.

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DEAN BECKER: Yep – how far will we bow down? Just so fearful of what the future might bring. WE are supposed to be in control – not the government.

I want to thank Mary Jane Borden and her group, Ohio Rights Group. I hope you folks will do your part to end this madness.

As always I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.

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DEAN BECKER: To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.

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

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.

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