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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Terry Nelson on the board of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Doug McVay of Drug War Facts, Police Chief eats cannabis cake
Cultural Baggage / April 14, 2013
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.
DEAN BECKER: Hello my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I am Dean Becker, your host, and here in just a moment we’re going to bring in our guest. He’s a man who’s voice you her every week here on the Drug Truth Network.
A man who spent more than 30 years serving the U.S. government as a Customs, Border and Air Interdiction officer. Following that retirement he spent a couple of tours in Iraq as well helping the U.S. government. He’s a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. You’ve probably seen him on CNN, MSNBC – all the major networks.
This a guy who does the weekly report for us right here on the Drug Truth Network, my friend Terry Nelson. How are you doing, Terry?
TERRY NELSON: I’m doing well and yourself?
DEAN BECKER: I can’t complain Terry. I feel remiss having not had you on air for a longer discussion in quite a while. First off remind folks about the areas you worked in, the type of service you provided for our country.
TERRY NELSON: I worked the international interdiction of narcotics, the corridors coming out of Central and South America. I worked in Mexico and every country in Central America except Nicaragua and 5 countries in South America. During the last 15 years of my career it was Plan Colombia and all the other failures that had gone on in South America.
DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. Now I mentioned you’re a board member of my band of brothers, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Tell folks a little bit about LEAP and the progress that we’re making in awakening folks to this need for change.
TERRY NELSON: I’m seeing a real sea change. I was at the downtown Dallas Rotary about a week and one-half ago, the movers and shakers of Dallas, and I got a standing ovation from them. Afterwards I met a 3-star general who came over and shook my hand and said, “Way to go. You’ve got the right message there.”
We’re getting it out and people are starting to understand that it’s a state’s right issue, a human rights issue and the drug war…I was at the United Nations over in Vienna about 3 weeks ago and there people are just crying to change this drug war and they’re not having a lot of progress because the member states are reluctant to change. The people there are saying we got to do something different. This is a tremendous human rights issue. There’s too many people dying. You’re ruining lives and we need to change it.
DEAN BECKER: You talk about people dying…on my Century of Lies show which airs following this program on many of the Drug Truth Network stations and is already online at http://drugtruth.net I interviewed this lady who calls herself “Lucy.” She’s one of the fugitive reporters of Blog Del Narco. They have a book out now called Dying for the Truth – Inside Mexico’s Violent Drug War.
Terry, I watch some of these TV shows – Bones and other autopsy shows – they’re getting really graphic but this book one-ups them about 3 times over. This horrible situation that is going on in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and around the world – Africa, everywhere else – this is all a result of our desire to stop “little Johnny” from smoking a joint isn’t it?
TERRY NELSON: Well that’s what they claim, of course. Every time you hear a politician talk about it it’s “What about the children?” Well let’s ask that question, “What about the children?”
Under current drug laws if your parent gets arrested the children are taken away from the parents and put in foster homes and institutions. Last year 25% of the people that went into prison came out of a foster home or institution so we’re actually destroying the very thing we pretend we are trying to protect which is the children.
We can’t keep the drugs out of children today because there is not a school in the country that doesn’t have drugs in it. There’s not a prison in the country that doesn’t have drugs in it.
We need to change our strategy and that’s why LEAP calls for strict regulations and control, take it out of the hands of the criminal drug gangs and the cartels and try to get control on especially the dosages of these drugs so it won’t be making people ill or killing them.
DEAN BECKER: A minute ago you mentioned something about it that you’re seeing a sea change and I couldn’t agree more. The fact of the matter is major media, publications, newspaper editorials, comments sections…there’s still those few people saying that we need more drug war like Bill O’Reilly or something but the fact of the matter is most common sense approaches by people of the Washington Post, New York Time – across the board – are beginning to embrace the idea. Maybe not pointing to what that change specifically might be but definitely a need for change, right?
TERRY NELSON: Oh, definitely…absolutely. The politicians are now seeing that it is OK to come out and say it. It’s not going to cost them an election. I think it was yesterday or the day before in California where a bill was introduced to protect the state that legalized cannabis so the federal government can come after them. This is right out of Ron Paul.
It’s a great sea change from my way of looking at it. Now we’re discussing. Get it out in the open. When it’s in the open you’ll see “the emperor has no clothes.”
DEAN BECKER: It seems sometimes and I repeat myself each week but it’s when you have positive points to make you should go ahead and make them. Washington State, Colorado have legal weed – the sky has not fallen. April 20 th they are going to have the first American cannabis smoke out in Denver – the Cannabis Cup. This is not going to lead to any kind of harms either. Somebody might eat a bag of Doritos which is the common thing put forward by the media. Your response? This is losing its bite across the board, isn’t it?
TERRY NELSON: It is. As you said the sky has not fallen. I’m anxious to see the models that come out of Colorado and Washington State to see how they deal with the regulations and control. It’s a very complicated issue but if they can get it right and then the other states start to come online they can use those as a model.
As Gary Johnson used to say, “Out of 50 states one of them is going to get it right and the rest just have to copy it.”
DEAN BECKER: Many of the states, the medical marijuana states, are very slow to put in play the process, the means by which it can be grown and sold and so forth. Even in Colorado and Washington there is some talk about testing people’s blood content to see if they are too high to drive. This has led to kind of a backlash from many drug reformers to talk about the fact that if they’re going to keep wrapping this in “reefer madness” and means and mechanism to try to control it beyond anything common sense the next laws that are put forward are just going to say legalize it and no controls. Your thought there, Terry.
TERRY NELSON: I think you’re probably close to right there. No one really knows. I am disappointed, very disappointed that the Texas started trying to make people who need welfare [phone ringing in background] excuse me just a minute.
DEAN BECKER: Once again we’re speaking with Mr. Terry Nelson, one of the board members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – a gentleman with more than 30 years of U.S. service to the U.S. Customs, Border and Air Interdiction officer. You’ve heard him on a regular basis here on the Drug Truth Network. He does a weekly report for LEAP. Let’s see if Terry is freed up.
TERRY NELSON: I was talking about the state of Texas putting in testing of people who need welfare and aid from the government. Now you want to take people who are already down and you want to kick them again. I think we ought to be giving people a hand up instead of trying to further destroy them.
DEAN BECKER: On the other half hour I have an editorial that talks about Bill O’Reilly was recently saying all of these celebrities coming forward talking about the need to change the drug laws and he’s saying that those who sells drugs and somebody dies that that is a violent act or potentially a violent act – it’s the Minority Report mentality. It’s just saying that people who sell drugs may lead someone to die and therefore they should be locked up as if they were violent criminals. Your response?
TERRY NELSON: I don’t think the users…I certainly agree with the cartels that are killing people to fight for their smuggling routes are violent people and they actually cause death but unregulated drugs cause death. Regulated and controlled dosages will not kill anybody. That’s been proven throughout time.
Pharmaceutical companies make drugs at different strengths for a reason and they are regulated and controlled. If you want to kill yourself with a pill you have to take more than one because you know what’s in it. That’s what killing. The drugs that are killing people are unregulated and uncontrolled dosages of the drugs.
DEAN BECKER: I often think back to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and it may not have been all inclusive and everything we need but it did have a provision where we could have stopped and I think that it said that those who make these drugs must label them fully – the contents contained therein. I think with that an adult, anyone who is able to read could then use proper dosages and avoid those overdose situations, right?
TERRY NELSON: I agree completely. When I was a young man growing up in South Texas people who wanted to kill themselves took aspirins. They just took a whole box or two of aspirin. Any drug can be abused and can be used to commit suicide if you choose. A regularly labeled drug …
I don’t like to promote drug use but let’s look at heroin. If you’re used to shooting 6% heroin you can maintain that dosage for 10, 20, 30, 40 years and be a functioning addict but that one day when you get a 25 to 30% shot that hasn’t been cut you’re going to go to the emergency room and die because it’s unregulated. That’s LEAP’s position – we want strict regulation and control.
DEAN BECKER: The situation is kind of turned on its head. The people want these changes. Last week or the week before they were talking about 52, 53% in favor of marijuana legalization out right. So few politicians speak for that change but the press is starting to push them. I think it’s starting to work as it should. Your thought, sir?
TERRY NELSON: I agree completely. The press is coming on board because we have enough people out there speaking from reform organizations who are showing the untruths that are being put out. I think it’s 52% of the people now saying it should just be legalized.
Remember 76% of chief of polices think the War on Drugs has failed. Who is supporting this failed policy except people making money out of it. The people benefitting from the misery are the ones that want to continue it.
DEAN BECKER: Even the Association of U.S. Mayors (not sure of the exact name) but they came out at 100% at saying the drug war is a failure as well. Who is leading this?
TERRY NELSON: I wish I knew. I would go talk to them. It has to be about the money so whoever is making the most money is the people who want to continue this.
DEAN BECKER: Don’t get me wrong as I wore the badge for a short while but it is cops and criminals that speak the loudest in Mexico and on the streets of the U.S. with guns and their drug sales. It’s just a preposterous notion that somehow we can force someone to quit using something that they desperately want. Your thoughts, sir?
TERRY NELSON: Stop using that drug or I’ll kill you.
I think the police are in it because it’s been around since before they were born so they don’t know anything but the drug war but they’re making money out of it. They’re making lots of overtime out of it. They’re seizing people’s property without due process of law with the asset forfeiture laws.
LEAP’s about to come out with a white paper talking about theft by badge. When you take some man’s property, deprive him of a way to get to work the next morning and then sell his car for 3 or 400 dollars and put the money in your piggy bank you’ve just done a wrong. If he hasn’t had a trial by jury and adjudicated guilty you should not be able to take his property.
Now these laws came about under the RICO Act because they were going after organized criminals, “We’re going to get their boats and their airplanes and their shopping malls.” Well, I don’t see many shopping malls being sold on the block but I see lots of 5 and 10-year-old cars being sold.
DEAN BECKER: Yeah, a lot of forfeiture going on – billions of dollars being taken away from people suspected of drug charges.
We got a couple minutes left and I want to get into …something I brought up on the ARO list about three or four weeks ago and that is why don’t we recognize the fact that it is the drug war that has helped contribute to the number of guns on U.S. streets? Whether you’re buying, selling or just protecting your home, your stash from the drug users in the neighborhood it has contributed to the number significantly. Your thought, Terry Nelson.
TERRY NELSON: I’m a gun owner and I use my gun responsibly. I would say that the violence, a lot of the violence …let’s take Chicago, for instance. The people that are dying up there – as many people died there as soldiers in Afghanistan last year. Those street gangs are fighting for control of their territory. They are killing each other with guns.
Every now and then a person in a home …someone goes to break in and they shoot them and that’s home protection. I don’t blame people wanting to carry a gun in their car if they’re going to have to go through a tough neighborhood. They don’t want to get car jacked and their car stolen and robbed because of some thug out there on the street corner that the police can’t seem to control because they are on every street corner that I’ve been to in that part of town.
Guns don’t cause the issues. The drug war is contributing to violence in America. Four years ago only 360 some odd cities had major cartels influence. Last year they reported 1,000 cities in America have major cartel influence. There is 1.2 or 1.4 million gang members in the United States and 50 some odd thousand active gangs.
Ask a police officer or a police chief or administrator – you can’t see this problem coming down the road then something is seriously wrong with your thinking process. We’ve got to get control of this and the way you do it is to take the drug gangs money away from them. Take away their “food” supply which is money and you can get control of it.
DEAN BECKER: Yeah and Terry don’t get me wrong I’m a gun owner too. I wasn’t speaking against the rights of gun owners just the need for so many people to …the idea that they need it because of the drug war.
TERRY NELSON: There’s over 300 million guns in America. You’re not going to put that genie back in the bottle so don’t even try.
DEAN BECKER: We’ve got about a minute left. I want to turn it over to you. There are fewer and fewer people challenging the logic of ending this drug war. What negatives have you heard? What are people still clinging to?
TERRY NELSON: I don’t hear any new arguments. I was on a show here a while back with our arch nemesis in California and he’s still saying the same ol’ argument, “What about the children?”
He wants to go into Mexico and help them build a stronger government. He wants to go into Colombia and help them do what we did in Plan Colombia. He wants to go into Guatemala and El Salvador.
I said to him why do we need to go to other people’s country and tell them what to do? We can’t even take care of our own poor people in this country.
DEAN BECKER: Well, isn’t that the truth?! Talk about squandering of resources. Some say the drug war is now over 2 trillion and 10 trillion flowing into the pockets of the terrorists and cartels. What could be more preposterous?
TERRY NELSON: I don’t know the exact number now but a percentage of the gross national product of the world about 1.6% of it is untaxed and unregulated – that’s the drug money.
DEAN BECKER: The bankers are getting their share so I’m sure they want this to last forever. I’ll tell you what, Terry, we’re going to go ahead and wrap this up.
Once again we’ve been speaking with Mr. Terry Nelson. You hear him every week here on the Drug Truth Network. He’s a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and one of my best friends.
Terry, thank you so much.
TERRY NELSON: Dean, thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure and keep up the good work. You’re doing good work.
DEAN BECKER: Thank you, sir.
(Game show music)
It’s time to play: Name That Drug By Its Side Effects
Fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches, couch, shortness of breath, blood in your phlegm, weight loss, warm red painful sores on your body, diarrhea, stomach pain, burning when you urinate, tuberculosis, infection, cancer and death.
The answer: from the Centocor Ortho Biotech Stelara for psoriasis.
DEAN BECKER: We got a comment coming up here which exemplifies the change in attitude, perspective by media all around these United States.
DEAN BECKER: From the Post Standard out of Syracuse.
REPORTER: The probability of adult Americans 52% back legalizing marijuana according to the Pew Research center in a poll released last week. The finding marks the first time in more than 4 decades of Pew’s polling that a majority has taken that position - as recently as a decade ago only about one-third of Americans actually backed making marijuana legal.
Let me be frank. Our marijuana laws are schizophrenic as are public opinion and this law enforcement fixation that we’ve had on the devil weed and drugs since the get go. In fact our history of prohibition is that of racism.
Dig this. The first American anti-drug law was in 1875 - a San Francisco ordinance which outlawed the smoking of opium in opium dens because of their fears that Chinese men were luring white women to their ruin in these dreaded dens of opium iniquity.
Remember white folks did their share of opium but when the Chinese started taking cheaper jobs something had to be done and so it was. Cocaine was thought to fuel the lust of the American Negro male who would rape white women.
Harry Anslinger, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the pawn of William Randolph Hearst who had a thing against Mexicans like Pancho Villa and then the DuPont company that was about to launch the most lucrative and market-cornering product in their history (synthetics) and what could satisfy our needs for paper as in newspaper and strong fabric and industrial cloth that would out do the need for synthetics? Hemp!
So blame the Mexicans and their marijuana. And the craze for sex-crazed Negro males for going nuts in a heartbeat and the dreaded Chinese who were taking our jobs and tada – drug prohibition.
Think of the money the cops, law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, jails, prisons and it gave a great campaign issue. Why? Something to fear. Americans love the boogy man.
Have you noticed whenever someone is arrested they always say, “And a small amount of marijuana was found on his person.” Yet whenever there is a school or theater shooting no one ever mentions what pysch meds this robot killer was prescribed or withdrawing from and they always remind you that brain wiring continues well into our 20s and is most susceptible to the effects of cannabinoids but we conveniently never mention the effects of SSRIs and anti-depressants and the like on kids’ brains.
Watch now – psychiatrist liability.
If you can be liable for serving alcohol to a drunk who kills a kid in a car accident you can’t see the liability of giving psych meds to crazy folks or those who become crazy especially with all the evidence connecting these drugs to suicide and violence?
But, good news!! Pot’s illegal! Wake up and comment as you see fit.
DOUG McVAY: The White House has released its new budget request, and along with it the President's new drug control budget. This time around, the President is requesting $25,393,200,000 for drug control programs. Of that, $10,670,300,000, or 42 percent of the total – is designated as demand reduction spending. That means treatment, education, and prevention. The remaining 58 percent, or $14,722,900,000, is for supply reduction – law enforcement, interdiction, and international programs such as the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and the Central American Regional Security Initiative.
This year's budget shows dramatic increases in the amounts requested for treatment and a dramatic decrease in the International segment. These changes are a big part of the reason that proposed spending for these two broad functional areas are closer to achieving equilibrium. As reformers, we have always argued that more support needed to be given to demand reduction programs, so this should be good news. And it would be, if it weren't for the details.
Sure, the proposed budget has a ratio of 58/42. The proposed budget usually bears no resemblance to the enacted budget, all of which are different from the final budget numbers. In the fiscal year 2012 budget, for example, the President requested a total of $26,209,700,000 for drug control programs, with $10,664,800,000, or 40.7 percent – going to demand reduction.
The new budget report lists the final numbers for fiscal year 2012. In reality, drug control programs spent $24,497,200,000. Of that, $9,187,400,000 – 37.5 percent – went to demand reduction, and the remaining $15,309,700,000 – 62.5 percent – went to supply reduction. In other words, the proposed numbers are only bargaining positions that are being staked out.
The same sort of bait-and-switch seems to be going on with fiscal year 2013. The original request was for $25,599,900,000, of which $10,538,200,000, or 41.2 percent – was for demand reduction. The new drug control budget report shows that the fiscal year 2013 annualized continuing resolution figures – basically the enacted budget – show a total of $24,536,400,000 in drug control spending in 2013, with $9,371,900,000, or 38.2 percent, going to demand reduction and $15,164,500,000, or 61.8 percent, going to supply reduction.
At least President Obama is being more honest about drug control spending than his predecessor. An accounting change early in the GW Bush administration made it look like drug control spending had been cut by several billion – particularly spending on the supply reduction side.
These new proposed figures could be a positive sign, but we have to wait and see whether the President is serious about making progressive change, and he still has to convince Congress to go along with it. Still, it's encouraging to think that being smart on drugs is a better move politically than merely acting tough.
For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay with Common Sense for Drug Policy and Drug War Facts.
DEAN BECKER: The next segment courtesy WBNS, Ohio.
ANCHOR: The Hocking County Sheriff’s office is trying to get to the bottom of who is responsible for drugging a local police chief. As Sun TV’s Josh Poland tells us this all began when Laurelville Police Chief Mike Berkemeier ate some cake that was just sitting on his kitchen counter.
MIKE BERKEMEIER: I got up in the morning and ate it -- the entire thing.
JOSH POLAND: Shortly after eating that cake, Berkemeier says he began to feel sick like never before.
MIKE BERKEMEIER: All I can describe it was the worst feeling in the world. I thought I was dying.
JOSH POLAND: Berkemeier says all he could think to do was make the short drive from his home to the Laurelville police station for help.
MIKE BERKEMEIER: I don’t remember much of the drive here, even though it’s just a few blocks and was met by a couple of the medics from the fire department.
JOSH POLAND: Berkemeier tells me medics transported him to Berger Hospital in Circleville where doctors performed tests to see what was wrong with him.
MIKE BERKEMEIER: I kept trying to explain to them this wasn’t getting any better. It just got worse. I felt like I was out of my mind.
JOSH POLAND: Berkemeier says a phone conversation from his hospital room revealed the source of his drugged feeling. Berkemeier’s daughter told the chief’s fiancee over the phone that the cake the police chief had eaten was laced with a high concentration of cannabis oil.
MIKE BERKEMEIER: My fiancee hung up the phone and called for the nurse and said, ‘Get a nurse here right away. I know what it is.’
JOSH POLAND: Berkemeier says doctors gave him a sedative to sleep off the pot-laced cake’s effects -- effects he never wants to experience again.
MIKE BERKEMEIER: It was probably the scariest thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life.
JOSH POLAND: In Laurelville, Josh Poland, 10TV News.
ANCHOR: Berkemeier tells 10TV that a friend of his daughter actually brought the cake into their home. Possible charges include corrupting another with drugs and assault.
Stephen Cobert: The public politicians have started buying, the drug culture pushers are selling.
The last two Presidents could have conceivably been put in jail for their drug use. Look what would have happened – it would have ruined their lives. They got lucky but a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don’t get lucky, they don’t have good attorneys and they go to jail for these things. I think it’s a big mistake.
It’s their own damn fault. If those kids wanted to go around breaking laws without consequences they should have gone into banking.
DEAN BECKER: Hi. This is Dean Becker inviting you to join us on the Unvarnished Truth television program. It airs locally on HMS TV. Check your local cable listings for when. You can check it out online at http://unvarnishedtruth.org
We interview people from around the world and provide segments from major broadcasts underscoring the need to end this eternal drug war. Unvarnishedtruth.org
DEAN BECKER: Alright flat out of time. I want to thank Terry Nelson, one of my good friends at LEAP. Please check out the most recent Century of Lies. It’s already up there at http://drugtruth.net It’s Dying for the Truth – Inside Mexico’s Drug War. It features “Lucy” one of the fugitive reporters at Blog Del Narco.
As always I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.
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
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