01/05/14 Clay Jones

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Tribute to Clayton Jones, the toughest man in Texas + Report on cannabis legalization in Denver from KPFT's Laura Slavin + Diane Goldstein of LEAP re Drug War Addicts

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Transcript

Transcript

Cultural Baggage / January 5, 2014

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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: It is with a heavy sadness I must report the death of Clayton Jones – Houston’s backbone for drug reform. Despite 30 years in a wheelchair and seemingly yearly amputations of more from his legs he stood tall, he stood against this inquisition of drug war.

Clay was an active member of Houston NORML and of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas. He handed out flyers in the wind and rain and cold at the court house. He spoke regularly to the city council and the commissioners. He provided free cannabis to patients of the Texas Medical Center right here in the gulag state of Texas. He protested at DEA headquarters, traveled to and attended numerous national drug reform conferences. He was co-host of Houston’s longest running television program, “Drugs, crime and politics.” He was co-producer of my TV show, “The Unvarnished Truth.”

The following is from a service held on January 4th. This is Clayton’s daughter, Janet.

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JANET JONES: He had a big heart and would anything for anybody. He was just a very caring man and a very generous man, a kind man with a big heart.

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DEAN BECKER: From the Drug Policy Forum of Texas and Houston NORML this is Mr. John Flatos speaking about his friend, Clay.

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JOHN FLATOS: Clay was a real stalwart guy. A lot of people wouldn’t have survived what he went through. A lot of people wouldn’t have found a way to deal with it. Clay basically dedicated his life to helping others because of it.

He didn’t make any excuses. He didn’t accept any. He was tireless. We’ll miss him because he was a real warrior among us and we really appreciate it.

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DEAN BECKER: Next up we hear from Ann Lee, the head of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition and the mother of ganja entrepreneur, Mr. Richard Lee.

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ANN LEE: Clayton was a source of great admiration and inspiration. What else can I say? I didn’t have the problems that he had physically and, yet, look at what he did. I think we all have a common bond of admiration for a man who gave of himself and left the world a better place because he had been here.

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DEAN BECKER: You know this voice...

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DEAN BECKER: I want to say something. This man has been my conscience, my sounding board, my ally, my friend and I think that stands true for probably everybody here in some fashion or another.

What he set out to do was to change the world and the world is changing. Attitudes are certainly changing even in Texas. Clay has been a big part and in some cases the driving force behind those changes. I think today we need to salute the man for everything that he has done and for the momentum that he has produced that stands right here in this room.

We got to keep doing what Clay was doing. It’s common sense. It’s logic. It’s a reach toward truth and reality. Let’s keep this rolling, keep Clay’s thoughts in our hearts and our minds and in our actions because he was a hell of a guy.

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DEAN BECKER: This is Clayton’s friend and ally, Noel Davis.

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NOEL DAVIS: From the beginning he inspired me. The first time I met him he taught me so much as a friend, as a dad, like a brother. We fought like family. We did all kinds of crazy shenanigans at the state legislature together and other places. We traveled across country together.

Seeing everyone here and feeling all this love and knowing that we’re all still connected because we will always still have him in our hearts. He will always be a part of us.

Clayton did help change the world. There’s a lot of work yet to be done...a lot of work. In Texas things are just starting to get going. It is just starting to get hot here. Money, national money is finally coming in. The coalitions are building. Colorado has changed...it’s a different world.

I’m going to ask all of you – everyone in this room – if you have not already learned who your state representatives are, who your congressmen are, who your city council members are – pick one. Just start with one. Take your time with it if you have to but try to learn about that person and build a relationship. I would vote for you state representative at this point that would be the most effective, then your state senator because we are about to be part to watch the money come in and a campaign be built to help us all focus our efficacy and energy and call for this change.

ATTENDEE: Demand it!

NOEL DAVIS: Demand it, exactly. And you don’t have to out yourself as a smoker to talk to your state representative. You can say, “I’m here because of Clayton Jones. I’m here because of this man.”

That’s the best way that you could honor Clay and honor yourselves, honor this country is to stand up for our rights that he fought so hard for and so many have like him.

Bless you, Clayton. Thank you and rise in glory.

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DEAN BECKER: Next we hear from Clayton’s sister, Cynthia.

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CYNTHIA ROBIDOUX: I wasn’t going to say anything. I didn’t think I could.

Clayton was my brother. I’ve known him 65 years. Many of those years he was a burr in my side because he was the kid brother but I loved him with all my heart. We went through a lot together.

He was the most inspired man I have ever met in my life. He had a cause. He didn’t care about his own pain. His thought was for everyone else in this world. He had a tenacity about him that just wouldn’t stop.

No matter how bad he got there was always someone else that he thought was worse and that he could do maybe something for them. I think he did. Today is a testament of exactly what he did.

He will be missed but he is in a better place and like Nicole said remember him. Talk to your senators, talk to any elected person and mention his name. If he is kept alive that way your cause will be kept alive too and will only go further because of him.

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DEAN BECKER: This is Lance Findley.

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LANCE FINLEY: He told me that sometimes we don’t get to choose our family and that friends become family. He expressed the fact that every one of the people in here, all of his friends that come through to him were his family.

I listen to the man for ten years talk about “I’m moving next year. I’m moving next year.” The reason he never left wasn’t his house and it wasn’t that car I sold him – it was you guys. He didn’t want to leave because he didn’t want to leave all the people he had met and touched...he touched all of us – every one of us.

I just want you all to know that. You all were his family not just friends and I mean that about everybody in here.

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LENNY: I’ve known Clay for 15 years. Over the last several years I’ve basically been slowly dying of morphane which a disease that unravels every muscle in the body. Without Clay and how he helped me I literally would have blown my brains out by now.

I’d be unemployed and out of a bed. Clay saved my life. Not only saved my life but he introduced me to some wonderful people. He taught me not to be scared, stand up. I’ve never met such a powerful man. I’ve never met such an American patriot and I’ll remember him until the day I die.

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DEAN BECKER: The service went on for quite some time. We’re not able to cover it all here but to close out this is Clay’s quasi-daughter, Kelly.

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KELLY: Just like he told my son when he was little and he used to ask about his legs he said he was waiting for them to grow back. I told my son when we found that he had passed that Clay’s legs grew back and he’s running around right now and smiling over us.

He will always be in our hearts. We love you, Clay.

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DEAN BECKER: I travelled thousands of miles with Clay, faced down drug czars and politicians, pundits and police chiefs and never once did he show one second of fear.

In case you folks on the national or international scale wonder why I’m focusing on Clay Jones think about this. He grew the best weed I’ve ever seen and gave it away to patients at the Texas Medical Center who were suffering cancer and other horrible maladies never once asking for any recompense and all the while being featured on front page stories for his activism and his use of the cannabis plant for medicine.

Turns out Clay was invincible. The cops and the courts wanted to do with Clayton Jones.

To close us out here’s part of my last interview with Clay in October 2013.

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CLAYTON JONES: I’m Clayton Jones. I live here in Houston, Texas. I’ve been a member of Houston NORML for about 10/12 years. I’ve been a part of Drug Policy Forum of Texas for the last 10/12 years.

In 2007 our house here in Texas and our senate approved a bill that was called H.R. 2391. With that bill municipalities and counties are allowed to have a citation court which allows them not to arrest somebody who has ties to the community.

It’s for certain different crimes – low-level crimes, graffiti under $500, a bad check under $500 and marijuana possession up to 4 ounces. These people could be given a written citation, not end up in the jail, not losing a job, possibly losing their insurance and hurting their family situation.

This year I went up there and I thought it was a hearing on our mill rate and it ended up being a 7.3% tax increase. I went up there and asked them about this same house resolution and every single one of our commissioners and the judge told me that they’re very much behind this and they are working on trying to institute it with Mrs. Anderson, our new District Attorney.

DEAN BECKER: Again, folks, we’re talking about Houston, Texas here. It’s moving across the country – Ohio, Illinois, Rhode Island – you name it each and every state seems to be taking a new look at this. Here in Texas my good friend, Clay Jones, has struck a nerve and maybe made some difference.

Closing thoughts, Clay?

CLAYTON JONES: My closing thoughts is that 2 years from now when our new house has a new legislative session that they can just legalize it right from the very beginning. Let’s set it up the way it needs to be done so that children will be kept away from it. It can be regulated, taxed. If everybody can grow it and use their own then there’s no need for the gangs or cartels or black markets. That’s what I think it’s all leading to.

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(Game show music)

DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.

Loss of personal freedom, family and possessions. Ineligible for government funding, education, licensing, housing or employment. Loss of aggressive mind set in a dangerous world. This drug’s peaceful, easy feeling can be habit forming.

(((gong)))

Time's up! The answer: Doobie, jimmy, joint, reefer, spliff, jibber, jay, biffa, jazz, blunt, steege, greener, cracker, hogger, bone, carrot, maryjane, marijuana, cannabis sativa.

Made by God. Prohibited by man.

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DRUG TRUTH NETWORK.

Purveyors of the highest quality bee suits. For those seeking to stir up the hornet’s nest of Drug Prohibition. drugtruth.net {sound of bees buzzing}

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DEAN BECKER: Hang in there just a moment and we’ll be right back with Diane Goldstein from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. We’re going to talking about how to cure these drug war addicts.

First up, this report from Denver, Colorado.

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LAURA SLAVIN: My name is Laura Slavin with KPFT Houston.

MITCH WOOLHEISER: I’m Mitch Woolheiser and my company is Northern Lights Cannabis Company.

LAURA SLAVIN: What was the response on the first day?

MITCH WOOLHEISER: It was pretty overwhelming. I didn’t really expect that much of a response. It was quite out-of-hand but everybody was polite, understanding and very, very positive about the whole thing and very excited.

LAURA SLAVIN: About how many customers?

MITCH WOOLHEISER: About 400 yesterday. On a typical day in our medical...we are also a medical dispensary. On a typical day in our medical dispensary we’d maybe see about 45 people. It was a very busy day.

LAURA SLAVIN: Were the crowds pretty orderly?

MITCH WOOLHEISER: No shoving, no pushing. That’s the nice thing about cannabis people.

LAURA SLAVIN: What types of products are sold here and what are the favorite products?

MITCH WOOLHEISER: Bud is always everybody’s favorite product. It’s sold here for $55 per one-eighth and that includes all the taxes at the state and local municipality charge. We also sell a lot of edible products like candies, cookies, brownies – those type of things...tinctures. Unfortunately right now we’re having a little bit of a bottleneck with our supply chain so some things we’re running out of but I’m not sure what it going to happen with that.

LAURA SLAVIN: The edibles are not available for recreational use?

MITCH WOOLHEISER: Right. By law we are required to keep all the inventory separate between retail and medical so I can’t use medical inventory for the retail market. Unfortunately that’s going to create shortage because there’s not enough companies in the supply chain. Right now I’m having to limit people to no more than one and one-half ounce per transaction just because I’m going to run out of supply myself.

LAURA SLAVIN: Are your prices rising to stifle demand a bit?

MITCH WOOLHEISER: I haven’t gone that high. I’ve heard people going as high as $75/$80 per one-eighth. We’re staying at $55. It’s a fair price and it’s a good product so I think I am comfortable with that. If I have to I will raise my prices because that is the reality of the market place but right now I prefer to keep it where it is.

LAURA SLAVIN: What are your projections for the coming weeks and coming year?

MITCH WOOLHEISER: The coming weeks are different because there are only 23 or 30 shops that are open right now. As more supply comes online and more companies come online that will change. This is my chance to capture part of the market because they have to come to me and I’m one of the few providers so I can make sure I do a really good job for them and get them coming back.

After Amendment 64 passed I spent the last year applying for this and getting ready. Last month I probably had one day off and worked 12 hour days every day. It was a long, hard struggle and I’m so glad we could do it. It’s such an honor to be able to participate in the first legal cannabis market in the world.

LAURA SLAVIN: Thank you so much for interviewing for the Drug Truth Network, KPFT, Houston.

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DEAN BECKER: Once again that was Laura Slavin my former engineer.

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DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Hello, how are you?

DEAN BECKER: Doing well. Can you hear me, Diane?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: I can, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: I wanted to just start with this. You are a former law enforcement official.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Retired. I spent almost 22 years.

DEAN BECKER: You now are a speaker for a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Correct.

DEAN BECKER: You recently had a piece up there on the internet that talked about my favorite subject and that is it’s time to chastise, belittle and otherwise go after these drug war addicts.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: That’s correct. They did a tongue-in-cheek blog and described “myself as I’m a recovering drug war addict.” It was done in the sense of not necessarily belittling people but trying to capture a politician so they can understand that they are being manipulated by law enforcement.

It’s to get our constituents, to get our politicians to recognize all the failures of the drug war and how it’s corrupted law enforcement. I don’t believe that this will change any cop’s mind but it may change some politician’s mind and that’s who I’m focusing on right now.

DEAN BECKER: I would agree with you, Diane. I look at it this way, though. Truthfully what has happened in Colorado, what has happened internationally in so far as the overall drug war is starting to force or encourage politicians (as you say) to walk away, to no longer be that belligerent, asshole drug warrior. Your thought?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: You are absolutely right on that, Dean. I think that the more successes that we have like as Washington rolls out in a different fashion. One of the things that I’m kind of having a back and forth argument with some retired law enforcement friends of mine is they posted that silly story on Colorado is allowing EBT welfare purchases for pot which was a satirical story.

It’s one of those things that what we have to do is continue to focus the truth and the facts. Colorado rolled out with no injuries, no issues, no problems, no increase in drunk driving or driving under the influence arrests that we know of at this point because if law enforcement had those we would already know.

What was more dangerous this year? Black Friday that killed one and injured 15 or the roll out of a controlled and regulated marijuana market?

DEAN BECKER: Green Wednesday – wasn’t it?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Green Wednesday – exactly.

DEAN BECKER: You mentioned you did this tongue and cheek and I can appreciate that because part of it was over the top but from my perspective (really and truly) it is these drug warriors who stand in support of eternal funding of terrorists, cartels and gangs who really don’t mind the expenditure of trillions of dollars just being flushed down the toilet who have these connections, if you will, with these drug war proponents – the prison builders, the prison guard unions, the treatment centers, on down the line – all these people who live, who thrive, who need the drug war to continue. Your response, Diane?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: I completely, whole-heartedly agree with you and that’s why I was so over the top with it. We really do need to point out the inevitable consequences of a poorly thought out national drug policy that started with Richard Nixon. It started, obviously, one hundred years before that as well but we really do need to continue to spread the message and call out...for example, a couple of blogs that I’ve written have called out the California Narcotics Officers Association, the California Police Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police for being backward and unscientific.

Currently what they do through their lobby political pressure and reliance on a singular system is causing death, disease and addiction in all of our communities. They are responsible.

For example let’s take a look at the greater law on drugs is the International Association of Chiefs of Police issued a resolution that said they would never support harm reduction. Interesting enough there are law enforcement agencies and police chiefs that are ignoring the IACP. Take a look at Seattle PD with their LEAD program where they are diverting drug offenders even small-time drug dealers out of the criminal justice system at the point of booking, out in the street. They are having an incredible success.

You have Quincy, Massachusetts’ police department that recognized they were having an opiate overdose epidemic and instead of arresting and criminalizing people they are now saving people’s lives. In the last 2 years they saved 170 out of 179 opiate overdoses.

DEAN BECKER: That’s the kind of policing that we need.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: That’s exactly it. My goal is to start talking about how do we extricate ourselves from the drug war. I wish - you and I have had this discussion before – that, today, we could legalize all drugs and then we can discuss how they are going to be controlled and regulated.

Unfortunately, I think, in America, it’s going to be much slower than that but I think we can use harm reduction successfully to make peace with drugs in America.

DEAN BECKER: I think about the current economic downturn. The situation where kids are having such a hard time acquiring a job and what we have to do is eliminate that enticement that’s out there, that black market that’s there to make a few bucks, sell a few drugs, get involved with the gangs. We’ve got to take away that bridge don’t we?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Yes we do. Interesting enough in Colorado it is working. I normally hate reality TV and I never watch police shows or the Drug, Inc. show. I was flipping through the channels and saw a Drug, Inc. show that was talking about Colorado and medical and legal marijuana and they didn’t even talk about that other than a couple interviews with gang members who basically said, “Yeah, since pot has been legalized we’ve lost all our market share. There’s no possibilities so now we’re dealing other drugs.”

So – we won! We know the system works but nobody talks about that.

DEAN BECKER: That’s the telling point, the focal point where we need to bring this discussion is that there are better ways that are obvious and working as we speak.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Absolutely and I think Colorado is the first step in the right direction. Cops are slow to change. It’s like changing the direction of the Titanic and we’re going to crash and burn a little bit before things move off the dime but even cops’ attitudes are changing.

I was reading an article in Police One that they just did about Colorado and they’ve done some unscientific polling on their website. In 2 years from 2011 they’ve moved 10 points where now both a hard yes and a soft yes equals 55% of those who voluntarily took the poll said, “Marijuana should be legalized. Let’s move on.”

DEAN BECKER: Now these are cops, law enforcement folks who were in that poll?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Yeah. It polled in unscientific. It’s a voluntary poll but they did an article. It was really interesting. In the comment section is all of the (as I call it) the diehard drug war addicts bemoaning all the bad that’s going to happen and, yet, every now and then there’s a voice of reason that pops up and says all the reasons why the drug war is a failure.

It’s coming and even the cops understand it so really it begs the question which I asked in that article, “At what point are the cops going to decide wouldn’t we rather be stakeholders and be part of the process and design a system that both enhances public safety as well as make certain that those that need to be protected (like our kids) are protected.”

I believe an appropriately controlled and regulated market like Colorado is doing will protect kids.

DEAN BECKER: Diane, we gotta go.

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.

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT Houston.

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org