05/05/17 Mary Lynn Mathre

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Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre re 05/18/17 cannabis Conf in Berkeley, Tex Judge John Delaney, MMJ patients William Shelby & Karen Reeves, Dr. Tamara Old, "Grey Death" & DTN Editorial

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TRANSCRIPT

CULTURAL BAGGAGE

MAY 5, 2017

TRANSCRIPT

DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker, your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection, and the liars whose support for drug war empowers our terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent US gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.

Thank you for being with us. You know, all around the US, hell all around the world, there are activists trying to educate politicians to the truth about the drug war, about marijuana, and Texas is no different. Here's what some Texans had to say to their elected officials.

TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE FOUR PRICE: The Chair calls next Karen Reeves.

KAREN REEVES: I have lived in this great state of Texas all of my life, and have considered myself a cannabis patient for the last 25 years. Many Texans like myself are already currently medicating with cannabis. We do not consider ourselves criminals. I've been able to survive fracturing my vertebrae twice. I also survived a ministroke, three heart attacks, and most currently I have spent a year since I had open heart single bypass surgery.

And I'm here to say that cannabis has allowed me to live my live, and many patients' lives, with joy, despite what our medical charts do say. Cannabis does save lives, but patients like myself, we are scared. We need safe, adequate access to our medicine.

Today, you can help by giving us our dignity, and our peace of mind back. Texans deserve a better alternative healthcare for anyone that chooses. Time is running out, not only for myself, for many patients across Texas. We may not make it to another session. Our lives are in your hands.

No one deserves to suffer or die needlessly because they lack safe cannabis access, and no one deserves to be in jail for a plant. Thank you so much for hearing my testimony.

WILLIAM SHELLEY: I'm in favor of the bill.

REP. FOUR PRICE: And your name?

WILLIAM SHELLEY: William Shelley.

REP. FOUR PRICE: Thank you.

WILLIAM SHELLEY: I currently suffer from several serious medical conditions, including hydrocephalus, spina bifida, fibromyalgia, arthritis, as well as herniated discs, along with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. I currently take 8 prescription medications including a narcotic pain reliever in an attempt to control my pain. All of which honestly have little effect, with a host of adverse side effects, whereas cannabis relieves my symptoms and inflammation with zero side effects.

I bill my health issues can be fully controlled with cannabis. We must move past propaganda and stigma associated with this plant, as so many Texans are suffering simply because of antiquated laws. I hope you will take my story into consideration when considering the final course of action on HB2107. I thank you for your consideration.

REP. FOUR PRICE: Please state your name, who you represent, and your position on the bill, sir.

JOHN DELANEY: My name is John Delaney. I represent myself, and I'm in favor of the bill.

REP. FOUR PRICE: Please continue.

JOHN DELANEY: I'm a senior district judge for Bryan, Brazos County, Texas. I've been a trial court judge for 33 years. I'm retired now, but as a retiree, I've got a special assignment as a CPS court judge.

I'm here tonight to tell you quickly the story of a two-year-old boy I will call Tommy. He's not a relative, just someone I know well. Tommy was born in September of 2014, but before birth, Tommy had a stroke. As a result, a large part of his brain died before birth.

His mom was offered an abortion, which she declined. At 11 months, Tommy started having seizures, which eventually amounted to over 100 a day. He stopped trying to crawl, smile, or babble. Doctors started anti-seizure meds. When his legs started shaking all the time, more meds were added. At one point he had a three hour seizure.

By December 2015, Tommy came under the care of the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. The best doctors in the world gave him more drugs, did surgeries, eventually totaling twelve. His parents moved to Houston to be closer to his care.

By July 2016, less than a year ago, the Houston doctors suggested to his parents that Tommy go home on hospice care. At home, the seizures got worse. I saw them. The drugs he was taking wouldn't stop them. His mother could only give him medicines to relieve his pain while waiting for the end.

Then a friend recommended cannabis oil from Colorado, without THC, which his mother gave by mouth with a dropper. The seizures went down to about sixty a day. She then got oil that also had some THC. The seizures almost completely disappeared. As of a couple of months ago, Tommy's mother gives him cannabis butter, made out of marijuana grown legally in Colorado, and she feeds it to him through his G-Button four to five times a day.

Ten months after Tommy came home to die, today, he laughs, and he rolls over, and does things his mother has never seen him do before. Tommy's mother and her mother are afraid to be here tonight, and I want to share with you his mother's exact words.

Quote: "If anyone knew what I'm doing to help my child, I would be at risk of losing him. We've been able to wean him off of dangerous medications because of the marijuana. It shouldn't be illegal. So many people like my son need it. I am begging you to look at it like it is your child."

Now, I can't add much to her words, except to say how embarrassing it is to me that Tommy's mother has to be afraid of the state of Texas.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, with respect, some say your committee will never take a vote on this bill, because, they say, it would have political risks you would prefer to avoid. I find that hard to understand. As a trial judge for 33 years who rules on thousands of cases, it never occurred to me that I had the option of not ruling just because it was hard.

I may be naive, but I think all of us think that you are better than the skeptics think, and will actually rule on this case we have laid in front of you.

If there are questions?

REP. FOUR PRICE: Members, any questions? Miss Arévalo?

TEXAS STATE REP. DIANA ARÉVALO: Hi. I represent a district in San Antonio that includes Medical Center of the West Side of San Antonio. I just want you to know that I'm happy to co-author this bill, and I'm not afraid to take a vote on this issue at all, whether it's in committee or on the House floor.

It's very important to a lot of families. It's very important for a lot of senior citizens as well, so many people have so many different types of backgrounds and some of these stories, whether it's children with autism, or even individuals like the one you just described, and unfortunately, the people that are in this room that were hearing it, a very small amount compared to those that are probably still in hiding. So I just want to let you know that I'm not afraid to support this bill. Thank you.

JOHN DELANY: Thank you.

REP. FOUR PRICE: Thank you for your testimony, Judge.

DEAN BECKER: I didn't go to Austin to testify, I felt that I might just blow up, looking at this hundred years of ignorance, and ruin the whole thing. As I understand it, there were 65 people speaking in support of this bill, and only one who spoke against it.

The following public service announcement produced by the Marijuana Policy Project began airing today. It features Nick Novello, a working Dallas police officer, as well as Heather Jackson, a marijuana user.

NICK NOVELLO: Arresting people for marijuana possession does not make our communities any safer.

HEATHER JACKSON: I was found with two tenths of a gram of marijuana.

NICK NOVELLO: It's a terrible waste of police resources.

HEATHER JACKSON: I spent a total of four days in jail.

NICK NOVELLO: The harsh penalties are unreasonable.

HEATHER JACKSON: It has affected so many different things in my life.

NICK NOVELLO: Criminalizing people for marijuana possession does far more harm to the community than marijuana itself. It's time for a more sensible approach.

DEAN BECKER: The ad urges you to visit TexasMarijuanaPolicy.org.

All right. We just heard from a Texas judge speaking on behalf of a two year old with epilepsy, whose mom is now forced to import marijuana leaves from Colorado to make butter to quell his seizures, to bring it down to near zero per day. And the fact of the matter is, the nation is awakening to the need for medical marijuana, at every level, from judges down to cops on the beat, and here to talk about how we can move forward, this month, well, through a conference out in Berkeley, California, is one of the directors of Patients Out of Time, Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre. Hello, Mary Lynn.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Hello, Dean. Good to be with you.

DEAN BECKER: Mary Lynn, it is catching hold, isn't it, across this country?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Yes, it is. Someone actually asked me, because I had gotten into this back in 1985, and asked me if things were different. And I said, you know, if we look at it like that, yes. 1985, I couldn't get healthcare professionals to say the word marijuana out loud in front of anyone. And since then, we've moved to people even know the word cannabis, the proper name for the plant, talking about it everywhere, we now have 29 states with medical cannabis. So it is moving in the right direction.

And, you mentioned our conference, The Eleventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, will be held May 18 through the 20th in Berkeley, at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at the Berkeley Marijuana. And we're bringing, you know, as usual, researchers and clinicians from around the world to discuss the latest science on cannabis, and how it's helping.

There is one, I think, big disappointment, that the word is getting out more and more, I think every -- you know, almost every state seems to be having something about cannabis, at some time or another, but I still see a hesitancy by many healthcare professionals to come and listen. They still seem quite intimidated to be associated with cannabis, and that's a shame.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and I think, I don't know, more, again, I deal mostly with law enforcement officials, and you get them in a, you know, a private room, and have a discussion, they'll agree that yes, we've overdone it, yes we need to change direction, and, you know, I just feel that many folks are beginning to realize that history is just not going to be kind to those who cling too long to this fear of cannabis. Your thought in that regard, Mary Lynn.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Yeah, it is, in fact, Michael Krawitz, a veteran, one of the co-founders of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, just came down from New York, where they were -- they're working on a bill for adding post traumatic stress as one of the conditions for cannabis, and trying to make it more available for patients. And it was great to hear that there was a Republican legislator there who had been totally against it, for years, and he finally said, he says, I'm hearing you. I see there is evidence. I, you know, and I'm changing my mind. I believe I was wrong.

And for, you know, we know several years ago, Sanjay Gupta, the CNN physician, came out and did his story on weed, his documentary, Weed, and Weed II and Weed III, basically saying how he recognized that he was duped by the federal government for all these years, believing that it really belonged in Schedule One. And then when he looked at the science, he said no, it doesn't. It does have medical value, it is not highly addictive. It should be available for patients.

So, the dialogue's easier, and we all know, the American public gets it. You know, we're up into the 80 percent or higher for medical cannabis, and it's getting into sixty percent now for the folks who think that cannabis should be legal in and of itself.

DEAN BECKER: And it's, it's getting harder for those politicians to cling to that ancient hysteria, the reefer madness, right?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: I think it is. You know, I don't know how anyone with a straight face can look and tell you these things, when they've seen and if they just, I mean, they can google anything, but just the fact that you can see, before your very eyes, you can watch patients use it and change. You can literally see someone in pain, you know, unravel from their, you know, position of pain, just try not to move because everything hurts, and they take cannabis and you can just see them relax.

Seizure patients, who are having multiple, to the extent of hundreds of seizures a day, and not developing because of this, and to have it stop the seizures. For anyone to deny that, I mean, it's, you know, seeing is believing, and I think sometimes it just, you know, they just need to look and see how patients are using it, and the benefit that comes from it.

And that, frankly, is what's waking up the healthcare professionals. Many of them are having patients who they've not been able to help, only to find a patient coming back to the office looking better, stating, you know, whatever the health problem was seems to be doing much better because they went and tried cannabis. And the sad part is, sometimes this is without the physician's recommendation, still, because they still have, you know, a primary care person who is hesitant to make a recommendation, even if they're in a state which would allow that to happen.

But it's, you know, numbers are getting out there. People get it, and it's time our legislators wake up to the fact, and surrender.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Prohibition of cannabis literally is a crime against all people.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I have to agree a hundred percent, you know, that, Mary Lynn. Well, let's talk about some of the folks that will be at this conference.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Well, we're thrilled as usual. The continuing medical education credits come from the University of California San Francisco, and we've got Donald Abrams, a leading oncologist and cannabis researcher, who will certainly be there. Daniele Piomelli, a researcher who's the editor of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics. Greg Gerdeman coming from Florida, a biologist who really will help us understand how this is so essential for -- the endocannabinoid system is so essential in protecting us on a day to day basis against stressors, how it helps keep us in balance.

Coming from Rafael Mechoulam's lab in Israel, we've got Doctor Esther Shohami. She's been in his lab for at least 30 years, I believe, and her area of expertise is looking at the endocannabinoid system and traumatic brain injuries, and what is the role of our own endocannabinoid system, when we do -- someone does suffer an injury to the head, and then how does cannabis help supplement this.

Gosh, I could just, you know, go on and on. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, who's a neurologist from Florida, and done lots of work with the aging brain, and neurodegenerative diseases, and again, the role of the endocannabinoid system in helping to prevent or slow the aging process. If we take care of our endocannabinoid system, we're going to live longer and healthier lives.

Got several researchers from Canada that -- excuse me, from California, the California Medical Research Center through the University of California university system. They've done many, many research studies, so we've got Doctor Igor Grant, Donald Abrams has been part of that, Doctor Stephen Sidney, Sean McAllister has been doing research on cannabis use in fighting cancer.

We've got folks from Canada coming, a big focus on what's happening with veterans for cannabis. We've got some NFL football players who are talking about how it's used in the sports arena. We all know about the chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the severe brain damage that occurs after repeated hits to the head. Cannabis can be an excellent medicine for this.

We're going to look at its use with kids, we're going to look at its use with the elderly. The theme for the conference is "Cannabis: Protecting Patients and Reducing Harm." So we're going to address some of those huge problems we're having today, the opioid epidemic, cannabis is an amazing option, you know, to treat people with chronic pain, to help people get off of opiates, and it's just something that, because of its Schedule One -- being stuck in Schedule One, it's not being utilized, and we have, you know, we're just losing people right and left with suicides or accidental overdoses, from opiates.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. It's, it's time to, if you'll permit, it's time to pull our heads out and take a look around. Well, Mary Lynn, I tell you what, I'm looking forward to it. I will be at this conference, reporting with all the great speakers you'll have in attendance. Let's recap, one more time, when, where, and how they can get involved.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Yeah, and let me add a few little goodies, too. So, the conference itself is the 18th, 19th, and 20th. On the 18th, we will have some pre-conference workshops. A full legal workshop, so anyone who wants to know, it's about protecting patients with medical cannabis, so clearly it's geared for lawyers, there will be continuing legal education credits for them, but it's open to whoever else wants to come.

And there's a medical cannabis 101 pre-conference workshop. We're going to have a tour of Harborside on Thursday, for those who want to go see a clinic. A tour on Saturday evening at Magnolio Wellness Center, a dispensary in Oakland. And on Sunday, there'll be another tour of Emerald Farms, north of the Bay Area. So people can actually see how it's grown, see the different products available, et cetera, and understand that.

But actually, and then Friday and Saturday are full conference sessions. Friday evening, open to the public for anyone out there in the bay area, we'll be having our benefit dinner, and that will come with some entertainment, an auction, a live auction, wonderful meal, and that will also be held at the DoubleTree hotel, which is at the Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, California.

DEAN BECKER: There you have it friends, Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre. Again, to learn more, go to MedicalCannabis.com or PatientsOutOfTime.org.

Come on, I know you can get this one. The use of this drug has gone down considerably over the last two decades.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Cancers of the lung, trachea, bronchus, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix, impotency, 25 percent of deaths from residential fires. Time's up! The answer: tobacco. Taxed, regulated, and in cahoots with the US government.

TAMARA OLT, MD: I'm Doctor Tamara Olt from Peoria, Illinois, and I am an advisory board member for GRASP and Broken No More. And I have a foundation called JOLT Foundation, which focuses on harm reduction.

DEAN BECKER: Now, we're here in Atlanta, the Drug Policy gathering, on trying to make it right and ending the madness of this drug war. People from all perspectives are gathered here. What is your take of this conference thus far?

TAMARA OLT, MD: I think it's really important. We've made some strides forward, and we're all, anybody that cares is really concerned we're going to go backwards as it relates to drug policy. We're really focused on trying to end the drug war, and we're seeing throughout multiple states and our federal government of actually trying to ramp it up again, something that's a complete failure. And people are dying every day, and I believe we're going about it the wrong way, how to save lives.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. The focus is on a type of pretend safety, that they're guaranteeing us, which has never come to fruition. My hope is that through the work of good folks like you, your willingness to speak the truth in this situation, which has stymied most folks from saying what they need to be true, it's okeh now, isn't it? It's okeh to share that truth with our elected officials and be bold in this regard. Would you agree?

TAMARA OLT, MD: My son died of a heroin overdose at the age of 16, and we were thrown into the spotlight, because I'm a physician and he was only 16 years old, and so I couldn't really sit back in a corner and pretend that it didn't happen.

And, when he died, I decided I would make a change, and not let his death be for nothing, and that's how I became involved in drug policy reform and harm reduction. I just, I couldn't see this happen to another family. My child's dead, I don't have anything to fear, I can talk freely. It is hard for parents who have active -- children active using, because they know the stigma and shame attached with it. It is hard for them to speak up.

I'm -- I survived burying a child, I'm not afraid. I'm just here to -- to hopefully prevent another mom from going through the devastation that has affected our family.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you for that. Is there a website you'd like to share, maybe a closing thought?

TAMARA OLT, MD: I would just encourage anybody that has lost somebody to overdose to come to GRASP. GRASPHELP.org, and our sister site, Broken No More, which focuses more on advocacy and policy change. You don't have to have lost someone to be part of that. But to work with us, to help make changes in this country, and hopefully save lives, and just treat drug users like human beings, with compassion and kindness and try and eliminate the stigma and shame that go with drug use.

DEAN BECKER: The following story comes to us courtesy of ABC Five in Cleveland, Ohio.

LEON BIBB: Now on New At Five. First, there was heroin, then dealers added the powerful prescription drug fentanyl, and before we knew it people were using the elephant sedative carfentanyl to get high.

LEE JORDAN: Yeah. Now, if you can believe it, something even more dangerous could be making its way to Ohio, a drug so powerful it goes by the ominous street name "Gray Death." News Five's Paul Kiska spoke with police who are warning law enforcement across the state to be on the lookout.

PAUL KISKA: Well, there could be more bad news for heroin-stricken Ohio. The new drug cocktail "Gray Death" isn't here in the Buckeye State yet, but authorities are concerned it could be soon.

LORAIN COUNTY (OH) DETECTIVE JIM LARKIN: We have put out the bulletin to all the other task forces in Ohio.

PAUL KISKA: The DEA is warning authorities and crime labs to be on the lookout for a new drug cocktail that goes by the street name "Gray Death," because it resembles cement mix.

LORAIN COUNTY (OH) DETECTIVE JIM LARKIN: "Gray Death," why anybody -- hey, here's some Gray Death, now what do you think's going to happen to you? Why do you think it's called Gray Death.

PAUL KISKA: Detective Jim Larkin with the Lorain County Sheriff's Department Drug Task Force told me today, heroin addicts are always chasing a stronger high no matter the risks. Gray Death is a combination of three opiates, with heroin or the painkiller fentanyl.

LORAIN COUNTY (OH) DETECTIVE JIM LARKIN: It's amazing to me that, that they find out that one of their friends died from an overdose, from the drug, and they immediately try to find out where he got it from because they want to try it too.

PAUL KISKA: Larkin said Gray Death is showing up in the south, and could be on the move, as drug dealers look to make more money.

LORAIN COUNTY (OH) DETECTIVE JIM LARKIN: They're having problems down in Georgia with Gray Death. The age group that's getting into this stuff is the early 20s, late teens, high school level, and they all think they're bulletproof.

PAUL KISKA: Larkin said Ohio is leading the country in overdose deaths, but why? Doug Rhode with the Lake County Crime Lab explained to me, drug dealers can target both large urban and rural areas.

DOUG RHODE: They're targeting Ohio, and I believe it might be because of our interstate system, and that covers most of Ohio. There's no letting up, of this epidemic, certainly not here in Lake County, and not in Ohio.

PAUL KISKA: Now, just in Lorain County last year, 131 people died from drug overdoses. This year already 40.

DEAN BECKER: The following is a DrugTruth.net editorial.

Nearly all overdose deaths are the result of drug prohibition, made in primitive labs by semitrained chemists, drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine reach approximately a 90 percent purity rate before being sold to dealers, who cut the product with various substances, including baby powder; Lavimosole, a cancer-causing agent that makes the product look sparkly; benzocaine, the tooth number; fentanyl, ten times stronger than heroin; and carfentantyl, which is one hundred times stronger.

This situation is exacerbated even further because each seller, and each batch, is different. So, once again, I close this show with the thought that because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

Dean Becker Wants YOU to Call the Drug Czar