06/02/17 Mary Lynn Mathre

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Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre Dir of Patients out of Time, Debby Goldsberry owner Magnolia Wellness dispensary, Tom Paul employee of Magnolia, Seattle Atty Douglas Hiatt & Sec of Vet Affairs David Shulkin

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TRANSCRIPT

CULTURAL BAGGAGE

JUNE 2, 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.

Last week, we covered a great interview with Norm Stamper, author of a great new book To Protect And Serve, but a couple of weeks back I was in Berkeley, California, attending the Patients Out of Time medical cannabis conference, and while there I got a chance to speak to one of the directors of Patients Out of Time, Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre.

Mary Lynn, this has been really a special event, has it not?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: This has been a wonderful conference. Coming back to California, the epicenter of medical cannabis, and celebrating. The mood has been wonderful, and the science has been amazing.

DEAN BECKER: Right. I've talked to a couple of folks about why doesn't the DEA show up, why doesn't the ONDCP come and learn a little bit from these folks. What's your thought in that regard?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Why the ONDCP, our drug czar's office, don't come? Good question. For years, we've invited the Surgeon General to come. I did not get to the new Surgeon General, but we sent our letter out early to the last one, and about eight months later we got our rejection letter, that they could not fit it into the schedule, this is not a high priority, despite the opioid epidemic. It's just frustrating that the government doesn't want to come and hear the science, from not only researchers but clinicians and patients.

DEAN BECKER: Those people in the quote "trenches," dealing with the situation. I want to talk about the opioid crisis, if we can, for a minute. We have ever escalating numbers of opioid overdoses, naloxone sales are booming, and we have science telling us that cannabis can in fact help decrease the need for these opioids, if not in fact eliminate them. And it just seems it's something the government should be willing to investigate, to try -- put a trial in place to determine the truth of that matter. Your thought, please.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: I remain totally confused, frustrated, because you're right, everyone understands that we have a huge opioid overdose epidemic. The last figures I heard were 99, excuse me, 91 overdoses a day. And we know, we know in the states where they use cannabis, that their opioid use goes way down.

DEAN BECKER: Mary Lynn, there are so many parameters, so many ways that cannabis can help, not just those with, you know, an opioid addiction.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: The morning of the first day of our conference was spent trying to explain the endogenous cannabinoid system, the endocannabinoid system. It is like the conductor of our body, it is what regulates everything in our body, whether we need more or something or less of something, it will keep us in balance. The fact that cannabis has the same kind of chemicals that we make in the endogenous cannabinoid system, or endocannabinoid system, meaning we make cannabinoids, the cannabis plant has similar chemicals. It's hugely important. This can serve to help us.

We now think the science says that many diseases are probably the result of an endocannabinoid deficiency. How do you fix that, or help that? You feed it cannabis to replace the cannabinoids that we're not making. Just as we give insulin to diabetic patients when their pancreas can't make it anymore, or just as we give synthroid to patients whose thyroid isn't making the thyroxin anymore. So cannabis is hugely vital, because this is such an important molecular signalling system.

DEAN BECKER: And, again, it comes back to my prior question, that, why should we not consider using this for so many maladies, that, where it has shown benefit. It is no cure-all, it doesn't work for everybody, it doesn't work for every symptom, but the fact that it works for some people, that's anecdotal we can't use that of course is what the politicians say, but the truth be told, if it works for a few people, what the heck is wrong with us that we don't give it a try?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: And more importantly, I mean, people remember to quit -- well, first, quit calling it marijuana, but cannabis is a plant, so the idea that we are afraid of a plant that has been around since the beginning of man, it's a very nutritious, green, leafy vegetable, it's totally non-toxic, and there's no deny -- that's probably the biggest thing. There's no denial of its safety.

DEAN BECKER: Right.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: It is non-toxic. So the thought that we are willing to give patients toxic medicines, because they might help, prior to trying something that's not toxic, does not make sense. From a nurse's perspective, cannabis clearly should be the first choice, because we do, we spend our time chasing after the side effects of so many drugs that we frequently give to patients, I would much rather start with cannabis, and if they need something else, go to something stronger, with possibly more, possibly some side effects.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly. The TV commercials are replete with just lists of endless side effects that, some of them quite deadly, in fact.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Oh, very much so, you know, a lot of medications: opioids, antidepressants, they've got what we call a blackbox warning, but if you get the full insert from a package of these medications, in there there will be a black box -- if there's a black box, it's saying that something serious: death, for many opiates, it's, may cause suicidal or homicidal ideation, may cause liver failure, may cause heart failure, may cause kidney failure. Could overdose on it.

There are serious side effects for a lot of medications that we frequently get, and opioids are one that they clearly had to add a black box to remind patients and the people prescribing, these are really potent medications.

DEAN BECKER: You know, there are still these politicians and other quote "officials" talking about the threat to our children, talking about the threat to our nation, talking about cannabis as if it were radioactive. I mean, quite seriously, as there is, who knows what it might do, stand back.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Exactly. And it's reefer madness, it's the 1930s reefer madness, that, if it's shown, if that movie, old film is shown on campus, I mean, people just think, they can't believe it was even true back then, because it is absolutely so ridiculous. The science, the whole prohibition has been based on myths, the placement in the Schedule One of the Controlled Substances, was put there arbitrarily, with a commission to study to see where it belonged, the Shafer Commission in 1972. They concluded that it does not belong in Schedule One. Nixon ignored it. We've been stuck with it ever since.

My husband, Al Byrne, Navy veteran, co-founder of Patients Out of Time, has basically, rightfully, accused many legislators of practicing medicine without a license. They're making laws about cannabis, even when it gets passed, they decide what route maybe patients can use it, for what conditions they can use it. What dose they can use it. These for the most part are politicians, you know, we have a few medical people in politics, but it's politicians deciding on a medicine. It is absolutely crazy, and, I mean, it -- cannabis is so unique in that way. We've got, you know, instead of thinking of it as a harm, this plant is of such benefit to the planet, as a plant, because it's just got so many uses.

It's of benefit to humanity, just from its nutritional value. And then, for the health of people who have any kind of problem, you know, it's a very versatile and safe medicine. So it's such a disservice to have a prohibition of this plant, and over and over, we just keep saying, the prohibition of cannabis is a crime, and Patients Out of Time, if people go to our website, I would encourage everyone out there to join Patients Out of Time, and print off our Resolution, that is basically saying de-schedule cannabis, and gives all the reasons why this plant needs to be free for anyone to grow.

And we just need everyone out there to push it. Patients Out of Time, from my perspective, you know, we really hope to represent everyone out there, because you just never know when you're going to get a diagnosis, when you're going to -- of cancer, or some serious condition, or you're going to be in an accident. Something's going to happen, if not to you, one of your loved ones, and cannabis could be, you know, just the most beneficial thing for them, but if you live in the wrong state, or if you live in a state that won't allow you to use it the route that would be best, you know, there you are, forbidden to use this wonderful plant.

DEAN BECKER: All right, friends, we've been speaking with nurse Mary Lynn Mathre, one of the co-founders of Patients Out of Time. Before we close, I wanted to kind of chime in with something you were talking about, 1937, when the Marihuana [sic] Tax Act, and one of the last people to speak to the panel that was assembling this law was, I think his name was Doctor Woodward. He represented the American Medical Association. And he went before these gentlemen and said we don't really see a necessity of, for a law of this kind, and they told him, if you don't agree with what we're wanting to do here, then just get the hell out. And they went on and finished this law.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: You know, it does affect every one of us. I can't stress it enough, that you just don't know when you're going to need this plant. And just to live healthy you need this plant. Patients Out of Time, you can reach us at PatientsOutOfTime.org or MedicalCannabis.com.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Empty pockets, theft, lying, withdrawal, nose bleeds, fits of rage, depression, uncontrollable itching and sniffing, prostitution, jail time, heroin use, loss of friends, loss of life. Time's up! The answer: from Purdue Pharma: oxycodone.

We're still in Berkeley, California. I'm here with a local operator of a cannabis dispensary.

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: Hi, Debby Goldsberry, executive director of Magnolia Wellness Dispensary of Oakland. We have a dispensary over there, we've about nine thousand square feet, onsite cannabis consumption, we're building out a cafe, got a permit for a dab bar, got permission for an onsite cannabis medical marijuana farmer's market in our parking lot, running onsite cannabusiness classes twice a week, really trying to innovate as much as we can here in the bay area.

DEAN BECKER: This is an example of entrepreneurism, or whatever you want to say, but you're creating jobs, you're creating clean, useful medicines for people who need it.

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: Well, I've been in this industry almost from day one, I was a part of collecting signatures for Prop 215, when we passed the law that began in 1996, I started my first dispensary, Berkeley Patients Group, back in 1999. Took over Magnolia Wellness pretty recently, but the fact is, we have to innovate, and the people who've been around a long time, we're the people not afraid to push the boundaries, so it's an honor for us at Magnolia to keep creating new things, to keep being the first at new things, and to show other people how to get the job done.

Well, the good news is, our state's finally creating state regulations. We have all these new licenses coming out, people will be able to get licensed to manufacture, to extract, to distribute, to transport, to package, to have dispensaries, delivery dispensaries, so yeah, we're creating a whole new industry here in California, taking what's traditionally been an underground economy, and bringing it above ground, and it's going to be amazing.

DEAN BECKER: And the state benefits as well, it's a win win win, isn't it?

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: It's a win win win, not only does it bring in tax dollars, but we're going to stop arresting people, destroying families, putting people in prison for no reason at all.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us what kind of products you have available.

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: Well, we're a medical marijuana dispensary, so we try and cover all the bases that we can, to have as much of a variety of medicine for people that want, you know, to treat their conditions. People need a variety of potency, a variety of types, methods that they can ingest it, a variety of types of medicine, they need sativa and indica, they need strong and low potency, they want to eat it, smoke it, vaporize it. So you'll find it all at Magnolia Wellness.

We focus on flowers. Let's have the best, purest, medical marijuana flowers we can for our members. And then let's hit all of the needs. Some people want really potent cannabis, some people need a mild cannabis, some people want a sativa that uplifts, some people need an indica for pain relief, some people need CBD, which is a non -- it helps for irritation and a variety of other conditions. And then the edibles. Some people like savory, some people like high dose, some people need a very low dose, so we have to cover all the bases at medical marijuana dispensaries.

DEAN BECKER: Debby, any closing thoughts, and point them to your website.

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: Yeah, our website, MagnoliaWellness.org, or MagnoliaOakland.org, you'll find our website. It has our calendar of events, it has all kinds of info about the collective, how to join, how to become a producer/supplier at the collective, and just give you an idea about what's going on here in California.

TOM PAUL JR: Hello, my name's Tom Paul, Junior, and I'm an employee at Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, California.

DEAN BECKER: Now, how long have you been employed here, sir?

TOM PAUL JR: I've been here about a year and a half now.

DEAN BECKER: Wow, it must be a pretty good job. Does it have benefits? What's going on here?

TOM PAUL JR: Well, sure, we're a union shop, so, we're a United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local Five, I'm the Shop Steward, actually, for the Union. So we have full benefits here, dental, medical, eyecare, and so on.

DEAN BECKER: Wow. That's pretty good, compared to the situation for a lot of folks around America these days, people, companies downsizing and so forth. You said a year and a half. Who's your typical customer?

TOM PAUL JR: There is no typical cannabis customer. It's anybody you might see walking down the street. We get an age range from, you know, 18 all the way up to, I think one of our oldest patients is almost 100 years old. We have patients of every race, we have patients of every economic class, we have, you know, patients who are millionaires, we have patients who are currently under-housed or homeless. So there is no one kind of cannabis patient. We have veterans, we have, you know, social workers, medical professionals, blue collar workers, white collar workers, other cannabis industry workers, any kind of person, literally, you can think of uses cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: You mentioned the veterans and perhaps homeless folks that come in. Are there, sometimes, allowances, or assistance for those types of folks?

TOM PAUL JR: Oh yeah, sure, no, we have a veterans' discount of ten percent, we have a senior discount, age 55 and older, ten percent. We double those on Monday so it's 20 percent on Mondays for seniors or veterans. We have discounts for union members, students, cannabis industry workers, and then we have, every day we have a different discount running, so even if you're not a member of one of those groups, you can always find something that's got a little bit of a sale going on it.

I mean, it's wonderful working in the cannabis industry. I've been in the cannabis industry for ten years now, and it's fantastic working at Magnolia, and actually Debby Goldsberry and I are writing a book, I've been a budtender for ten years, we're writing a book, an Idiot's Guide to Budtending, that should be out sometime next year. So look for that.

DEAN BECKER: You know what, when I came through the door, I was, oh, delighted, really, to see these displays of old cannabis medicines, that remind us of where America started, at least, or was, a century ago.

TOM PAUL JR: Absolutely. One of my favorite things about this exhibit is that, if you come over here and look at some of the names of some of the companies, we have Parke Davis, they're still in business, we have Eli Lilly, they're still in business as far as I'm aware. Upjohn, we have companies that are -- have been in business in the United States for in excess of a hundred years, and are still in business today, and started out selling cannabis, among other things.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah.

TOM PAUL JR: You know, a lot of other, what we consider to be more recreational narcotics, were often available over the counter, even. But a lot of this stuff specifically, if you look at some of the preparations we have here, there are still preparations that you find today, there's tablets, we have tinctures over here, we have hash, we have hash oils, we have various resins and tinctures, so, it's still the same preparations that we've used all throughout history.

DEAN BECKER: I would anticipate that modern science has enabled you to make some different extracts that probably weren't possible in that prior century.

TOM PAUL JR: Sure, definitely, there's, you know, CO2 extracts, and things of that nature, sort of large machines that do the work these days, whereas, even, you know, ten years ago, it was more your cold water hash, your fine mesh bags, and sort of agitating it with ice water and straining that through and getting what people call ice hash, or bubble water hash. And, you know, but now they've definitely got way more modern preparations, but even still some of the modern preparations are just new versions of old things, like, resin is just heat and pressure. We've been doing that with cannabis for a number of thousands of years.

DEAN BECKER: Well, speaking of which, let's go over here to the concentrate area. I'm, I don't know, impressed, damn near baffled, by the number of concentrates and that type that you have here. Give us a summary of what's going on here?

TOM PAUL JR: Well, I've got here, as we were talking about earlier, the sort of the bubble water hash, so that's sort of the more traditional preparation that most people are used to. It's made with ice water, comes out in sort of a dry crumble, and like a granular powder, a bit like brown sugar, I would describe it. But dry.

Up to, over here, we've got, this is temple style hash, so this is Frenchy Canoli, this is a press, so this, as you can see, some of these have VSOP, Very Special Old Press, that stands for. And so the categories are very much like brandy, as you can see it's sort of very sugary and sappy. And so that's a press.

DEAN BECKER: Almost sweet.

TOM PAUL JR: Almost sweet, and this is made in a fashion similar to olive oil, where it's a pressed composite.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and let's take an example here. This is, what quantity, what does this cost here?

TOM PAUL JR: This would be a gram, these are in the eighty dollars a gram range. There's stuff that ranges up to like 110, 120 for a half gram. Those are going to be what you'd call sort of laboratory grade extractions, your CO2 done in a proper lab, and not in someone's garage.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and if I may interject, with that type of price, it would basically, well, to require the average user that a miniscule amount of that would have an effect.

TOM PAUL JR: Very, very small amount, and that is one of the main advantages of using hash, is that it takes roughly about five grams of dried flower to make one, a half gram to a whole gram of hash. So you're offloading 95 percent of the carbon, and getting just the medicinal portion of just the trichomes and the lovely terpenes, if you're lucky, if you do it right.

And you get some of these items here, like, we have these, this royal sugar here, from Nectar, which, you can smell that, and just smell the terpenes in there. You smell a lot of lemon, you smell some myrhh, there's a couple of other aromas that come through, and so terpenes are the language that plants use to speak with us.

DEAN BECKER: I've heard the term terpenes for decades, and yet, I find myself really not knowing much other than, hey, it's a benefit. How is it useful, in what ways?

TOM PAUL JR: Well, I mean, terpenes, a lot of the science is still very new, this is sort of the leading edge of cannabis science right now, terpenes. We've long known about the effects of terpenes in aroma therapy, that things like lavender can make you feel calm, you know, or like ylang ylang can make you feel sort of more clear headed and energetic, and that can be uplifting for people with depression, so we've known about this for a very, very long time. Chinese pharmacy, pharmacopea has known about this, you know, old French perfumers knew about this information, and sort of, it, a lot of old things get cast aside because people assume that the new thing is the best, but we've been cultivating terpenes and we've been looking for terpenes for a very long time in human history.

DEAN BECKER: Let me ask you right quick, the last one we smelled, what was the name?

TOM PAUL JR: That was a J1.

DEAN BECKER: J1?

TOM PAUL JR: J1, that's a Jack Herer phenotype, so that's going to be an uplifting, and that lemony pine smell you noticed, those aromas, the limonene and the pinene, those are terpenes that are indicative of an uplifting feeling.

DEAN BECKER: That's what I was going to interject with, is that, just sniffing that, felt like it's a little bit better day.

TOM PAUL JR: Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: I'm here with the creme of the crop, I think, those who understand this cannabis situation, those who work the hardest to bring focus to bear. And one such individual's here with me now, Mister Douglas Hiatt. Tell us where you're from and what kind of work you're doing there.

DOUGLAS HIATT: I'm a criminal defense attorney and a civil rights attorney located in Seattle, Washington. I'm in the Pioneer Square area, and I've been in practice about 26 years, and for a number of years now, the majority of my practice has been devoted to defending doctors and patients involved in medical marijuana, or medical cannabis. I also have been an activist attempting to lend my voice to many others opposing the drug war, and helping represent folks in federal court on, you know, typical drug war type charges.

But, you know, my opposition to the drug war grew out of representation of hundreds of people trapped in it, and the number of lives I saw being ruined on a daily basis.

DEAN BECKER: You work in the cannabis industry, but I see you're wearing a shirt that says, there is no justice in the war on drugs. And there -- it can't be found, can it?

DOUGLAS HIATT: No, it can't be, there isn't any, and there's no justification for it. I do want to clarify something. I don't really work in the cannabis industry. I'm not an industry lawyer. And I just do criminal defense stuff. I don't believe currently that we can, I don't believe we can do what we're doing with some of the commercialization, so I pretty much concentrate on medical, and on criminal defense stuff.

I don't do business advice, or any kind of business counseling, for cannabis, because that's just not my area of expertise. My area of expertise is basically federal and state criminal defense, and as it revolves around cannabis issues, marijuana issues, generally.

DEAN BECKER: You know, I have some, what's the word, revulsion, maybe, for the, if you will, 49ers, so to speak, that have gotten involved in this industry and are in essence corrupting what you and I have been trying to do. Your thought there, sir.

DOUGLAS HIATT: Yeah, I think that what's happening right now is really, really, really concerning to me, and I know it's concerning to you as well, because we're not seeing any activism, we're not seeing any social justice, we're not seeing one iota of the social justice dividends we expected to see from quote unquote "legalization," and the reason for that is, we don't really have legalization. All we have is glorified decrim, for adults over 21, and then ridiculous systems that would make Lenin proud that don't bear any relation to the free market or any good common sense, or anything else.

DEAN BECKER: And for you kids, that's spelled Lenin. Look it up.

DOUGLAS HIATT: Yeah, I guess I've got to be careful with that, but yeah, I agree. I'm real concerned that we don't have the activism element involved anymore, and the commercial folks only care about money, they don't add any money to the fight, they don't care about the social justice aspects, they just want to make money. And that's, you know, not what we need, and not where we're at, when we still have a complete and total federal prohibition, and we still have complete and total prohibition laws in place, even in the states where it's quote unquote "legal."

For example, in Washington state, we didn't change one damn thing in the law, except make it decrimmed for 28 grams or less for somebody over 21. There's still a misdemeanor if you get caught between 28 grams and 40 grams. So, I mean, they didn't even eliminate the misdemeanor charge. It's just ridiculous. And of course, all the draconian penalties are still there for anybody growing, or not part of that ridiculous scheme.

DEAN BECKER: It's great to be here, to see --

DOUGLAS HIATT: You bet.

DEAN BECKER: -- to see, yes sir, to see the, and hear, and feel, and know, that there's progress afoot, that there is a contingent of folks who really give a damn and are going to do something. Your thought, wrap it up for me, website, closing thought.

DOUGLAS HIATT: You know, the Patients Out of Time conference is one of the conferences that I make it a point to try to get to, because that, along with Hempfest, I think, are the two best family reunions on the planet, and I never fail to be energized and reinvigorated when I come here and I see people like Cathy Jordan, I get to see you a couple times a year, and some of the other activists that we're so far flung out now, but, it's just great to be here and it's great to be with people that are trying to move the ball forward and engage in actual reform. And I'm proud to be associated with it.

DEAN BECKER: Well, the same here. And a website, is there one you might recommend?

DOUGLAS HIATT: Yeah, the Patients Out of Time website is good for information, and I'll have a website up soon at DouglasHiatt.net. And if anybody needs representation on a federal matter or you're in trouble in Washington state or the surrounding northwest, you can always call the office at 206.412.8807.

DEAN BECKER: The following from May 31st is part of a briefing with Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin.

REPORTER: Mr. Secretary?

VA SECRETARY DAVID SHULKIN: Yes.

REPORTER: Leaders of the American Legion wrote a rather impassioned op-ed last week that suggested that a promising solution to the suicide problem could be increased medical use of cannabis. You talked about it being a national health crisis that requires all of government. Should the Congress reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to allow for it to be better used for medical purposes?

VA SECRETARY DAVID SHULKIN: Well, right now, federal law does not prevent us at VA to look at that as an option for veterans [sic: that's not true]. I believe that everything that could help veterans should be debated by Congress and by medical experts, and we will implement that law. So if there is compelling evidence that this is helpful, I hope that people take a look at that and come up with the right decision, and then we will implement that.

REPORTER: As a physician, what's your opinion?

VA SECRETARY SHULKIN: My opinion is, is that some of the states that have put in appropriate controls, there may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful, and we're interested in looking at that and learning from that. But until time that federal law changes, we are not able to be able to prescribe, you know, medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful.

DEAN BECKER: Be sure to join us next week, we'll have more from this cannabis conference, and again I remind you, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth. Cultural Baggage is a production of the Pacifica Radio Network. Archives are permanently stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. And we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.

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