04/06/14 Peter Christ

Peter Christ, founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition re human rights & the drug war + Al Byrne of Patients Out of Time & forthcoming conference in Portland May 5-8

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Guest: 
Peter Christ
Organization: 
LEAP
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / April 6, 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: Alright, my friends, thank you for being with us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. Here in just a moment we are going to bring in our guest, Mr. Peter Christ, a former captain of the Maryland State Police. He’ll tell us more. He is one of the founding members of a group, my “band of brothers”, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. With that I want to go ahead and welcome Peter. Can you hear me, sir?

PETER CHRIST: Yes, Dean, I hear you perfectly fine. Do you want me to make the corrections now?

DEAN BECKER: Go ahead.

PETER CHRIST: I always tell people that when they first introduce me I prefer to be introduced as retired rather than former or x. Later on if you want to refer to me as former or x that’s fine but the reason I draw that line is because when you say former or x I could have been sworn in to the job, taken the oath and then done a 360 degree turn and quit and I could have been a former law enforcement officer.

On the other hand when you use the term retired that means I spent 20 years doing it and they send me a check every month. I like to clear that up.

And not Maryland State Police. I worked in a suburb of the city of Buffalo called the town of Tonawanda. When I retired there in 1989 I was a uniformed patrol captain and I just always like to tell people this that when the people hear that I worked as a captain in the town of whatever police department and they wonder what the other 4 guys did there...Tonawanda was a little bit bigger than that. We sat on the north edge of the city of Buffalo on the Canadian border on the Niagara River. We had about 85,000 residents in our town and about 120 officers in the police department.

So that’s who I am and yes, you are a100% absolutely correct that I am one of the co-founders of LEAP. I always tell people that LEAP was my idea and if it hadn’t have been for Jack Cole it would still be an idea because he’s the one that did all the hard work and actually turned that idea into a reality.

DEAN BECKER: We – by that I mean you and I – were on Time for Hemp show just about a week ago and somehow I want to bring forward and I think it’s on your agenda as well and that is that we have a lot of people doing incremental work towards basic harms of the drug war but what’s not really addressed, what’s not really brought forward and I think it needs to be examined and used as a tool, as a weapon and that is the fact that this drug war impunes on our human rights. It is a distraction from all of these horrors we inflict on one another in the name of drug war but it impunes on our rights every day, correct?

PETER CHRIST: I have absolutely zero argument with what you just said. I agree 100%. In fact when we named this organization, when I came up with the name for it, we called it Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. We didn’t call it Law Enforcement Against Marijuana Prohibition or even Law Enforcement Against Drug Prohibition. It’s Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. What we mean or should I say what I meant when we started this organization was when you prohibit consensual adult activity – activities between consenting adults that they want to do together (I want to sell you drugs. You want to buy my drugs.) – when you make that kind of activity illegal you create crime in your society.

If there is money in that activity you create violence in your society because even though these people are perfectly happy doing this with each other if one of them gets ripped off of the money they don’t just let that go and because their activity is illegal they cannot take that complaint to the court system so they take it to the streets.

When you have consensual adult activity that you don’t like that is one of the things that you have to put up with in a free society. Now I just want everybody to understand very clearly when I use the term consensual adult activity...Dean Becker and Peter Christ want to beat somebody up. OK? We both want to do that. So we go out and we grab some guy off the street and we’re both two consenting adults and we beat him up.

Now that is not a consenting adult activity because the person that we beat up did not want to be beaten up so that person was not a consenting adult so, therefor, what we call that is an assault and what happens is if everything goes perfectly is Peter and Dean end up in prison for a couple of years for doing that, alright?

Also by consenting adult activity I don’t mean you make other people do it. I mean it is just done between each other. I’ll give what I think is a good example of that is. In June I was back in Vermont. I was doing presentations at rotary clubs and almost every one that I got to as soon as I got there somebody would come up to me and say (and this goes into your incrementalism thing, too, which I’m happy to talk about), “Hey, did you hear? We just decriminalized marijuana in Vermont?”

I would say to them, “Yeah, congratulations on that. You know we did that in New York State back in 1975. Give me a call in 30 years and let me know how it’s working for you.”

Then I would look at them and say, “But I do want to congratulate you about another law.”

And they would say, “What’s that?”

I would say, “You just legalized murder in Vermont.”

Some of them knew what I was talking about right away. Most of them looked at me kind of strange, “What are you talking about legalizing murder?!”

I said, “Well, your governor just signed a law called the Physician Assisted Suicide Law and it makes it legal in Vermont for a physician to assist a person in terminating their life if that’s what they want to do. The reason I want to congratulate you on that is that is an understanding of consensual adult activity. If you have two consenting adults – one of them wants to die and the other is willing to help them do that – in a free society you might want to regulate that activity like maybe have a third person sign off on it to make sure you don’t have some doctor running around killing people but you don’t prohibit it because if you prohibit it you’re not going to stop it and if you prohibit it you’re going to drive it underground and lose all ability to control it so you have to accept this kind of behavior.”

What we are seeing in these kind of laws is a resurgence in our society (and it comes up from time to time) of morality policing and that is people enforcing one group of people’s view of morality with armed police on everybody else. I always tell people if you are going to have your law enforcement enforcing morality in your society there’s a big question you have to ask yourself first and that is whose morality are we going to enforce because the Hindus have a view of morality, Islam has a view of morality, the Catholic church has a view of morality, the Protestant religions all have their views of morality. Now we’re going to pick one of them and say that everybody has to live by this.

I can think of no human right that is more fundamental than “I decide what drugs go in my body.” That, to me, is a fundamental human right.

DEAN BECKER: I want to expand the thought of this conversation a bit. We have (and by that I mean the American people) have mandated to the world that this continue through our auspices in the United Nations. We have insisted that the rest of the world join in – participate in this jihad (for lack of better word) and the results have been horrendous worldwide. Your thought there, Peter?

PETER CHRIST: Well, absolutely, absolutely. In fact we just had people from our group, LEAP, at the UN in Vienna and we have submitted a change to the International Drug Control Treaty to make it move to a regulatory treaty and not a prohibitionary treaty.

We are working on that area. You know, I’ve been in this movement since...I retired in 1989 and I’ve been in this movement ever since so I’ve got 25 years that I’ve been doing this stuff. You touched on the incrementalism thing a little bit and you remember in the 90s because I know you’ve been doing this almost as long as I have if not maybe a little longer and all through the 90s the incrementalist took over this movement. The medical marijuana people, the needle exchange people...now, just to be clear about something – I support everything that the incrementalist want to do. OK, I’m not arguing when I argue with them I’m not arguing with them about their issues.

The problem that I have with the incrimentalist is that when they are standing up in front of a group of people and they’re talking to them about medical marijuana or needle exchange or some other harm reduction program and somebody asked them, “Aren’t you talking about legalizing all drugs?”

My argument with them comes when they hide – when they say, “Oh, no, that’s a much bigger issue. We’re not talking about that.”

Instead of saying, “Of course we do but considering that we’re not going to get there that quick maybe this will save some more people – the ones we’re harming now.” And then going back into their medical marijuana or needle exchange program thing.

You know, just before I turn it back to you I want to mention a guy that I think most of the listeners have heard this name before and this person was not an incrementalist. The name I want to mention is by the name of Abraham Lincoln because in 1864 he signed the Emancipation Proclamation which did away with slavery in America. Now, instead of doing that, if he was an incrementalist he could have signed a law that says...oh, I don’t know...you could only beat your slaves between 2 and 4 on Friday.

How about making a law that says you have to give your slaves three meals a day and a warm, dry place. That would reduce the harm to the slaves. The problem is if you pass laws like that it allows slavery to continue.

This drug war, as you said clearly, is a human rights issue. It has been from the beginning. We have done in this nation, in this wonderful free society that has been here for over 200 years and we have done some profoundly terrible things when it comes to human rights.

We have had slavery in this country for a hundred years while we called ourselves a free nation. We had it done after that we followed with 100 years of government enforced segregation which was obviously a human rights violation. Women didn’t get the right to vote in this country until this country was almost 150-years-old. That’s half of our population that was denied the human right of simply stating their preference for how the government should operate.

Until fairly recently we used to arrest people in this country for being gay – not for making somebody else be gay but just for being gay with somebody else who wanted to gay, too. You could go to jail in 1960 but Illinois because it was against the law in every state except Illinois to be gay. By the way every time I mention that I always like to give a little tip of the hat to Illinois for being smarter than everybody else.

It used to be illegal for people of different races to marry each other in this “free” country that says “all men are created equal.” Maybe that was the problem...all “men” – it should have been all people are created equal. That’s maybe what took so long for women to get the right to vote.

DEAN BECKER: Peter, we are about to run out of time.

I want to remind folks that we’ve been speaking with Mr. Peter Christ, one of the founding members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a retired police captain and a man that I greatly admire.

Peter, I know you’ve had a chance to read my book. I’ve even read your review a couple of weeks back. I just want to put forward the thought that in the last week Eric Holder came forward, spoke of need for change – especially in regards to marijuana laws – and, what’s her name, Michelle Leonard, the head of the DEA stepped forward and said, “Oh, he’s got it wrong. We’re going to do it the way we’ve always done it.”

That’s half the problem isn’t it? ...just clinging to ancient ways. About 30 seconds, sir, go ahead.

PETER CHRIST: Well, yes, absolutely that is the problem. There is still a group over in England that calls themself the Flat Earth Society. Some people never give up.

By the way, you didn’t mention the name of the book is “To End the War On Drugs” and I’ll tell you if you want one piece of stuff to pick up and read that will give you points of view from every different parts of society on why this is a failed policy “To End the War on Drugs” – thank you, Dean Becker, for printing that.

DEAN BECKER: Retail sales are starting to pick up. I have a couple of distributors who are give it a whirl but the fact of the matter is we just need to move forward. We need to grasp what’s within our reach, what’s within in our hand and just make use of it because we own the “moral high ground.” I hate using that word but they used it against us for so many decades.

10 seconds, sir – closing thoughts?

PETER CHRIST: OK, my closing thought and I end every time I do a show like this because I think it’s very important...bad things happen because good people stay silent. If you want to get involved in this go to http://leap.cc or http://copssaylegalizedrugs.com. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which tells you two things about us. One is the government knows about us and, two, if you donate money to help us with the work we are doing it is a write off on your taxes.

Do not be silent. That’s the best thing I can pass on to everyone.

Dean, I want to thank you for sharing your audience with me.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you Peter Christ. We’ll talk to you soon.

PETER CHRIST: Very good. Bye, bye.

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(Game show music)

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

Dehumanization, solitude, degradation, deprivation, dehydration, starvation, injury, humiliation, torture, suffocation, untimely teenage deaths…

{{{ gong }}}

Time’s up!

The answer: is not a drug…it is drug treatment. Tough love.

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[music]

DEAN BECKER: Darth Drug Czar…you’re a coward, a liar, demon and thief. Seems you can’t face the truth for just one hour…too busy looking at peeeee…

Dean Becker, DrugTruth.net

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AL BYRNE: My name is Al Byrne. I’m the co-founder and COO of an educational charity and national educational non-profit organization called Patients Out of Time. We’re also a Virginia corporation. We were formed in the Spring – actually April. This is April that I’m speaking to you now – April of 1995, 19 years ago.

Our mission over the course of all these years has been the education of health care professionals in the United States about the therapeutic and clinical uses of cannabis. I am happy to report that when we started this mission back in the early 90s (even before we incorporated) the average American (about 15 to 20% of America – the citizens of America) thought that cannabis actually had medical value.

Now it’s completely flipped. Now we’ve got 85% of the American public thinks it has medical value and 15% are still back in the dark ages.

DEAN BECKER: I know you served our country in the military. What was your rank?

AL BYRNE: I served for 24 years. I joined the Navy when I was 17-years-old. I was a midshipman at the University of Notre Dame and I retired at the age of 41 as a Lieutenant Commander. I have Post-traumatic Stress. I have injuries from Viet Nam and other places. I hurt. I use cannabis to control my pain. It don’t take it away but it sure as hell helps and the use for Post-traumatic Stress for me is dramatic. It keeps my life in balance.

If I may go on with the subject of the military. As you may know or may not know, listeners, 22 American servicemen (men and women – and we’re counting all wars, WWII, Viet Nam, Korea, the recent Afghan/Iraq debacle) all of these veterans 22 a day commit suicide. That’s one every 65 minutes – basically on an hour. So while you are listening to this radio show some grunt somewhere has just killed himself.

To alleviate this problem cannabis is necessary. It is not “maybe” – it’s we gotta have this in this in the military pharmacopeia. Thanks to the doctor that runs the Veterans Health Organization which, by the way, is the largest federal health organization in the United States and part of the federal government. That doctor, Dr. Robert Petzal, in July of 2010 issued a directive which said very, very clearly in these words, “Cannabis is a medicine and if a veteran comes to you in a legal state with the proper state paperwork you will treat that veteran’s cannabis as a medicine and integrate it with your own protocols.”

Thank you Dr. Petzal!

On the other hand that leaves out every veteran that is in the other states (21 states and D.C. now have legal cannabis laws) all the other states and territories do not and that leaves out every veteran in those states.

If you are a listener and you want to do something you might want to call your federal senator and ask him or her who has become Commander in Chief to end this tomorrow. He has that power. He can issue an order to the Veterans Administration. He’s their boss and say, “Treat every veteran.”

What we got now, Dean, for veterans is treatment by geography. Think of that as if you live in one zip code you get to use cannabis as medicine and you save your life. If you live in another zip code you don’t use cannabis and your buddy dies. It’s crazy.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed it is. Now, you guys have worked with the Veterans Administration and many others to help bring about that change in perspective. What I think we should do is encourage to get that same education so they can talk to their elected officials, so they can help out with those changes.

AL BYRNE: I couldn’t agree more, Dean. This is, again, as I put it, our mission in 1995 was education. It hasn’t changed a bit and it’s education that has changed the climate of America, that has introduced cannabis to citizens and patients. Unfortunately what we have not been able to introduce cannabis to is the medical community.

Apparently if a medical doctor doesn’t learn it in medical school or isn’t taught it by a pharmaceutical salesman it just doesn’t count. It’s crazy. As Mary Ann pointed out we believe now that Temple University (thank you Temple University) is now incorporating education about the endocannabinoid system and cannabis as a medicine in to their curricula. There are about 155 other medical schools in the United States - which is the rest of them - that do not. That is a national shame.

DEAN BECKER: It’s an outright disgrace. One way the doctors and the average citizens can improve their education in this regard is by attending a forthcoming conference you guys are putting together. Please, tell the folks about that.

AL BYRNE: That conference brings together the superstars of cannabis research. It brings in clinicians who have years and years of experience like Mary Lynn dealing with cannabis. She deals it as an addiction specialist. Others come at is as cancer specialists, neural specialists – we bring them all together. They’re all in one room. It is a fantastic weekend.

Not only are the education that you get, if you will, in the classroom and the plenary session extraordinary but these folks hang around. When they come in on Thursday night they don’t leave until Sunday or Monday and we talk and we party and we socialize and we network. The amount of good work that has come out of that networking into the future has been amazing.

We’re going to do this every year and I should also point out that we have had all of this education – it’s online. It’s online today. It was online three years ago. It will be online tomorrow. You go to http://www.medicalcannabis.com and any physician anywhere in the world can for a very modest, reasonable fee go to the University of California’s School of Medicines Online Continuing Medical Education program, take a lecture, developed by Patients Out of Time and return with continuing medical education credits – online.

This is knowledge. It is state of the art. When we have our Portland conference here in May eighth through the tenth probably by July or August we will have this conference up online for somebody in Ethiopia or Finland or Canada to take that course.

DEAN BECKER: And what is that website, please.

AL BYRNE: Again, everything links from http://www.medicalcannabis.com/. You’ll also see that if you go to http://www.medicalcannabis.com/ there’s a lot of interesting background history. There’s some great articles in the archives. Please note that Patients Out of Time has two live radio shows each week. They are on http://Time4Hemp.com. We happen to be on at 1:00 east coast time both Sundays and Mondays. I know you’re on at a different time, Dean.

The information that is given out on these radio shows from the cannabis experts and the cannabis patients that we interview each week is not only insightful but it’s extraordinary. The worldwide information that we’ve collected and centering in Portland, Oregon certainly can’t be missed. If you are a medical professional, if you are in the media, if you are a patient – you should be there.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed, folks, that conference is going to be in Portland. It’s going to be May 8th through May 10th. You can sign up and learn much more at http://www.medicalcannabis.com/.

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DEAN BECKER: A sad, tragic, horrible note to add here is that while Al and I were recording this interview the veteran was on his rampage at Fort Hood killing and wounding. We must find a way to put cannabis back in to the pharmacopeia. I doubt if he would have gone on that rampage if he had been using cannabis.

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[harmonica]

The DEA’s the joker,
The FDA’s the joke.
The Joke is on the U.S.A.
So why not take a poke.

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DEAN BECKER: It’s the 4:20 Drug War News.

Houston NORML is celebrating 25 years of exposing “Reefer Madness” at this year’s 420 Fest. 420 Fest will be on April 19th at Vara’s Sports Bar. Dean Becker from the Cultural Baggage Show will emcee the event with speakers like Clay Conrad, Mike Allen from End Mass Incarceration, Jerry Epstein from DPFT, Professor Buford Terrell, Vee Metal from Houston Indy Media, candidates and lots more.

We’ll have musical entertainment from Bourbon and Schwartz, The Black 13, Bag of Tricks, Metalloyd TX, B.G.P. BLOW TIMA ENT, and Texxas Heat. We’ll also have a raffle, photo booth, BBQ, blow artists and lots of other goodies.

Once again, the 420 Fest will be at Vara’s Sports Bar which is located at 2727 North Fwy, Houston, TX 77009. That’s Saturday, April 19t h starting at 4:20 pm. For more information about Houston NORML please visit http://www.houstonnorml.org

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DEAN BECKER: I want you to make note of the fact that the book me and Peter Christ were talking about is starting to generate sales on Kindle and Amazon. We got two stores in Houston now – River Oaks and Brazos Books – are both selling “To End the War On Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press and Public”.

Eric Holder, our Attorney General, read his copy and forwarded it to the DEA to educate them as well.

It’s really up to us, folks, to stand up, speak up, to demand a change to these insane drug laws. The fact of the matter is we know the truth – like we were talking about – it’s a human rights issue and we’ve got to stand for our fellow humans.

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