09/30/16 Philip High

Philip High of Medcan, Dr. Scott Bier of Greenwell, Debate between DA candidates Kim Ogg and Devon Anderson, trailer for new movie "13th" & Yes on 64 ad

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Friday, September 30, 2016
Philip High



SEPTEMBER 30, 2016


DEAN BECKER: Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

DR. G. ALAN ROBISON: It is not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally un-American.

CROWD: 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.

Hi, this is Dean Becker. Thank you for joining us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. Today we're going to get political with the DA race in Harris County, but first we're going to talk about medical marijuana patients smoking without getting high, with Mister Phillip High.

PHILLIP HIGH: My name is Phillip High. I'm the director of research and development for Medcan Foundation. We are an education company that operates in the medical cannabis space. We also do consulting to help people develop business plans to enter the market. But we do a lot of educational seminars and educational training. We have a seminar coming up in Austin on October 15th. It's a two-day seminar, so it's the 15th and the 16th, where we're going to go over just general industry knowledge. We'll be talking about Texas's legislation, SB339, and how the DPS has interpreted the regulations thus far. We'll also be covering the history of cannabis, the economics of cannabis, the chemistry of cannabinoids, investment, and activism.

So, I mean, it's going to be packed full of information. We have these seminars throughout Texas. We also have some upcoming in Florida, and in Puerto Rico we have a strong presence. We actually are authorized, certified by the health department down there to do training for doctors and for people looking to get into the industry, on the occupational side as well as specialized training for manufacturing and physicians.

DEAN BECKER: Wow. There's much talk within the legislature, within the media, of a need for change. And it's going to change in Texas, it's just a matter of time. Isn't it?

PHILLIP HIGH: Oh, absolutely. You know, I mean, if you'd have asked me five years ago, you know, I would have said that I was still holding out hope but I didn't see change coming any time soon. I mean, you know, ten years ago, when Medcan started, you know, we actually started in Texas. We're still based out of Dallas. But yeah, we've been fighting for Texas to get on board with the program to help our patients, and to help our economy, but it's been a long journey, but to get back to your question, yeah, even as SB339 passed, you know, there are a lot of people in the industry and a lot of people who watch the industry who thought very little of SB339. They actually called it a nonstarter. There was a lot of confusion, you know, a lot of people thought that there was going to be a maximum of three dispensaries allowed in the market.

And they still say that, you know, that's still a misconception. But, they're going to be issuing a minimum of three dispensing licenses, and the interesting thing in Texas is, we don't have a segregation of different types of licenses. So if you look at Colorado, you know, they have a specific license for dispensing, a license for manufacturing, a license for cultivation, et cetera, whereas in Texas, there's only one license, it's called the Dispensing Agent license. And under that license, you are allowed to do everything. You're allowed to cultivate, you're allowed to process and manufacture, you're allowed to distribute, you're allowed to transport, you're allowed to provide laboratory services, everything.

So it's very simple. It's very business friendly. The DPS has done a really great job. But there was also a lot of confusion in the language about prescription. You know, everyone was worried about the term "prescription". The doctors are issued a license through the DEA that allows them to prescribe controlled substances for medical use. We talk about prescription in SB339, it is not talking about prescriptions made through the DEA license. The prescription is just the terminology used, and the DPS uses that terminology because of other regulations, but if you look at the definitions, so at the beginning of the regulations, and the definition for prescription simply states that it is the physician, a certified physician, entering the patient's information into the Compassionate Care Program registry. That's it. There's nothing with DEA licenses, there's, it's not a regular prescription. It's simply entering the patient's information into the state registry that will be developed, and is being developed, by the DPS for the Compassionate Use Program.

DEAN BECKER: If you would please, let's go back to this forthcoming seminar.

PHILLIP HIGH: Okeh. So, we're going to have it in Austin. It's going to be on October 15th and 16th. It's at the Hyatt Place North Austin, and it's going to be a two day course. That's on Saturday and Sunday. We have it a little bit shorter on Sunday so people can get out a little earlier. It's from 10 to 6 on Saturday, and from 10 to 4 pm on Sunday. And we're going to cover a wide range of subjects, but all very fundamental, you know, we're going to talk about the history of cannabis, we're going to talk about, you know, the medical value of cannabis, and dosages for patients with specific ailments. We're going to talk about the different dispensary concepts, and the profession that's kind of grown up called budtending, which is, you know, essentially patient services. We're going to talk about the legal regulations, as well as issues with ethics. We're going to talk about cultivation, so growing the product.

Licensing, investing, so if you're looking to get into the industry, you know, how do you recruit investment, and how do you go about putting together your business plan to get licensed, and what does that entail. And then we'll be talking about chemistry, I actually teach the chemistry portion. So we'll be talking about the fundamentals of cannabinoid chemistry, and, you know, extractions, cannabis extracts, how that happens, how they're used. And just a lot of good information in there. It's going to be jampacked.

DEAN BECKER: And that website, please.

PHILLIP HIGH: Yeah, you can reach us at medcanfoundation.com. That's medcanfoundation.com.

DEAN BECKER: This bud's so good, that when I smoke it, the government freaks out.

All right, we just heard from a gentleman talking about the potential of legal medical marijuana in the state of Texas, of all places. Here to fill us in on their attempt to bring legal marijuana to the state of Texas is Doctor Scott Bier. How you doing, sir?

SCOTT BIER, MD: I'm doing well, and yourself, Dean?

DEAN BECKER: I'm good. Scott, the fact of the matter is, this is coming to Texas, and as the gentleman had told me, Mister High, the fact is that it's not exactly the usual prescription method. It will be kind of signing people up for the Compassionate Use Act, in a separate authority. Is that right?

SCOTT BIER: Yeah, exactly. The program's going to be regulated by the DPS, and there will be an electronic registry in which physicians will be able to register as recommenders, and patients that qualify under the regulations will be able to register as patients. Currently as the laws are written, it will be only for those patients that qualify as having intractable epilepsy, which is defined as epilepsy that is refractory to already established treatments.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, it is my hope that that sole malady can be expanded, even New Jersey is now allowing medical cannabis for PTSD. It is my hope that there is that ability to nuance the document. Is that possible?

SCOTT BIER: I think that's absolutely possible, and if we can do it in a state where Chris Christie is the governor, then we can certainly do it here in Texas. The fact of the matter is that cannabis is a real treatment for many indications that it's not being used for at this point. And I think you'll see in the coming legislative session, that sits in 2017, that we're going to work hard at succeeding, hopefully, in getting some new indications added to that list to go alongside intractable epilepsy, because we have a whole population of people here in Texas and really throughout the country that are suffering needlessly, and I really believe that this will help them and actually save lives.

DEAN BECKER: Yes. Once again, we're speaking with Doctor Scott Bier. He's with an organization that's wanting to bring medical cannabis to patients here in Texas. Tell us about Greenwell, here in Texas.

SCOTT BIER: Greenwell Ventures is seeking to become one of the first legal and transparent cannabis businesses here in the state of Texas, and we're planning to be an operation that will grow from seed to sale, in other words, we're going to grow and cultivate our own plants, produce them into medical products, and then dispense them in our dispensary under the Texas Compassionate Use Program, which will likely go into effect sometime mid next year.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, and Doctor Bier, you know, I was speaking with Phillip High of Medcan, and he was talking about that, that here in Texas, you're going to be able to go from seed to sale, basically, you won't need a license to plant or harvest or trim, or, you know, make extracts, or for a dispensary, or to sell, it's all in one permit. Correct?

SCOTT BIER: Actually, that's not entirely correct. You will need, not for everything you just said, not every single piece of it, but you will need different licenses for cultivation, production, and dispensaries. Now, that having been said, it's possible that Mister High has more advanced information than I do, because the regulations are actually still being written right now. There's another draft that's supposed to come out next month.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, and again, I'm sure all that's still TBD.

SCOTT BIER: Yeah, exactly.

DEAN BECKER: Doctor Bier. My goal, you know, I've been doing this 15 years now, has always been to just educate and then embolden people to say what they know to be true. And I know that most families out there have a family member who has shown some benefit from the use of cannabis, whether it be folks like me, who are alcoholics, and it helps me to steer clear of my drug of destruction, and for many other reasons, and I think the truth of this matter is really coming forward, is it not?

SCOTT BIER: Oh, I couldn't agree more. As I said, there are many, many medical applications for cannabis, and the only reason that we're not using this like we're using ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or any of the other great medicines out there, is because we've had prohibition in effect for 80 years, which is predicated on lies and greed. It's really unfortunate that this has been perpetrated for this long. I'm glad to see it cross the country, that we're starting to wake up from that and come out of the haze at this point. And I'd just say, let's keep this going in Texas. Let's not have medical refugees that have to go move to other states in order to get their medicines. Let's not have children that are having hundreds of seizures a day have to move to another state just because it's not legal here at this point. Let's stop the crazy opiate epidemic by using cannabis synergistically to decrease the amount of opiate use and abuse that's going on in this country. It's about time.

DEAN BECKER: It is indeed. Well, once again, I want to thank Doctor Scott Bier for his time. Point them to your website, where folks can learn more about what you guys are doing.

SCOTT BIER: Sure. Yeah, our website is greenwellTX.com, that's greenwelltx.com. Please feel free to drop us a line, we'd love to hear what's going on with everyone else here in Texas.


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DEAN BECKER: Earlier this week, the two candidates running for District Attorney of Houston, Harris County, held a debate. We'll hear from the current DA, Devon Anderson, in just a moment. But this is the Democratic candidate, Kim Ogg.

KIM OGG: As a lawyer, I've been a prosecutor for seven years. I tried -- I have now tried over 115 jury trials, and I believe that my clients, and the community, have profited from my legal experience and my dedication to their best interest. As the city's first anti-gang director, Mayor Bob Lanier selected me, in 1994, to create and lead the city's first civilian-led gang task force. From that position, I was able to develop policies that, one, allowed us to track gang crime in Houston and Harris County; two, push those policies to a state-wide level, where we eventually developed a database that is used today to help solve and prosecute criminal gang crime.

During my tenure at the anti-gang office, I was able to create prevention programs, and the totality of that effort resulted in a 40 percent drop in gang crime during the 1990s. When I was selected to run Crime Stoppers of Houston, I was the leader of an organization that became the best crime tips anonymous hotline in the world, and we still hold international records today from my time there. In one year, we captured over a thousand fugitives or solved cases, non-drug felony crimes. That record stands.

In private practice, I've fought to protect people's civil rights. I've represented a police officer whose father was discriminated against in the police department here in town, his son retaliated against. We won that case, not once but twice in federal court here, received big judgments from juries. It was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, resulting in a holding that in fact that law enforcement agency did retaliate against my client, because he violated what's come to be known as the code of silence.

So I have fought for the public, for private clients.

MODERATOR: Time. Time. Thank you. Miss Anderson, one minute.

DEVON ANDERSON: Well, I think the biggest problem with Ms. Ogg being district attorney is her complete lack of integrity and her statement that she will violate her oath the first day that she sits in office. She stood up in front of cameras and said that I disbanded the animal cruelty division of our office, when in fact I've added four people to it. Pretty sure she knew that, it didn't matter. She will say or do anything to get this office.

And I want you to think real carefully about having a district attorney who has outright announced that she will not prosecute certain laws because she does not agree with them. Think about the implications of that. I put my hand on a bible that's been used at the DA's office since 1958 and swore to god that I would uphold the laws of the state of Texas, and that's what I've done, whether I've liked it or not, whether it's hurt me politically or not, I've done it every single time, and you can count on that with me as district attorney.

MODERATOR: Ms. Ogg, thirty seconds.

KIM OGG: I believe that the voters should decide on our records. You can look at the record of our district attorney for the last three years, the many scandals that have plagued the office, the prosecutorial misconduct, and you can compare it to my record of service to the community, and that's what I want voters to do. I'll stand on my record.

MODERATOR: Next question is for Ms. Anderson. Your website claims that you are uniquely qualified to lead the office forward, establishing it as the flagship prosecutor's office in America. How would you classify the quality of the office as it stands today, and how far is it from being the flagship office that you envision? What kind of specific steps still have to be made to get to that point?

DEVON ANDERSON: Well, I think as far as quality goes, it's extraordinary. The training that we have provided our prosecutors is, I would compare to any office in the country. The extensive in-house training that we do, and the fact that we can send them all around the country to learn the cutting edge techniques that they need to combat modern crime. But it's also our hiring. Our hiring committee, under Belinda Hill, who has made diversity a priority, we want our office to look like Houston. We represent the most diverse county in the country and we want our office to look that way. And we've made tremendous strides doing that, going to job fairs more than we've ever done before.

But it's just not within just the prosecuting within the office. Out in the community, I think that people need to see our office. They need to know what we're about. And every time I've asked them to go out into public and speak, or to volunteer for the Houston Food Bank, or Special Olympics, I have had more than -- more than we can take of people who volunteer. That's the quality of the people that we are hiring. But the problem is, we don't have enough. The closest population that we have to us is Chicago, and they have 900 prosecutors. We have 300 handling, as I said, over 116,000 cases. But we get it done every day, because we have a teamwork mentality.

This is not a win at all costs administration. This is a taking a case, evaluating it on its face, using the evidence and the law. Can we prosecute it? Can we make the case? If we can't, we dismiss it, and that word comes from the top. Ethics first, ethics first.

MODERATOR: Ms. Ogg, one minute.

KIM OGG: The facts are that a review of the Harris County District Attorney's office management team of 32 of their most powerful, highest paid lawyers, breaks down as follows: they are 85 percent Caucasian, they are 5 percent African American, they are 5 percent Asian, and 2 percent Hispanic. Now, I agree with Ms. Anderson. We've got the most diverse community in the country. Why doesn't the management of the district attorney's office reflect that, if that is a priority in hiring?

In terms of win at all costs, there have been ten instances of prosecutorial misconduct, eight of them committed by members of the top management. Not one of them has been investigated, disciplined, or fired, for things ranging from purposely hiding evidence, to causing mistrials, to injecting race into an argument where it wasn't ever a fact.

MODERATOR: Ms. Ogg, you've been quoted as saying you want to keep nonviolent criminals out of jails and keep them in the workforce. You say that there's a way that -- you say, it's something wrong with the bail system in our community. What's wrong with the bail system and what are you proposing to change it for the better?

KIM OGG: Our bail system is unconstitutional. Our bail system fails crime victims. Our bail system fails the accused. Our bail system fails in Harris County. Right now, there are about 10,000 people in the Harris County jail. 75 percent of them are there having never been convicted, only charged. We call those pre-trial detainees. Not convicted of anything. Those who have money, regardless of the offense, short of a capital murder, can bail out. Period. Regardless of how dangerous they are. But those who are too poor to make bail, regardless of how low the risk is, rarely, rarely receive a pre-trial, what we know as PR, bond.

Part of that is because the district attorney objects to pre-trial bonds on every case. Part of it is because the accused isn't afforded a lawyer at what we know to be a critical stage of prosecution. And they're entitled to one.

What is wrong with our bail system? Our bondsmen help elect many of the elected officials in our criminal justice system, and they have been rewarded with over 10 billion dollars in business as a result. What is wrong with our bail system? It is unfair. It is unjust. It is racially skewed. And it is unconstitutional. And anyone with a conscience would stop defending it and start reforming it.

MODERATOR: Ms. Anderson.

DEVON ANDERSON: And we are. And we are. But I've got to stop and say, it's the second time you've said that we have a policy, or that prosecutors object to pre-trial bonds on every case. Flat out, not true. It's the second time she's done that. We have no such policy. In fact, I ask the pre-trial director to send us lists of low to moderate risk people, every morning, and the prosecutors go through that list and see if they can approach the judge and ask the judge to grant a pre-trial bond. That's what we're doing in this office.

But of course we've already been working on the bail system with the MacArthur grant. As part of the coordinating council, we sought a MacArthur Grant and won it, one of eleven jurisdictions out of 200 who applied. We have five strategies that we are starting, that will make a huge difference. We have promised the MacArthur Foundation we will safely reduce the jail population, pre-trial detainees, by 30 percent within three years. We have five exciting strategies, some of which have already begun, like a lot of my diversion programs, and a court, a new reintegration court, that starts on October 17th.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Ms. Anderson. Thirty seconds.

KIM OGG: Instead of promising the organization who gave you a grant to help correct the worst bail system in the country, I would encourage you to promise the people that we will be fair to them when they are accused of a crime in Harris County, we will judge their riskiness by an objective tool, and we will agree to pre-trial bonds when the community is not endangered and when the offender is a low-risk person.

DEAN BECKER: The following audio was taken from the trailer for the new movie Thirteenth.

VAN JONES: One out of four human beings with their hands on bars, shackled, in the world, are locked up here in the land of the free.

VOICE 1: The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution makes it unconstitutional for someone to be held as a slave. There are exceptions, including criminals.

VOICE 2: The loophole was immediately exploited. What you got after that was a rapid transition to a mythology of black criminality.

RAG 'N' BONE MAN [MUSIC]: Some people got the real problems ...

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: Animals. Beasts that needed to be controlled.

DONALD TRUMP: You better believe it.

RAG 'N' BONE MAN [MUSIC]: Only human ...

VOICE 3: It became virtually impossible for a politician to run and appear soft on crime.

HILLARY CLINTON: The kinds of kids that are called super-predators.

RONALD REAGAN: Millions of dollars will be allocated for prison and jail facilities.

BILL CLINTON: Three strikes and you are out.

DEAN BECKER: Coming soon to a theater near you. The following commercial's now airing in California.

VOICE 1: As long as marijuana is illegal, it will be used to criminalize people of color. Blacks, whites, and Latinos use marijuana at roughly the same rates, but in California today, blacks are four times more likely to be charged with marijuana possession than whites. Latinos, almost two times more likely.

Now, we all know that innocuous things have been used to arrest and criminalize people of color. Marijuana's no exception. This little plant has a racialized history, and has consistently used to pack the criminal justice system with black and brown Americans.

RICHARD NIXON: Public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse.

RONALD REAGAN: Just say no to drugs.

VOICE 2: The war on drugs had a hidden purpose. President Nixon saw the drug crackdown as a way to arrest blacks and anti-war protesters.

REPRESENTATIVE KAREN BASS (D-CA): Who goes to prison for drug use are predominantly folks of color and people who are low income.

VOICE 3: Let me see some hands.

REPRESENTATIVE EARL BLUMENAUER (D-OR): Countless lives have been ruined for the use of a substance that a majority of Americans now think should be legal.

REPRESENTATIVE TED LIEU (D-CA): To me, it's completely silly and ridiculous that it's criminalized at the federal level.

VOICE 1: This has gone on for far too long. In California, they leave it up to the police to decide who is possessing and who is selling.

VOICE 4: Police, get down! Get down!

VOICE 1: Which is the difference between an infraction and a felony. You know, traumatizing people is not deterring crime or stopping crime.

VOICE 5: Put it down, bro. Put it down! Down!

VOICE 2: The good news is, Prop 64 can help start us on a new path. Here are some of the things Prop 64 lays out. It makes the possession and use of marijuana legal for adults. It ends the incarceration of minors for marijuana violations. It invests millions of dollars in services for communities effected by the war on drugs. Overall, marijuana arrests decreased by more than 80 percent in Washington, Colorado, and DC after marijuana was legalized.

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): We ought to be learning what we can from those states.

CA LT. GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM: We have to own up to the fact we spent 40 years drumming the beat of this war on drugs, and we wasted a trillion dollars, and I think this is where you start.

VOICE 1: With one vote, we could start to put an end to this criminalization. Vote yes on Prop 64.

DEAN BECKER: Again, I remind you, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful. Not enough time for the standard outro but there's enough time to remind us all that we're still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.