11/13/15 Robert Melamede

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Dr. Robert Melamede re forward/backward looking people, Julie Netherland of DPA, veteran David Bass + CBS clip

Audio file


NOVEMBER 13, 2015


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.

Hello, welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. Here in a moment we'll hear from my friend Doctor Robert Melamede, we'll also hear a report from Julie Netherland of the Drug Policy Alliance about some great news up in New York. We'll hear from David Bass, a US Army veteran, talking about medical marijuana, and we'll have a segment courtesy of CBS-TV Houston.

The truth of the matter is that marijuana is not a threat, it is not the reefer madness that we heard for the last hundred years, and here to talk about it, to fill us in more, is Doctor Robert Melamede. Hello, sir.

ROBERT MELAMEDE, PhD: Hey there, Dean. How are you, my friend?

DEAN BECKER: I'm good. Now, Doctor Bob, I want to focus today on the fact that it has been a legacy of hysteria and delusions that brought us to this point. Am I right?

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Absolutely. But the tragedy is that it's the same underlying cause that got us to this point of insanity that is still out there in the form of our politicians and so-called leadership. And I don't mean that simply in America. If you look at the international situation, it should be obvious to any person that the people involved in international relationships have failed, as well as the government looking internally to control things like marijuana, is an absolute absurdity. The whole drug war itself is responsible for the bulk of crime that exists. So, these people are doing all the wrong things consistently. We should expect the wrong things from them, and it's our fault for allowing them to remain in their positions of power. And I think what we're starting to see now is the rejection of that, you know, that we're not going to let these morons continue to screw up the world and our communities and our families and our environment, driven by their greed and their absurdity.

DEAN BECKER: And, I've got to say that, you know, as much as the politicians, the officials in charge, are responsible, you also have the talking heads that they bring on the media to talk about the need for incremental change, to talk about nuancing it, that they don't want to tempt our children with legal marijuana. It's just turned on its head, isn't it?

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Well, that's because these are the blips, these are the backward looking cannabis deficient people who cannot tolerate change, and they're the ones who are in need of controlling others, because of their cannabinoid deficiency. They're attempting to find peace and quiet within themselves, but they can only do that if they don't have any unknowns in their future. So they try to control their future so they're not stressed by the unknowns, but instead they stress themselves and everyone else because it's an absurd thought, that you can, you know, control the future through more and more rules rather than having an evolutionary development of consciousness and kindness.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and let's talk about that. We've talked about it in the past, but we have the flips, and we have the blips, and let's talk about those two sides of that equation.

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Yes. Well, let's explain it from the beginning again here. Why do we have an endocannabinoid system? Because it protects us, and it protects us from stress. And stress biochemically is in the form of free radicals. And stress in our minds involves biochemical pathways that promote inflammation, which is the consequence of free radicals. So, what we want to, you're going to naturally have people who have more or less cannabinoid activity, and who can therefore better or not tolerate stress. And what I'm saying is that all change, no matter if it's good or bad, from a biochemical point of view, is stress, because the system has to adjust to the new situation.

So, the people who can adjust are more mellow naturally, because they're not worried about the unknown. Their nature is to be optimistic, because they basically make enough pot. Whereas the other people, who don't make enough pot, they're too worried about what might happen to even be present in the present, because they're worried about the future all of the time, and how they can protect themselves from all of the onslaughts that await them. You know, is the glass half full or half empty. What we need to be able to do is to understand how the current situation became as dysfunctional as it really is, as evidenced by international relationships and crime and, you know, etc. etc., what can be done about it.

So, what I'm suggesting is that, once you reach a certain level of development, of functional humane development, then it becomes more obvious what's right and wrong, and what's positive and what's negative, and you want to kind of evolve into a collaborative, cooperative future. So I think that that's the point that we've reached right now, that has gotten us a lot of wonderful things, in terms of our knowledge, in terms of our iPhones etc. Those are great tools, we're able manipulate our environment and create things, to learn and discover more, which essentially, from my perspective, is to move us further from equilibrium, which is naturally healthier. So, cannabis helps us with the discovery and the unfolding, and on the other hand, everything has to be balanced, so you need to have the people who, you know, implement and who drive things in a linear fashion.

All I'm saying is that the step point of the balance is no longer appropriate. That, whereas in the past, strong leadership with somewhat limited diversity was appropriate to accomplish things, we've now accomplished so many things that we're actually destroying our environment and therefore the ability to sustain ourselves and our continued development. So what we need to do is change the fundamental paradigm, and when you look around and you see the international relationships and how screwed they are, the absurdity of so many of our laws, cannabis being the prime example. I mean, just imagine these incompetent fools have outlawed the very essence of our life, because that's what our cannabinoid system is. And how, from the point of view of evolution, god, whatever you want to call it, that there's been a continued increase in cannabinoid activity. Why would we expect that not to continue? So basically we have governments that are fighting, not only the will of the people, but fighting mother nature.

So, we have a fundamental problem here that needs to be fixed. And I think that the American public and people all around the world are waking up to this problem, and that's why we're seeing Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump as, you know, the leaders of the popular movement, so to speak, from the two different sides of right and left, because both of those guys are not part of the existing government. But at least Bernie, unlike Trump, is much more of a cannabinoid endowed individual, although Trump may be, in his own right, as well, even though he's a bit of an egotistical wacko, at least he breaks paradigms, which is always good. He's not just following the trail. You know, the railroad tracks that people just can't seem to get off. We're living for a hopeful future here, and the cannabis revolution and awakening is spreading around the world, and we just have to dump all the failed politicians who've been running the world.

DEAN BECKER: Doctor Bob, I've witnessed officials at every level within the past month or two, from the UN, with their report that they immediately retracted, to our president, to many of the politicians you're talking about, Trump and Sanders, and government officials at the state level, local level, are all hiding from this truth, because they have spoken in the past, outrageously lying about cannabis, and it's so tough for them to now change their perspective, to admit they were wrong. Your thoughts, there.

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Well, that's an interesting property of blips. You see, that's one of, that's what defines cannabinoid deficiency. You can't forget wrong information, so you're able to lay down information when it's new, but because you're laying it down too strongly because you don't have enough cannabinoid activity, because it's involved in the whole learning process there, rather than having plasticity in being able to rewrite, you know, delete and rewrite. You can't believe what you can't rewrite. So people get stuck with their original thoughts and new information doesn't supplant this. That's the essence of cannabinoid deficiency, being stuck with old information and not being able to relearn. You can't teach an old dog new tricks because he's not stoned anymore.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I think about the situation, Colorado, I'm hearing that it's cut down on traffic deaths and overdose, and children's access and all kinds of things, but we still have politicians that don't investigate, that have no actual knowledge, who say it's increasing traffic deaths and children's access.

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Well, that's what we should expect from the backward looking people, because that's what they were told 50 years ago, and they can't replace the information with new information. That's the whole point. We have to really start with the ground up, which really means the youth, because the youth naturally has more cannabinoid activity anyway, they're naturally growing and changing and absorbing newness, that's how they're living. And once they get to be adults and they start to decline back to equilibrium, aging, and death, then, what we need to be able to do is change that decline and the way you do that is by embracing the future, by embracing newness, by doing all the things that move us further from equilibrium, that intrinsically involves cannabinoid activity, otherwise you damage yourself with inflammation.

DEAN BECKER: Folks, once again we're speaking with Dr. Robert Melamede. He has a PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry from the City University of New York. You know, Doctor Bob, there are those entrepreneurs that try to get a law to control the distribution there in Ohio. And I want to talk about the fact that in other states, Colorado, California, elsewhere, there are many millionaires that are controlling that distribution as well. What do we do with that situation? Does the, do we need to just let farmers, average farmers in the neighborhood take care of this? What's the future of that?

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Well, you know, part of the problem again is, because of all the government regulations, it requires people who are able to adhere to all of those regulations, both on a practical level in terms of dealing with all the bureaucratic horse****, as well as, in terms of the monetary requirements that are imposed on them because of all of this. So, some regulation is good, I mean we want people selling stuff that's healthy and analyzed, that doesn't have pesticides. That all makes a lot of sense. But everything else for the most part is crap, you know? I mean, just the same way we treat our food supply, is how we should be treating cannabis. You know? And when's the last time you had your head of lettuce analyzed?

DEAN BECKER: Right. Well, yeah. It is over-controlled, over, well, hysteria-ized, I don't know the word there. It's --

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Well, it's the blips, their nature is fear. So they're trying to control all of these possible negative scenarios that they invent in their paranoid frame.

DEAN BECKER: All right, folks, there you have it. A very forward looking individual, Doctor Robert Melamede. Now, courtesy of KHOU CBS Houston [sic: actually Fox 26], we have a report of some very backward looking school administrators.

GREG GROONAN: We want our public school educators to be perceptive, but we also want them to be fair. Both qualities appear sorely lacking in the case of Hailey Gibbons. At Klein Collins High they teach the importance of hard, scientific proof and the value of equal justice for all. But when it comes to sophomore Hailey Gibbons, there's strong evidence educators on this campus aren't practicing what they preach.

HAILEY GIBBONS: I would say I am not on drugs and they would just say you are, just give it up, you're on drugs, and so, I just started breaking down.

GREG GROONAN: It all started when Hailey was late to class and took a tardy form to the office. An assistant principal she'd never met decided she was acting odd and summoned a nurse who conducted a field sobriety test. Accusations of intoxication soon followed. Hailey, who maintains solid grades and has never been in trouble, insisted more than a dozen times she was completely sober, and a simple drug test would prove it.

HAILEY GIBBONS: they would have known me, they would have known that I would not be on any type of drugs, and the fact that they kept accusing me, over and over again, when they just don't know anything.

GREG GROONAN: Summoned to campus, Hailey's mom Jennifer made a beeline for Quest Diagnostics, where an 11 panel drug test was administered to her daughter.

JENNIFER SAXTON: Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative.

GREG GROONAN: With irrefutable scientific proof, Hailey and Jennifer hoped the misjudgment would be rapidly rectified. They were wrong.

JENNIFER SAXTON: I didn't ask for an apology. I didn't ask them for them to say they were wrong. I just wanted her back in class, and he told me that was not going to happen.

GREG GROONAN: Turns out, Klein ISD ignored the drug test and, based on the nurse's opinion, sentenced Hailey to 30 days in alternative school.

JENNIFER SAXTON: They're more worried about being right than doing what's right.

CHRIS TRITICO: So now you have a student with proof, scientific evidence that she was not taking drugs. The school district says, we don't care about that, you're gone anyway. And they label this child a drug abuser in her permanent school record. It's wrong and it's a civil rights violation.

JENNIFER SAXTON: It's her reputation, her school record, I mean it effects everything. She's not going to, to graduate with her friends, she's not going to go to prom.

GREG GROONAN: We asked Klein ISD several times to explain their policy on camera. They refused, saying only that the drug test was not accepted because the results could not be verified. Ironically, Jennifer Saxton says she went to Quest Diagnostics on the recommendation of Klein ISD.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Itching, difficulty breathing, bone pain, chest pain, dark urine, irregular heartbeat, fever, chills, red blistered peeling skin, seizures, severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, swelling of the hands and feet, unusual bruising and bleeding. Time’s up! The answer: from Schering-Plough Healthcare Products Incorporated, a subsidiary of Merck and Company Incorporated: Zegerid for heartburn.

JULIE NETHERLAND: I'm Julie Netherland from the Drug Policy Alliance.

DEAN BECKER: Julie, there's all kinds of news breaking these days about people's new perceptions about marijuana, medical marijuana, and New York is no different. Tell us what's going on up that way.

JULIE NETHERLAND: Well, the big news out of New York today is that Governor Cuomo signed a bill to expedite emergency access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients. This is a bill that we have been dealing with for several months, and an issue that we've been lobbying him on since the bill to legalize medical marijuana in New York passed in July of 2014. We knew that it was going to be several months before the program was up and running, the law allows the administration 18 months to get the medical marijuana program operational, and what this bill does is get medicine to those patients for whom that kind of delay might be life threatening, or seriously problematic. It allows them to get medicine more quickly.

DEAN BECKER: This is just one example of recognizing the delay is in fact causing deaths. There are three or four that you're aware of, certainly, in New York, and it's happening in other states as well, where these delays are just taking too long for some people. Correct?

JULIE NETHERLAND: Yeah, that's absolutely correct. I mean, a lot of attention has been drawn to children with severe forms of epilepsy, and there were three such children who have died in New York, tragically, since the bill was signed in July of 2014. There are also, you know, people living with terminal cancer who could greatly benefit from getting earlier access to medical marijuana, too, and it's really for those patients that we've been pushing so hard on this issue. Obviously we want to see all patients get access to the medicine they need, but with the slow pace that the state is moving at, we wanted to ensure that those who are really in life threatening situations get more immediate access.

DEAN BECKER: And, this is effective immediately, or when does it go in play?

JULIE NETHERLAND: The bill doesn't have any harsh deadlines. It just directs the Department of Health to get medicine to these patients as soon as possible. So, we are going to be monitoring the situation very closely, and for us, the real victory is when patients have medicine in their hands. So while we're very happy that Governor Cuomo signed this bill, it's a step in the right direction and we think it gives him the tools he needs to create emergency access. What we're really looking to see is patients have medicine in hand.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we've been speaking with Julie Netherland of the Drug Policy Alliance. Their website, please folks, check it out: DrugPolicy.org.

On Veterans Day, a group of Texas army, navy, and air force veterans gathered in Austin at the Texas Veterans Memorial, and here to talk about that day and the efforts to educate our politicians is Mister David Bass. David, tell us about your experience in the service, briefly, if you will.

DAVID BASS: I was a signal officer in the United States Army from 1985 to 2006. I retired in 2006. I served in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

DEAN BECKER: Now, Dave, you know, we all know about the Vietnam veterans memorial in Washington, DC, but we have one in Austin. Briefly tell us about that memorial.

DAVID BASS: Yeah. I'm sitting right here at the Vietnam veterans monument on the capitol grounds. It's absolutely beautiful. While we were here today, there was a steady stream of Vietnam veterans coming by with their old military uniforms and veterans hats, and bringing their families and posing beside the monument, so it's a very moving and wonderful monument for our Vietnam veterans and all of our Texas veterans.

DEAN BECKER: Well, David, and this is wonderful that, you know, the respect is being given and the people are remembering on this Veterans Day, recognizing those who served our nation. And I guess, Dave, the real question boils down to, you guys are there to promote or motivate our politicians to help our veterans in another way. Please tell us about that effort.

DAVID BASS: We marched in the Austin Veterans Day parade, which is the first time that advocates for medical marijuana have ever marched together in that parade. We had thirty people show up, twenty of them were veterans and ten of them were family members and supporters of veterans. We carried a very large banner as we marched, that says "Texas Veterans Support Medical Marijuana." We were cheered by the people along the route, all the way up Congress Avenue. We had massive support from the citizens who were lined up along the street. Some of them came out and shook our hands as we marched by, gave us thumbs up. And so that shows us that there was tremendous support for medical marijuana in Texas, and we were announced from the reviewing stand and some of our legislators were sitting right up there on that reviewing stand, and we were announced as the Texas veterans who advocate for medical marijuana, and that we are, we represent the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, and we also carried a sign Texans For Responsible Marijuana Policy, which is our coalition in Texas that many of our organizations have joined.

DEAN BECKER: Dave, the fact of the matter is, you know, I hear politicians in Texas, you know, state and local politicians, talking about they can't change the marijuana laws, that's up to the federal government. And just this week, the US Senate voted to force the Veterans Administration to allow medical marijuana in those states where it's legal. Your thoughts there, sir.

DAVID BASS: The Veterans Administration is not opposed to medical marijuana. There is a VA directive that's been out for several years that directs the VA doctors and hospitals and clinics in the 23 states with medical marijuana to not discriminate against veterans who have a legal medical marijuana card, and can show that they're using medical marijuana legally in those 23 states. And when that happened, then the VA doctors in those 23 states do not treat these veterans as drug addicts or criminals, they just treat them as they would any other patient who does not use cannabis, and so what we're asking in Texas is that we become the 24th medical marijuana state, and allow our veterans in Texas, who are already using cannabis, going all the way back to the Korean War, to use cannabis for medical reasons legally rather than the state of Texas making us criminals.

DEAN BECKER: That's a worthy endeavor. Now Dave, there's an underlying reason, and certainly medical marijuana couldn't stop the 22 suicides per day being committed by our veterans suffering PTSD. But it could certainly make a difference, would it not?

DAVID BASS: Yes. My personal testimony is, I'm 60 percent disabled, 30 percent for chronic pain, 30 percent for PTSD, and cannabis allowed me to stop using hydrocodone for chronic pain, which I was becoming very addicted to, and allowed me to stop taking psychotropic medication for PTSD, and using psychotropic medications and using, being addicted to hydrocodone, caused me to have suicidal ideation. And I really believe that cannabis saved my life, because it allowed me to start living a very normal life without nightmares or paranoia, and thousands of veterans in Texas tell the same story about how cannabis literally saved their lives by allowing them to stop taking these pharmaceutical medications with the terrible side effects and danger of addiction and overdose.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Dave, you know, I'm an Air Force veteran myself, and, you know, we spend trillions of dollars sending our soldiers overseas to fight these wars, but we seem to forget them, to neglect them, once they return home. There are signs that there's a mindset, a change underway, but we need to move a little quicker. We need to recognize our soldiers for their valor. Now, here in Texas, we have a law that says for these kids with epilepsy, that in a couple of years they'll be able to access marijuana if their doctors prescribe it. But that's really not going to work out, is it?

DAVID BASS: We don't know exactly how it will work out in the future. We don't believe that the bill is broad enough, it certainly doesn't help me at all, doesn't apply to me at all, and so during the 2017 session we are going to advocate for that law to be expanded to include other conditions besides epilepsy, such as PTSD, and to expand the definition of medical marijuana to include the whole plant. And so, we're going to try to build on that law, and expand the scope of the number of patients that can take advantage of it.

DEAN BECKER: We've been talking with Mister David Bass, a veteran of the United States Army. David, is there a website you might want to recommend?

DAVID BASS: I recommend that everybody check out the Texans For Responsible Marijuana Policy. They can find the information about Operation Trapped, which we're calling our program to collect one thousand pill bottles from one thousand Texas veterans who want a medical marijuana program in Texas. And we're going to display those pill bottles with the name of the veteran, the branch of service of the veteran, the dates of service, the combat operations, and the service connected disabilities of that veteran will be on a piece of paper inside each pill bottle, to show Governor Abbot and show our legislators how many veterans in Texas are using cannabis right now for medical reasons, and these veterans want a legal medical marijuana program in Texas.

DEAN BECKER: Quick program note: I'll be reporting next week from Washington, DC. I'll be attending the Drug Policy Alliance conference. You can join in if you want. Please check it out at DrugPolicy.org. I would hope to see you there, but we should have plenty of fine reports from many notables around the world about this drug war on next week's show.

The drug war is ending -- slow, ugly, and bloody. And you could help in the demise of this monstrous beast. 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.