02/14/23 Dr. Ethan Russo
Ethan Russo, MD, is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and former Senior Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals.
Ethan Russo, MD, is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and former Senior Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals.
Ethan Russo, MD, is a highly esteemed, board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and author. He is the Founder and CEO of credo-science.com.
Previously, he was Director of Research and Development of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) based in Prague, Czech Republic. Medical Director of PHYTECS (2015-2017), a biotechnology company researching and developing innovative approaches targeting the human endocannabinoid system, and from 2003-2014, he served as Senior Medical Advisor, medical monitor and study physician to GW Pharmaceuticals, United Kingdom for numerous Phase I-III clinical trials of Sativex® for alleviation of cancer pain unresponsive to optimized opioid treatment and initial studies of Epidiolex® for intractable epilepsy.
Doctor Ethan Russo re CBD, hemp, vape pens, dabbing & more, Dr. Carl Hart dispels "radical" label & Dan Linn of Illinois NORML & legal weed
JUNE 5, 2019
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.
Hi folks, I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High. You are listening to Cultural Baggage on Pacifica Radio and the Drug Truth Network.
A little bit later we'll hear some thoughts of Doctor Carl Hart, perhaps a little editorial from yours truly, and some great news out of Illinois, but first up, we'll hear from Doctor Ethan Russo.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Currently, the director of research and development for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute. That's based in Prague, but I still live in Washington state.
DEAN BECKER: With that, we've begun the introduction of today's guest, Doctor Ethan Russo. He's an MD, he has a lot of credentials, a board certified neurologist, psychopharmocology researcher, and former senior medical adviser to GW Pharmaceuticals, which is perhaps the top dog of the medical marijuana industry.
With that, I want to welcome our guest, Doctor Ethan Russo. How are you, sir?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: I'm fine, thank you.
DEAN BECKER: Doctor Russo, I wanted to put forward your credentials because you have worked with, and I hate to use the phrase, but the top dog of the industry, GW Pharmaceuticals. They've been headlong at this for over a decade now, have they not?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, yeah, actually, the company started in 1998, and I was a scientific adviser with them, starting that year, and came on full time in 2003 for the next eleven years.
DEAN BECKER: And they have put forward, I always try to pronounce this, Epidiolex?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Close. Epidiolex. So that was actually their second product. The first, called Sativex, was a spray in the mouth combining extracts of a high THC chemovar, chemical variety of cannabis, and a high CBD chemovar of cannabis.
Sativex is approved in thirty countries outside the US for treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Epidiolex is almost a pure cannabidiol product, and in 2018 it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of two severe kinds of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrom and Dravet syndrome.
DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, Doctor Russo, I think I knew that, that Sativex was the precursor, if you will, and had been available. I was lucky enough, and gosh, it's been fourteen, fifteen years ago, I interviewed Doctor Geoffrey Guy, who I think was then the chairman or head scientist or something at GW, and they put him on the airways back then, and we talked about Sativex, and how it's a two-pronged approach. Right?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Correct. Sure. So, again, GW was really instrumental in bringing cannabidiol back to the fore. Most people around the world had sort of forgotten about it since it was positively identified in 1963. It really lacked the excitement, if you will, of THC, which is obviously the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Along the way there were individuals, particular Raphael Mechoulam in Israel and the team headed by Elisaldo Carlini in Brazil that continued to look at cannabidiol for its anti-inflammatory and anti-convulsant properties. An anti-convulsant is a drug for seizures.
DEAN BECKER: Well, Doctor Russo, I, again, I wanted to bring you on today's show because there's an important issue that really needs addressed, it's kind of multi-faceted, and I'm going to try to jump into it here, but I was wanting to bring forward your credentials, your, you know, expertise, if you will, for the listeners out there, because there's a lot of discussion and a lot of, I don't know, opinions being put forward, but some of them I don't think are to be trusted.
Doctor Russo is author of Handbook of Psychotropic Herbs, he's co-editor of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential. He's a man with those credentials, and with that, I want to jump right into it.
There is, even in Texas now, an approval or a forthcoming approval for CBD medicines, the federal government has been talking of, you know, allowing for CBD medicine, or the use of CBD, I'm not sure, they talk about, you can't say it's good for medicine, that kind of thing, and I just wanted to ask you, Doctor Russo, there's so many types of CBD, they're selling it in head shops and at gas stations and all kinds of places. Are they to be trusted, I guess is the first question?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, I think that consumers are probably going to be pretty confused by this situation, and for good reason, because this is a highly unregulated industry at this point.
I think that it's clear we're going to always have three echelons of products. There are going to be the rare pharmaceuticals, prescription medicines, like Sativex and Epidiolex, that have gone through the FDA approval process.
Then we're going to have supplements that are made by reputable companies that have some level of quality control that they can identify and provide to consumers.
And then there's just going to be the other products, which could be herbal cannabis, or something that your neighbor makes. Right now, with all the online commerce and everything else, we've got a lot of products that don't necessarily have the quality control behind them.
They may or may not have the CBD concentration that they purport to have. Some of them are going to have THC in them, even though they claim that they may not. A lot of these products are going to be produced abroad and they're going to be made from hemp refuse. What I mean by that is, the stuff that's left over once they've used the other materials, say for building or whatever else, and they're left with this mass of stuff that either would have gone to landfill or gotten composted, but they'll chemically extract it to get the CBD as a value added product.
But in the course of that, in order to concentrate the material to get the CBD, they're also concentrating pesticides, heavy metals, or anything else that might be contaminating that material.
But, you know, I personally would like to see some regulation of the industry so that the consumer can, number one, know exactly what they're getting, in other words have access to a certification of analysis to accompany the product that also would include safety data, something that would indicate that this material is free of pesticides, heavy metals, or bacteria for that matter that would pose a public health risk.
DEAN BECKER: Okeh. I appreciate that thought. It brings to mind that, you know, you talk about this refuse, the leftovers, being used. It seems like the less effective way to do it, and I guess my first question, or next question, would be, is the best CBD extract to come from the flowers, the leaves, -
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Absolutely.
DEAN BECKER: - the seeds, are the seeds of use? How do those come in -
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, yeah, let's look at the plant. The highest concentration of cannabinoids, including cannabidiol, is absolutely going to come from the unfertilized female flowering tops. That's the quality area for this kind of material.
The amounts in the fan leaves below the flowers are going to have about one percent. The trichomes - the place where these are made have about one percent of the content as compared to the trichomes that come from the flowers.
So, immediately, you've got a lower quality product, and it's not the same kind of profile, either. If we're talking stems, you get this down to a minute amount, and the seeds, if they're washed, although they can produce a high quality protein and essential fatty acids that are good in the diet, they have no cannabinoids at all.
Similarly the roots are devoid of cannabinoids, but have other products that have medicinal value. So there are many parts of the plants, and they have uses of their own, but, best medicine is going to come from the flowering tops.
While we're at it, we have to make a distinction between what's called a cannabidiol or CBD isolate, that would be some kind of concentrated form of CBD that supposedly excludes the other material, versus what's called a whole-plant extract.
An extract, medically, is almost always going to be more effective in that it would contain other ingredients, at least trace amounts of other cannabinoids and also the terpinoids, the essential oil components that contribute to the medical effect of cannabis.
DEAN BECKER: That brings to mind, we have had over the years the Marinol, which was a synthetic THC, which I guess -
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Right.
DEAN BECKER: - had no CBD contained therein, and it didn't work because, as you're talking about, it's compounding, the multiplicity of the molecules, enhances its effectiveness. Right?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Quite true. Yeah. THC as a synthetic isolated drug has had very little uptake in the medical field because it's been poorly tolerated, it tends to produce dysphoria, an unhappy mood rather than euphoria. It's poorly tolerated even by people who may have been accustomed to using cannabis in the past.
So it's had limited use in treating vomiting associated with chemotherapy and previously in patients with AIDS wasting syndrome, but it's had very small sales in the industry because of these problems. So it's very different to THC that would come from a whole plant extract, directly from cannabis, which is a much more versatile and better tolerated medicine.
DEAN BECKER: All right, my friends, once again we are speaking with Doctor Ethan Russo, a very learned man, very learned doctor, and we're seeking his opinions about marijuana products.
Doctor Russo, I'm not going to ask you for a legal opinion, there are different laws. Texas is saying they're going to legalize hemp, they're saying they're going to legalize CBD, and yet it is the dispensary, the Texas dispensary, only makes CBD oils, they can't even sell the flowers here, and I guess what I'm leading up to is that, we have to be demanding, I guess, there are these stores even here in Houston that are selling CBD, but there's nobody who's really knowing what is going on.
And I guess what I'm really going to point to is that they're selling a one eighth ounce of CBD flowers, hemp flowers, for fifty bucks, whereas if you go on the web you can buy a full ounce for thirty bucks. It's - there's a lot of shenanigans going on. Your thought there, Doctor Russo.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, I have to agree. Again, I will go out on a limb and say I think that we have to have a descheduling of cannabis so that research can proceed unencumbered, and that patients in need can have access.
By the same token, I'd like to see regulatory oversight on all these products so the consumer doesn't have to regard it as a crap shoot when they go to a make a purchase of a cannabis product.
So I'd like to see those two things happen. But it's a big ask, because there's a tremendous amount of ignorance out there, and a tremendous amount of prejudice attached to this medicinal plant.
DEAN BECKER: No, I agree with you. There's even a different extreme, if I can explain it properly, and that deals with folks, and again, I love marijuana, I smoke it every day, I think it's the best thing, you know, medicine there is, but there are those who, you know, go a little too far, I think, calling it a sacred plant, it's not a medicine, it's, leave us well enough alone, et cetera.
There's a middle ground there where rationality comes in. Your thought there, Doctor Russo.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Yeah, I agree. I think anytime you go to extremes, one way or another, it's not necessarily going to be the best policy.
But, prohibition has never worked, it certainly hasn't with respect to cannabis, and we need a situation where people can have access to the medicine they need and have confidence in its quality and safety.
DEAN BECKER: Okeh. One more point hinging on that thought about the sacred plant and everything. We have to also maybe back the truck up a bit. Take a look at this. I smoked Marlboro's for fifty years. I have COPD, I regret every damn cigarette I smoked.
But the point I'm looking at now is I see these kids with these rigs they've got, and the anvil and a blowtorch, and they're doing these dabs and they're taking these massive choking hits. Maybe that's good for youngsters, maybe that's good for a little while. Is it good for a lifetime? Your thought, Doctor Russo.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, I don't think it's good, even on a temporary basis. Quite frankly, a lot of this behavior is a byproduct of prohibition. What I mean is, in prohibition, yeah, there was some beer, but the prevalent item was bathtub gin. And that was a high potency material.
If you're going to have to lug around a product that you've got to hide from the police, it's better if it's high potency, and the same applies to cannabis.
So what we had the last several decades is selective breeding for high THC cannabis to the exclusion of cannabidiol or other components. So the popularity currently of these concentrates and dabs is just running that kind of trend to an extreme.
So you've got materials now, some of these concentrates can have seventy-five to ninety percent THC, to the exclusion of CBD. Generally they're devoid or have minimal terpinoid content.
What's going to happen with that is, you'll have all of the possible side effects attached to THC without benefit of the other components that will temper the experience and increase the safety factor.
So, when someone uses this kind of material, there is a risk that they're going to have a condition called orthostatic hypotension. This basically is a faint. The sudden release of high content of THC slows down the heart enough, what's called vasovagal reaction, that it causes the person to faint. They basically have inadequate blood flow to the brain and they pass out.
In the meantime, they may fall, hit their head, end up in the emergency room at the hospital, having incurred huge expense, and scared a bunch of people. The condition will pass, but it's totally unnecessary.
The other problem with these concentrates is they provoke the rapid development of tolerance. Tolerance means that, if somebody uses this kind of material regularly they're going to have to use more and more to attain their desired level of high.
In use of cannabis, whether it's recreational or for medical purposes, the smallest dose that does the job is the correct dose. And that is best achieved with a whole cannabis product, preferably in a small dose.
With that, particularly if CBD is aboard, there's little risk of developing tolerance and these other side effects. That would be the proper way to use cannabis.
DEAN BECKER: All right, thank you, Doctor Russo. I've got one more question for you, sir. I see the ads, people trying to sell the vape cartridges, the little, you know, for your pen vaporizer. And, I see the warnings, there's a lot of them that are found to contain high levels of lead and other toxins. We - you talked about it, prohibition is just not the way to control or prevent these problems.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: That's true.
DEAN BECKER: Go ahead, sir.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Sure. So, yeah, it is true to say that these vape pens can't be beat in terms of convenience and how rapidly somebody can get high and how easy it is to hide.
So, it's very attractive, particularly to young people. But, it just is not necessarily the best way to use cannabis, and certainly isn't recommended for medical use.
Most medical conditions are going to be chronic, where cannabis is used, and under those conditions it's best to use an oral preparation that's going to have a longer onset of activity, and is less likely to produce an overt high. The idea is to treat the symptoms, not to alter one's consciousness in medical applications.
So, in order to have best practices, we have to buck this trend of higher potency THC to the exclusion of other things, and this particularly attractive and simple delivery device is a very insidious proposition. So, again, improvements are going to come through education, but also regulation.
So that is what I'd like to see happen.
DEAN BECKER: I'm with you, sir. You know, I talk about it's time for us to finally control our supposed controlled substances. Would you agree with that thought?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Right. Prohibition is the worst method of control.
DEAN BECKER: Well, it certainly is. Well friends, once again we've been speaking with Doctor Ethan Russo, a medical doctor, written several great books. Doctor Russo, some closing thoughts, a website you might want to share.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, further information would be available on the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute website, which is ICCI.science.
DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, yellow eyes, swelling of the tongue, hoarseness, dark urine, fainting,, fever, irregular heart beat, mental or mood changes, seizure, and death. Time's up! The answer, from the UCB Group: Xyzal, for asthma.
DAN LINN: My name is Dan Linn, and I'm the executive director of the Illinois chapter of NORML, which is the National Organization to [sic: for the] Reform [of] Marijuana Laws.
DEAN BECKER: Well, the news is that Illinois is to become the eleventh state to legalize marijuana. Tell us what that means for your state.
DAN LINN: Well, we will be taking this market that already exists in the illegal sector and bringing it above the table to the legal sector. We will be able to create jobs with this, increase tax revenues, as well as expunge a lot of criminal records for folks who were caught with low level amounts of cannabis.
We're talking about 800,000 people with those arrests records in Illinois that will be getting wiped clean.
DEAN BECKER: Now, when will this take effect? And who will be able to buy?
DAN LINN: Adults over 21 will be able to purchase up to about an ounce of cannabis on January First, 2020.
DEAN BECKER: Will folks be able to grow their own at home or not?
DAN LINN: Only patients that are registered in the medical cannabis program will be able to grow up to five plants, but out of state residents would be able to purchase about half of the amount that an instate resident would be able to buy, so you're looking at about a half ounce with a little bit smaller amounts of edibles and concentrates that out of state residents could buy in Illinois.
DEAN BECKER: Now, I'm aware that in several of the states that have legalized there's big discussion, brouhaha if you will, to make allowances for legal places where people could smoke, in essence like a bar, so to speak. How is that going to align in Illinois?
DAN LINN: Yeah, the state didn't carve out a specific license for those types of social consumption facilities, but they do allow local municipalities and regulating bodies to create, well, it would be kind of like a hookah lounge or a cigar shop or a private club where you're, at least in theory right now, people could publicly consume cannabis at those facilities.
DEAN BECKER: Now, this will allow for growth of marijuana flowers then to be sold, but will it also allow for extracts and any of these other derivatives?
DAN LINN: Absolutely, and it does have a specific license for the processing or production of those products.
DEAN BECKER: Okeh. Now, I know the law enforcement community is striving desperately to find a means to determine those who are incapacitated while out driving on the roads. What is that situation in Illinois?
DAN LINN: There's some language in the law about a validated sobriety test. Right now, what we're advocating for is a standardized field sobriety test, similar to the one that most people are familiar with, with walking the line, standing on one foot for thirty seconds, saying the ABCs backwards. We feel that that, coupled with a dashcam video, will be able to keep our roads safe and still allow prosecutors to prosecute somebody who's impaired behind the wheel.
DEAN BECKER: Let's talk about what it took to get to this point for Illinois. You know, I share my show with stations around the country, heck, up into Canada, and I'm in Texas, but we're - we're F'd. We can't do a thing here until these politicians get off their butts.
But what did it take to get this done in Illinois?
DAN LINN: We were in a similar situation. We couldn't put it to the ballot and the voters, we had to go through the legislature. This was the product of close to twenty years of lobbying at the capitol, holding educational and informational meetings, seminars throughout the state.
But really it was about having lobby days at the capitol, getting voters and constituents to meet with their elected officials, talking to them about the need for change. We were able to get a medical cannabis law passed, after that we were able to get a decriminalization law passed so that people would no longer be arrested for these low level possession amounts but just be issued a ticket.
And then ultimately we were able to make it where people were able to purchase this at a legal storefront, and consume it in certain places.
DEAN BECKER: All right. Well, Dan, I want to thank you. Once again folks, we've been speaking with Mister Dan Linn, he's the executive director of Illinois NORML, that's NORML, out there on the web. Thank you, Dan.
DAN LINN: No problems, it's a pleasure talking with you.
DEAN BECKER: Major media does not treat the drug war fairly. Doctor Carl Hart doesn't like that attitude, and the way it tries to dismiss the credentials or credibility of drug reform. The following is part of a recent interview he did with Global Health.
INTERVIEWER: He has a different and what some would say radical and controversial approach to drug policy. He is joining us now to explain what that is. Carl, thank you so much for joining us.
CARL HART, PHD: Thank you for having me.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. We've been chatting during commercial break about some of your views, but to include everyone else in on the conversation, what are some of the myths, the commonly held myths that people have about drugs and drug addiction?
CARL HART, PHD: Before dealing with the myths, I'd just like to say something about the introduction. So, like, when people introduce me as radical or controversial, that kind of sets the frame for the audience to see me in a certain light, and we must understand that I'm the chair of my department at Columbia University. I'm a scientist who's published hundreds of papers in the scientific literature.
So, that's not radical. My perspective is evidence driven.
CARL HART, PHD: And so, because the perspective is not held by most people doesn't mean that it's radical. It means that those people are ignorant.
INTERVIEWER: Okeh. Fair enough.
DEAN BECKER: Just a few seconds left for this Drug Truth Network editorial.
These politicians, nearly all of them, know the truth about the drug war. They made their bones through this policy. It's hard for them to back down now. But I know if you, their constituents, go before them with the evidence, the truth, the scientific papers, and the ability to show they are immoral, they are off base, they are allies of terrorists, cartels, and gangs, and they are ensuring more overdose deaths of our children, eventually they will come around.
I remind you, once again, 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.
Maricela Orozco from Caravan for Peace, interpretation by Daniel Joloy , Ellecer Carlos, of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Dr. Ethan Russo re Patients Out Of Time & Bob Wenzel of Target Liberty
MARCH 16, 2018
DEAN BECKER: Hi folks, this is Dean Becker, and I thank you for joining us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. I'm headed to Europe to gather some important interviews, getting some help this week on preparing the show.
This week, we're going to hear from the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, who just completed its sixty-first annual meeting. This information was gathered by Mister Doug McVay of DrugWarFacts.org and our other program, Century of Lies. And we also want to thank the DrugReporter and the Rights Reporter Foundation for their help in this effort.
Our first segment comes from the CND side event. It features Maricela Orozco out of Mexico, Familiares en B??squeda Mar?┬ía Herrera, from the Caravan for Peace, Life, and Justice, which I traveled seven thousand miles with. English language interpretation is provided by Daniel Joloy, senior policy analyst at Amnesty International.
MARICELA OROZCO [interpretation by DANIEL JOLOY]: Good morning. My name is Maricela Orozco. I come from Mexico. I am here today because, unfortunately, my kid, Gerson, of 19 years old, was kidnapped a little bit more than three years ago, and that same day, my son, Alan, who was an architecture student, and my son in law, Miguel, were also killed when they were looking for Gerson.
My son, Gerson, was disappeared in the context of the violence and impunity that the war on drugs has brought to Mexico. This war has consisted in the militarization of public security, resulting in the increase of violence and human rights violations that has reached a number of more than 30,000 people disappeared since 2006.
In the case of the disappearance of Gerson, and the killing of Alan and Miguel, are involved state and non-state actors. Even the secretary of defense has participated in covering up for the evidence of this tragic case, and judges have currently also covering for organized crime.
Because of this, I began my struggle to try to find my son. While looking for Gerson, I met other families, and I -- we gathered together to found an organization, Families in the Search Mar?┬ía Herrera, a network of other family collectives, of people looking for their disappeared, across all the country, called the Network of National Groups.
That's how I became, from searching only for my son, to look for many other people disappeared in Mexico. This is how I became a woman human rights defender.
From these two organizations, I have joined actions to look for the disappeared alive, and also in mass graves. I also participated in the process to draft the general law against disappearances, which was recently approved in Congress, and we also resisted a recent law on interior security, a law that was sadly approved just a few months ago. I have also joined active efforts to demand a stop of this war against drugs.
Besides the damages that this war against drugs has signified to thousands of families that, as my family, have lost their loved ones, or are searching for their loved ones, defending human rights in this context, it's very, very dangerous.
In our work, for searching for the disappeared, many friends have been killed, like Miriam Elizabeth Rodr?┬íguez Mart?┬ínez, who was looking for her daughter, Karen Alejandra, and was killed in May of last year at her house, or our friend Jos?┬« Jes??s Jim?┬«nez Gaona, who was looking for his daughter Jenny Isabel, and was killed in June 2016.
The search for our loved ones make us be uncomfortable, both for criminal actors, but also for the state, because evidence their omissions and their collusion with organized crime. By organizing ourselves and taking on all the other cases, as if they are our own cases, our vulnerability increases.
On the other hand, in Mexico, it's almost zero that reparation of damages or effective remedies for victims of human rights violations and human rights defenders.
I am part of the mechanism of protection for human rights defenders and journalists that has evaluated my risk as extraordinary. The mechanism has granted me some protection measures, such as a panic alert, installation of strong doors and windows, a GPS sensor, and lights across my house. However, the risk situation me and my family are facing is very, very high, and that's why the attorney general's office has been forced to intervene as well, and to give me some police to protect me and my family, because the measures proposed by the mechanism are insufficient.
The panic alert is a privatized measure that, when you activate it, it puts you in touch with a private corporation. Besides, it is inefficient, because it doesn't have the capacity to react adequately and before an emergency, and frequently the button doesn't work.
In emergency cases, the police would only send some people to police around your house, but they wouldn't be able to protect you when they are trying to kill you or to attack you directly.
In addition, being able to be considered by the mechanism is very complex, and you necessarily need the follow-up of a civil society organization that is specialized in dealing with the mechanism, just in order for the authorities to take your case into consideration, and be kept within the mechanism, and to have -- to demand constantly that the specific measures granted are evaluated and changed according to the necessities.
The mechanism will always be insufficient, while the cases of human rights defenders attacked are increasing. The mechanism does not implement measures to prevent these attacks, nor comprehensive measures to reduce the rates of impunity for these attacks. Without this, the cycle of attacks and threats against human rights defenders and journalists will definitely continue.
The cycle of impunity and corruption that fuels the war against drugs has not allowed us to find for our disappeared, and increases the risks for those of us who defend human rights. This is why it is urgent to meet the strategy and drug control policies in Mexico towards one that guarantees the full protection of human rights.
Thank you very much, and I just want to share that this last December, we found the body of our son who was kidnapped for more than three years.
DEAN BECKER: I thought it important to let our Spanish speaking friends hear the truth here on the mothership of the Drug Truth Network. Next up, we hear from Carlos Ellecer
He's spokesman for the ├ö├ç┬úIn Defence of Human Rights and Dignity Movement├ö├ç├ÿ in the Philippines.
ELLECER CARLOS: Thank you so much, Daniel. Warm greetings of human rights solidarity to all. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amnesty International and the International Drug Policy Consortium for organizing this important event that further enables us to bring out the truth on what is happening in the Philippines.
I am with the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, and PAHRA is the lead convenor of the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement, the one that first responded to the mass killings when they started, even before President Duterte took office in June 2016, and we're now engaged in our second international solidarity information tour.
We went all around the world last year for five months, simply because we could not see working accountability mechanisms in the Philippines and our judicial system being already under the control of this violent president, and, yeah. Essentially, we're also extending the Philippine human rights movement which was once strong outside the Philippines because of the impending dictatorship in our country.
Most of you are all aware of the drug war in the Philippines operating outside the rule of law, which has made human life very cheap, the worst human rights crisis since the time of Marcos, one that is dehumanizing us all.
As we reported constantly at the UN and the US Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte established a permission structure for mass murder, and redefined the rules, and institutionalized the rules of an institutionalized impunity in the Philippines.
He has popularized the idea that the crisis there can be solved by exterminating addicts and criminals. Conditioned our police to be quick on the trigger and routinely circumvent due process, and have a general contempt for the rule of law by promising them protection from litigation, imposing on them forced quotas, forced results, offering bounties to even ordinary citizens, and putting up a reward system.
Hitler-style, he effectively dehumanized and defined drug dependence and drug peddlers as the -- THE -- inconvenient sector worthy of elimination. Through sustained incitement to hate and violence, he has done so.
This kill society's undesired, or de facto social cleansing policy, has led to the deaths of at least 12,000, conservatively speaking, of the most neglected, beaten down, and impoverished sections of Philippine society, including children.
What civil society has offered are three basic things. One, this includes academic institutions, international experts, and of course human rights groups, is to end that clamp down, prohibitionist, and hardline approach, which never worked elsewhere, and apply compassionate, evidence-based human rights and public health centered approach to resolving the drug issue.
Of course, radical reforms in our inoperable criminal justice system so that justice can flow there. And mostly, it's an investment in a life of dignity for all, address the root cause. In the Philippines, there is a huge market of beaten down, impoverished individuals, predisposed to become exploited into a life of crime and drugs, and we would like essential services and opportunities to be democratized so that everyone can have a chance to get out of poverty, explaining to this administration the direct relationship between the decrease of crime and drug dependency with the rise of the standard of living.
Instead of consulting and listening to us, Duterte demonized us, human rights defenders, and conditioned the public to detest us. He has publicly distorted and sown misperceptions about human rights values, ideals, and principles. He has presented human rights groups as coddlers of criminals and obstructionists of justice and obstacles to development, and promoted -- sorry about that -- the narrative that the world will never be safe for us as long as these human rights groups are here to side with criminals, addicts, and so forth.
The state enforced distortion of the truth and hate for human rights and human rights defenders has eroded public belief in human rights, and secured some level of public acceptance should the killings spill over to our sector. He has publicly threatened to kill us on several occasions, ordered the police to shoot us if we obstruct justice, and harvest us together with addicts, using the word "harvest".
Duterte's message is clear. All he has to do is give the orders, and we will all be killed. This situation has drastically constricted space for human rights discourse and the defense of human rights in the Philippines. Yeah, so, there's no affirmative action being undertaken to resolve the killings both by the police and two-thirds of the killings of death squads.
The design of the drug war is -- is really confining the violence and mass killings to the most impoverished urban poor communities. The lowest rungs of the drug trade, really. And the impact of the drug war is several fold. This endangers everyone. Anyone can now be accused of being an addict, or a drug pusher, in the Philippines, without having the opportunity to go to court and defend him or her self.
That general contempt for the rule of law is leading to the breakdown of our democratic institutions. It threatens to transfigure the mindsets of our entire policing establishment, transforming even the most law abiding and decent police officer into butchers.
Now we're threatened also to throw away all the human rights education work that the commission on human rights and human rights organizations have been doing, and of course the civic behavior in the Philippines, the normalization of the killings, is worsening our collective sociopathy.
Duterte, after several extensions, has finally ruled the drug war -- that the drug war will continue until 2022. And, yeah, now is -- the problem is that the dormant death squad network has been unleashed into an entire epidemic.
So what is important now is exposing his true intentions. He has no intentions whatsoever to resolve the drug issue. The Philippines' war on drugs is really nothing more than a sham war, used as a populist tool to sow a culture of fear and silence, and to advance an authoritarian agenda.
It's clear to us all that this is just part of a much bigger picture. For us, it's about the falling apart of democracy, and a retrogression into dictatorship, and the disintegration of Philippine society.
The situation today is the closest we have been to an authoritarian government in thirty years, and he's been rolling back the gains of human rights and democracy, and civil and political rights have been systematically eroded.
He has co-opted two other branches of government, and we have evaluated that his current priorities, his two political projects, charter change and federalism, is merely a realignment of the elite, and intends to dissolve nationalist, economic, and human rights provisions in our constitution and do away with the democratic safeguards and checks and balances, on terms extension and also the judicial and congressional review of martial law declaration, and intends to abolish constitutional commissions such as the commission on human rights.
He also has well-financed propaganda machinery that is effective in shaping public opinion, social conditioning, and re-echoing his anti-human rights and kill rhetoric. And of course online bullying and spreading culture of intolerance to criticism and dissent.
He has made full use of bureaucratic and political apparatuses to carry out political persecution and silence dissent and criticism, and attack through judicial harassment and misogynistic public comments, those who represent our institutions providing checks and balances, yeah, and his political critics, our vice president, Senator DeLima, the supreme court chief now facing removal, and of course our ombudsperson's chief.
He's been whitewashing the Marcos years and painting the Marcos years as the golden years. He has institutionalized vigilantism and forced organizing by forming pseudo-mass movements. These are extremist nationalist groups exploiting a distorted sense of patriotism. This has constricted space for public action for us, because these government funded public actions, rallies really, Hitler-style, they organize in the very same spaces that we do.
Yes, okeh. Yes. So it -- the challenge for us is enormous and unprecedented in the Philippines for human rights defenders, while being threatened as next targets, we must persevere to fight apathy, help Philippine society reestablish the respect for right to life, and reclaim our collective humanity.
And, yeah, basically, the difference between now and the Marcos dictatorship is, during the Marcos dictatorship, the public was sympathetic with the human rights cause, but now, a huge section of the Philippine public detests us. Duterte's still able to operate on top of a strong support base, and, yeah, we lack physical and security plans amongst human rights organizations, while government is actually upgrading its surveillance capacity and infrastructure.
And we're -- a lot of us are under the watch and persons of interest list of the Philippine National Police and the armed forces of the Philippines. So, the total crackdown of political activists started actually, and the rights of killings of activists and the human rights defenders already, and this includes the murder of eight indigenous environmental rights defenders on December Three last year.
So our work now is how to expose the duplicity of Duterte, claims to be anti-poor but really has no social agenda that will uplift the lives of the poor, whose economic policies will only deepen inequality.
So, yeah, that basically, our role is now to make sure that our fellow Filipinos will not behave like the good Germans of the Nazi era, and of course, accountability and how to protect, provide sanctuaries for the courageous families of victims of extrajudicial killings. So, yes. Thank you very much.
DEAN BECKER: Again, I want to thank Doug McVay, DrugReporter and the Rights Reporter Foundation. Thank you.
It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, yellow eyes, swelling of the tongue, hoarseness, dark urine, fainting, fever, irregular heartbeat, mental or mood changes, seizure, and death. Time's up! The answer, from the UCB Group: Xyzal, for asthma.
Last week we had the privilege of speaking with the director of Patients Out of Time, Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre, about the forthcoming conference May 10 through 12 up there in Jersey City, New Jersey, and one of the featured speakers of this conference is joining us now to talk about what's happened, what's, I don't know, the regression and the progress over the past year, and I want to welcome Doctor Ethan Russo. Hello, Doctor Russo.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Hello, thanks for having me.
DEAN BECKER: Well, yes, sir. You know, progress, regression, it seems the science is moving forward but the propaganda and the hysteria is still trying to drag us backwards. Would you agree with that?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, I'm afraid I have to agree, yeah. I mean, it's one of these situations that we clearly see progress, but it's occurring extra-USA, I'm afraid, and although science marches on, we have a situation where it's still extremely difficult to do meaningful scientific, clinical research on cannabis in this country.
DEAN BECKER: Right. And they keep saying we need more studies before we can do progress, but the same people saying that are helping to delay that progress, in my opinion. Would you agree there?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: I, again, you're correct about that. There is an overwhelming body of evidence behind the clinical efficacy and safety of cannabis for a variety of illnesses. Figure this much: we have a situation where a cannabis based medicine is approved for treatment of spasticity in MS in 29 countries, but it doesn't include the US.
And we also have a situation in which a cannabidiol based cannabis extract is about to be FDA approved, but that has not led to progress on other fronts, in terms of availability or of acceptance of cannabis as a bona fide medicine.
DEAN BECKER: Now, it's my layman's understanding that there was either late last year or this year an approval of a synthetic marijuana, you know, pharmaceutically made and so forth. Is this a new development, or am I off base there?
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, let's look at this historically. Way back in 1985, the Food and Drug Administration in the USA approved synthetic THC, Marinol, for treatment of nausea associated with chemotherapy. One of the ideas behind that was, well, now we've used this and people won't need to use cannabis. But that obviously didn't happen.
What they didn't understand was that THC by itself is nothing like herbal cannabis, with its full range of other ingredients that contribute to both the therapeutic benefits of the medicine as well as reducing side effects associated with THC.
So the synthetic THC has never been a popular medicine, hasn't been much used clinically, but we have millions of people around the world using cannabis, in contrast, and anyone who has tried both will tell you that they're not at all the same.
It still is the case that many companies are interested in trying to make their own synthetic molecules that might mimic some of the things that cannabis does, but I have to say that the chances that they're going to be better in any material way is extremely slim.
We have the added benefit of thousands of years of experience with herbal cannabis, and we know exactly what to expect with it. This is not to say that people cannot take too much, or get into trouble with it, but with judicious approaches to dosing, it is a very safe medicine.
DEAN BECKER: Doctor Russo, I was talking about, you know, progress and regress and in the state of Texas, we had a situation just earlier this month where a couple had a daughter who was approaching 18 years of age, and they were re-defining her guardianship, and the judge determined that the parents, who had been giving her doses of cannabis medicine, were the best guardians for that youngster becoming an adult, and I guess what I'm saying is, even in Texas, the truth of this matter kind of sneaks into the courtroom, sneaks into the legislative offices.
The truth of this matter is known, but not recognized. I think I'm saying that right. Your response there, Doctor Russo.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Yeah, I agree, it's unfortunate that this is one of those issues in which real progress doesn't seem to occur until a politician has retired, and then says, well, you know, actually cannabis probably is a good idea.
Or, the other situation, this is also unfortunate, is that people don't change their minds until they're touched by it directly. That they get cancer, and get cannabis to help them through it, or a family member has it, or another dread disease that's aided by cannabis, and then they see the light. It's really unfortunate that this kind of direct slap in the face, if you will, is necessary for people to realize the utility of this drug.
DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, my city of Houston, we have a new sheriff, police chief, district attorney, they've all come on my show, and talked about, they have friends, associates, family, they know people who benefit, and they have eased up. They have a new Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program here, where nobody gets arrested for under four ounces. And I guess what I'm saying is, politicians and law enforcement, in many locales, are doing what they can, despite the law.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Yeah, that's true. But we've got a situation, we've had a huge step backwards on the federal level.
DEAN BECKER: Oh yeah.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Just due to old attitudes that really are based on ideology rather than science, medicine, or anything else. To me, this is a medical issue between patient and doctor, and when people try to inject moralism into it, it really is not going to work for other people.
Moralistic attitudes that are fine for oneself, to set a person's own standards, but by imposing that on others, particularly when it comes to medications that patients may need, that approach just doesn't work.
DEAN BECKER: No. Well, friends, once again, we've been speaking with Doctor Ethan Russo. He's going to be one of the featured speakers at the Patients Out of Time conference. Please go to that website, PatientsOutOfTime.org, and sign up for their conference on May 10 through 12. You'll get the best science information from around the country, heck, from around the world.
And I don't know how else to say this. This is one of the conferences I go to each year that just fortifies me with information that helps to negate, to knock down, the hysteria, the propaganda, of those like our attorney general Jeff Sessions, who, he seems like he grew up with Harry J. Anslinger. Your thought there, Doctor Russo.
ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, I can't deny it. I hope eventually that people will see the light on this. Certainly, for everyone in this country to have the availability of cannabis as medicine's going to require a change in federal law, but certainly that could happen in the future. I keep waiting, each day I get a little grayer, a few less hair follicles on top, but still hopeful that this can change in this country.
DEAN BECKER: Well, I'm with you, sir. I look forward to us meeting again, having a more indepth discussion there at this conference. And again, folks, Patients Out Of Time. It is the most prestigious marijuana conference you can go to, and I highly recommend it. It's going to be May 10 through 12, and you'll get a chance to meet Doctor Ethan Russo.
So, after all that good common sense, it's time for some government bullshift.
VOICEOVER ANNOUNCER: Marijuana use during adolescence can lead to serious long term cognitive impairment, and an increased risk of severe psychiatric disorders, according to new research from the lab of Doctor Asaf Keller at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
ASAF KELLER, PHD: Children who start around pre-adolescence, thirteen to fifteen years of age, tend to develop very serious deficits, and these include a very high incidence of neuropsychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and attention deficit disorders as well as longterm and permanent reductions in intelligence as measured by IQ tests.
VOICEOVER ANNOUNCER: In this study, researcher Sylvie Raver measured the brain activity of mice after exposure to low levels of marijuana during adolescence. Cortical oscillations measured in adulthood reveal the impact on the adolescent brain.
ASAF KELLER, PHD: It is very worrisome, and it seems to be very specific to that age, because when we repeated that experiment in older animals, that were beyond their period of adolescence, these animals had no permanent deficits.
DEAN BECKER: Okeh, to close out this edition of Cultural Baggage:
If you will, please, introduce yourself, tell us about the work you do.
BOB WENZEL: Okeh, hi, Dean, my name is Robert Wenzel, I'm publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com, and also Target Liberty, and what I do is I write about the economy at the Economic Policy Journal, and at Target Liberty I cover topics that are a little bit more broad with regard to what's going on in the country as far as government operations, and developments in the libertarian movement.
So, that's the best way to find out what I'm doing, and I've got some other books out, things like that, but if you go to EconomicPolicyJournal.com or TargetLiberty.com, you will be able to find what I'm doing from there.
DEAN BECKER: Well, Robert, I was, you know, on the internet, somebody posted a link to one of your stories from last year, it was titled up, The Insane Take By Attorney General Jeff Sessions On Recreational Drug Sales. And, you know, I'm a former cop, I'm a speaker with a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, now Law Enforcement Action Partnership. I like the old term better.
But, this coincides directly with my feelings, that we couldn't do this any worse if we tried. Your thought there, please.
ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, basically what's going on is you've got a situation where the attorney general said that there's something naturally inherently violent about drug sales. And that's really not true. You could make coffee a violent business if you made it illegal, and if you made the penalties for selling coffee extreme enough.
In such a case, a coffee dealer would be willing to shoot and kill people if he thought it would protect him from going to jail, or if he would want to expand his territory, what happens is you tend to get more violent people in that industry.
But if there were no regulations against, you know, if we're talking coffee or drug use, you could walk into any drug store and buy them, and a grandmother would sell them. So, you basically have a situation where the problem is not that there's something inherently dangerous or evil about drug sales in the sense that people are always shooting each other when it's -- when a drug sale is involved, it's the law which makes this illegal. And we see this perfectly when we look at what happened with prohibition.
We had Al Capone and everybody else selling alcohol illegally. There were a lot of murders and shootouts and all that sort of thing. As soon as prohibition was eliminated, and sales of alcohol were allowed in the open, you basically had a situation where those murders and the violence disappeared.
So Sessions is completely inaccurate when he says there's something inherently dangerous about selling drugs. That's not the case. That kind of violence occurs only because of the legal structure and the prohibition on drug sales.
DEAN BECKER: You know, Robert, I pretty much weekly preach the thought that if these drugs were made by Merck or Pfizer, sold at a reasonable price in the drug stores to adults, that we would have basically zero overdose deaths, except for those too unintelligent to realize what they were up to, and that it is, if you want to call it violence or the deaths from drugs, are basically, again, because of this prohibition.
Because with Prince, with Tom Petty, with, what did they say, 60,000 people last year died from overdose, and most of them didn't know what they were taking, often taking pills they thought were legitimate that were counterfeit, and just never knowing quite what they were injecting or, you know, ingesting, I guess I should say.
ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, you know, you're absolutely right there. I mean, that's a very, very good point. What happens is, when you have a free and open market, you know, people know where they can go to count on for quality drugs and buying what they want. You know, if you go to a CVS, a Walgreens, Rite-Aid, any of these stores, you're going to pick the Bayer aspirin off the shelf, and you know exactly what you're getting.
And in Bayer aspirin, CVS would get in a lot of trouble if they sort of labeled something else Bayer aspirin that was killing people. The same thing with any other, any other type drugs that are now prohibited. If you could pick them off the shelf, the violence would disappear, you'd have grandmothers behind the cashier station selling them to you, and the people buying them would be knowing exactly what kind of quality they're getting.
All prohibition does is eliminate that freedom and the lack of violence, it's a very, very dangerous business, because these guys, who are risking their lives to be dealers now, know that if they're caught, they're facing very serious time in jail.
So, what happens is that you sort of draw the people that are most violent into the business, who aren't afraid to, you know, plug somebody if they're going to squeal on them or whatever, and then consequently these guys are also the type that will try and expand their territory, so, that -- violently expand their territory.
But all that would end, we saw it in prohibition, and every other product out there that's on a free market on a shelf, you have no problem with.
DEAN BECKER: Well, and one other true complication is the fact that were these drugs made, like I said, by Merck, Pfizer, sold at the drug store, the price would be so low, they wouldn't have to go out and break into houses or knock people in the head or shoplift or all of these other things to afford their drugs. They would be one percent the cost that they are today, roughly.
I did a study last week of dentists, right here in the United States, currently are buying cocaine at $30 an ounce, and, you know, compared to the price in the black market, and the contaminants in the black market, it's a hell of a better deal. Your thought there please, Robert.
ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, Dean, again you're absolutely correct. See, when the market is, again, free and open, you've got major, major competition, and the people that are offering these services don't have to be afraid about going to jail, so consequently there isn't that risk premium involved.
Someone that's going to be selling a drug, where they face significant jail time, is going to be -- want to be compensated a lot of money for selling that. And that doesn't happen in CVS, that doesn't happen in Rite-Aid, because that -- the risk of getting arrested for selling something in a Rite-Aid or a CVS is zero. I mean, it's not going to happen. So people are much more willing to work for a lower wage.
But the guy who's going out on the street in a dangerous business because of the regulation, and has to know that he could be arrested at any time, and serve a long prison sentence, he's going to be wanting to be compensated an awful lot for that, so the price goes very, very up. You're eliminating the low cost providers by this, and consequently increasing the crime in the country because these people want to get these drugs, and they'll steal anything they have to to get them, which would not be the case if the drugs were allowed to operate on the free market.
DEAN BECKER: You know, another complication that used, that's turned on its head to justify more drug war, is, you know, the, we're empowering terrorists, we're enriching these barbarous cartels, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and we give reason for these violent gangs to be out there prowling our neighborhoods selling these contaminated drugs to our kids.
And that, all of that, the horror, the fear, is used to justify more drug war, when in truth, it just makes it worse. Your thought there, Robert.
ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, you're absolutely right. And you know, you've got two things going on. First of all, the drug business will attract the most violent people, but it also creates violent people, because you have young kids, whether they're gang members or wherever they're coming from, they basically see the guys that have the money in the inner city are the guys that are selling the drugs.
And then they see these guys have to be violent, and so it encourages them to be violent. It's a very, very dangerous thing, that, when you sort of press on a bunch of people and violently, which is really what the police do when they bust these guys, you can get the blowback, which you're getting, you know, people who do not want to deal with the police and risk getting arrested move away from that, and the only ones that stick around are the really tough guys that are very, very violent, and it teaches that to the young kids who want to make money in those areas, that they have to be tough and violent, and it's just terrible.
DEAN BECKER: Now, just a few days ago, our resident, Trump, gave a speech, and talked about deadly drug dealers, that you can shoot somebody with a gun and you might go to prison for life, might get executed, but these drug dealers, he says, kill two thousand, three thousand, five thousand people with their contaminated drugs and get away with it and he thinks that's wrong. He thinks we should follow China and the Philippines and Singapore and start executing drug dealers here in the US. Your response there, Robert.
ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, again, you know, you're basically you're getting a situation where that's a very naive way of looking at the situation. You're basically threatening to kill people because they're trying to provide a service where there's a black market and it's difficult to provide that good, and instead of understanding that the way to solve the problem is to remove the prohibition on it, you're going to press these guys, the dealers, even more, which is only going to a, jack up the price, and make them even more violent.
If they know they're going down for a life sentence, I mean, these guys are violent enough now. They're going -- you're going to start having real drug wars where they'll be shooting police because they have nothing to lose. I mean, it doesn't -- it doesn't take into consideration all the consequences of an act.
Yeah, you could -- you can sort of have this dream utopia world where, okeh, I'm going to kill all the drug dealers and then there won't be any more drugs, and the world will be wonderful, but that's not the way the world works. As long as there's demand, there's going to be people that are willing to take the risk to supply the demand. These are not the sort of closed cultures where, in Singapore and China, it would be extremely difficult to do that in the United States, and all it does is, it would create more violence in the drug world.
DEAN BECKER: Exactly right, Robert. Once again, we're speaking with Robert Wenzel, he's an author, an activist, an intelligent human being, who has examined this drug war in great depth. Robert, I want to continue on that thought for a minute, that, you know, were these drugs made by trained chemists, and were not so deadly, the pronouncements of Trump and Jeff Sessions and all of the other prohibitionists would be just in an echo chamber.
ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, I mean, what's really going in is, you're absolutely right. All the arguments they're making, they don't realize the arguments they're making are there because of the prohibition. The quality of the drugs would be much more consistent, you wouldn't have these dangers of people mixing, I mean, you know, people are desperate, in this underworld market where nobody really knows who anybody is and they buy stuff like, as you've pointed out, from people they don't really know, and it can be bad stuff.
And it's very, very risky. And that would change completely if it was legalized. You know, no one's dying from a beer overdose or a vodka overdose or any of that [sic: not true. According to the CDC, thousands of people in the US die every year from alcohol overdose, and alcohol-in-combination with other drugs is a contributing factor to thousands more deaths annually].
And, none of those products are mixed with poor quality ingredients, and that's because the free market sort of has a consumer protection part to it, where people know where they're going to buy things, they know what brands they're buying, and they know that the brands will be consistent.
And when you have that black market, where you have to worry about the government cracking down on these dealers, which again brings out all the violent guys and crazy, you don't know what you're buying, and no one's out there with a brand, it's very, very dangerous to sort of have a brand and say yes, this is me, come to my corner, because that's the first guy that's going to get arrested, if he's there all the time and people know he's consistently there.
I mean, people will try to do that, but it's -- it's much more complex to do that versus being able to walk into a package store and pick up some alcohol.
DEAN BECKER: No, and --
ROBERT WENZEL: Where they're -- go ahead.
DEAN BECKER: I just wanted to throw this in. You said folks wouldn't be dying from beer and alcohol. That's a pretty good rarity. It does happen, especially with vodka or something like that, that people can kill themselves, and I would imagine in a true regulated environment, we would have those few who would die from these drugs, take too much.
ROBERT WENZEL: Right.
DEAN BECKER: And especially if they combine these drugs with alcohol, because that's where most of these overdoses are happening to this day, is through the combination of alcohol and, you know, the downer drugs, heroin, barbiturates, and so forth. And, we need to educate better, we need to truly pull the lid off of this and examine the whole innards of intake of substances, because Americans are ignorant. I mean, I've got to admit that we don't quite have a grasp on, especially combination of alcohol and heroin. Your thought there, please.
ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, there's no question, but you know there's another point I want to bring up here, and that's -- you know, we're dealing with a drug enforcement industrial complex.
DEAN BECKER: Oh yeah.
ROBERT WENZEL: That's a huge, the DEA is a huge multibillion dollar agency that is out there that's supposedly, you know, fighting drugs, but really what's going on is their survival is based on the drug industry really continuing, because then all these guys would have to find new jobs and everything else.
And so, then there's the question of, you know, why are you taking my tax dollars and spending it on this kind of stuff, which makes the entire drug situation worse? And at the same time, you know, somebody wants to take drugs, let them take drugs. Why are you taking my money to try and stop this? And then you're living off this, and creating a career for yourself, on something that I don't care about. I mean, it's, from that perspective, it's a terrible thing.
DEAN BECKER: It's a great waste of resources, manpower, and focus. It really is.
ROBERT WENZEL: Right.
DEAN BECKER: Well, I tell you what friends, once again, Robert, pronounce your last name for me so I get it right this time.
ROBERT WENZEL: Sure, it's Wenzel. You've got it correct. And if people want to find out more about the things I write, they can go to EconomicPolicyJournal.com, or TargetLiberty.com, and I write and post there seven days a week, so there's always something new coming up.
DEAN BECKER: Well, once again, I want to thank you for your writing, for, I don't know, I mean, sometimes I get pretty lonely, I realize people are moving more and more towards the stance I have taken, that you have taken, but, again, the ignorance of America, to just believe that the DEA has their -- has good intentions, that this whole drug war is worthwhile, and that we should continue funding terrorists, cartels, and gangs, forever. It just blows my mind that this is so, this potential is so invisible to so many people. Your thought, Robert.
ROBERT WENZEL: Yes. Yeah, there's no question, there's two people who really want this drug war to continue: the DEA, and the gangs. The DEA, because it provides them with long term careers, and the gang members who know they would be out of business in a minute if the drugs were legalized and you could open up stores and provide it at a much lower price, with better quality and much more safety. So it's very, very bad. And Sessions and Trump do not see that.
DEAN BECKER: I ask you to please visit our website, DrugTruth.net, and remember, because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful. And pay no mind to this gentleman who's going to close out our show.
donald trump: If we catch a drug dealer, death penalty. That's all.