09/07/14 Mike Allen

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Mike Allen of End Mass Incarceration & Heather of Marijuana Policy Project, Philippe Lucas of Tilray Cannabis Co, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chicago mom of cannabis using kid, Norm Stamper of LEAP on Colbert Report, Telegraph report of 65 Yr old cannabis user with HIV

Audio file


Cultural Baggage / September 7, 2014


DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection and the liars who support the drug war, empowers our terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels and gives reason for existence for tens of thousands of violent US gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.


DEAN BECKER: Hello my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. Man, do we have a great show lined up for you today. We’ve got 7 segments. Let’s just get started.


DEAN BECKER: This is recording with Mike Allen of End Mass Incarceration, Houston and ...

HEATHER FAZIO: Heather Fazio with the Marijuana Policy Project.

DEAN BECKER: A couple of bits of information we want to share with you this week deal with a protest, a rally that is going to take place in Houston on September 15th and here to tell us more about it is Mike Allen. What’s going to happen that day, Mike?

MIKE ALLEN: We’ve got activists from the Immigration Reform Community – most notably Alianza Mexicana, and Fe y Justicia who are coming to bring attention to the fact that they are locking up hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of people who have come to this country just trying to find a better life. They need immigration reform but most particularly there’s a law in this county that they enforce that if they pull someone over for a broken headlight they will put them in jail and put an ICE hold on them. They don’t do that in other places and they want to see that repealed. They are coming out here to bring attention to that. They are going to be waving signs to that effect.

We are going out there to call attention to the fact that there are a lot of non-violent drug offenders who are being sent to the penitentiary and are being locked up for non-violent acts that we feel ...number one, if these people have problems with drugs they should get help. Number two, there are alternative ways of keeping track of people without locking them up.

There are drug courts. There’s electronic bracelets. There’s other ways of dealing with someone who gets caught with a small amount of drugs rather than throwing them in a box with a “pit bull”. That’s the point.

DEAN BECKER: It is, Mike. We’ve just kind of gone down this path for way too long and began to accept these extreme measures as appropriate.

We also have with us in studio an activist from Austin who represents the Marijuana Policy Project. Heather, tell us what brings you to Houston. What’s on the agenda for this coming session.

HEATHER FAZIO: Thank you very much for having me. We are very excited about the momentum across the country and in Texas for reforming marijuana laws. MPP is a national organization but we are working boots on the ground in Texas to build a coalition of organizations that are interested in all the different facets of our lives and policies that are affected by marijuana prohibition.

The coalition is called Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. This week we’ve been meeting with folks from Republicans, Democrats – the left to the right – people coming together who agree on changing policies in Texas.

I’m excited about seeing young people getting active in the right way to change policies. There are 3 bills we are wanting to introduce. MPP is in favor of a legal market for marijuana similar to alcohol where it is available to responsible adults 21 and older where there is licensed businesses, reasonable regulation.

Additionally medical marijuana is something that is very important. 67% of Americans have access to medical marijuana in some fashion in one way or another. In Texas they have less freedom than the rest of the country. That’s really shameful so we are working to introduce a comprehensive medical marijuana bill which will register dispensaries and have a registry for patients. They will have a card and access to the natural medicine that really never should have been deprived from them to begin with.

Finally is our civil penalties bill. Currently it is a Class B misdemeanor for possession of 2 ounces of marijuana or less. We want to take it out of the criminal realm. We don’t want this to be a criminal offense. We would rather it be a civil fine and the person gets to go about their lives without the life sentence that a drug charge often creates with access to employment, access to education, access to housing.

Additionally what I think is just as important is we are not sending non-violent people to jail. We are not clogging our court systems with people who really shouldn’t be there to begin with. That way we can execute justice to victims of real crime.

I’m really excited about all the different people, the diversity of our coalition getting involved to take action in the most effective way possible which is getting into your district offices, communicating with your legislators and when the legislative session starts in January getting motivated and rallying to get people to take action at our capital in Austin.

DEAN BECKER: Newspapers around the country are getting on that same bandwagon in one fashion or another. In Delaware they are calling for legalizing heroin and around the country people are talking about the need to change our perspective even including our own governor, Rick Perry. He is beginning to change his mind in this regard now that he’s leaving office.

We’ve got the debate going on in Houston about the marijuana arrests and people are beginning to realize there is a need for that change, right?!

HEATHER FAZIO: There certainly is and there’s a big movement for the repeal of prohibition. The whole drug war has proven to be a failure and I think that is very evident. There’s organizations like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition that are focused and looking at the War on Drugs as a whole and working to repeal prohibition in a general sense.

We are focused very specifically on marijuana prohibition and focusing on marijuana policies and being very clear and concise on that we are talking about a plant – a plant that as we’ve seen with many of the crops that are being found all around the Houston area it grows well in Texas. We should be looking to bring business to Texas to have our own farmers creating the supply for the demand that we know exists and rather than empowering the cartels and the violence associated with it and the underground, criminal market we should be creating businesses here in Texas allowing Texans to run them with reasonable regulation and availability in a legal market to those who wish to consume it responsibly.

DEAN BECKER: Well said. Heather you had mentioned that 67% of Americans have access and fifty-something percent of Texans are in favor of medical marijuana. I think the problem therein lies in that people need to express their thoughts to their elected officials. Tell them how they can go about that.

HEATHER FAZIO: You are right. It is the legislators are the really the only people opposed to changing the laws at this point. The people are very clear. The various community organizations are all very clear that we want to see a change. It really comes down to taking action to change the opinions and the actions of your legislators.

Our coalition, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, has a website that we launched recently – http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org. There is a “Take Action” tab and this is where I really want folks to get comfortable and used to going to because we have to take action to take action to change the policies in Texas.

There is an opportunity there for you to plug in your address so that we can let you know who your legislators are and let you know exactly how to email them. You can do that right from our website.

Additionally meeting up with them in their district offices if that is something that you’re interested in. They can’t represent you if they don’t know you so you have to go in and introduce yourself and let them know who you are. We are not just radical hippies anymore. We are adults. We are business owners. We are parents and we want to see a change in policy in Texas. Our legislators need to hear from us.

You can click on our website for more information. Stay informed. You can give us your email address. Donating is, of course, always welcome. Materials are going to be necessary for changing policy in Texas. We welcome everyone to get involved and thank those who have been doing this for so long.

The time is now. It is happening in this country and it is just about who’s going to be a part of it, who is going to make sure the discussions are happening with legislators to follow through with that.

DEAN BECKER: One more time that website.

HEATHER FAZIO: http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org

DEAN BECKER: Again, we are in studio with Mike Allen with End Mass Incarceration, Houston. Mike, tell us a little bit more about that event.

MIKE ALLEN: It’s going to be on Mexican Independence Day. Somebody had told me that that’s the 16th of September. Right away I went to my Mexican expert lady and she said it is a 2 day holiday which starts on the 15th.

So it’s on the 15th of September which is 2 weeks from this coming Monday and it’s at 1201 Franklin which is the Harris County Courthouse – the ones with the long lines around it. It’s between 9 and 11 in the morning. We are on the shady side of the street. We’ll be out there.

We’re going to have a sound permit. We are going to be hollering and yelling and generally just trying to get some attention out there and call attention to this problem because the more people we make aware that there is something going on whether it’s through Heather’s website or our Facebook page.

We are on MPP’s mailing list and we will be re-posting all of the announcements and notifications we get from them on our Facebook page which is http://facebook.com/endmassincarcerationhouston

We’ll post this so you can reach out to your legislator and make something happen. It’s not until enough of us join together that these legislators start becoming afraid that they won’t get reelected to their cushy jobs that they’ll change their votes. We have to do that. That’s the only way they are going to change. These people care more about their actual office than they do about the office of serving the people.

Get on board with this thing. Our take on this is the less people that are arrested because the laws have been changed the less people who go to the penitentiary and the better we like it.

Come on out on the 15th. Go to our page and go to MPP’s website and support this issue. It’s very, very important to all of us. Thank you.


(Game show music)

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

Constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, itching, hair loss, sweating, swelling, thirst, vertigo, inflammation of the lung, kidney disease, congestive heart failure and headaches.


Time’s up!

The answer: Aleve, for headaches.


DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy of Tilray and my good friend, Philip Lucas.



PHILIP LUCAS: To people the world over British Columbia is known for its amazing ocean views, majestic mountains and incredible natural setting. It’s also known for something else – expertly bred and cultivated medical cannabis.

Behind that top quality cannabis there’s a local community of master gardeners and cultivators – people from right here on Vancouver Island who are passionate about producing world class medical cannabis.

It’s that community, those people that brought Tilray to the 60,000 square foot, $20,000,000 state of the art facility.

At Tilray we are committed to working with Health Canada and Canadian patients to produce exceptional strains of medical cannabis that adhere to new marijuana for medical purposes regulations.

We are pleased to be one of the first companies licensed to cultivate a supply for tens of thousands of Canadian patients who benefit from the use of medical cannabis. Our plants are grown naturally and in small batches with cultivation methods known to consistently produce world class medical cannabis.

During production from seed to shelf plants undergo extensive and rigorous testing by our local cultivation team. Every seed, every plant is monitored around the clock. Our goal is to provide patients with a pure, precise and predictable product every time.

When the plants are ready each is harvested by hand and then dried and cured for up to 60 days. Waiting a little bit of extra time gives the plants the time to maximum potency and produces a smooth tasting product.

Finally, the plants are passed off to our processing team who hand trim the flowers into the top quality, fresh buds that we have become known for.

Since April 28, 2014 Tilray has been continuously accepting patients and shipping medical cannabis including strains like OG Shark, Bubba Kush, Cannatonic, and a growing selection of Indica, Sativa, hybrid and high CBD strains.

For the growing number of Canadians who rely on medical marijuana, for the physicians that need a source to recommend to their patients it’s never been easier for patients to order. Just visit http://tilray.ca and place an order through our secure online store.

In as little as 24 hours our buds are hand packaged and delivered securely and discreetly right to your door.

Whatever you need we are here to help because at Tilray we are committed to meeting patient needs and exceeding patient expectations.

Tilray – pure, precise, predictable.


DEAN BECKER: Next up Steven Colbert interviews another of my good friends, Norm Stamper.


STEVEN COLBERT: Folks, as a great journalists once said, “What is this? This doesn’t make any sense.”

Here to make sense is former Seattle police chief, Norm Stamper.

Norm, you are the author of “Breaking Rank: A top cop’s expose of the dark side of American policing.”

You were the police chief of Seattle, Washington and you did some good work there. For instance, in 1999 the WTO (World Trade Organization) meeting was going on in Seattle and things went crazy. What did you do?

NORM STAMPER: We gassed non-violent, non-threatening protestors.

STEVEN COLBERT: Good for you. Good for you.

You have called that the worst mistake of your career. Why? Is it because you know that today there is so many other weapons that you could use against non-violent protestors? You could use a sound canon now.

NORM STAMPER: We had all of our police officers out there in military garb carrying military weapons and engaging in aggressive military actions against non-violent protestors. We thought we had to do that. We believed we needed, for example, to clear a particular intersection. Well, did we really? Did we have to clear that intersection?

STEVEN COLBERT: They smashed the windows of a Starbucks. Don’t you have the right to shoot rubber bullets at them?

NORM STAMPER: They went beyond smashing the windows. They actually took coffee from that store as well! .... in Seattle!

STEVEN COLBERT: I believe that is grand theft.

So police are there to serve and protect, right?


STEVEN COLBERT: Isn’t a bigger gun or more weaponry just more serving and bigger protection?

NORM STAMPER: This militarization movement is exacerbating a really strained relationship between police and community across this country – no more than in communities of color, poor people and young people – and we’re supposed to be developing partnerships? Not being apart from communities...

STEVEN COLBERT: Why would the police want to be part of the community because the community is where the criminals live.

NORM STAMPER: Well, because this is America...


The idea behind that ...

STEVEN COLBERT: You just played the “This is America” card...that is technically my card but go ahead.

NORM STAMPER: I stand corrected. I think it is vital that police officers establish genuine partnerships with the communities they serve.

STEVEN COLBERT: So the policeman get the equipment...here’s one of the things I like about the Pentagon program. You request the equipment. You have to declare the need but if you don’t use it within one year you have to give the equipment back and so the police say they need it for something and then they use it to prove that they needed it proving that they did. Doesn’t that mean the system is working?

NORM STAMPER: What that does is create an incentive for police officers to get into one of those armored vehicles armed to the teeth and in a pre-dawn drug raid of a family home hit a suspected low-level, non-violent drug offender who was seen to be in possession of one-half of a bag of marijuana. That’s happening across this country....

STEVEN COLBERT: Are you saying that this stuff came originally...it’s not terrorism? It came from the drug war?

NORM STAMPER: It began with the drug war.

STEVEN COLBERT: OK so how do we fix that then?

NORM STAMPER: We end the drug war. We end it yesterday.

STEVEN COLBERT: OK...umm...uh...uh...


Hold on. Mr. Stamper are you high?



STEVEN COLBERT: You’re not high?


STEVEN COLBERT: I’m not wearing a wire. You can tell me.

NORM STAMPER: We have some witnesses...

STEVEN COLBERT: OK, there are on average about 3,000 SWAT team raids in the 1980s every year. There are 50,000 SWAT team raids every year now. Um....what can I do to make sure that never happens to me?

NORM STAMPER: Well, behave yourself. Secondly, work with your neighbors, work with your community, organize, mobilize. Tell your police department that we do not want to see this military equipment and these military tactics employed in every day, routine (sometimes not so routine) circumstances.

STEVEN COLBERT: Thank you so much for joining me. Norm Stamper the author of “Breaking Rank”.


DEAN BECKER: This next segment comes to us out of Chicago.


MALE ANCHOR: Looking at some statistics...numbers who have a lot of people considering this and thinking about what you can do. 1 in 68 children right here in the U.S. diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. While a lot of medications have been proven ineffective over the years one treatment right now has been giving some families some serious hope. We are talking about medical marijuana.

FEMALE ANCHOR: Joining us this morning is Jennifer Swanson Collins who has personal, first-hand experience with this. She is treating her 2 autistic children with cannabis oil.

Jennifer, thank you for joining us. I want to talk about today’s biggest misconceptions of cannabis oil. The active ingredient is something called CBD. It is not the THC that a lot of people associate with marijuana as the psychoactive chemical.


FEMALE ANCHOR: Explain this to people at home who are saying, “You shouldn’t give your children a drug that has a psychoactive effect.”

JENNIFER SWANSON: This does not have a psychoactive effect. This is made from industrial hemp so this is not made from marijuana. It is considered by the FDA as a supplement. It is not considered a drug. It is not scheduled. It is legal in all 50 states. It can be purchased by anyone. There is no concern to give it to a child. There is no concern to...I would recommend speaking to a pediatrician or whoever you are seeing to treat your child’s autistic symptoms but it is certainly no concern that you are giving your child any sort of psychoactive effects.

MALE ANCHOR: Along with the disorders associated with autism what kind of results specifically with your family, your son have you been getting with this cannabis oil?

JENNIFER SWANSON: I have seen amazing results and I have been at this for a while. My sons were diagnosed 5 years ago. I’ve been trying multiple, biological and medical interventions. I’ve kind of run the gamut – some very successfully and some not so successfully.

I don’t just get excited that this is the next new trend. When I came across this I thought, “Hemp oil – what does this have to do with autism?”

I researched it a little bit. I went to a conference. I heard Dr. Brad Street speak about it and a Dr. John Hicks and I was shocked at all the ways it can help children with autism. It affects their nervous system. It affects their brain. It helps their immune system.

MALE ANCHOR: What kind of changes have you seen in your son?

JENNIFER SWANSON: My son...Willy is more severe. He is non-verbal. He is still in diapers at almost 7. Prior to the hemp oil he was very aggressive – pounding his head, self-injurious, scratching himself, scratching others, biting, frequent melt downs. He would just collapse on the floor kicking and screaming. He could do this for hours.

My son, Nathan, who is a little less severe, still has a hard time. His problem is anxiety – extremely high anxiety, very, very tense.

Since the cannabis oil they are much calmer. Their melt downs are less frequent. In Willy I have seen much less aggression. He doesn’t pound on his head anymore. He doesn’t really scratch much anymore.

One of the biggest things I saw right away (within the first week)....he claps his hands. It’s called stemming...just non-stop to the point where his hands are just raw, almost bleeding, blistered. Within about one week he quit doing that. It just calmed his system.

With Nathan his anxiety just dropped. He still has his moments but he just became a much calmer child. Instead of every time one little thing went wrong or if a piece of paper tore which could make him collapse into tears he can handle that now. He can compose himself. He can move on from that.

I’ve seen improvement in their sleep. I’ve seen improvement in their socialization.

FEMALE ANCHOR: Thank you. This is such an important topic.


DEAN BECKER: The next segment courtesy of The Telegraph.


MALE: I was diagnosed with the HIV virus. One of the things that was suggested to me besides the medication that would be taken in those days was marijuana. The medicine that we took early on if the virus wasn’t going to kill you it would. It was just kind of that simple.

A lot of times you would wake up in the morning and you’re nauseous. You don’t have an appetite or anything like that. Pills are not going to help you but cannabis can help you. It can help you relax a little bit and try to tolerate the day that you have ahead of you because for people who have a more serious virus than I do they are already dead. Each day that they finally live it was not a pleasant one but we can’t choose how we die.

It’s almost like it is built in us to use cannabis. I know for myself when I use it - and I’m a 65-year-old man – I’m not speaking as someone who doesn’t have a [inaudible] reality. I know what helps me.

We have to educate society. A lot of folks just want to push away from that because they have that mindset, “Well, if I get ill there is a pill for me. I can hear about it on the radio, read about it in a periodical, see about it on television...Oh, doc, I just saw this medication. Do you think that’s going to help my upset stomach?”

We are not going to get an honest evaluation when profit is the only motivation from people who produce medicine. We are not going to make any progress.


DEAN BECKER: Here to help close us out courtesy CNN is probably the best friend of medical marijuana on the planet, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


SANJAY GUPTA: Let’s talk about marijuana and your brain. It’s a rather complicated process so let’s start out with what’s familiar with you – THC. THC is the chemical in weed that gets you high, feel light headed, feel giddy, sometimes relaxed.

Marijuana, you can smoke it, you can eat it and you can inhale it with a vapor pen or consume it in the oil form which is especially good for little kids who are taking it as a medicine.

No matter the medicine THC goes into your bloodstream and into your brain and there it latches onto these special THC receptors. They are stimulated and release dopamine. It sends signals to various parts all around your body and makes the user feel high.

Not all the cannabis is going to get you stoned. That’s because marijuana contains another chemical known as CBD – that’s cannabidiol. Marijuana plants that have low THC and high CBD can work really well as a medicine. They can treat things like epilepsy. It works because the CBD chemical quiets excessive electrical and chemical activity in the brain.

I know this 3-year-old girl who went from having 300 seizures per week to 2 per month after her parents gave her cannabis with high levels of CBD. When it comes to marijuana there’s some 500 different chemical compounds. All these chemical compounds work together. It is something known as entourage effect. It is important because you can’t just take a chemical out of marijuana and make a medicine. You need the whole plant - especially when it comes to using pot instead of pills.


DEAN BECKER: Like Mike and Heather said in the first segment, “If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.”

I urge you to contact your elected officials. Do something to end this God damn drug war. It‘s really up to you.

As always I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.


DEAN BECKER: To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT Houston.

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.

Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org