07/04/23 Diane Goldstein

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Diane Goldstein
Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Diane Goldstein is a retired police Lieutenant now serving as the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Action Partnership, formerly known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.   She runs a global effort to educate and embolden police, prosecutors, legislators, judges and the general public to the horrible truth, the abysmal failure of the war on drugs. 

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03/16/22 Diane Goldstein

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Diane Goldstein
Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Law Enforcement Action Partnerships Executive Director Diane Goldstein joined the Redondo Beach Police Department in 1983. She rose from a Patrol Officer and School Resource Officer to Sergeant in the Special Investigations Unit, served as a Division Commander, and retired as a lieutenant in 2004. She was the first female lieutenant in the department.

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01/15/20 Diane Goldstein

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Diane Goldstein
Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Diane Goldstein chair of Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Frederick Cortes Diaz of Intercambios, Shaleen Title Mass. Cannabis Control Commissioner & Basillio H. Sepe journalist with The Nights Watch in the Philippines

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JANUARY 15, 2020

DEAN BECKER: This is Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High and you are listening to Cultural Baggage on Pacifica Radio and the Drug Truth Network.

All right friends, we are here in St. Louis at the Drug Policy Alliance Reform ’19 Conference. I am thrilled to be speaking with the chairperson of the board of my favorite organization, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). She has devoted long term service to her community as a law enforcement officer. I will let her tell you more about it and with that I want to welcome Diane Goldstein. Diane, how are you doing?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Dean it is always a pleasure being here with you both at the conference and throughout the years with your work with Drug Truth Network.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you, Diane. Give the folks a little background on your law enforcement experience.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Sure. I spent almost 22 years working for Redondo Beach Police Department in California. I started as a patrol officer and retired as a lieutenant division commander. During that time I worked a variety of assignments including a surveillance narcotics unit for a couple of years as a sergeant.

DEAN BECKER: You were also there during the years when the transition from America’s original (moralized and feared) drug war turned in to something quite different. Am I right?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Yes. My career started in 1983, and I retired in 2004. I really saw the ramp up of our tough on crime drug war policies and how they impacted people including my own families. What brought me to activism is that I had a brother who died from a drug overdose and I saw how criminalizing him for having a public health issue and a mental health problem didn’t do anyone any good including the criminal justice system because what he had was a health issue, not a criminal issue.

DEAN BECKER: Thank Gosh that is being recognized more and more by the media, politicians, preachers, etc. People are beginning to see that more obviously I think. Hopefully it is changing America’s perspective and means of “control” of these drugs. Your thought, please?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: I think we continue to move many steps forward and then we take steps back. Drug policy and prohibition is such a significant problem because we continue to try to drive down supply versus really doing harm reduction and working on the demand issues where we have smart policies like drug treatment on demand, a safe drug supply, and that we actually have the ability to send people to get the help that they need and it is not coercive. As we move forward one of the big things that you will see in the United States is the drive and the move toward Portugal-style decriminalization which is really a diversion program. Portugal is a country that has sponsored a diversion program outside of the criminal justice system that is working very well. What I love about the Drug Policy Alliance conferences is that they honor people including researchers, grass roots activists, and law enforcement for the work that they do. Last night they honored a Vancouver Police Inspector who notably works hand in hand with InSite and who understands harm reduction and who most recently called for the safe supply of drugs so that people wouldn’t die from fentanyl. You see that and it makes you really think about how far we have come but we continue to move that line through legislation by changing policing and changing the criminal justice system because ultimately with the work that LEAP does is we are trying to reduce the harms of the criminal justice system on people in our communities.

DEAN BECKER: The other day I got a chance to visit with Richard Van Wickler who was one of the past chairpersons for LEAP. He was talking about how since the name has changed from Law Enforcement against Prohibition to Law Enforcement Action Partnership we have been able to attract more and perhaps a different group of supporters and speakers for our organization. What he found very important is that we have more and more cops and others who are still on the job and calling for the end of this prohibition. Right?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Correct. They are doing it by not necessarily talking about legalizing all drugs but they are doing it in ways that because they are active duty and because they are actually working in the criminal justice system that supports the conversation and they recognize the damage that the drug war has had. One of the things that we have seen in recent years especially with the legalization of cannabis across the United States both medically or adult consumption is that a lot of the work that we did there has come to fruition because what we are recognizing is that crime has not gone up, the kids are not smoking more marijuana because of this, and there is a lot of push for more empirical research on the efficacy of cannabis. Additionally, you are seeing less importation of marijuana in particular from outside of the country in to the country. There have also been less seizures –

DEAN BECKER: A safer supply, certain.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Yes. Absolutely a safer supply. The vape cartridge issue is all based on the illicit market and because of that we have identified the bad actors who are putting bad products in to the system and we are using appropriate resources to make certain that they don’t endanger the community. You are not seeing illicit vape or licit vape cartridges having the same problems as the illicit vape cartridges are.

DEAN BECKER: This comes back to prohibition itself. When you prohibit something you are leaving control of quality, quantity, and distribution to the criminals who really have a lot less care of the health of the people that they are providing these commodities to.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: You are absolutely correct. I think it is also important to note that part of the issue with drug prohibition is simply a reflection of the public health policy and that ultimately is a chronic Substance Use Disorder issue but because we can’t adequately address them through a public health system since they are not adequately funded is we rely on drug prohibition in some aspects to try to make people safe and it doesn’t; it only makes it worse.

DEAN BECKER: That is at the heart of it, isn’t it? That we have had this dream for approximately 100 years that we were going to make it safe for our kids and the drug supplies would be safe. It was to destroy the snake oil salesman back in the early days, but we have created cobra snake oil salesmen in our current situation with the cartels supplying us wholly contaminated crap. What are your closing thoughts there, Diane Goldstein?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: I would absolutely agree with you, Dean. I think that what is important, especially in this realm of significant cannabis policy that we are making is that we make certain that we are not just addressing the harms of drug prohibition with cannabis legalization but through social justice and equity programs as well as ensuring that we are supporting small businesses, mom and pop crop farmers, and that we are working toward expunging people’s records automatically. What I think is also critically important is that we can’t just do this with cannabis. We continue to fear that people who use marijuana or people who are in the marijuana industry are kicking other drug users to the curb. There is this marijuana exceptionalism or elitism. We have to stop that because we are not going to end the damages of the criminal justice system and drug prohibition in our society until we deal with every single drug in the same manner. Maybe we are not going to have a commodification model for heroin and there won’t be heroin on the corner but we are going to have heroin assisted treatment programs using diamorphine. We are going to base policy and have the relationship that drug users have. In Vancouver you have safe consumption sites and you have diamorphine. The cops don’t even deal with people who possess drugs. I was talking to an inspector and he said that in the last couple of years they are down to 1-5% of all drug arrests are possession. Their goal is to eliminate drug possession arrests.

DEAN BECKER: Somewhat like Portugal is doing.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: That is exactly right. I don’t know if American’s are really to adopt full legalization of all drugs but I think from an incremental standpoint we have got to minimally adopt the Portuguese model that uses dissuasion courts, public health models, and does not criminalize drug users in any way, shape, or form.

DEAN BECKER: There you have it. Diane Goldstein, Chairman of the Board for Law Enforcement Action Partnership. You can find them on the web at:

All right folks, we are still out here in St. Louis at the Drug Policy Alliance Reform ’19 Conference and I walked by the Frederick Cortes Diaz of Intercambios Puerto Rico table and I got the chance to speak with Frederick Cortes Diaz who is one of their spokesman. How are you doing, Frederick?

FREDERICK CORTES DIAZ: I am doing good. How about you?

DEAN BECKER: I am well, Sir. We know what brings you here which is outreach, learning and more but at the heart of it there is a problem there in Puerto Rico that you are trying to solve, right?

FREDERICK CORTES DIAZ: Yes. There are different problems at the political level, which is why we are trying to organize around here. We are a colony of the United States so the drug policies in Puerto Rico are heavily influenced and dominated by federal regulations so it presents a special challenge in our case because culturally Puerto Rico is a different place from mainland United States. Politically we have to operate in the same framework so we come out here to learn what other people are doing to push through the changes that need to be done for the better of our communities.

DEAN BECKER: Here in the U.S. we have had a massive increase in the number of overdose deaths, particularly in regards to the contamination of so-called opiates with a horse tranquilizer and it is called fentanyl which is killing tens of thousands of people each year because they don’t know what they are taking. Is that the same situation you are having there in Puerto Rico?

FREDERICK CORTES DIAZ: We are having it, too. We used to do drug testing out in the field just as an educational service to our participants so they can know what they are consuming and 98% of the samples we collected had fentanyl in it. Anything from cocaine, heroin, even marijuana is getting laced with fentanyl because usually they are working on the same table and there is no quality control so it gets contaminated with anything that is there.

DEAN BECKER: They use the table to mix the fentanyl in to the white powder and then they clean it but there is still some white powder which gets in the cocaine batch and then the marijuana batch.

FREDERICK CORTES DIAZ: Yes. We are even getting reports of people saying that the drug is already coming cut with fentanyl before it reaches Puerto Rico and that is pretty common in the market place right now. This is the latest iteration of this war on drugs and one of its latest, most visible consequences. Before that it was Psilocin, horse anesthesia. There was in the drug supply in Puerto Rico and that caused a lot of problems with skin dying off where people were shooting up. This is just another consequence of what prohibition means on a human scale. We think of prohibition in abstract terms of law and order and how to order society but the reality is that what we have been doing for the last 30 years is not working. It is working as it was assigned to benefit some particular actors in the political game but for our communities it is a disgrace. We see the consequences. We see the reports of people dying. We also see the reports of people getting saved by using naloxone that we have provided to them through our services. I think we are at an important point in this social movement in the United States and internationally to push through a new vision on how we should handle drugs as an issue and a topic in our society.

DEAN BECKER: Through the use of naloxone and other remedies for overdose there are cities in the U.S. where that is embraced and taken to heart and yet there are other cities where the cops say that they don’t want that in their backyard and they don’t allow it to happen. In essence they are saying that they don’t give a darn if these people die. What is the response to law enforcement on your island?

FREDERICK CORTES DIAZ: We were operating in a grey area where we were not supposed to be handing out naloxone without a prescription to people but we got ahold of it and we knew we had to put it in people’s hands for it to be effective. It didn’t make any sense for us to expect people to come to our office looking for it when they didn’t even know it existed. So we started handing it out and nobody really intervened with us but we knew that we had to push through for a policy change so that this could go beyond our small actions at the local level and that this needed to be part of a national discussion. As a result of that we got a standing order from the Department of Health in Puerto Rico saying that it would allow open dispensation of naloxone to anybody.

DEAN BECKER: Once again friends, we have been speaking with Mr. Frederick Cortes Diaz, he is with Intercambios Puerto Rico. I am looking at your website here which is Thank you so much Frederick. Do you have any closing thoughts you would like to share with the listeners?

FREDERICK CORTES DIAZ: I think it is important that we start looking at the possibility of real change when we put in the work to organize and build coalitions and to listen to the people to collectively construct solutions to the problems we are facing as a society.

It’s time for Name that Drug by Its Side Effects. Thirst, obesity, high fever, rigid muscles, shaking, convulsions, sweating, increased heart rate and blood pressure, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, uncontrollable movement, Tardive Dyskinesia, stroke, diabetes, coma, and death. Times Up! Then answer: from Bristol Meyers – Squibb; aripiprazole or Abilify for psychosis and schizophrenia. It’s probably for use after you smoke some of that high grade marijuana the government keeps talking about.

DEAN BECKER: Please introduce yourself and tell us the nature of the work that you do.

FEMALE VOICE: My name is Shaleen Title. I am one of five commissioners of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, which is the agency implementing legalization and medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

DEAN BECKER: Thankfully perceptions, attitudes, and laws are changing influx reaching towards actual positive means of control these days. Am I right?

SHALEEN TITLE: Yes, there is absolutely a change in perception.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us how it is unfolding there in Massachusetts. What is going on?

SHALEEN TITLE: We have done a lot of things for the first time and we were lucky enough to have the benefit of Colorado, Washington, and Oregon going before us and we could see the data coming out of those states as well as getting advise from regulators and I think we were able to improve upon those systems in many ways. I would say that our policies are evidence based and science based. We have a focus on equity and reparative justice for those communities that were disproportionately harmed.

DEAN BECKER: I am so happy to hear that because I have this great fear about big marijuana taking over things denying individuals the right to grow. Please tell us more about this equity you are speaking of.

SHALEEN TITLE: The concept of social equity is basically the concept of fairness when you consider that legalization is not starting from scratch. We are using our ability to regulate as a way to create fairness for those communities. I am really glad that you mentioned big corporations and reckless behavior because I think that the public health knowledge that we have trying to avoid the lessons we have learned from big tobacco are very much in line with the social equity goals of fairness. In both cases we want to encourage smaller businesses that are more focused on giving back to their communities and ensure that those that have already been involved in the industry have a pathway to becoming a legally regulated company.

DEAN BECKER: In some states it has been that those that had the experience as growers or providers and knew what they were doing got caught – they got busted – and they in many cases are denied the opportunity to be a part of the industry which they helped to create. What is your thought there, Shaleen?

SHALEEN TITLE: That is absolutely right. That is one of the things I was mentioning when I said we learned from earlier states. Colorado and perhaps others had banned people with conviction from participating in the industry and there is probably some regret there from a lot of the leaders who had to do that for political reasons. We did the opposite. Not only do we not ban people with marijuana convictions, but we actually give them benefits in terms of the Social Equity Program.

DEAN BECKER: Please describe some of those benefits. Is it a leg up in obtaining licenses, etc.?

SHALEEN TITLE: I think there should be reinvestment in general in to those communities. Our agency handles business licensing so our benefits revolve around job training for those who are interested in entry or re-entry level jobs as well as entrepreneurship training, fee waivers, technical assistance, help navigating the application and the barriers, and most recently when we were not seeing the data and results we wanted to see for our new licenses regarding delivery in particular they will be exclusively for these applicants that we want to encourage for the first two years to make sure that there is room for them in the market.

DEAN BECKER: We are here at the Drug Policy Alliance Reform ’19 Conference. It is heartwarming to me to see panels on decriminalization, legalization as well as newspapers, broadcasters, authors, politicians and so many more are starting to speak more openly in that regard. Is that happening in your state of Massachusetts?

SHALEEN TITLE: Yes. I think “serious” people are starting to see the benefits of decriminalization particularly as we look at the Portugal model and see the data coming out. We don’t see the results we want to see when we criminalize people so we need to talk more about public health focused interventions, whatever they may be. I think the benefit of talking about decriminalization is that we are not necessarily ready to talk about the commercialization of other drugs but we are definitely ready to talk about shifting away from criminalization.

DEAN BECKER: Yes. Punishment has been going on for 100 years and it doesn’t seem to have done much good, does it?

SHALEEN TITLE: It has never worked and it is never going to work. It is time for us to accept that.

DEAN BECKER: Friends, we have been speaking with Shaleen Title, she is the Cannabis Control Commissioner up in Massachusetts. Shaleen, thank you. Is there a website you want to share or some closing thoughts?

SHALEEN TITLE: Thank you for having me. You can follow the Commission at, and you can follow me on Twitter: @ShaleenTitle.

MALE VOICE: My name is Basillio Sepe. I am a freelance photo journalist based in Manila, Philippines and I was invited to attend the Drug Policy Alliance Reform ’19 Conference to receive an award for the Night Crawlers who I represent. The Night Crawlers is a group of photo journalists and journalists who have worked and continue working on the drug war in the Philippines.

DEAN BECKER: I have been following the story in the Philippines. President Duterte claims some imperative necessity to go after people who use drugs and to remove them from your society. The police are encouraged to take out poor people and people who may be suspected of drug use. There is very little outrage or condemnation and it continues with impunity. Right?

BASILLIO SEPE: The killings in the Philippines have become the new norm. When there is a crime scene it is not new to them anymore. As you said, people are saying it is not just a drug war anymore; it’s a war against the poor. Most of the people who are being affected are from the poor communities. Most of the crime scenes are in the poor areas.

DEAN BECKER: You and your fellow photo journalists and journalists hear of these stories and you get on your motorcycle or however you can get there and you take those pictures and share them with the world. Right?

BASILLIO SEPE: We started in 2016, during the height of the drug war. In my case, in 2016 I was still a student in college when I started doing coverage of the drug war. For me it was a bit of a challenge because I had to balance my time for school, for documenting, and other personal matters. Everyone has their own challenge. Some of us are freelance, some of us are with agencies. We all go to the crime scenes as a group from the police station. As the drug war continues, the police have become stricter in terms of putting up the yellow lines keeping us further from the crime scene. Sometimes we go to the morgue and from the morgue we can reach the crime scene faster than the police investigators because the police always contact the morgue first so they are one of the first responders.

DEAN BECKER: I am aware that the drug problem in your country, there is a drug problem in every country on this planet to be truthful. What would you like to say to my radio audience?

BASILLIO SEPE: We are just doing our job, which is to tell the truth and not just to Philippino’s, to you guys. The harsh truth and the harsh reality of what is going on in my country and this is the least that we could do to also help the families and people who have been affected by the drug war. This is our way of telling them that we are also here to help them by spreading the word about what is really going on and that there is something wrong with this campaign.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you for that, Basillio. Is there a website where folks can learn more?

BASILLIO SEPE: We have a Facebook group called The Nights Watch where you can look at the profiles of all of the journalists and photo journalists. You can also visit my personal website where I put all of my work at

DEAN BECKER: I want to congratulate you for receiving that honor. As a journalist, I know how important your work is and I want to thank you.

BASILLIO SEPE: Thank you very much. Thank you to all who invited us here to receive the award.

DEAN BECKER: We have more than 7,000 radio segments available at Again, I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what is in that bag. Please be careful.

Again, I remind you because of prohibition you don’t know what is 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.

6/14/18 Diane Goldstein

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Diane Goldstein
Michael Krawitz
Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Lt. Diane Goldstein, Law Enforcement Action Partnership Chairman of the Board, Michael Krawitz report on UN proceeding in Geneva

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JUNE 14, 2018


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.

This is the Reverend Dean Becker, I want to thank you for being with us on today's edition of Cultural Baggage. A bit later, we'll hear from Mister Michael Krawitz, who just returned from Geneva, working with the UN, but first up, well, over the years, I've probably spoken to well over a hundred, perhaps over 200 members, speakers, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, now Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

Today, we're going to speak with the chairman of the board of LEAP, retired Lieutenant Diane Goldstein. Hello, Diane.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Thank you very much, Dean, like always it's such a pleasure being on with you.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Diane, you know, I'm proud of the fact that I am a LEAP speaker and that we are recognized and, you know, certified, if you will, by a lot of politicians around the country who use our words, our thoughts, our writings, informing their opinions in making adjustments to our drug laws, that's, it's a real benefit, it feels good, does it not?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: It does, and you know, we continue to make some really interesting progress, even in this administration. I think so much of the work of grassroots activists, members of LEAP, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Drug Policy Alliance and the other organizations that have really made the critical difference that we're able to meet where we all agree, to push smart on crime policy forward.

DEAN BECKER: I had Mister Jason Reed, heads up the LEAP UK, on a couple of weeks back. He was talking about their being recognized by the British Medical Journal, for the thoughts and the presentations they have given to them. If only we could get the US Senate, or the House, to invite us to come speak. Right? It would be something.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: You know, and I don't know if you're aware, but I'm also on the board of directors for LEAP United Kingdom, and because it, with all our international chapters as well, we have a representative from kind of the main board, so to speak. And the progress that LEAP United Kingdom is doing is absolutely amazing.

So two years ago, in 2016, we launched in the House of Commons in Parliament, and we're going to relaunch LEAP UK as Law Enforcement Action Partnership United Kingdom sometime this fall, and myself and Neill and maybe a couple of other people will be over in England to do so.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Diane, the thought that things are changing, are being respected internationally, certainly, is a move in our favor.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Well, you know what, you're right, but you know, I think what's very interesting is how quickly we're seeing movement internationally, and I haven't read the World Health Organization report that I think just recently came out on cannabis, and it talked about how much safer cannabis was than other illicit drugs.

You know, I only caught one little brief news release, so when you have health organizations like WHO, or like the British Journal of Medicine [sic], and then you have countries that are willing to take the risk like Uruguay and Canada, Mexico's talking, you know, it's, I think we're going to see that the UN treaties evaporate eventually, because the countries are going to just continue to ignore it, and I think that the United States, our legalization of cannabis, starting with Colorado and Washington, had so much to do to push that envelope.

DEAN BECKER: The drug war is really reefer madness at its heart. It is this old fashioned, primitive belief system that drugs are so bad, in order to keep you from destroying your future we're going to destroy your future by throwing you in a cage, and that's just -- that's just got to go, it's got to be uncovered or exposed and, you know, I spend my life trying to find anybody, you know, in a position of authority who's willing to come on this show and defend the drug war, to tell us the benefit that offsets the horror we inflict on ourselves by continuing to believe it to be valid. Your thought there, Diane Goldstein.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Well, you know what, it's so true, and I think what you're going to continue to see is you're going to have a small group of hardcore prohibitionists, you know, the Walters, the Sabets, the Duponts, and some really, really conservative politicians that are in many aspects, you know, breathing the last gasp of prohibition. They're like the dinosaurs stuck in the La Brea Tar Pits, and they just didn't know that their ideology's dying.

You know, the dinosaurs didn't recognize that death was close, and I really truly believe that about drug prohibition. And, you know, the issue of the opioid epidemic is one of those that's been very interesting. You're starting to see movement from criminal justice organizations, understanding that this is a public health issue, yet many law enforcement organizations are clinging to, okeh, we're not going to punish the user, but if you're a seller we're going to do whatever we can to imprison you for the rest of your life, so that's the battle that we have to continue to push.

This isn't just about people who are suffering from chronic substance use, it's about getting the bad actors out of the illicit drug market, but it's also recognizing that even low level drug dealers are only doing it for sustenance level, and if we impose a heroin assisted treatment program, or other public health strategies, then maybe that wouldn't occur.

DEAN BECKER: And it really boils down to we have cities like New York, San Francisco, Seattle even, a little bit my city of Houston, looking into safe injection facilities, place where people can go, have a doctor on hand, they can do their drugs under a medical supervision, if they happen to OD they can be brought back to life, that they can have access to clean needles, clean water instead of alley water, they can, you know, have another day, have another chance at treatment or understanding the nature of their addiction.

It just really boils down to every aspect of prohibition really complicates it, really makes it that much worse, that the drugs that are being sold? Well, nobody knows if they're counterfeit, if they're -- got rat poison in them for that matter. It leads itself to failure and futility, does it not?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Of course. I mean, we've been in this battle for over a hundred years. If you simply look back to the Harrison Tax Act in 1914, or we can go back into the -- in California, the late 1800s, with the issue of opium. And, you know, what we have to continue to do is educate the criminal justice profession very specifically that, you know, if you thought outside the box, you know, and created a new paradigm, we would lessen the impact on public safety resources if we funded communities instead of public safety.

So, you know, public safety is only one small component of community health, safety, and wellbeing. And so we have to start putting money into vocational job training, infrastructure, drug treatment on demand, safe consumption sites, needle exchange programs, you know, harm reduction testing. Education that's based on evidence and not on just say no, I mean, there's so many things that we could be investing in that would lessen the impact on public safety.

Heroin assisted treatment programs. You know, medication assisted treatment, although it's so interesting, you know, you start talking about language, is, one of my favorite journalists, Maia [Szalavitz], she just talked about, you know, we don't refer diabetics as needing insulin assisted treatment, you know, so we need to also start messaging the language relative to, it's not just medication assisted treatment.

Because, it's medication, and we should be providing people on demand suboxone or methadone, or other medications that prevents death, disease, and addiction.

DEAN BECKER: Friends, once again we're speaking with Diane Goldstein, she's the chairman [sic] of the board for Law Enforcement Action Partnership. She's a former policewoman with the Redondo Police Department, she rose through the ranks, became a sergeant, served as a division commander, and retired as a lieutenant.

Diane, I, you know, you were talking earlier about the 1914 Harrison Act, but right before that was the act that I want us to go back to, the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, which required sellers to have, if they're selling drugs, that it should have a label on it labeling exactly the contents of that bag because that's the problem we're having now.

I think of two millionaires that I respect, Prince and Tom Petty, both thought they were buying real Oxy pills out on the black market, turns out even the pills were counterfeit, and both of those men died, and, you know, to me, that's one of the horrors of this, that we have no more respect for our fellow citizens than to force them into a situation where even millionaires can make mistakes and kill themselves. Your response, Diane.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: You know what, and, I think that, for me, is the most frustrating part about drug prohibition, is this clinging to an ideology without recognizing the harms of prohibition on everybody. You know, and I know we've talked about this before, and I think that's the thing that LEAP speakers bring to the table, is we can link every bad thing in our society to drug prohibition.

When I was doing my master's degree, I talked about a paper that linked college attainment with the drug war. You know, in California, we are funding more prisons than we are colleges, and because of that, we see the diversity level in California colleges go down, because we're also, you know, in a disparate fashion, going after communities of color.

And so, there's so many different links, you know. You have health links. You have job links. You have federal aid to student loans, you have families being torn apart, you have -- I mean, everything starts with drug prohibition at the root, really, of kind of all evil.

DEAN BECKER: You know, we've often talked about it, it denies you credit, housing, on down the line, so many ramifications that many states have to cripple a young person's opportunities to prevent their advancement in life. It's --


DEAN BECKER: It's horrible. I guess what I want to bring to the fore is why we do what we do. You know, you've devoted well over a decade of your life, I've devoted near twenty of mine, to trying to expose the fraud and misdirection of this drug war. But we can't do it by ourselves. You know, I don't have the leverage to get those top dog politicians in here to -- to interview them.

And I guess what I'm trying to say is we need our listeners. We need the people who read our writings, who view our webpage, to understand that change is possible. God damn it, it's necessary, if we're going to have a true and just society. Your closing thoughts there, Diane.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: You know, absolutely, and I think what I would also suggest, especially in light of the recent pardon of Alice Johnson by the president. We, as, you know, political opponents, maybe on opposite sides of many issues, but we need to meet people where we agree, and when that happens, you get progress and you get movement.

You know, it's -- I know you know Amy Pofahl, from CANDO Clemency, is, she did tons and tons of back work on the back side, relative to the issue of Kim Kardashian, and when Kim Kardashian walked into the White House, it wasn't just about Alice Johnson. There was a list of 50 people that was presented to the president at the same time.

And so, you know, I think as our listeners, we may disagree with the Kardashians, or with the president, or with, you know, other legislators relative to this issue, but where we can agree, we need to meet them at that place and work together to end injustice.

DEAN BECKER: All right, folks, there you have it, from the chairman [sic] of the board of LEAP. They're on the web at Please check it out.

Program note: one of the guests scheduled for next week's Cultural Baggage will be Amy Pofahl of I spoke with Amy briefly this week, here's a bit of what she had to say.

AMY POFAHL: Everybody thinks, you know, they know best, and that Trump would never be interested, so when the press criticizes Kim Kardashian, well thank god she's not in criminal justice reform, thank god she wasn't an expert, because all the experts were telling me, oh no, there's no way. So, there you go.

DEAN BECKER: Darth Drug Czar, you're a coward,
A liar, demon, and thief.
Seems you can't face the truth
For just one hour.
Too busy looking at [unintelligible].
Dean Becker,

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Frequent prolonged or bothersome erections, birth defects, enlarge genitals, premature pubic hair, increased libido, aggressive behavior, male pattern baldness, increased acne, prostate cancer, and time's up! The answer, from Cerner Multum Incorporated [sic: Eli Lilly]: Axiron, for muscle gain and boners.

MIKE KRAWITZ: I'm Mike Krawitz, I'm executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, and over at the World Health Organization I'm working with an organization called FAAAT, Foundation for Alternative Approaches to Addiction.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Michael, you just returned recently from, was it Vienna, some UN proceedings, correct?

MIKE KRAWITZ: Geneva. World Health Organization.

DEAN BECKER: Okeh, I'm sorry. And, tell us about that gathering.

MIKE KRAWITZ: So, it was -- well this is a UN thing, the United Nations has requested the World Health Organization to do a review of cannabis. This is kind of a routine thing that's never happened, so it would be routine if they ever did it, but they never did it, so, since the beginning of the treaty, 1962, there's never been a review, official review, of cannabis, so it was just sort of arbitrarily placed without science, without evidence, you know the history of cannabis prohibition.

And, it's even thicker, it's even deeper, you know, the Anslinger kind of rift at the international level, and it's never been corrected, there's never been any correction. So, we're working with the World Health Organization. They have the job of collecting evidence and making a recommendation back to the UN, this year we'll be back at the United Nations, and we're hoping to undo some of Anslinger's legacy, frankly, to correct the treaty, update it based on evidence, hopefully maybe have cannabis at the end of this process a little bit more accurately described and a little bit more appropriately scheduled in the treaty.

This still isn't going to, you know, affect your biggest problems of prohibition, because that's a bigger treaty issue, but at least we can update the science and evidence on cannabis and maybe place it a little bit better in the schedules. And you know how in the United States a change in schedule could have a dramatic change on policy.

DEAN BECKER: Well, right, and what you brought forward there, the thought that, you know, Anslinger put forward this quote information set, this dataset, and proclaimed it to be moral and righteous and the appropriate thing to do, and very few people even challenged him, the American Medical Association did try, but they were kind of thwarted by the US Congress, and I guess what I'm saying is, is that the morals of this policy have never been really examined, brought to light, and that's what you guys are trying to do. Correct?

MIKE KRAWITZ: Absolutely. And, it's really, again, just a straightforward collection of evidence, when you're talking about a 1960 treaty, with a substance that the active, you know, quote -- quote unquote active ingredient was discovered in the late 1960s, or middle of the 1960s, and the treaty was started in the early 1960s, so, no matter how you look at it, they didn't know anything about cannabis. They didn't know what the active ingredient was, they really didn't know anything scientific about it.

All they knew was what Harry Anslinger and, like you said, you know, the Hearst paper chain, and there was another person, according to our friends at Transnational Institute and their history that they dug up, they found an Anslinger protege, a guy named Doctor Wolfe, who was working at the World Health Organization back there, it was like 1935, when they put this stuff in the record.

And there was some opposition at the international level, it wasn't the AMA, it was more like India. But it was not enough to prevent cannabis from being put into the treaty, and I was actually there in 1998 at the UN, India came forward and talked to us, they came to our table, a representative of the delegation of India, and told us that they had signed onto the treaty in 1962 with a 25 year delay, it was a reservation to delay the implementation for 25 years, and they were just implementing it then, in 1998, and guess what, Dean? They found already, in that time, just in the year or so of implementation, a decrease in cannabis use to be sure, and a matching increase rate in the rate of black tar heroin use.

DEAN BECKER: It is such a preposterous situation, these laws against cannabis. So few people that the first medical adviser to our first quote drug czar, Harry Anslinger, was Mister James C. Munch, who was a veterinarian [sic: Professor Munch's doctorate was in pharmacology]. And he said that he concocted a marijuana extract and gave it to some dogs, and it basically knocked them out, but then they came to a few hours later and seemed to be just fine.

It's just such a lie, isn't it, Michael?

MIKE KRAWITZ: Well, to be accurate, the extracts of cannabis, they didn't know what the active ingredient was, but they actually were working with the cannabis products back, you know, in 1890, 1910, 1920, they actually had their act together. They had a lot of great products on the shelf, in the pharmacy, and believe it or not, that was the standard way of testing to see if it had an active ingredient. You'd give it to a dog, and you could see the dog's reaction physically, you know that there's active ingredient.

Again, they didn't know what the active ingredient was, they had no science, so they had to use a physical test, that was a physical test for activity of the active ingredient. And this thing about black tar heroin is not a nuance, it's not a side note. We found now in the United States, in hard research, what -- it supports what we've been finding in the field, and that is that cannabis, when you use it as a medicine, you use less of the pain pills. You use less of the opiates. You die less, you have less overdoses.

And I'm talking a pretty significant reduction of overdose, and an increasing rate over the years. So, we've lost so many people since 1930 to overdose and death and mayhem of these hard drugs, and cannabis has been kind of our, you know, Dorothy's shoes, all we had to do was click it together three times and we could help ourselves get out of this mess.

DEAN BECKER: Well, friends, I have my info a little bit wrong about the marijuana extract and the dogs, but I do know that this same James C. Munch once purported in a court room that he took some marijuana, flew around the room like a bat, and then a couple of hours later he was just fine. All kinds of propaganda, right?

MIKE KRAWITZ: I -- it sounds like some stuff I'd love to get my hands on for medicine, actually, but, yeah, I'll tell you, these guys, it's amazing when you look back at the history of this. There was actually a government expert in the United States against marijuana, you're talking right at the time of, you know, she should have said no and reefer madness, and it was a government expert, they would bring him to court, and he would testify that yes indeed this marijuana is a killer, and da da da.

And you know what happened? He actually found a profession out of this. He found a little niche, and he started defending killers, and he got them off the hook for marijuana insanity defense. He tried to do it with one person that, just the marijuana in their proximity caused them to go insane and kill a bunch of people, and the judge drew the line and they threw the guy out of court, and as I understand it they stopped allowing his expert testimony. But he made a cottage industry out of this cannabis insanity defense.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Michael, I know that you work with the -- veteran groups, you're trying to work with the government to make it more feasible, more allowable, for their doctors to prescribe medical cannabis, and the reason behind, one of the main reasons behind that is, every day here in America there are 22 veterans that kill themselves, and, you know, we have the two recent celebrity suicides that garnered way more attention than these veteran deaths ever have. Your thought there, please.

MIKE KRAWITZ: Well, I certainly appreciate your sentiment, and I certainly agree with you that it's a travesty that we don't get more attention to the many deaths we have every day, of veterans that are taking their own lives. I think we ought to have a ticker on the TV, you know, so-and-so Army veteran in Ohio, you know, Iowa, and, you know, Kansas, whatever, takes their lives today. That should be on a ticker on the bottom of the screen, then maybe we'd get some attention to these issues.

But, you know, there's two things going on here with cannabis. One is, you know, the drug action, the pharmacological action, and there's good reason to believe that as a medicine cannabis can help reduce suicides. As a medicine, cannabis can treat pain, cannabis can help do these things. But, as a replacement drug, in other words, use cannabis, use less of these pills, when it comes to suicide, we're giving veterans a pill in the VA that actually has a suicide warning label. That's the medicine that we're giving them for post-traumatic stress.

If we can reduce the amount of that medication that's being used, doesn't it make sense maybe we'll reduce the suicide rate?

DEAN BECKER: Michael, I don't know, the drug laws do not make any sense, anywhere, as far as I'm concerned. Even insofar as, you know, heroin is now not really heroin, it's fentanyl, and it's killing people by the dozens, and, we just have no concept of the repercussions of believing in this system, do we?

MIKE KRAWITZ: You know, and I think that's they key to this whole discussion, is that we actually put the blame where it belongs, and I think the, you know, the United States right now is going through a real serious issue with overdose deaths, and it's very convenient to, you know, blame the doctors, or blame the patients, well how about the policy?

How about the drug policy that was supposed to prevent children from getting hold of heroin, that kept, you know, as we're watching the legalizing countries, their use of, first use of heroin age going up and up, our first use of heroin age going down and down, as we're watching the rest of the world implement these policies like Portugal, that's taking the criminal element, you know, at least a chunk of it, and gutting it, taking away its income, that it's allowing, you know, patients to have better access, and allowing people with a drug addiction to be treated like human beings, and medical patients that they are.

And actually, finally, starting to get at the underlying problems of addiction. No, no, we have to go the other way, we have to listen to people like Kevin Sabet, we have to go and jail people and double the prison rate, because that's what -- we've got to be tough on drugs, and then no one says, hey, maybe getting tough on drugs was a mistake. Maybe listening to Kevin Sabet and Robert Dupont was a mistake.

No, no, let's go further down this rabbit hole, kill a bunch more people, and then blame me, a pain patient.

DEAN BECKER: Well, friends, we've been speaking with Mister Michael Krawitz, very much involved with veterans and medical marijuana, very much involved with the UN and their concepts and precepts about the drug laws. Michael, is there a closing thought, a website you might want to share?

MIKE KRAWITZ: Sure, absolutely. This international stuff is going to be going on for a good year now, from here, we're actually deep in the middle of it, and we can use help. So, come and take a look, take a look at the documentation, it's at FAAAT, three As,, and you can put a slash cannabis if you want to go right to information about the World Health Organization, all that.

We've got enough information there and it's broken down enough that you could actually just start at the beginning, and an hour or two get a really good understanding of what's going on at the WHO, if you really want that -- that level of understanding.

And I'll tell you, this is going to have an impact on every single country that we work with, 186 countries that are signed onto these treaties. So if we can have some, you know, good results of this process, and we can use your help, definitely, in this process, I think it's going to help patients, it's going to help, you know, this reform. We still need to reform the treaties, we're going to have to get rid of this prohibition. You know that, I know that, we all know that.

But the world leaders haven't caught on yet. So go to and check us out, and I really appreciate your help.

YOUNG MALE VOICE: Okay, let’s say drug prohibition does support terrorism.

DEAN BECKER: And murder.



YOUNG MALE VOICE: And torture.

DEAN BECKER: Corruption and bribery.

YOUNG MALE VOICE: And whatever.

DEAN BECKER: What’s your point?

YOUNG MALE VOICE: Change the law.

DEAN BECKER: I got you. Make it cheap, more available everywhere, like soda or cheesy puffs.


DEAN BECKER: Cocaine at the playground, crack stands at the laundromat; heroin at the mini mart. Like that?

YOUNG MALE VOICE: Face it old man, that’s what we’ve got now.

DEAN BECKER: Please, visit the website of Law Enforcement Action Partnership on the web at

Folks, the drug war is ending slow, ugly, and bloody, and we could really use your help to bring it to a quicker end. Again, I must remind you that 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.