06/23/13 Adam Assenberg

Adam Assenberg busted for weed now running for Sheriff, Lucius Wertmiller & Deiter Hachenbach authors of "Life of Albert Hoffman", "Fred" MAPS Volunteer, Dr. Ben Sessa

Century of Lies
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Adam Assenberg
Download: Audio icon COL062313.mp3



Century of Lies / June 23, 2013


DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.


DEAN BECKER: Hello my friends. Thank you for joining us on this edition of Century of Lies. Today we’ve got several reports from Oakland and the Psychedelic Science Conference 2013 but we start with this interview with Mr. Adam Assenberg out of Washington State.


DEAN BECKER: Long time listeners probably think it’s been a long time since we spoke with to our next guest. He had his problems up there in Washington State. The locals thought he deserved to be arrested because he was providing medical marijuana. Turns out they were wrong. Turns out he’s going to try to replace the officials who arrested him. With that I want to welcome Adam Assenberg. Hey Adam.

ADAM ASSENBERG: Hello Dean. How are you today?

DEAN BECKER: I’m good. What you’re doing up there is an unusual but I think necessary step to bring about a necessary change, correct?

ADAM ASSENBERG: Yes it is. We’ve been waving the signs for a long time. We’ve been trying to get initiatives going but the only way to really help patients is by going on the inside and fighting it from the inside.

DEAN BECKER: And how are you going to do that? You’re running for office, right?

ADAM ASSENBERG: Yes. I am running for Sheriff of Whitman County, Colfax, Washington. I am going to go ahead and if a DEA agent goes ahead and violates the rights of the state law I will arrest that DEA agent.

DEAN BECKER: Well, it’s about time they had their “come up-ins”. I will agree with that. With this reach for office you’re also reaching out to people in the surrounding area for the next couple months. Tell us what you’ve been invited to do.

ADAM ASSENBERG: I’ve been invited to the Olympia, Washington Hempfest to speak. I just got an email today inviting me to speak at the Seattle, Washington Hempfest as well.

DEAN BECKER: What you are doing represents that necessary change. There are other politicians around the country (many already elected) who are beginning to speak at least somewhat in the same manner as you. It’s time isn’t it?

ADAM ASSENBERG: It is time because the federal government is totally out of touch with the will of the voters and it’s ridiculous that the federal government just because they need funds are attacking people.

I have discovered that anywhere between 75 to 80 percent of what the federal government takes in is given back to the local law enforcement that helps violate the will of the people.

DEAN BECKER: There were laws passed at the state level all across the country trying to deny police access to these forfeiture funds but they found a work around.

ADAM ASSENBERG: What’s ridiculous is they use administrative law a lot of times to circumvent the court system and to circumvent the guidelines of the laws just to go ahead and get their money one way or another.

DEAN BECKER: There is a new awakening taking place in America that for too long we have demonized, cast aside, ostracized people with a record or even with an arrest and it is back firing on us. It’s time to change direction.

ADAM ASSENBERG: It is time to change. I just read an article the other day that in California they have to release several hundred prisoners because of overpopulation and not taking the proper health care of the prisoners.

DEAN BECKER: Which brings to mind the countless other problems among them insufficient medical service in prison additionally people being locked up who don’t need to be so people who need to be locked up are forced out of the prisons.

ADAM ASSENBERG: We are allowing rapist, home invasion criminals and other types of dangerous criminals out just to go ahead and fill up our prisons with non-violent drug offenders that are legally allowed to have this but not at the federal level. It’s time the federal government stays out of this.

DEAN BECKER: As they say, “All politics is local.” My hat’s off to you for taking them to task. If folks want to learn more about your campaign where might they go on the web?

ADAM ASSENBERG: http://adam4sheriff.org If anyone has any questions about what I am really standing for in my fight to become the next sheriff in Whitman County they can always call me direct. My phone number is listed on my website.

DEAN BECKER: Say hi to Carla and the kids. I wish you luck.

ADAM ASSENBERG: Thank you so much Dean. Keep up the wonderful work you’re doing on the Drug Truth Network.


[loud crowd cheering noise]

How bass-akward can a nation be?
Watch America and you will see.
They fight and die for ever more.
They love to wage unwinnable war.

Drugs and terror. World wars forever.
Drugs and terror. World wars forever.


DEAN BECKER: One of the most interesting interviews I had in Oakland at the Psychedelic Science 2013 conference was with a couple of scientists who wrote a book about the life of Albert Hofmann. First up is Deiter Hachenbach.


DEITER HACHENBACH: Basel, Switzerland which is the town where LSD was discovered by Albert Hofmann. We are here at the Psychedelic Science Conference. We arrived and presented on the 19 th of April our biography of Albert Hofmann and his discovery of LSD which is on the day 70 years ago (1943) when he discovered this extremely, most potent substance. We present the book here. It’s called “The Mystic Chemist” and published by Synergetic Press.

DEAN BECKER: We have with you your co-author.

LUCIUS WERTHMULLER: My name is Lucius Werthmuller. I’m also from Basel, Swizerland. I met Albert Hofmann when I was a child because he was a friend of my parents. I made some crucial experiences with his most famous discovery in my teenage years that brought back memories of mystical experiences in my childhood similar to ones that Albert had had.

These experiences also influenced me professionally. I think they were crucial for me to become a parapsychologist and to be interested in the spiritual. We stayed in contact with Albert Hofmann until the end of his life. For his 100 th birthday in 2006 we organized an official ceremony and a huge symposium called “LSD Problem Child and Wonder Drug” which was very successful and was the model for Rick Doblin and his conferences in the USA.

What was especially moving about this conference was Albert Hofmann stating at the final ceremony that after this conference he said, “LSD is no longer a problem child. It is a wonder drug.”

DEAN BECKER: Just as an American who has seen the harms of the drug war I’ve heard too many instances of people buying LSD on the black market and some say that it was cut with strychnine or other contaminants and yet the results are used as justification for more of the same policy. I was wondering if you would address that.

LUCIUS WERTHMULLER: Yeah, we come from Switzerland and I think the whole world suffers from the U.S. policy, from the U.S. War on Drugs because it is forced upon other countries. I’m happy to say that these drugs are not legal in Switzerland but it’s a much more relaxed way that Swiss authorities deal with these problems.

I really have to hope that psychedelics and all the other drugs will be really made legal in the future for safe and better use.

DEAN BECKER: Deiter, you want to join in on that?

DEITER HACHENBACH: Yes. The thing is, especially with LSD, there is no literal dose known. Only when it’s not taken in a safe setting which was already regarded as very important after the first LSD trip by Albert Hofmann because these substance is so potent, so strong there are dangers that could cause anxiety and lead to a psychosis.

That’s one thing. The other thing is that LSD has also been regarded by Albert Hofmann and many other scientists and researchers that it expands and changes consciousness. An expanded consciousness has always been a danger for the government, for politicians because they need to control the people, they need to control the society to a certain extent.

That happened in America during the Viet Nam War when the anti-war movement started, the ecological movement, the peace movement so we have a wonderful picture in our book which is taken at an anti-war demonstration here in San Francisco. It’s a lady holding up a sign which says, “Drop Acid Not Bombs.”

That’s the four words which explain the whole situation back then and which finally caused the illegalization of this drug. That also means that it was taken out of any research and out of any therapies which have been happen also in America to a great extent and which helped alcoholics and other drug addicts and many other people.

We did a conference in 2006 with Albert Hofmann and he was still very vital and open-minded so we decided to do another conference on Easter 2008 called the “World Psychedelic Forum” and that happened one month before his death.
Albert intended to take part and to speak but health issues prevented him from taking part. We visited him afterwards – 10 days before he really died and he was still so very much alive. After he died we just thought this story is not finished yet for us. We have to round it up in some way.

Our first idea was just to make a little book with pictures, an illustrated picture book with photos of Albert Hofmann but as we began working on it it grew and expanded so we thought we wanted to enter with this life of Albert Hofmann with the history of his most important discovery. It grew and grew and like the history of Albert Hofmann and the history of the 20 th century which he lived and the highlight of the 60s when the story really became very big.

We tried our best to cover all fields from abuse from of the government (the CIA, the military complex) also the hippie generation (we called it the fuel of the 60s) the repression and we always tried to interweave it with Albert Hofmann’s life.

It appeared in German and in November 2011 under the title “Albert Hofmann: …Oh, I’ve forgotten the German title…

He never really lost his alertness. Up until his high age he often took smaller or lower doses of LSD between 20 and 50 micrograms. The first doses in 1943 of which he thought would be extremely low doses because all other substances need a much higher doses and later he realized that much lower doses like 20 and 50 micrograms are good for stimulating the blood circulation in the brain, stimulating creativity and it’s a mood improver. He took such doses even in his high 90s.

He never lost faith in his discovery and as Lucius already mentioned he was sure that one day his “problem child” would really turn into a wonder drug. In a way that happened almost 40 years after LSD became illegal and all research and studies were stopped. After our conference in 2006 when we wrote to the Minister of Health in Switzerland about the situation and that it should help in getting LSD back into research and he answered to us, “Well, when all these legal steps are followed we can think about that.”

That’s when finally Dr. Peter Koser could start his 12 cancer patients a couple of years ago funded by MAPS. The study was finished a year ago and it was extremely successful.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, friends, we’ve been speaking with Deiter Hachenbach and Lucius Werthmuller. Gentlemen, thank you so much.

LUCIUS WERTHMULLER: We are here because of the efforts of Debra Paris from Synergetic Press who wanted to have this book translated into English. She did a wonderful job under time pressure and it was launched on “bicycle day” just yesterday at the 70 th day of the anniversary of LSD. It is available now under the title, “Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and the Discovery of LSD.”

Thanks to her that we are here now.


Jock: So what’s that your holding?

Angus: The Controlled Substances Act.

Jock: Controlled Substances Act? Brilliant! What you do with it?

Angus: Well, I found a way to incarcerate 1.6 million Americans every year.

Jock: Can you arrest them in their own homes, wherever they are?

Angus: Yes! Arrest people wherever they are. Brilliant! What else you working on?

Jock: Claiming that marijuana is more dangerous than crack.

Angus: More dangerous than crack? Brilliant! Brilliant!

FRED: Hi, I’m Fred and I’m a volunteer here at the MAPS event. I’m here because psychedelics had a very profound effect on my life starting in college in the 70s when it was not unusual in university for students to take psychedelics. It really expanded my consciousness and very quickly, drastically altered my world view which had the effect of leading me towards eastern philosophy and religion.

I studied some of the Hindu path and I became a Buddhist. I’ve been a Buddhist now for 30 years and I can attribute that to a large degree to my experience with psychedelics which showed me a higher consciousness. I knew there must be a way to get there without drugs.

DEAN BECKER: I think many of the people here have had a similar experience that it awakening them to a newer possibility.

FRED: Yes, that makes a lot of sense. What I found the first time I took LSD when I was only about 19 in college and, again, it was very popular then it drastically altered my whole life. My whole perception of the world was permanently altered very quickly in one night. I just saw that there was a high consciousness and different possibilities. I could see beyond materialistic ideas and see into a sacred space.

After that I took psychedelics mostly as a sacrament, as a way to touch some kind of divine or higher consciousness. I would say that psychedelics are definitely not for everyone. You really have to have to have your head in a pretty solid place to start with. There has been a big kind of explosion of psychedelics being used in therapies. I think the vast majority of people here are doctors – psychologists, psychiatrists or physicians who are using psychedelic therapies all over the world. This is finally coming into growth.


DEAN BECKER: And now one more segment from Oakland and the Psychedelic Science 2013 Conference.


BEN SESSA: My name is Ben Sessa. I’m a psychiatrist. I work primarily with children who are deaf but I’m also involved with research with psychedelic drugs – have been for the past 8 years.

I live and work in Bristol in the U.K. I’ve written extensively editorials and reviews and commentary on psychedelic research for the last 8 years. I do a lot of teaching and coaching to different groups to look at psychedelic research trying to bring these medicines back into mainstream medicine.

Last year I published a textbook on the subject. At the moment I’m in the process of setting up the U.K.’s first ever MDMA psychotherapy study.

If you look at a drug like MDMA it’s as if the drug was specifically designed for psycho-trauma therapy. There are a number of barriers when working with a patient who has PTSD, a number of barriers which make traditional treatment very difficult. PTSD has a very high level of treatment resistance. A good 50% of patients never get better with traditional treatments. They stay with this condition all of their lives.

So that’s an area of medicine that’s trying out for any new approach. MDMA acts as a kind of life vest or a bullet proof vest that the patient can wear when doing psychotherapy for PTSD. It’s got some very specific qualities. It’s strong since of empathy and bonding and attachment and dis-inhibition, this paradoxical sense of relaxation and stimulation at the same time, enormous sense of well-being but the most important effect of MDMA is it allows a person to access painful, repressed memories of trauma without being totally overwhelmed by the negative affect.

It’s not that it doesn’t hurt. It just doesn’t hurt as much. So you can talk about some horrific experience of rape or assault or whatever from one’s childhood and talk in great detail to your therapist about it under the influence of MDMA. It really deserves a lot of research for this condition of PTSD.

DEAN BECKER: We here in the United States have been waging a drug war for 45 years since Nixon declared or nearly one hundred years since our Harrison Narcotics Act and yet we don’t seem to be solving or ending or influencing the overall scenario. Would you speak to that? Great Britain has a very parallel …

BEN SESSA: The War on Drugs is most peculiar. It should really be called the war on “some drugs.” I’m a doctor and a psychopharmacologists. I’m not really interested in what’s legal or what’s illegal. I’m interested in the relative harms, toxicities and benefits of a whole range of pharmacological compounds.

When you look at them all under different ways of measuring their harm or their benefit the drugs that we’ve chosen to have legal and reeking havoc on society are far more dangerous than the ones that we malign and demonize as illegal drugs so there’s an extraordinary situation whereby the current classification of drugs doesn’t match the pharmacological damage of the drug.

Now that’s weird. There’s a lot of answer for that. Supporters of the War on Drugs would say, “OK, fair enough using your same argument we’ve got enough problems with alcohol and tobacco let’s not add anymore.”

That’s a reasonable argument except, like you said, it’s there anyway. The last 50 years of the War on Drugs fought by successive governments has done nothing…nothing to reduce drug use. Drug use has spiraled out of control every single drug has spiraled out of control in every country.

Quite simply as a scientist or as a politician I would just be thinking, “OK, fine but it doesn’t work.”

Prohibition doesn’t stop people using drugs and the results are that you can’t accurately measure or map who is taking drugs. You can’t tax drugs. So there’s this massive criminal underworld that runs the drug distribution service. There’s no CEOs. There’s no quality control. There’s no rights or responsibilities for users. It’s a crazy situation.

Cannabis is a bigger cash crop than rice yet nobody makes any money from it apart from the illegal drug dealers. It’s an extraordinary situation. Will politicians ever make the sensible move? Make a leap and say, “Do the sensible thing?” I don’t know. … Don’t get me started.

DEAN BECKER: Too much money involved. Too much legacy. Too much bones buried behind this policy to now be exposed.

We, here in the United States, people talk about MDMA. They say people will die of thirst or excessive water – that somehow it will influence or demonize our children.

BEN SESSA: As a doctor I would say there are no medical treatments that are risk free - none whatsoever. We have to look at every drug with a risk/benefit analysis hat on.

Take something really benign like a sticking plaster – really useful but it does have risks. It can hurt your hairs when you pull it off but the cost is worth the benefit because it stops the blood. That’s a good one.

Cancer chemotherapy – really toxic. All your hair falls out. You get sick as a dog. You could actually die from taking it but the benefit is it stops you from dying from cancer. We’ll do it.

As a doctor every single day with every patient and ever intervention we make I have this little analysis in my head. What am I going to do? Is it going to help? Is it going to hinder? How much is it and where do the scales lie?

Now when you take MDMA and you put it through the same analysis – it may cause some degree of near toxicity although the debate is far from over on that. It may cause some difficulty sleeping. It may cause a little bit of unpleasantness in jaw stiffness. It has risks and toxicities but what’s the benefits?

It could treat PTSD in this patient who has had 30 years of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and never been able to be cured from it. Surely the benefit outweighs the risks.

Anybody that says MDMA or LSD or cannabis are risk free they don’t understand psychopharmacology. Of course they’re not risk free but it’s about do they satisfy the risk versus benefit ratio and they all do by a very long way.

I chair and co-found the major British psychedelic conference and it’s called Breaking Convention. You can get us at http://breakingconvention.co.uk We’ve got a major conference with 600 delegates/speakers from all over the world. A lot of the people that are here today – from MAPS, etc. Please all come along.

It’s July 12th through the 14th in Greenwich, in London in 2013. Hopefully you can all come.


DEAN BECKER: The drug war is ending – ugly and slow. You can help make it a little less ugly and certainly speed up its demise if you’ll just tell the truth about this drug war. Dare to speak that truth. Come out of the closet. Share what you know. Please do your part to end this madness.

Prohibido istac evilesco!


For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT, Houston.

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