01/05/14 Josh Stanley

Century of Lies

Josh Stanley talk re medical cannabis for illness, 30 dead marijuana users?, Mason Tvert of MPP on MSNBC, pot a billion times stronger today?, Doug McVay re prison populations

Audio file


Century of Lies January 5, 2014


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: Over the years, particularly the year 2013 over the last several months especially, you’ve been getting reports of all the little children with epilepsy and other maladies that are benefitting from cannabis. We keep talking about the Stanley brothers and their “Charlotte’s Web” high CBD cannabis. I thought it was time to hear more from Josh Stanley, one of the nine Stanley children, from the Realm of Caring Center. This is from a recent “Ted Talk” in Boulder, Colorado.


JOSH STANLEY:: [using “stoner” accent] I am so stoked to be up here with you guys tonight to talk about weed, bro.

I’m just kidding with you. We are going to chit chat just a little bit about some medical cannabis tonight. Back in 2010 I had the honor to help co-author a house bill here in Colorado that I hoped would help very seriously ill patients get access to medicinal cannabis while allowing for responsible rules and regulations around what I think most would consider a very misunderstood industry.

However, what happened, in my opinion, were some of the most loathsome examples of the misuse of cannabis law and cannabis usage that I could have imagined.

Now you guys, come on, you all remember this, right? This is back when that horrible, horrible epidemic of back pain just swept across college campuses...

[laughter from audience]

Oh, it was terrible. People like my friend Ben here, for example, right? Yeah, he never tires of thanking me for all the work that I did so now he can enjoy the freedom of his recreational pleasure.

That’s not really what I do so that got under my skin for some time because I really felt like all of the work that we did had quite literally just [loud inhaling sound] gone up in smoke.

But, you know what? My disdain for this type of abuse didn’t last that long because I realized that if it weren’t for old Ben here and the back pain epidemic none of us here tonight would have ever had the opportunity to meet a very special friend of mine – Charlotte Figgy.

[audience applauds]

Charlotte, besides being near and dear to my heart, is a 6-year-old and, like most 6-year-olds, Charlotte just loves the color pink, loves to go play in the woods with her twin sister, Chase, and her older brother, Matt.

Charlotte is an explorer and for good reason that we are going to get into in a little bit she also happens to be one of the most frequent cannabis users that I know. There it is...there’s the word – cannabis.

It cites all different kinds of people, different things to different people. There are some people that it’s the “devil’s weed”, right? To others it’s just a pseudo-medical excuse to get high and, yet, others find true medicinal benefit with it.

At the end of the day what are we talking about here? We’re just talking about a plant. This is a plant that grows anywhere from 3 to 8 feet tall, about every 7 to 10 weeks it will produce a flower (or a “bud” as you know it) but that’s it. It is just a plant. It even grows on 6 continents but it’s a plant that Charlotte Figgy uses a lot of to control her grand mal seizures.

In no uncertain terms Charlotte’s life depends on this plant. Charlotte was diagnosed when she was 3-months-old with a very, very rare and violent form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. Charlotte will experience a very high number of what we call tonic-clonic grand mal seizures – about one every 20 to 25 minutes.

These seizures will last anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. In essence Charlotte’s life is spent in seizure in a catatonic state. Twice Charlotte’s mother, Paige, has had to bring her back to life using CPR. At any given time Charlotte will be on 7 daily different seizure medications – none of which control her seizures.

When Charlotte was 5-years-old her seizures had reached their worst. Her medical team told the Figgy family things like, “Start making preparations for her death. She’s probably not going to wake up from this.”

The Figgy’s reluctant signed a “Do not resuscitate” order for Charlotte around this time and she was sent home with a fitted chair, a feeding tube in her belly and she had lost all of her life skills. The family was saying their “good byes.”

It didn’t look good for Charlotte. It didn’t seem like she would pull through but remember - thanks to my old friend, Ben, and that back pain epidemic – it wasn’t the end for Charlotte. The Figgy’s weren’t about to give up hope and they set out on a journey to find – of all people – my family.

I come from a very, very large family. I’m the oldest of 11 kids and ,nope, we are not Mormon. We are not Catholic...nope...

[audience laughs]

Apparently we are just incredibly fertile. Me and my five younger brothers, amazing brothers – Joel, Jesse, Jonathon, Jordon and Jarred – and our honorary brother, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, set out on a mission, a very unique mission to breed a special strain of the cannabis plant.

One that was essentially free of the psychoactive compound that you all know as tetro-hydro <?> or THC and one that was very, very high in the little known, non-psychoactive compound called CBD or cannabidiol.

We succeeded in this effort in January of 2012. This was right around the time that the Figgy’s were signing the “do not resuscitate” order. As luck would have it Paige Figgy found us in February 2012.

My brothers and I have been reading a lot of studies, a lot of research has been coming out of Israel in the 80s and 90s and up to today on this research although, strangely enough, seems like America knew about this 65 years ago but that’s a talk for another day.

My brothers and I thought that this little known compound just might be the missing link to provide some validity in the realm of cannabis research. As it turns out we were correct.

Now the plant that we had created while it may have immense medical benefits – completely non-psychoactive – OK? Completely useless to Ben so we named the plant “The Hippy’s Disappointment”.

[audience laughs]

While it didn’t prove useful to Ben it proved incredibly useful to little Charlotte. When Paige called us that February and told us of Charlotte’s condition we were ready to jump in. We were ready to help. In fact, we couldn’t wait until Paige dropped the bomb on us that Charlotte was 5-years-old.

Think about it for a minute...We’re going to give a 5-year-old cannabis?! Quickly we began to extract and formulate in ratio a non-psychoactive, lab-tested pediatric tincture for Charlotte.

I’m happy to tell you that within the first administration Charlotte went from having a seizure every 20 to 25 minutes (that’s 400 per week, guys) down to 0 to 1 per week.

[audience applauds loudly]

Thank you. AND Charlotte was off 100% of her pharmaceuticals – no more pharmaceuticals.

[audience applauds]

Charlotte is now awake. She is alive. We changed the name of the plant from “The Hippy’s Disappointment” and now it is affectionately called “Charlotte’s Web” in honor of Charlotte and it always will be “Charlotte’s Web.”

Now Charlotte is not an isolated incident. We currently treat over 40 pediatric patients here in Colorado with the same, similar and, believe it or not, even better results than what Charlotte experienced. Currently there are over 200 families coming from all over the world to Colorado to take part in our treatment program.

We are soon to move into California, as well, where we literally have over 1,000 children with pediatric epilepsy and their families waiting for us. We are going to be moving to other states as soon as laws will allow us.

We have a very special young man in the audience tonight. Where are you at, buddy? Zakai Jackson? There’s my man.

Zakia Jackson, our number 2 patient, right after Charlotte, a great friend of ours. Zakia unfortunately suffers from a syndrome known as Dosa Syndrome. Before this treatment Zakia was experiencing over 200 seizures a day.

I’m happy to tell you guys now on October 4t h, in two weeks, we’re all going to get together to celebrate Zakia’s one year seizure free anniversary.

[audience applauds]

It’s very, very difficult for me, as an outsider, to relate what this means to families. I wanted Zakia’s mothers, Heather Jackson, to tell you guys what this has meant to her.

HEATHER JACKSON: And I get to say after almost a decade for the first time without all this seizure activity...we had drugs that you couldn’t imagine...

JOSH STANLEY: So, you see, this has a positive impact on a lot of families. In light of that my brothers and I started a non-profit organization called the Realm of Caring. The Realm helps to provide support, resources, education, physician-backed medical studies as well as safe and affordable access to our treatment program.

Currently the Realm is in the middle of setting up study protocols with some of the country’s top epileptologists in order to start getting down to the bottom of the science and even further as to why this plant is working so well for these children.

Cannabidiol has the highest anti-inflammatory and neuro-protectant properties found in nature. CBD actually interacts with structures on the surface of brain cells known as receptors and acting as the neuro-protectant and anti-inflammatory helps to decrease and, as you’ve seen, even eliminate some of that seizure activity.

Now, what we don’t know...it seems as if CBD is actually playing a role in the repair of brain function. Research scientists and our doctors believe that this is why Charlotte, Zakai and other children in this program are actually experiencing an ongoing progression of motor, social and developmental skills – meaning that they are actually coming back to cognition more and more every day. They are getting better, guys. It’s phenomenal.

I think it’s also important to note here that epilepsy is not the only thing that CBD seems to be helpful for. According to some of our early studies and studies out of Israel they are showing incredible results in PTSD, in migraines, depression, arthritis, cancer and heart disease. Further studies, believe it or not, that this little known compound might have the capabilities of helping stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, ALS, MS and diabetes.

I think it’s quite clear we all know very, very, very little about this plant. We’ve lived in the last 80 years in this country under a cloud of propaganda and fear. We are just now, though, starting to wake up from that fear. We are starting to replace that fear with acceptance, understanding and education.

But what’s happening? Amazing things, right?! Amazing discoveries and that’s what happens whenever you are able to lay fear to rest.

But we have a long way to go. I want you all to think about something. Charlotte is awake now - after experiencing a 5 year darkness and fear type nightmare. I don’t know how you’d feel but me, I’d feel like doing some exploring. I’d feel like seeing the world – getting out there.

I imagine Charlotte feels very much the same yet picture this...she can’t even leave the state of Colorado. If she does she faces a life and death situation without her medication. Not to mention the fact that the minute the Figgy’s family...when they leave the state of Colorado on a family vacation with her medicine they become “drug traffickers.”

Yeah, they look like a pack of “hardened criminals” to me – don’t they to you?!

We can joke about this and we can bring light to this because, honestly, the situation is ludicrous people – it’s ludicrous. Charlotte can’t leave the state. How many other children can’t get into the state to get this treatment? It’s not that easy to pack your whole life up and move from wherever you are in the country or the world for that matter and just relocate to Colorado.

Furthermore, they shouldn’t have to. Colorado children are not different physiologically than a child who lives in a Midwestern state. It hurts me to tell you this next part but this is a reality we face all the time here...just last week a very special young boy in Indiana with Dravet Syndrome passed away because his family couldn’t get out here to get the treatment in time. We couldn’t send it to him because the law doesn’t allow it. If the law allowed it - it’s a “next day” air package. It’s that easy.

Folks, children are dying. Come on. We can do better than this. As humans we must do better than this. I’m confident that we will do better than this.

Just how many more “Charlottes”, how many more “Zacais” , how many more children are out there that this plant could potentially provide relief for? This begs us to ask the question, “Are we willing to change our national view on medicinal cannabis in trade to save one thousand more lives?”

How about just one more life?

Well, guys, I have a very special friend here tonight who strongly believes this to be the case. If you all don’t mind I would love to introduce you to one of the most courageous little girls I’ve ever met in my life. Please welcome and meet Charlotte Figgy and her parents, Matt and Paige.

[audience applauds loudly]


DEAN BECKER: The following from the Daily Current.

“Colorado is reconsidering its decision to legalize recreational pot following the deaths of dozens due to marijuana overdoses. According to a report in the Rocky Mountain News 37 people were killed across the state on January 1st – the first day the drug became legal for all adults to purchase.

“Several more are clinging to life in local emergency rooms and are not expected to survive.

“’It’s complete chaos here’ says Dr. Jack Shepard, chief of surgery at St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver.

“’I've put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute.’

"’We are seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures," the doctor raved. "By next week the death toll could go as high as 200, maybe 300. Someone needs to step in and stop this madness. My god, why did we legalize marijuana? What were we thinking?’

Obviously that was a fake story.


[electric can opener sounds]

Opening up a can of worms....

[casting fishing line]

...and going fishing for truth.

[reeling in line]

This is the Drug Truth Network, http://drugtruth.net


DEAN BECKER: The following courtesy MSNBC.


REPORTER: Mary Jane, ganja, chronic, hash, smoke, bud, weed, pot or just plain marijuana...Once a political liability it’s now almost mundane. More than 20 years ago President Clinton said he possibly did inhale. President Obama revealed his pot use in an autobiography more than a decade before running for office and now, with the legalization of the licensed production and retail of marijuana in both Colorado and Washington, who knows how many public officials will now openly admit to enjoying a little “Mary Jane” with no political repercussions?

According to a recent Gallop Poll a sizeable majority of Americans, 58%, now agree that marijuana should be legalized. Further illustrating the mainstream is the selection of 37-year-old Robert Jacob this month as mayor of the town of Sebastopol, California which is just north of San Francisco.

What’s so special about Robert Jacob? He’s the founder of the town’s medical marijuana dispensary. According to advocates for marijuana legalization that makes him the first person from the medical marijuana industry to become mayor of a city in the United States and he may not be the last.

This week Colorado became the first state to issue special licenses to businesses that will begin selling recreational marijuana on January 1st. Joining me now from Denver, Colorado is Mason Tvert who is director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project and helped run the campaign for Colorado’s marijuana initiative.

Nice to see you this morning.

MASON TVERT: Thank you for having me.

REPORTER: Talk to me...what is the key change that occurs after the new year in terms of the purchase and sale of marijuana in Colorado?

MASON TVERT: Essentially all that’s really going to happen here is that Coloradans who have been buying marijuana for years will now have the ability to buy it from licensed, legitimate, tax-paying businesses instead of from the underground market where it would otherwise be benefitting cartels and other criminal enterprises. The state will be generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue that otherwise would have gone into the underground market.

REPORTER: I want to break out those two and think about them a little bit. First talk to me about the importance of this simply from that first part of what you said – the kind of legal reform, war on drug kind of crimes perspective. How much does this change that in the state of Colorado?

MASON TVERT: This is going to essentially eliminate the underground marijuana market for adult use. Basically we are going to have retail marijuana stores that are open and available to people. They simply have to show proof of age in order to make a purchase. In doing so they will not have to go to the underground market where they might be exposed to other illegal drugs. They won’t be giving their money to criminals.

REPORTER: How important is this from a kind of local economic impact perspective? How much does Colorado expect to benefit from this?

MASON TVERT: According to the state’s Legislative Council this is supposed to generate upwards of 70 million dollars annually just in this first year alone. The first 40 million raised by one of the taxes that’s been imposed is going to benefit the state’s public school construction program so that money that would otherwise be going into the underground market, going to cartels will, instead, go back into the community.

REPORTER: So there is still a law being broken here and that the issue of federal law. How much exposure do individuals who will now be operating legally both as sellers and buyers in the state of Colorado – how much exposure do they have on the question of federal law?

MASON TVERT: The federal government back in August for the first time ever made it clear that if businesses are following state regulations and state laws pertaining to marijuana sales and cultivation they will not be interfered with. This is a huge departure from previous policies of the justice department.

So, essentially, as long as the state has created sensible, strong regulations and these businesses are following them the feds will stay out and that’s what Colorado had done – create some very tight regulations that will essentially do what needs to be done which is prevent sales to minors, prevent interstate trafficking and so on.

REPORTER: One last question here and that’s around the politics of this. We have seen a massive increase in the number of Americans who believe marijuana ought to be legal, ought to be closer to the model that Colorado now has. Do you see a sort of partisan divide in Colorado around these questions of legalization?

MASON TVERT: Traditionally Democrats have been more supportive of ending marijuana prohibition than Republicans but increasingly we’re seeing a support grow for marijuana policy reform among conservatives and, of course, independents as well. People just recognize that marijuana is not as harmful as they were once led to believe. In fact, it’s objectively far less harmful than alcohol. More and more people want to see it treated that way.

REPORTER: Mason Tvert in Denver this morning. I know there is a lot of nerds claiming they’re going to go to Colorado.


DEAN BECKER: The following report from Christ Church, New Zealand. It’s written by Vince McLeod.

“Analysis made of the public speeches given by police officers over the past 50 years have concluded that the THC content of cannabis is now close to six billion times higher than it was in 1963.

The study, led by University of Canterbury psycholinguist Dr. Viktor Nilsson, searched over 20,000 police statements and documents for hard data about how much stronger cannabis was at time of writing when compared to a short number of years ago.

"Cannabis growers, being filthy, lying, cheating, murderous enemies of humanity, do not keep accurate year-on-year records of chemical analyses of their product, so we need to use other methods to estimate the current strength of cannabis," Dr. Nilsson explains.

"One of our team noticed that the police often point out how much stronger cannabis is now than it used to be. We figured that since the Police would probably have access to a greater variety of cannabis strains than anyone else in the country as well as the chemistry labs in which to perform accurate testing, they would be the ones to trust.”



SINGERS: They nailed me for possession.
Lord, they nailed him to a tree.

But Jesus was a felon just like me.

DEAN BECKER: From the demo “Jesus” by Jo Lynn.


Doug McVay: A new report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics released at the very end of 2013 shows that the US criminal justice system may be evolving, hopefully in a good way. The report Prisoners in 2012: Trends in Admissions and Releases 1991-2012 shows that we may have finally stopped the steady increase in incarceration.

According to the report, the population in state and federal prison facilities of prisoners sentenced to terms of one year or more in 2012 was 1,511,480. It's important to remember also that these numbers don't include any jail inmates, jails are counted separately.

The numbers for 2012 are high, yet some are hopeful that they show a trend: In 2011, there were 1,538,847 prisoners sentenced to a year or more held in state or federal prisons. The peak which we reached in 2009 was 1,553,574 prisoners sentenced to a year or more. And really, I'm hopeful too. Just that it's hard to be overjoyed about a three-year dip in prison figures when, as this report shows, we saw steady growth from 1978 through 2009. As it is, we still have more people behind bars than we did in 2006. The combined state and federal prison population, again the inmates sentenced to one year or more, was 1,504,598 that year.

In 1981 the year I graduated from high school, also the year Ronald Reagan ascended to the presidency we imprisoned 353,673 people in state and federal prisons. To be precise, the federal system housed 19,765 sentenced prisoners that year, of whom 25.6 percent or 5,076 people were drug offenders. I don't have the state data for that year, I do know that in 1980, state prisons held 295,819 sentenced prisoners, of whom 19,000 that's 6.4 percent were serving time for drug offenses.

By 1990, federal prisons had grown to hold 56,989 sentenced inmates, of whom 30,470 53.5 percent were serving time for drug offenses. State prisons that year held 684,544 sentenced inmates, of whom 148,600 or 21.7 percent were drug offenders.

By 2009 the peak year for prison populations our federal prisons held 187,886 sentenced inmates, of whom 95,205 were serving time for drug offenses. That's 50.6 percent of the total. State prisons held 1,365,800 sentenced inmates that year, of whom 242,900 or 17.8 percent were serving time for drug offenses.

We only have offense data on state prisoners as of 2011, however we have more specific data for that year than we've had in quite some time, so we know that state prisons in 2011 held a total of 1,341,797 sentenced inmates, of whom 222,738, or 16.6 percent, are serving time for drug offenses. Further, we know that in 2011, inmates whose most serious offense was drug possession represented 4.1 percent of all sentenced prisoners, that's 55,014 people behind bars for the simple crime of possessing a controlled substance, of being a drug user.

So there may be some good news in criminal justice yet we still have to keep up the pressure for reform. And as we celebrate the first state-legal marijuana sales in the US, we need to pause and reflect on the millions of people still targeted by the drug war. Prohibition is failing, it's a counterproductive system, even with drugs we don't personally enjoy.

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay with Common Sense for Drug Policy and Drug War Facts.


{howling winds}

The winds of prohibition howl
As the irrational maelstrom blows.
Pipe-dreaming warriors raise their eternal chant
Dancing for rain in the eye of a ‘drug war’ hurricane.

Drug Truth dot net


DEAN BECKER: That’s about it for this week. Here’s hoping you’ll check out this week’s Cultural Baggage which features a tribute to the passing of my good friend, Clay Jones – some words from his friends and family as well as a segment featuring Diane Goldstein of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition talking about the need to cure these drug war addicts.

As always I remind you there is no justification for this drug war.

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 Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

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