05/18/14 Debbie Wilson

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Debbie Wilson, 25 year head injury vastly improved via cannabis, Aaron Justiss Pres of Buds & Roses, Philippe Lucas of Canada's Tilray, cannabis providers & Nick Palmer Australias former head of Fed Police Force

Audio file


Cultural Baggage / May 18, 2014


Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”

“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”

DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.


DEAN BECKER: Hello my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. With sadness I got to report the loss of my good friend, my found cat living on the bayou, Sylvester Feral Becker passed away this morning. She was a good cat and I’m going to miss her.

We’ve got some good reports for you coming out of Portland, Oregon and the Cannabis Therapeutics Conference up there and some stuff from overseas. Let’s get to it.


DEBBIE WILSON: Hi. My name is Debbie Wilson and I am from Tampa, Florida. I now live in Oregon. I am a medical cannabis patient here in Oregon. I am a brain injury survivor of one-quarter of a century that has had uncontrolled epilepsy for 23 years.

I was evaluated for brain seizure surgery twice and turned down. I was evaluated for the vagus nerve stimulator twice and turned down. I took 19 different antiepileptic drugs and none of them controlled my seizures but I did lose my teeth, my gall bladder and my entire large intestine to the mega-doses of medicines that I took.

About three years ago I’d been told my seizures were life threatening. Two months in a row my lungs stopped from the seizures and then my heart stopped and I ended up on life support. The brain is the last to die and I was able to hear the ER doctor say my eyes were fixed and dilated and I knew that meant I was dead. He said I had “coded” and I also knew that meant I had died. I remember the overall feeling of peace that I had and that was my second near death experience.

I could hear my son’s voice yelling sternly to please come back and that they needed me. Then I heard the doctor say, “Oh, shoot. She’s a seizure patient. She needs valium.”

He had misdiagnosed me and that’s what almost cost me my life but they wouldn’t let me out of the hospital and I had a plane ticket to Oregon. I left AMA and I had a high school friend waiting to help me here in Oregon and that’s what’s kept me alive. In September we will have been here 2 years. My Grand Mal seizures reduced 1,000% four years ago – my first year. Now it took until 7 months ago for me to get control of my partial complex cluster status seizures that are life threatening.

I’m doing the first (to my knowledge) documented dementia CTE and medical cannabis trial. I’m doing awesome on it. My neuropsychological is the most improved it has been in 18 years. I have the first normal EEG 3 months ago that I’ve had in 23 years.

To be out of diapers, to be out of the helmet – it’s just a quality of life that nobody can put into words. It’s just very surreal and I feel very blessed that God allowed me to get to this point to be able to share my good news and hopefully one of you all will learn that there is a kinder way to medicate and something much safer.

DEAN BECKER: Yours is somewhat of a unique story but in many ways it is an example of the many ways that people do, in fact, benefit from the use of cannabis. Can you describe to us what your usage is?

DEBBIE WILSON: At this point my high blood sugar is being controlled with cannabis. My chronic wasting disease is being controlled. My post-traumatic headaches are being controlled. 5 different types of seizure types are being controlled - my anxiety, my anti-depressant and my PTSD.

I am not on any pain meds. I’m down to one rescue medicine a day - off of 40 pills a day in 4 years.

DEAN BECKER: What particular cannabis strains or is it oil or cookies? How do you use it?

DEBBIE WILSON: For me I need a higher THC for my Grand Mal seizures and this is going to be different for everybody. I want to stress that. For my partial complex clusters I need a high CBD. I use AC/DC. It’s a 22% CBD to less than 1% THC. I take it in a capsule form. I have no gall bladder and no colon so I was finding any of the oils were too much on my stomach and I was going to have to go back into diapers so I was able to call pharmaceutical companies and talk to scientists and they came up with the idea of using a capsule to help protect me from the side effects and that did the trick.

Today twice a day I take an epilepsy medicine and twice a day I take raw cannabis in a capsule as my neuro-enhancer and that allows me to think, to be able to have memory, to concentrate, to focus, to walk without a gate. The neuro enhancer...now they suspect I have CTE which is what the NFL players and the college players that have had a lot of repeated concussions. With Grand Mal seizures my son has said he’s stopped counting at 25 loss of consciousness concussions as a result of seizures so I am a suspected CTE patient. For 7 months now I’ve been able to maintain on this medicine and I thought I was already gone when I could not even make my own cup of coffee anymore. Every time I make my own cup of coffee I am so proud that I can do it because that neuro enhancer is helping me cognitively that much.

There’s one other thing I want to say. Being a brain injury survivor is...I have lost a parent, a child and a spouse prior to getting injured when I was 35. The loss of self is one of the hardest losses in the world. You never stop competing with that old you and you’re never as good again no matter how much you try. Brain damage is brain damage.

Can we adapt? Can we get around it? Absolutely. The brain is an awesome organ. Is it easy? Absolutely not. We lose most family and most friends. I can honestly say in 25 years of traumatic brain injury there’s never been a medicine that gave me back my overall of well-being until medical cannabis and I have peace of mind and well-being and those are two things no medicine ever gave me.

DEAN BECKER: Is there a website you might want to recommend and some closing thoughts?

DEBBIE WILSON: My neurology and medical cannabis website is called Neurology and CBD and my name is Debbie Wilson. That’s a page for patients and professionals alike to learn the science behind medical cannabis and why so many of us believe it’s changed our life miraculously.


AARON JUSTISS: My name is Aaron Justiss. I am the president of Buds and Roses Collective in Los Angeles.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us a little bit about Buds and Roses. What do you guys do?

AARON JUSTISS: We’re a medical cannabis dispensary. We’ve been operating there since 2006. We provide safe access to medical cannabis patients in the state of California.

I think that conservatives are coming around. I think that the entire country is coming around quicker than I even would expect. It’s about to be acceptable to use it as medicine and people believe that it is medicine and also to use it just recreationally or at your leisure. I think people all over are accepting it and it’s kind of a boom in a bubble right now in the media. I think that it will go on for a while but then it will probably just calm down and be a part of normal society.

I believe greatly in the cause from sick people having access to the medicine but also to stop arresting people for using this because there are so many states that it is still highly illegal in where people are going to jail every day. There are plenty of people in prison right now for it. It’s kind of like a lot people in this industry say, “Once you know you have to go out there and spread the word and do something about it.”

It’s great to have dispensaries and to have safe access for some people but the entire War on Drugs...we need complete drug law reform because it’s the new “Jim Crow” for minorities and it’s hurts our society tremendously.

This is just the beginning, hopefully, of the laws of prohibition falling.

You can check us out on http://facebook.com/budsandroses or Instagram, Twitter...visit us in Studio City on Ventura Blvd.

I just want to say thank you, Dean, for all the great work that you do, for the great book that you wrote and just keep it up. We need you.


PHILIPPE LUCAS: My name is Philippe Lucas. I’m vice president of Patient Research and Services for Tilray, a federally authorized medical producer in Canada.

Canada was one of the first nations to introduce medical marijuana laws dating back to 2001 in a program called the MMAR. Over the last 3 years after numerous court challenges that found the old program to be unconstitutional Health Canada has been working to put in place a new program that decentralizes essentially the responsibility for medical marijuana away from Ottawa and Health Canada and uses more of a market-based approach for the distribution and production of cannabis.

Under the new MMPR which came into full effect on May 1st, 2014 there are now a number of licensed producers in Canada. There is currently about 13 that have been licensed already and about 600 applications apparently that Health Canada is still considering. This creates, of course, a significant increase in options for patients and it’s a big counterpoint to the 10 year monopoly that one company had from 2003 until 2013 through a license through Health Canada. They were producing a single strain of cannabis. It was being used by at or around 10% of the federally authorized patients. It was never a particularly popular supply. We think this is a great step forward.

The MMPR would take away the individual patients, like myself, the right to grow our own cannabis. That was the intention of the program. I think it was meant to address concerns from police and from local municipalities that had various concerns around having grow ops in residential areas.

Since the implementation or right before the implementation of the MMPR there was an injunction court hearing that took place. It was led by a lawyer named John Conroy on behalf of a number of patients that led to an injunction against that part of the MMPR so as it currently stands we have a parallel system going on. We’ve got licensed producers, large-scale licensed producers like Tilray that I work with that are producing and distributing cannabis to patients as well as individuals being able to continue to produce their own cannabis.

For me, personally, and I think I speak for Tilray in this as well anything that increases options to patients is something that we are going to support and that includes patients retaining the right to produce their own cannabis.

Right now Tilray the facility that we have is going to have 50,000 square feet of production space. It’s a 60,000 square feet facility in total. We intend to produce about 15,000 pounds per year of cannabis out of that production facility which should be good to supply the needs of 4,000 - 8,000 Canadians.

We intend to break ground on another facility sometime this summer that would be 200,000 square feet of production space which should be able to meet any and all the needs of Canadian patients that choose to let us supply their cannabis.

In British Columbia our southern neighbors, Washington State, we’re just a stone’s throw away from Colorado so there is no doubt in my mind that the legalization initiatives there have created a real significant impact on Canadian policy considerations.

It’s long been argued by Ottawa and our federal government that Canada could never consider decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis because the US would never stand for it or allow for it but now that we’ve got 2 states that have led the way and a number more who are coming up in the next mid-term election and even more so in the upcoming presidential election that are going to legalize, regulate adult use of cannabis I think that will bring Canada one step closer.

Within Canada itself our current federal government is certainly opposed to any liberalization of our drug laws. In fact they have gone out of their way to increase the penalties for cannabis use and some other substances as well but we’ve got the leader of the current Liberal party, Justin Trudeau, the son of a former prime minister, that’s openly advocating for regulated, adult legal access. I think that that’s a real game changer for Canadian politics.

It’s interesting I’ve been invited to present to the House of Commons Health Committee on Tuesday - a last minute invitation. I’ll be flying to Ottawa and presenting to our parliament. What I’m saying to them is what I’m saying to “ma and pa” in Canada and America as well. Despite the fears that remain around the use of cannabis and the legalization of cannabis and the impact that might have on public health...my particular area of study is cannabis substitution.

In cannabis substitution effect and all the research around it suggests that if we did see a modest increase in cannabis use around legalization then we would also see a subsequent decline in the use of illicit substances and in the use of alcohol as well as in the problematic aspects of that including drinking and driving, domestic violence, and property damage.

In other words, from a net public health perspective an increase in the use of cannabis might lead to a reduction in the problematic use of all of these other substances and be, from a public health perspective and a public safety perspective, a net benefit.

I think more than anything else I would suggest that cannabis can clearly be a safer alternative for adults in terms of an intoxicant than alcohol and other substances and I strongly suspect that if we move forward to increasing access either by de-penalizing it or by legalizing access that we’re going to see a net public health benefit.

DEAN BECKER: Hold on. I want to keep this rolling so bear with me on this. I want to share this with you...

PHILIPPE LUCAS: Sure and I just want to say that if anyone wants...

DEAN BECKER: I’m here and want you to shake my hand. Yesterday made 29 years without alcohol. Today’s the 29 years and 1 day....

PHILIPPE LUCAS: Congratulations.

DEAN BECKER: And it underscores what you are saying about the substitution because I smoke pot every day but I ain’t been in jail since I quit drinking.

PHILIPPE LUCAS: [laughing] That’s great - really nice to hear and that’s my personal experience as well. When I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1995 I used cannabis initially to help me quit drinking and smoking cigarettes. I’ve heard that over and over again by patients who suffer from HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C who have gone through injection drug use. They’ve used cannabis ultimately to stay away from these potentially more dangerous substances so I think that’s the experience of so many people in America and Canada right now. Not only can cannabis have therapeutic potential in and of itself and treat chronic pain and otherwise but it may also be an exit drug to problematic substance use.

If anyone would like to have more information on Tilray and what we are doing they contact us through the website at http://www.tilray.ca


(Game show music)

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

Dehumanization, solitude, degradation, deprivation, dehydration, starvation, injury, humiliation, torture, suffocation, untimely teenage deaths…

{{{ gong }}}

Time’s up!

The answer: is not a drug…it is drug treatment. Tough love.


DEAN BECKER: The following comes to us from ABC - that’s the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


ANCHOR: Now the community’s approach to drugs and drug addiction from law enforcement to health is a difficult and contentious topic but that issue is going to be discussed at a forum in Adelia tonight looking at young people’s use of drugs and their attitude towards them.

One of those attending will be Nick Palmer, former commissioner of the Australian Federal Police and currently director at the think tank Australia 21. He joins us now from Adelia.

Nick Palmer, very good to talk to you. Good morning.

NICK PALMER: Good morning, Virginia, nice to talk to you.

ANCHOR: The starting point for this forum this evening is that Australia’s drug policies are not working. Why do you think that is?

NICK PALMER: The purpose of today’s forum really is to sort of engage in a national discussion with young Australians with what they think about the current illicit drugs policy in Australia but the evidence seems to me from my experience that it is clearly demonstrable that a primarily law enforcement approach to drugs (a prohibitionist response, if you like) simply hasn’t worked.

Prices are lower. They are still freely available. We victimize users. We criminalize users and, in many cases, despite the best efforts of policing (and policing is probably more effective now than it ever has been) we haven’t made much of a difference. In fact, we haven’t made really any positive difference at all. We’ve created more harm and damage than we have benefit.

ANCHOR: What do you mean by “created more harm and damage” by that law enforcement approach?

NICK PALMER: We’ve given the profits to organized criminals and frequently very violent criminals. We’ve caused young people (because young people are the most prevalent drug users) to have to buy it in backyard environments from people so they don’t the quality and the source of the drugs themselves. We’ve caused them to be arrested and then convicted of criminal offenses for simple use and possession which impact on the career prospects and travel prospects.

We cause young people to not be likely to tell family and friends because it is illegal to take and use. A whole range of reasons I think of why the current policy really is flawed and at least requires an open debate.

ANCHOR: It sounds like your heading towards wanting to have a discussion about decriminalizing some aspects of the current illicit drug regime. Is that where your thinking is?

NICK PALMER: Well, I think it needs to be considered. I think we couldn’t possibly be happy and almost no country in the world is with the current prohibitionist approach to illicit drug policy. We need to have a really genuine discussion about what we can realistically do to improve the state of play. Phased decriminalization is one aspect of that discussion.

ANCHOR: Can you describe for me from your experience just how you imagine such a decriminalized environment would look like? What specifically are you thinking of?

NICK PALMER: I think we need to continue the journey we’ve started with cannabis where in 5 jurisdictions now up to a certain level of quantity the issue has either been, in a sense, decriminalized in that no action is taken or cautions are issued and so on.

I think we can more carefully access (and many places now are including states in the United States) the decriminalization of cannabis. We’ll need to proceed carefully. I don’t have any “silver bullet” as to where the final boundaries of where all this should be. I just know that what we’ve got is nowhere near as good as it should be and we really need to consider the ways by which we can make the approach a health and safety approach rather than a law enforcement approach.

A primary focus on law enforcement has no chance of solving this problem.

ANCHOR: Just recently the Prime Minister said, “The War on Drugs is not a war we will ever finally win. The War on Drugs is a war that you can lose. You may not ever win it but you’ve got to always fight it.”

Do you agree?

NICK PALMER: Well I think it depends on the way you fight it. I think to continue to fight it in the way we’ve fought it in the last 20, 30, 40 or 50 years, frankly, is nonsensical. We’ve made no impact at all. Policing is now a better resource, better equipped, probably more effective than it’s ever been. As you know from TV coverage and front newspaper headlines we’ve had huge seizures of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines - the reality is we don’t dent the market, Virginia.

ANCHOR: You don’t make a dent in the market but that’s the approach to the war so-called that Tony Ebert and others are talking about. You’re saying that that’s a lost cause now?

NICK PALMER: I think it’s a lost cause. I really do. I think if you view the history you find many politicians that generally have to say before they take power or after they retire admit very openly the very same things. Some very prominent Australians have come to this same conclusion including people like David Cameron - very publically over the past 10 or 15 years – and I think they are right.

I’m not an advocate for drug use. I think drugs are ...I’d love to see no drugs in the community. I think they are harmful but I think the current approach just simply doesn’t work and we need to be prepared to have a rethink.

ANCHOR: Just recently the Australian Crime Commissions 11th report on illicit drugs showed that methamphetamine or ice is becoming a pandemic in Australia as it has become overseas. Just thinking again about your decriminalizing approach how would that work with that drug?

NICK PALMER: As I said there is no “silver bullet” but it’s not working now if it’s a pandemic. What we’ve got is not working. I think...in Colorado and Washington in the United States, Uruguay in South America and other countries that move in a phased way towards legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis with a view to regulating and taxing its supplies so people who want to purchase drugs (and obviously be encouraging people not to) know the quality of drugs. They are getting it from a reputable source. The profits are going out to social programs and not into the pockets of organized criminals. That’s showing a tendency to move people away from other illicit drugs.

How successful that will be only time will tell but to stay where we are on the basis that if we let go it will simply get worse seems to me is nonsensical. We are not learning lessons from the past.

ANCHOR: So at this stage you’re not thinking in terms of formally producing and taxing drugs such as ice?

NICK PALMER: No, not for a minute. We are saying there needs to be a really open and flexible debate/discussion. People need to genuinely consider the options and then very slowly unravel what is presently the current state of affairs.

ANCHOR: Let’s look at a different approach. John Ryan from the illegal drug research body the Penington Institute said...and I guess it is similar to what you are saying in that we can’t expect governments to solve this problems. He said, “We need to have an honest, factual and realistic conversation at family level about drug use. We need to be honest about these and skill up family members so they can better deal with problems within their families.”

Is that an approach that would work better?

NICK PALMER: Yeah, that’s part of the approach and I think it’s a very positive part of the initiative. It’s really the aim of today to get a group of year 10, 11, 12 students and young university students and just have a think tank discussion about what they see as the issues, what ideas they have, what options they would put forward.

We’ve got to get engaged with the community on this and just really get a better understanding. The fear factor really governs politics and whether or not they make any differences.

I remember reading an article by the prime minister of Luxemburg who said, “We all know what to do about drugs we just don’t know how to get elected after we’ve done it.”

I think that’s sums up the reality, frankly.

ANCHOR: That’s so interesting because I was just about to say you guys sound so different when you are out of your former roles. As head of the AFP I would never have heard you say stuff like this but here you are today.

NICK PALMER: I said some of it but not quite as forceful.

ANCHOR: [laughing] Really good to talk to you this morning. We wish you well with that discussion and let’s check in again once you’ve had it because just a crime figures show just last week it is a devastating situation for communities here in Australia.

Thank you.


DEAN BECKER: After hearing that I can’t help but think back to that movie “Traffic” with Michael Douglas starring as the drug czar and after his daughter gets caught up in whoring for heroin and so forth he stands at the podium and says something like, “I can’t do this anymore.” And walks away from the job of drug czar.

I wish they would all walk away because none of them can really do anything about this except legalize, control, regulate for adult use. Lock up anybody that sells it to our kids. That’s the only answer.

On a happier note this morning I woke up to see that the Houston Chronicle had a big quarter page spread about my new book, “To End the War On Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press and Public”. They mentioned that I am going to be at a book signing at River Oaks Book Club this coming Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m.

This is all well and good but I can’t change things by writing a book. You can’t change things by reading my book but you can change things when you take the information contained therein and you call up your elected official including our current drug czar, the ill-informed Michelle Leonhart.

Folks, we got to end this drug war. There’s too much destruction, too much corruption and no results to speak of. Indeed, what is the benefit of drug war? If you can think of an answer, a legitimate answer that benefit society, that benefits civilization I’d be glad to put you on the air. You can contact me dean@drugtruth.net.

Otherwise I urge you to do your part to end this madness, to stand up and proclaim this drug war to be a complete fraud.

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


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

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT Houston.

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.

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