03/06/15 Ricky Ross

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Freeway Ricky Ross, war hero Thomas Mundell, Tom O'Connel cannabis MD, RABBITS, Mathew Shoemaker

Audio file


MARCH 6, 2015


DEAN BECKER: Once again from San Francisco and the International Cannabis Business Conference, this is Cultural Baggage. I'm Dean Becker. Today, we have an interview with Freeway Ricky Ross and my medical marijuana doctor, Tom O'Connell. Stay tuned for more reasons for you to help end the madness of eternal drug war.

All right, it's very seldom I get the chance to dig into what's been considered to be a great conspiracy here in America. Mr. Gary Webb brought it forward to our attention and then was demonized for having done so. But here to give us the skinny on that is Mr. Freeway Ricky Ross. But now, Ricky, you were sentenced to life for, uh, your shenanigans back in the day, correct?

RICK ROSS: Yes, I was.

DEAN BECKER: There was a situation developed that allowed you to get out after about 20 years?

RICK ROSS: Yes, there was. It was discovered that the CIA was responsible for kicking off the crack cocaine era.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and that's what Gary Webb was trying to report, and people were just denying that he was, they told everybody he was a liar, but that's not true, is it?

RICK ROSS: No. The CIA later admitted that they did know that these guys were selling drugs. But they didn't sanction it, but they knew that their army was selling drugs.

DEAN BECKER: During your span of selling that cocaine, that you sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth, and they say by today's number it could be two and a half billion dollars worth. Any truth to those numbers?

RICK ROSS: Yeah. I sold, I sold, for my last two years, at least a million dollars every day and I had days that I went as high as three million dollars, and all in between.

DEAN BECKER: Now Ricky, the thing is, we have invested a hundred years into this drug war from the passage of the Harrison Act in 1914. Have we done any good?

RICK ROSS: Oh, I think it's worse than it's ever been. You know, cocaine is at its all-time low, you know, it's readily available, on any street corner you go on. So I think the drug war has failed miserably. We have more people in prison than anybody in the world, I think we have like 2.2 or 2.3 million people in prison, and 65 percent of those people were nonviolent drug offenders. So I think that the war on drugs has failed. I think it's time we rethink the concept behind it.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. And the fact of the matter is, they keep saying, you know, in Mexico they busted the Sinaloa Cartel or the Gulf Cartel, or some cartel in Colombia or Nicaragua, and that somehow that's going to make a difference, but it never does, does it?

RICK ROSS: It never does, you know, when they bust up one organization, ten small organizations take over and then they start fighting over the same turf that this one organization ran, and a lot of times, the one organization that's in charge, run it without any violence. But when you bring a bunch of little guys in who don't have the control, then that's when all the violence break out.

DEAN BECKER: And, it's my understanding that most of the mechanism to maintain their power lies in their involvement, their complicity, with the local police forces, and judges, and prosecutors. Right?

RICK ROSS: Absolutely, most of the time. It's rooted with, with the political aspect of society.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Ricky, I have, I've lived in Houston for 50 years. We've had a situation where a guy got busted for taking a hit off a joint, because some narcs were passing it around. He got 10 years for that. It's such a preposterous, uh, jihad they're waging on the people of America, isn't it?

RICK ROSS: It is. Just the other day I was in San Bernardino and I met two young ladies, couldn't be more than 25, maybe 23 years old, and they told me that they both were facing prison time for selling marijuana. And I was like, wow, you mean they put, and these were young white girls too, so, that they would put them in prison, you know, I mean, they look as innocent as Snow White. You know, so if you would put somebody like that in prison, it shows me how far that this war on drugs has went, it's now past the black community, where they was locking up us, now they're starting to lock up everybody because they can't fill their jails fast enough, they've got beds they need filled.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. And I, again, we have the same situation in Houston, we've got a law on the books that says for under four ounces of weed, no longer necessary to arrest anybody, don't have to put them in jail, just write them a ticket, come to court next Tuesday. But the fact of the matter is in nearly every county in Texas, they continue to use the old law: lock them up, tow their car, and force them to get a PR bond. It's a horrible situation, just nation wide, isn't it?

RICK ROSS: Yeah it is, it is, you know, and one of the things that, you know, I salute Gary Webb for is that he stopped that forfeiture law here in California and in a lot of other places, where, he made it so if they don't find you guilty, well they can't take your car anymore. You know, before they could catch you – I mean, they didn't even have to catch you with nothing, just a cop say that he smelled weed in your car and they could forfeit your car, and you go to trial and the judge'd say oh, they don't have enough evidence and throw the case out, well, you still lose your car. And Gary Webb is one of the ones who got that reversed, and – we have to salute him, and it's time for us all to wake up and be courageous as Gary was.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. And sadly, for standing so tall, he was chopped down by so many at every opportunity, wasn't he?

RICK ROSS: Well, you know, yeah, the whole journalist community went against Gary. I don't know anybody stood up for him, you know, the LA Times went against him, the New York Times, Washington Post, and it was tragic that all these people who are supposed to report the truth caved in and went on the side of the government.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Ricky, insofar as that situation I was talking about in Houston, where they continue to, in Texas continue to lock people up. In Houston, Harris County, they have a situation where they release about 5 percent of the people busted with weed through a public recognizance bond. In Austin, they release about 95 percent, and what I've discovered is in Houston, the judges get their main contributions for reelection from the bail bondsman, which means it's an endless loop. Your thoughts on that, sir.

RICK ROSS: Well, I think that that should be illegal, for a bail bondsman to lobby a judge, because it becomes a conflict of interest. Now the judge is not, his interest is not to serve society but his interest become to make money for the bail bondsman, which in return makes money for himself, and it's almost like UniCor, you know, the way they run UniCor. UniCor's traded on Wall Street, but the only people that can invest in UniCor are officers of the government, normal citizens can't do it. So that leads these people to want to give people more time, because it secures their investment.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Well, Ricky, I know that – when did you get out of prison, how recent?

RICK ROSS: I got out in 2009, I just got off parole though, like 5 months ago, 6 months ago.

DEAN BECKER: Now, and I know that you are working with organizations to educate, motivate, our kids, right?

RICK ROSS: Absolutely, absolutely. I think that our kids have to become critical thinkers. I believe that our kids can't think for themselves, and, you know, our kids don't just go out and take rat poison and stuff like that because they want to be drug addicts or they want to kill themselves. But, I believe they use certain drugs because they don't have the information, the knowledge that they need to make a logical decision. So I think that what we should be doing is taking this money that we're using to incarcerate and use it for education, where our kids now can make logical decisions, they can sit down, they can analyze the situation, and say you know what, I want to be part of this situation and not part of that one.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. You kind of bring to mind a thought that irks me really bad, and that is like in Alaska, where the native American kids can't afford $400 an ounce marijuana, so they huff glue and other aerosols, and many of them wind up retarded and otherwise a burden on society. It is the prohibition that creates problems like that, isn't it?

RICK ROSS: Absolutely. You know, prohibition didn't work for alcohol, it didn't work for tobacco, and it won't work for cannabis, or cocaine or nothing. You can't keep drugs out of this country. A guy OD'd at Lompoc, which was a maximum security penitentiary, inside the hole, so he was inside of a prison that was inside of the prison, and he was able to get enough drugs in there to OD, so, we can't win this with incarceration, we have to win it with education.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed, my friend. Now, that's really the heart of it, that this prohibition corrupts. It corrupts prison guards, it corrupts cops on the street, it corrupts so many people – it corrupts the medical field for that matter. It is a, just a huge detriment to society, right?

RICK ROSS: Absolutely. And you figure if it can corrupt those people, how hard is it to corrupt a 16 year old, a 17 year old, even a 20 year old kid who don't really have an opportunity, who doesn't see an opportunity for themselves. So it's up to all of us to really really focus on what we're doing and really try to educate as many people as we can.

DEAN BECKER: And Ricky, it's good that you have a job, an effort, a reason these days, to stand tall again, and I appreciate that. But for so many people, once they get that strike, that record, of that drug arrest, it complicates, forestalls a lot of progress in life for those people, doesn't it?

RICK ROSS: Oh absolutely. You know, you have to check the box on every application that you fill out, saying that you do have a conviction. And you also have to tell them when did you get it, and just other things about you that, in my opinion, would hamper you from getting a job.

DEAN BECKER: Well, maybe Gary Webb wasn't a hundred percent right, but he was pretty close, wasn't he?

RICK ROSS: Yeah, and I think that the key point, you know, that Gary was trying to make is that the CIA definitely knew or supported these guys selling drugs, and I think that those are the points that was overlooked. You know, people tried to put stuff in his mouth, that he said that the CIA specifically targeted the African-American community. I had never saw where he said that, but that's what wind up happening anyway, even if they didn't purposely try to do it, it wind up happening.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Ricky, look, I want to commend you for the new focus you have, the attempt to help end this madness of drug war. Is there a website, some closing thoughts you might like to share with the listeners?

RICK ROSS: Well, they can get me @FreeWayRicky on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, also they can go get my book on RickRossBooks.com, they can get it on Amazon, Kindle, and Nook. And, you know, tweet me, facebook me, you know what I'm saying, and make sure y'all get the book. Thank you.

DEAN BECKER: Next, we hear from Mr. Cheech Marin.

CHEECH MARIN: This is America. You get to criticize the government in this country. You get to say I think these guys are ridiculous. It's guaranteed in the very first amendment to the Constitution. It's what this country was founded on. You get to do that by being an American.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects. Yellow eyes, vomiting, black tarry stools, cloudy urine, fever with chills, sores, ulcers or white spots on lips and mouth, unusual bleeding. Time's up! The answer: another FDA-approved product, Acetaminophen.

The following testimony was delivered this week to the Missouri legislature by Thomas W. Mundell. He's a former member of the US Army, serving as an aeroscout gunner on hunter/killer assault teams, performing search and destroy missions in operations from Vietnam to Afghanistan. During his military career he received the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Air Medal for Valor, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, four Purple Hearts. Thomas W. Mundell.

THOMAS MUNDELL: Post-traumatic stress disorder. I have not met one veteran, and I have not met one individual, they all have a very distinct opinion that marijuana does reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder unbelievably. And, for someone that's been shot down 11 times, spent 17 months in the hospital, fought from Vietnam, three tours in Nam, four years in Iran, two years in Iraq, seventeen months in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I'll be the last one on earth to say I don't have a little bit of PTSD, but at least I have emotions now, and, that's something I didn't have when I was fighting, when I was a warrior, because I just, you just can't do what I did for a living and really have emotions and do your job right, you've just got to do it and deal with it later.

My daughter's mother found me, out in the garden one night, at 3 o'clock in the morning. I guess I was going through some kind of stupid head trip, that I've always tried to hide from everybody. And, I thought she was putting a cigarette in my mouth, and I pushed her away, I said get that out of my mouth. And she goes, Tom, you're dying. Something's going wrong, you need to relax. Please, just try this. I did, and for the first time in a long time, I started doing what I'm doing right now. I got emotional. I started caring, not only for others but myself.

It really relaxed me, and at that time, I will admit to you all here right now, I was on 71 pills a day. I was taking 41 in the morning and 30 at night. And I take 3 now. I'm not going to admit to anything else. And, so see, I've really come out of the closet on this one. But I felt that I needed to step up and be a man, and be a leader.

DEAN BECKER: [music] War is peace, peace is war, a hundred years of prohibition needs a hundred years more. We got to fund the terrorists and gangs, to save the kids, we got to do the same damn thing. [music ends]

Every week, more news is breaking about the hypocrisy of these drug laws, especially in regards to marijuana, it seems to be everywhere. And here to fill us in a little bit more is my medical marijuana doctor, from San Francisco, Dr. Tom O'Connell. How are you, sir?

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: I'm pretty well for a guy my age.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, again, stupid question. Tom, if you will kind of give us your taking of the pulse of what's going on in this drug war, maybe in regards to marijuana.

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: It's a gradual decriminalization, sort of state by state over time. We have a reform movement which is attempting to roll back, primarily, the marijuana laws. And it is state by state, by, either by initiative or by action of legislature. So it shows a tremendous unrecognized market for marijuana is out there, for legalization, and it's being resisted by the federal government.

DEAN BECKER: Tom, states across the country are starting to legalize and even Washington, DC, has now put forward a marijuana legalization effort. Do you want to talk about things in DC?

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: Well, that's particularly interesting. I haven't talked yet to Rabbi Kahn, but, he's the one who opened the, as far as I know, one existing dispensary, so-called. His website is very interesting because it indicates that both he and his family have benefited from cannabis, and they're very upfront about their support of medical marijuana, and they're sharing the same small territory with Barack Obama, who's the chief executive of the United States, technically the boss of the DEA. So we've got two extremes concentrated in one small area.

You know the fact that Obama is Kahn's neighbor, so to speak, is very interesting, because President Obama himself was a beneficiary of cannabis, he's the only president we've ever had to admit in print his own adolescent use, and he was a member of the Choom Gang in Hawaii, he was an avid toker. As far as I know, he's the only president who's ever admitted to being a head for a while, substantial –

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and even taking roof hits, as I recall.

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: A roof hit is when the smoke collects, you know, in the roof in the car, and you don't want to waste any, so you stretch up and get the last little bit of smoke. He was, he was a pretty avid user as an adolescent and young adult.

DEAN BECKER: As I mentioned earlier, Tom, you are my medical marijuana doctor when I'm out in California. And you have how many thousands of patients over the years?

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: Well, my database has a little over 7,200 applicants. Now they're separate individuals, and I didn't ask all of them the same questions, because I didn't see all of them multiple times. But I've collected data from all of them solely because they were marijuana users and wanted to take advantage of California law.

DEAN BECKER: Tom, I hear, oh I don't know, the naysayers saying oh my god, they're getting a marijuana recommendation for heartburn or headaches, how dare they, when the fact of the matter is we've got, you know, pepto-bismol and bayer aspirin, and nobody cries about people using that. Your thought there, Tom

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: These naysayers are kneejerk supporters of Nixon's law. What 215 in California did in 1996, it allowed doctors to talk to patients who were using pot, and as I learned that all of my applicants were pot users I began questioning them in considerable detail. And I've got a lot of data that is unknown to the federal government, they've got their eyes closed and their ears plugged, because they're committed to supporting Nixon's law, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. an incredibly stupid law, it shouldn't have passed muster.

When it was enacted, the conditions for schedule 1: dangerous, not defined; habit forming, not defined. And the third condition is of no recognized use in American medicine. Now, medicine isn't frozen in time or space, it changes from month to month, year to year. So these conditions themselves are laughably stupid, and why they were accepted and have been accepted since 1970 is beyond belief to me.

DEAN BECKER: Tom, most people don't realize that cocaine is not in schedule 1 with marijuana, neither is morphine. They have been designated schedule 2 and are in active use in clinics and hospitals around this country, correct?

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: Yeah, but their use is highly restricted. Again, that's consistent with the Controlled Substances Act, which makes certain items absolutely forbidden, prohibited. And the number, the list of substances on schedule 1 has grown by the year, and now includes certain analogues.

DEAN BECKER: Tom, we had a recent story break here in the Houston area, that a young man ingested what they called quote synthetic LSD. And the man, you know, the young man died. It just seems a preposterous to talk about synthetic LSD, or synthetic marijuana. There's really no such thing, is there?

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: Well, there is in the sense that there are new molecules, the molecular chemists are very clever these days. They can come out with molecules that give, provide similar effects without being the underlying substance it was. So for example, spice drug is synthetic cannabis. And the advantage it has is, it provides similar effects but you won't test positive, and that's a strong selling point for people who are subject to recurring testing or routine testing.

But these are dangerous. They're produced by molecular chemists who are trying to make money, and are not subject to the usual standards of medicine. So it's a whole new unknown area which was literally created by the law, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which was Nixon's creation. He did it very quickly. He was being pressured by people who wanted the troops home from Vietnam, and in the midst of all that the Warren court struck down the Marijuana Tax Act, so it left Nixon without a way to punish the people he knew were using marijuana.

So this new law was concocted in a hurry. And as I said earlier, it doesn't pass muster, just from ordinary logical analysis, but yet it's been enshrined as not only US policy but through the UN, it's world policy. So it's a very sad commentary on the state of our species, that this law has remained in effect, doing incredible damage for decades. What it will take to change it, I'm not really sure.

DEAN BECKER: And the fact is that, it's all a belief in a system put forward by a man who was so inept that we drove him out of office. Correct?

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: Well, he wasn't inept, he was clever, but he outdid himself.

DEAN BECKER: Is there a particular point you'd like to make in closing here?

DR. TOM O'CONNELL: Well, you know, we're still shackled by Nixon's 1970 Controlled Substance Act, which has done untold damage. It's created new markets for new products that are more dangerous than the ones listed in schedule 1. And the worst crime of all is that marijuana, which is now becoming progressively better studied, year by year, turns out to be an incredibly useful medicine, which is not understood either by its supporters. We're a planet in trouble.

DEAN BECKER: All right, that was Dr. Tom O'Connell, he's in his 80s, recently had some invasive surgery, and he's stepping down as a medical marijuana doctor. I want to thank him for his service to, well, the community and to the nation through his work in educating us to the harms of drug prohibition. Thank you, Doctor Tom.

The reverend Pat Robertson.

PAT ROBERTSON: God gave you and me as human beings authority. He gave us dominion over everything on this earth: over all the animals, all the plants, all the vegetables. Marijuana is a vegetable, and yet people are enslaved to vegetables. Why would you become a slave to a vegetable?

DEAN BECKER: With the help of Monty Python, I'd like to relay to you the latest government objection to the legalization of marijuana.


JOHN CLEESE: Too late. There he is. Oh, that's no ordinary rabbit. That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on.

DEAN BECKER: The Washington Post reports that DEA agent Matt Fairbanks is deeply concerned about the impact of marijuana on our nation's flowers, fauna, and rabbits.

MATT FAIRBANKS: Marijuana grows with rabbits, that had cultivated marijuana, where one of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone.

PYTHON MOVIE: Run away, run away, run away, run away!

PAT ROBERTSON: God almighty can delivery you from the bondage of your addiction, your slavery to vegetables, he can set you free.

DEAN BECKER: The following segment was recorded in San Francisco at the International Cannabis Business Conference.

MATTHEW SHOEMAKER: I'm Matthew Shoemaker, with Steephill Halent. We're a cannabis analytical laboratory, and we have several labs located throughout the country, and our main lab is in Berkeley right now. But we have labs in Washington, Colorado, and Nevada, and soon to open in New Mexico. We do anything from residual solvents to mold, potency, all sorts, anything that needs to be tested in the medical marijuana industry, we'll do it.

Well, there's great, great medical aspects with CBD, with seizures, and loss of appetite. If you need CBD it helps you a lot.

DEAN BECKER: If you would please, share your website where folks can learn more about the work you guys do.

MATTHEW SHOEMAKER: It's at steephill.com, and it has all our various information on our new genkit, it has our instant potency analysis machine, the Quanticann II, and it also gives great bios of our chemists and chief research officers that work with us.

DEAN BECKER: During this time of eternal war, I find it my somber duty to report the death toll from the drug formerly known as marijuana is zero.

Well, that's about it for this week. I hope you'll join us next week, when we'll have much more from the International Cannabis Business Conference. Please check out this week's Century of Lies show with Doug McVay, it's available at DrugTruth.net. Until then, I remind you, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful!