10/02/15 Doug McVay

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Doug McVay report on 1st legal day in Oregon, Joe Hodek of Dixie Elixer, Steven Gutwillig of DPA, Adrian Kern of Kiva chocolate cannabis, Mike Allen Vs Whole Foods, CBS Houston: 94% for Legalization

Audio file


OCTOBER 2, 2015


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

DR. G. ALAN ROBISON: It is not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally un-American.

CROWD: 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.

Hello, my friends, welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. Today was going to be focused again solely on the recent cannabis business conference in LA, but there's stuff happening all across America, especially in Oregon.

October brought legalization to the state of Oregon, and we're lucky to have with us at this time a gentleman from Portland, Oregon, the man who's been producing the Century of Lies program for nigh onto a year now, Mister Doug McVay. What's going on up there, Doug?

DOUG MCVAY: Oh, good day, Dean. It's the first day of legal retail sales for adults here in the state of Oregon, without requiring a medical card. We've had dispensaries here for the last year, and we passed a ballot measure in November of 2014 to set up a legally regulated system for adult use cultivation and possession -- strictly limited, but some cultivation and possession. And also regulated, licensed retail sales. The state is still trying to figure out how to do the retail sales end, they handed it over to the liquor commission so it's taking a very long time, and to get an early start, the state decided to allow the licensed, registered dispensaries around the state to opt in to an early start on the adult use retail sales.

A small handful of communities around the state decided to ban that early start, just ten counties, most of them in rural areas, a lot of them in the eastern part of the state, and two cities, one of them actually in the Portland metropolitan area, the city of Gresham, have opted out. But the rest of the state, there are a couple of hundred dispensaries that have decided to opt in on the adult use retail side.

DEAN BECKER: Doug, you mentioned the early implementation of this policy, and I would like to think that it's a sign that the positive benefits being shown in Colorado and Washington state gave the politicians the courage to move a little quicker. What's your thought?

DOUG MCVAY: The legislature decided that we would go ahead and have this early start. They wanted to have an early start right when the possession and cultivation of small amounts became legal, which was July First. They decided to wait on that in order to give communities the opportunity to opt out of this early start, so they put it off until October First. No edibles, no concentrates or extracts, only the basic, your basic dried flowers or plants, starts that is, or seeds, may be purchased. Quantities are limited to a quarter of an ounce per person per dispensary, I mean you could go from dispensary to dispensary, there's no tracking at that level by name, but you know, you can go to a dispensary on a single day and purchase up to a quarter of an ounce of cannabis. That's partly to make sure that the patients still have a supply, otherwise there was a concern that adult use customers would come in and buy out the whole store, and leave patients basically, well, dry. Not high and dry, I guess, just dry.

Oh, Oregon has had a very long and very close association with marijuana, for decades it was one of the leading states in the United States for marijuana cultivation. We have some very fine strains that come out of this state. Growers here are organized and they're very good, they're very proficient. One of the concerns that the legislature had was that, at least for the retail market, they wanted to be sure that we understood what we were doing as far as edibles and these extracts or oils would be concerned, concentrates. So part of the delay really has to do with the implementation of rules and regulations, take more time in implementing those rules. Ultimately, there will be availability of these products.

And another reason they're doing it this way now is because that way patients will be able to get the cannabis they need in the form of edibles and the form of extracts and concentrates. Again, it's a balance, we're trying to avoid the problem of the supply being basically eaten up, or taken up by the adult use retail market with patients being left, as I say, not high and dry, but just dry. I should mention that for the time being, between now and the end of the year, there is no tax being imposed on the adult use retail market. We will end up having a sales tax beginning the first of the year, it will be phased in. Initially a 25 percent sales tax, that will be cut eventually to a 17 percent sales tax.

DEAN BECKER: All right, my friends, we've been speaking with my good friend, the producer of the Century of Lies program. Doug, closing thoughts, website, what do you want to share?

DOUG MCVAY: Sure, well, the website, let's say that one first of all. Of course you can find our audio work at DrugTruth.net, subscribe to our podcasts, check out our programs, and also you can find a lot of my work at DrugWarFacts.org. The facts are important in all this drug policy debate, wouldn't have won any of these if it weren't for that, but you know, it's not just the facts, because facts don't win debates. It's the passion, it's getting out there and making people care, and you know, we've had so many years of marijuana prohibition and so many people who have finally just said we've had enough, and they care, and that is, that passion for reform and for social justice is what has finally carried the day. And it's work that you're doing, that I'm doing, and countless, countless others out there. We're finally motivating people and -- you know, hearts and minds, right? It's hearts and minds. The facts? Sure, we got their minds, but somehow, we're finally winning them over, winning over the hearts of the public, and that's where it really matters.

DEAN BECKER: The following is not about legalization. Yet. But it's a story courtesy of CBS Houston.

MIA GRADNEY: A recent poll in Texas shows that fifty percent of people oppose legalizing marijuana, but 57 percent support decriminalization.

LEN CANNON: We've been curious what a lot of you are thinking about the development in Oregon and also about the possibility of legalizing marijuana sales in the Lone Star State.

MIA GRADNEY: Of course, no surprise here, the opinions on this issue are varied and oftentimes passionate.

LEN CANNON: So Doug Miller joins us right now.

MIA GRADNEY: Yeah, Doug, you went out and you talked with people about this. What kind of feedback did you get?

DOUG MILLER: Well, a poll that was conducted just three years ago indicated two thirds of all Texans opposed legalizing marijuana. Well now, those same pollsters went back in the field, asked the same question all over again, and the times they are a-changin'.

We've seen the images from other states, people lighting up after marijuana has been legalized, and that raises the inevitable question: If or when will pot be legalized in Texas? The latest Texas Lyceum Poll indicates the Lone Star State is now roughly split, 46 percent for legalization, and 50 percent against it, the rest either don't know or wouldn't say. But most surveyed Texans favor reducing penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Fifty seven percent for that, 39 percent against.

ANN LEE: Surprised is not really the world for it. Pleased, I think, would be a better word for it.

DOUG MILLER: That's great news for Ann Lee, who founded a group called RAMP, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.

ANN LEE: The thing that bothers me the most, they keep saying because Texas is so conservative is why we've been slow coming to the table on this, and basically, it is not conservative to support marijuana prohibition.

DOUG MILLER: Just because Texans are tilting toward legalization, doesn't mean we'll see people lighting up legally in this state any time soon.

BOB STEIN: We see that people who vote, and show up in these primaries and general elections, they are decidedly much more conservative and against the legalization than their counterparts, who are eligible to vote but for a variety of reasons never show up to vote.

MIA GRADNEY: Okeh, so, if it was legalized here in Texas, what would the state do with the money?

DOUG MILLER: Funny. We're talking about a lot of money, by the way. We're talking about in Colorado last year, they made $44 million off of pot. This year --

LEN CANNON: Austin would like that.

DOUG MILLER: -- they're expected to make $88 million, double it.

LEN CANNON: All right. Doug, thank you.


LEN CANNON: We want to know what you think about our instant poll today, do you think Texas should legalize recreational marijuana? Look at this! Ninety four percent of you are saying Absolutely yes! Do it, light up.

MIA GRADNEY: Okeh, and we have a lot of you of course talking about this on our facebook page. Shawn says Yes, and no. Yes if it's done responsibly, no because there will be more people charged with DUIs than before.

LEN CANNON: And John this to say: everyone that wants marijuana has no problem finding it. If you legalize it and tax it properly you will lower organized crime, take money from the criminals, give it back to the government. Drinking does more harm than smoking weed anyway, should have been legalized decades ago. Got ya. And then finally Brenda says, Yes, it would clear up the criminal justice system to tackle more important issues.

DEAN BECKER: I think what this story shows is that, if the young people who voted 94 percent to legalize would register and vote, well hell, we could get legal weed even in Texas.

Here's another story coming out of Texas that has national implications. We've had him on air before, a man with ideas on bettering our society and I think he's done some of that here very recently, my good friend Mister Mike Allen. You recently had a bit of a duel, if you will, with Whole Foods. Tell us about that situation, Mike.

MIKE ALLEN: We designed our campaign back in, earlier in August, when we decided in certain phases we would go after Whole Foods. In the first phase is, we unleashed a media campaign over social media to where we put a lot of links out to what Whole Foods was doing as far as exploiting prison labor for their own profits. And in the latter part of August we went to Whole Foods and delivered them a divestment letter, demand for divestment, and we told them unless they stop this practice, we would be back in a month, which turned out to be September 26, last Saturday. And we would demonstrate in front of their stores and bring more attention to this practice. And so we did, and it just so happened the night before, Whole Foods corporate office contacted me and said that they would stop that practice.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Mike, let's talk about what that practice was.

MIKE ALLEN: Well, they were contracting with a company out of Colorado, paying workers seventy four cents a day to raise tulapia and to milk goats for their, the fish, some of the fish they sold in their stores and for the goat cheese, goat milk cheese that they sold.

DEAN BECKER: These were prisoners, right? One of these prisoners could work all week and maybe make enough to buy a small jar of peanut butter from the prison commissary, right?

MIKE ALLEN: Yeah, it's pretty shocking, if you think, if you worked five days and you're talking about less than four dollars for five days work, but that's what we're talking about, and as a matter of fact I talked with Colorado CURE today, and they informed me that even though the Colorado Department of Corrections doesn't take out room and board, they do charge them for other things, so there are things that the Department of Corrections in Colorado takes off of the top of this less than four dollars that this man would make for a week's work.

DEAN BECKER: Mike, please, share your website.

MIKE ALLEN: You can reach us at End Mass Incarceration Houston on Facebook. You'll see what we're doing and you can see some of the things that we're into currently.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects. Agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, face chomping, lip eating, heart devouring, brain slurping, ecstasy, suicidality, zombieism. Time’s up! The answer, according to law enforcement, from some crazy-ass chemist somewhere: mephedrone, otherwise known as bath salts.

All right, now we're going to tune into a couple of interviews I did capture in LA at the International Cannabis Business Conference.

JOE HODAS: Hi, Joe Hodas, chief marketing officer at Dixie Brands.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us about the variety of products you provide.

JOE HODAS: You know, that's really one of the key differentiators is the wide variety of products. So we have edibles, topicals, tinctures, and multiple different prototypes in those categories, so anywhere from about, any given time, 20 to 30 different products and about 50 or 60 different SKUs with different flavors against those products, and so that has become a hallmark for Dixie, so that when a consumer goes into a store, they recognize Dixie, they see quality, no matter the product type that they're looking for, so it's more of a, almost like a Proctor & Gamble type strategy for the brand, and it seems to be paying off because we know that people like to consume cannabis in different ways and so we're able to bring a product for everyone, you know, every different desire that people have.

DEAN BECKER: So I'm just going to kind of go left to right here, a bit of, talking about the products. I've picked up a little baggy here, chocolate truffles edibles. Tell us what's contained therein? The dosage therein.

JOE HODAS: Sure. So, the one that you're holding is a, it's 150 milligram per truffle and there's two truffles in the bag. Really design these packages to be something you can see in a high-end chocolate store. But again, these are two 150-milligram edible, truffles rather, in the bag, and this truffle actually was a, a cannabis cup winner a few years ago, so people love, love these truffles. The Colorado Bar is a product that we're actually reformulating for the California market, we'll have a California Bar as well. That's a 100-milligram bar, that is dipped in white chocolate and milk chocolate, and it's a sunflower butter fudge on the inside, and people, you know, love that product in Colorado. We had to actually, we had to actually get rid of that product in Colorado because the regulations changed there a little bit so that product's no longer viable in that market.

DEAN BECKER: Okeh. Next up, I'm looking at a little roll, or a tube, Dixie Rolls edibles. THC infused, 7 times 10 milligrams. So, is that 10 doses? Excuse me, seven doses?

JOE HODAS: Correct, 7 doses at 10 milligrams each. And that's one of the things that we really pride ourselves on, is our ability to do pinpoint accurate dosing through testing. So, you know, we know one of the differences here in the California market is many of the products that you see on the shelf will say a dose, it will say five doses, three doses, but what is a dose, you know? What does that mean to people. So we're more in a standard system of milligram dosage in Colorado that we're trying to leverage here in the market in California, to really clarify exactly how much THC is in a given product.

DEAN BECKER: Now, I'm looking at another bottle, little bottle here, it's what, 8 and a half ounces, it's saying it's 90 milligrams THC infused elixir. What, again, is this, that's enough for a few people, isn't it?

JOE HODAS: It is. Well, it actually, I laugh, I mean, it is, it's enough for a few of me, but there are actually, you know, there are plenty of people who like a 90 milligram or stronger product, and that's why we have a wide variety of different dosages. This particular one, for me that would be, you know, nine servings, essentially, but for other people, they'll drink the whole thing just fine.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we're speaking with Mister Joe Hodas, he's the chief marketing officer of Dixie, not just elixirs, but many good things these days. Here's another container, it's a small, what is that, glass, or aluminum?

JOE HODAS: It's a plastic, but it's made to look aluminum. And it's nice and sturdy as well, with a childproof, resealable childproof lid. This product is called Lifted, and it's actually, it's sort of a shot format, so you would drink this as a shot almost, and it's a 10 milligram product, but it is, it has what we call Dixie Boosted in there, so we've actually included Resveratrol, Quercetin, and D-Ribose as part of the formulation, which increases the uptake so you feel this much more quickly and it's a little bit stronger than a normal 10 milligram product.

DEAN BECKER: Right, doesn't take a full 50 or 60 minutes to hit you. Okeh. And then, there's another here, Lifted, I guess a very similar description, is it one's an upper, and one a downer, or what's the deal?

JOE HODAS: Just different flavors. This one's a chocolate mint, and that one is a, I'm sorry, mint coffee, and that one's a citrus acai.

DEAN BECKER: I'm looking at a big bar, Crispy Cracken from Dixie. It's a crispy crunchy milk chocolate bar. When, this one's non-medicated, but in the dispensaries, what's going to be in there?

JOE HODAS: So, it's, the box actually shows you it's a 180 milligram product, and there's 15 milligrams THC per square, so you can see there's 12, if you saw the bar there's 12 squares in the bar, each one dosed at 15 milligrams. And this one is a milk chocolate, we also have -- oh, the ToastaRooster, which is our dark chocolate bar, the Crispy Cracken has rice crispies, it's a little crunchy. The ToastaRooster is a dark chocolate with toasted pumpkin seeds and Himalayan sea salt.


JOE HODAS: Yeah, it's good stuff.

DEAN BECKER: Sounds great. And then, here's some eye-dropper type containers.

JOE HODAS: That's a tincture. Yep, that's a tincture that is, Synergy is our CBD/THC line, so those are all of our Synergy products are one to one CBD/THC ratio products, so that one particular is cinnamon, it's got THC in it and CBD in a one to one ratio, versus our other tinctures, which you can see right here, and these are straight, these are just THC at 90 milligrams, so, meant to be taken sublingually, put it under the tongue, or you can put it in a drink, add it to tea, whatever you choose to do with it.

DEAN BECKER: All right. And now, here's a bath soap? Tell us about this.

JOE HODAS: So we have a whole line of topicals, our bath soap is one of them. We also have a pain relief lotion, and a balm. All of those act as topicals so they are actually not psychoactive. The bath soap in particular is really just a very relaxing, you know, nice end of the day kind of a product for people.

DEAN BECKER: Yes. Soothe those aching muscles, I suppose. And then, oh, I'm probably skipping a few here, I'm looking at Synergy relief balm. Is this for the aching muscles, arthritis?

JOE HODAS: That's right. And so I mentioned earlier we have the Synergy line, so this again you'll see they're both Synergy, CBD/THC one to one ratios, so this product has CBD as well as THC in it, but mean to be used as a pain balm.

DEAN BECKER: You know, the fact of the matter Joe, I've been talking to a lot of folks today about what they have gained beyond, you know, sales and or, I don't know, a benefit from this new industry, and that is respect, it's that you can stand forth in your community, tell folks what you do, and feel proud of it.

JOE HODAS: I would agree entirely, I mean, in Colorado in particular, I mean, you know, we are part of the fabric of the community. I'm a father of three children, I, you know, all my friends and family know what I do, and you know, I've been a professional for 20 years and this is just my, you know, it's my job, it's what I do.

DEAN BECKER: Here's the website, but what is it?

JOE HODAS: It's DixieElixirs.com

ADRIENNE KERN: I am Adrienne Kern, territory sales manager for LA, and I work for a company called Kiva. It's a medicated gourmet chocolate bar, and we're number one selling edible company in the state of California. We're also in Arizona, and we're looking to expand to other states as well. We only specialize in gourmet artisanal chocolate, so what you're looking at in the display case here is four different flavors of the 180 milligram bar. And we also have the Terrabites. So, the Terrabites are, one is a chocolate covered blueberry, milk chocolate covered blueberry, and the other one is a dark chocolate covered espresso bean. We provide the best tasting chocolate, you can hardly taste the cannabis, which is great patients because they can medicate without that nasty aftertaste. So our products are very consistent and very safe, we triple lab test all of our products, we use cold water extract for, to infuse our chocolates with.

DEAN BECKER: All right, folks, we've been speaking with Adrienne Kern. Website?

ADRIENNE KERN: www.KivaConfections.com.

STEVEN GUTWILLIG: I am Steven Gutwillig, I'm the Deputy Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading organization working to end the drug war.

DEAN BECKER: Steve, we're here in LA at this cannabis business conference. It's amazing to me the diversity, the openness, the willingness, of all of these people, it's something, isn't it?

STEVEN GUTWILLIG: I agree, and it's, it is, I've been to a number of these, there's something about this particular crowd that I'm fascinated by. It's very diverse, it's very big, the diversity of age in particular, maybe it says something about how affordable this convention is, this expo is, relative to others, but I was very struck by, especially having just gotten out of Ethan Nadelmann's talk, you know, my boss's talk, how much of a gut instinct response there was in support of his call for an ethical, principled, emerging cannabis industry, and how much support there was for the notion that what they should be a part of, and apparently what they want to be a part of, is an emerging cannabis industry that doesn't just make money for them, but that makes the, I mean, it makes the country better, that reflects values of equity and diversity and good policy on cannabis, which is, you know, very heartening to see.

Because I've been to other events, including, you know, investor summits, where there is just crickets relative to what we heard today. I mean, where you've got people, brand new to this industry, they're only interested in making money, they tend to be older, they're overwhelmingly white, they're, maybe their kids got them into it, but they're, but they see opportunities for profit, they know nothing about the history of the movement, and the, all the activists and the generations who came before who were fighting for principles, for human rights, for personal freedom, for civil rights, for racial justice, but the people here responded to Ethan's call, that if they're going to be a part of this, and if they're going to be trying to make money off it, they are standing on the shoulders of men and women like him, you know, and like you yourself, Dean, who have struggled for so long and are, we're now, you know, at the threshold of this, you know, this completely unprecedented moment, where a struggle for rights, freedoms, and liberties is resulting in the creation of a commodity that has a multi-billion dollar, you know, prospect to it for people who have no history in getting us to where we are now.

DEAN BECKER: Right. I heard somebody say something about carpetbaggers, but --

STEVEN GUTWILLIG: Ooh, I mean, it's a word I wouldn't use because I find that once, you know, if you can spell this out for folks, they kind of get it, you don't know if they're necessarily going to come on board, but we sure as hell need all these folks who are starting to turn a profit to reinvest some of that into the movement, because as we often say at Drug Policy Alliance, marijuana is not going to legalize itself. And, marijuana legalization is the sharp end of the spear for ending the drug war, because marijuana prohibition is the foundation of the drug war, half of all drug arrests in this country, but we know that ending marijuana prohibition itself is not by itself going to unravel the drug war, so we need these folks to see beyond their own bottom lines and their own investments and their own, you know, profit potential, and to help us continue to unring the bell on this completely unsustainable matrix of harsh drug policies.

It's completely self-perpetuating, and we know that cops on front lines of that drug war know that this is all, you know, [expletive deleted] pardon my french, but they also would rather, they would rather arrest a marijuana offender than a whole bunch of other folks, they would rather get the overtime pay, they would rather have a marijuana smoker in the back seat than a drunk. We all know that the, you know, the race based disparities and the police practices are, you know, create these extraordinarily noxious disparities in enforcement, where African Americans in particular, depending on where you live, are two, five, ten times more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for some low level marijuana offense or even high level marijuana offense, and that's just the system perpetuating itself. And so, ending marijuana prohibition is among the, you know, it is the sharp end of the spear, as I said, it is the key, at the moment, to unraveling the drug war, but man, we've got so far to go, right? That it is so important for those of us who love marijuana to not look down our noses at people who love other substances, and whose lives are touched by, for better and worse, by other substances. Those people deserve our trust and compassion and our friendship and our support, you know, our position is legalize marijuana, not just take it out of the criminal justice system, but tax and regulate it. Create a commercial market for it, that's the best way to control it. And other drugs, we just have to stop arresting people for possessing small amounts of any drug for their own use, and we need to come up with a public health approach for all other drugs, but one of the ways that we're going to do that is by not saying that marijuana is so exceptional --


STEVEN GUTWILLIG: -- that these other drugs must be dealt with in a harsher way.

DEAN BECKER: There you have it friends, Mister Steven Gutwillig of the Drug Policy Alliance. Their website: DrugPolicy.org.

Well, that's it, that's all I can squeeze in. I remind you once again, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth. Cultural Baggage is a production of the Pacifica Radio Network. Archives are permanently stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. And we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.