02/23/18 Doug McVay

Doug McVay editor Drug War Facts, host of Century of Lies, Steve Downing Dep Police Chief of LA (ret), Beto O'Rourke running for Ted Cruz Senate seat, Howard Wooldridge heads up Citizens Opposing Prohibition in Wash DC, Mary Kay Villaverde of Families for Sensible Drug Policy

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TRANSCRIPT

CULTURAL BAGGAGE

FEBRUARY 23, 2018

TRANSCRIPT

DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker, your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection, and the liars whose support for drug war empowers our terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent US gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.

This is Dean Becker, and I want you to know, building this edition of Cultural Baggage was just a hell of a lot of fun.

I've got a friend, lives up in Oregon. He produces what I used to produce, the Century of Lies program. He's been doing it for a couple of years now, or almost that much. He also works for KBOO up there in Oregon as well. He has more outreach within the drug reform community. I'm going to let him tell you more about that, and how long he's been involved. I want to welcome my good friend, my associate, Mister Doug McVay. Hello, Doug.

DOUG MCVAY: Hey, Dean, how are you doing? Good to hear from you.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. You've been editing, or publishing --

DOUG MCVAY: One of the -- people probably are familiar with one of the projects I've been working on for quite a few years now, that's Drug War Facts at DrugWarFacts.org. There are a handful of other people through the years who've worked on it along with me, but I'm the current editor. I also do, of course, Century of Lies, which is the little sister program for the Drug Truth Network.

And up here in Oregon, I also have a show on KBOO radio called Free Culture Radio, which is about drugs, drug culture, and the influence of drugs on society.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and folks --

DOUG MCVAY: And I also do some freelance writing on -- in different places, including Freedom Leaf Magazine.

DEAN BECKER: And I want to get to that, your latest there, here in just a minute. But I also want to let folks know that on our website, DrugTruth.net, we have at least many hundreds, I can't count them anymore, of our programs that have transcripts, that have the words from the doctors, scientists, cops, wardens, whoever might be on our show. But they're all transcribed for you to use, for you to quote, for you to influence and educate your elected officials and others, and help educate them to the truth of this matter, and Doug has been doing those transcripts for a good long while.

We've, as he said, we've had many others do it in front of him, but he's been holding down the fort for quite some time. And, he spoke of his work in Freedom Leaf, the marijuana legalization company. It's out there on the web at FreedomLeaf.com, and Doug, your latest one is titled "Pounds Selling For $900 Wholesale In Oregon, Not $50," and this is once again an example of just rumor and innuendo about marijuana isn't it?

DOUG MCVAY: Pretty much. We had an article hit the web a few weeks ago which claimed that pounds of marijuana, because there was such saturation and overproduction, that pounds were going for as low as fifty dollars, and the reality is, well, that just wasn't true.

I mean, you can get, maybe, sure, pounds of leaf, which might be sold by a producer to someone to convert into oil. Those might be going as low as fifty. But in reality, flowers are much more expensive. I mean, there is overproduction in the state, to an extent, but what there really is, is a price fall. There's been a dramatic drop in the prices, and you know, part of that's just because prohibition is lifting.

I'll grant you it's not gone entirely, but, the legal pressures are greatly relieved. I mean, prohibition creates a situation where, at every step, you just jack up the prices and you can get away with it because you're assuming such terrible risk being a grower, being a dealer, when you're -- as a grower, you've got all these plants for months at a time. As a dealer, you have pounds and pounds. So people understand that because you're taking that risk, you're going to jack up the price to what the market will bear.

Now that it's no longer prohibited, we have legal regulation, we have stores, I mean, there are about five stores within a one mile radius of my apartment. I happen to live in a great part of town. So, it's -- it's -- there's a lot of pressure. There's competition, of course, and because of competition, prices start to fall. Retailers, oh, the retailers have to be competitive. People are demanding access at lower prices, and so the, you know, between the consumer demand and the intense competition between these outlets and these producers, and there's no longer that prohibition premium, prices have been falling.

I mean it -- it starts in the -- under medical, there was a significant price drop, but then now that it's legal, well, as I said, they're not fifty dollars a pound, the price of flowers up here is somewhere between about $300 and $1,200 a pound. Depends on the quality, depends on the strain, of course, but, that's where they're at, and the people I've talked to expect that that price will continue to decline.

And this is not just the industry people I'm talking to. The state has done some research, talking to lots of people and doing spot checks, and they're finding the same thing. Prices, wholesale price on average is about $2 a gram, which, do the math, comes up to about $900 a pound.

DEAN BECKER: So, a couple of weeks back, I was interviewing Jeff Jones, heads up the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club, a guy with decades of experience, and he's predicting by this time next year that individual pounds of outdoor grown marijuana will be selling for under a hundred dollars there in California. It's moving in the right direction, and, you know, as I said on that show, we can grow a thousand pounds on an acre without even trying here in Texas. The price is going to fall substantially, isn't it, Doug?

DOUG MCVAY: Oh, very much, and here's the thing. I mean, I come from Iowa, I was born and raised there, and if there's one thing that everyone that's from there knows, farming is not a way to get rich. You do that because you love doing it, and you don't expect to make a lot of money.

People entering the marijuana industry had some rather interesting ideas. Basically, they're thinking that the prohibition model was going to continue, and so you've got businesses, some of these businesses are losing their shirts. You've got producers, you know, they can't move their product because they just want too much for it.

And it's not just because, oh, we had to spend and all the rest. Yes, there's an initial investment and there's ongoing expenses, but let's face it, a lot of this is because they're anxious to pay back investors, and these investors are looking for big returns. So, you know, of course they're going to be complaining about saturated markets and overproduction, that's -- the industry's the one raising the alarm. They're response is, let's, you know, cap production, and let's, you know, limit the licenses to just those of us who've got it. I don't, I'm just, that's a metaphor [sic].

And, you know, go after the illegal people. One of the -- the US Attorney up here is making a bit of a stink about marijuana leaving the state of Oregon. Oregon's been an exporter of marijuana for many years, so the fact it's happening isn't really all that surprising. And, well, the other states are probably not much different.

But, the thing that he's arguing is that there's illegal production. This illegal export is a problem. The industry is pointing towards those who are not in the state system, the illegal producers. They're breaking the law, it's all them, because after all, legal producers have a market.

Yeah, but, you see the problem is, as I said, they kind of don't, because they can't get the price they want for the marijuana they're growing. And the state, in another, the Secretary of State here performed an audit, pointed out something that was quite obvious, and that is that all of these seed to sale tracking systems, they kind of rely on the honor system.

I mean, there's -- those are just, those little chips, you know, sound high tech, but they're just chips that are, you know, attached to a plant with a ziptie, or just -- they're not recording the data directly from the plant. They're just like a GPS tracker that has a little memory, and you can input the, you know, keep track, the person there growing it inputs all this stuff, when they cut it down, when they dry it, the person growing it inputs all this information about weights.

So, you see where I'm heading here?

DEAN BECKER: I do.

DOUG MCVAY: It's -- it's entirely the honor system. Who knows what's really happening? One thing we do know is, prices are dropping, and the investors are getting a little concerned.

DEAN BECKER: I don't blame them. You know, you and I investigate the drug war, every aspect of it, you know, try to look at it internationally if we can. But it's not just about marijuana. I've been talking about, this proves that it was the prohibition that forced the black market, or allowed the black market, to charge such high prices for this cannabis, and that the same holds true across the board for meth, heroin, anything you want to name. It is the danger, the trade itself, fraught with situations that just allow these prices to exist. Right?

DOUG MCVAY: Oh, absolutely. I mean, here's a -- I can, you can even look up, any of our listeners could look up for themselves the wholesale price of pharmaceutical grade cocaine. This is 98 to 100 percent pure cocaine, which is sold to hospitals for use on -- I mean, it's a schedule two drug, it's used as a local anesthetic. And they -- and it's about $20 to $30 an ounce. It's been that price for a very long time.

And, the price, it's a big mark-up, let's just say, the street price, when you're talking about the twenty to fifty percent that might be available for a hundred dollars a gram.

DEAN BECKER: Sure.

DOUG MCVAY: There are 28 grams in an ounce. A pharmaceutical grade ounce wholesale to a hospital is maybe thirty bucks.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And we have --

DOUG MCVAY: That pharmaceutical company is not giving that away, they're making a profit selling it to the hospital, and they're using the same coca, that's grown in Bolivia.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Yeah, I was in Bolivia a few years back, I bought a pound for five bucks of the coca leaf. Not the cocaine. But, it's indicative of just how cheap it is, because I was a gringo. I'm sure I paid ten times more than they wanted from everybody else.

DOUG MCVAY: Oh, and like I say, with the pharmaceutical products that are being sold to hospitals, pharmaceutical companies are not in the business of giving away their drugs. They make a healthy profit on that stuff. And at that, it's still that cheap.

DEAN BECKER: Well, once again, we've been speaking with Mister Doug McVay, editor of Drug War Facts, working as a host of programs on KBOO up there in Oregon, and producing Century of Lies for us here on the Drug Truth Network. Transcribing all our programs. Doug, I know the drug war is ending. I can smell it. I know these last, oh, I don't know, just the prohibitionists, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and his ilk, they're spouting their lies, they're continuing to say marijuana's addicting, they're continuing to blame everything on the drugs rather than the prohibition. But it is the prohibition that's the bulk of the problems, is it not?

DOUG MCVAY: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you and I both know that it's not a question of arguing with Jefferson Beauregard, or with Rod Rosenstein, or Chuck Rosenbaum, or any of these folks. I mean, the discussion goes on, and the audience out there, they're the ones who we're really hoping are paying attention and who are listening to all of this.

I mean, there's no question. I started working on drug policy back in 1983, when I was a student at Iowa, and, you know, in the Reagan era, it was the "M" word, people wouldn't even say marijuana out loud. You know, talking about legalization, that was the "L" word. You know, these were things that were such taboo subjects, we had members of Congress saying it was too dangerous to discuss.

I mean, Democrats, Republicans, it didn't matter. And then, things started to change, and, you know, we will continue, because we're right, and it's a kind of an evolutionary thing. You know? We're moving -- we have to move towards freedom, and toward justice. I mean, because, what's the alternative, right?

DEAN BECKER: Sure. That's at the heart of it, because, you and I have been looking at it, we say this injustice creeping all across America, and decided let's do something about it. And that's why we, you know, produce these shows, that's why you work on Drug War Facts, why I wrote my book, why we continue to pressure and leverage at every possible point we can, because if left alone, this drug war could devour every right and liberty in our country. Your thought, sir.

DOUG MCVAY: Oh, absolutely. I keep, I mean, I've always said that reform, legalization, decriminalization, these were all inevitable, and yet the only reason they're inevitable is because we won't stop until it happens. I mean, I, you know, we -- the loss of Constitutional freedoms, the limitation on individual rights, more and more surveillance that we have to undergo, the economic costs, the human costs. It's just -- it's really overwhelming, and there's no way that -- there's nothing else I could do.

You know? Faced with all that. Yeah. You can either stay quiet, and watch these things happen and watch your friends die, or we can start doing something. And I hope that our listeners will be inspired to do something.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly right. And by that, they can certainly use the transcripts that you produce each week, and they can certainly learn from the mounds of information you have gathered within the framework of DrugWarFacts.org.

DOUG MCVAY: Thank you. And I've got to say that the transcripts you have, I mean, Kay Lee, god rest her soul, and whoever else you've had in the past doing these. It's an honor to do. It's a thing that, I mean, radio shows are wonderful because you can hear them, you can absorb the information whatever you might be doing. The thing, to refer back and see, now, what did that person say, and where was their website? And, you know, just who was that person? It's great to have the transcript, because you can just look it up. You don't have to guess, you don't have to, you know, listen back a couple of times and see if you can catch it. You can just read it right there.

And, frankly, for people who are hearing impaired, those transcripts, well, it's a way that they can also -- it's a way that people who are hearing impaired can also get the benefit of the great work that you've been doing over the years. That we've been doing.

DEAN BECKER: There we go. All right. Well, once again, friends, that was Mister Doug McVay, my friend, my ally, my buddy. Doug, we'll be talking soon.

DOUG MCVAY: Great. Looking forward.

VOICEOVER: I smoked weed, and nobody died. I didn't get into a car accident, I didn't OD on heroin the next day. Nothing happened.

REPORTER: You might think the commercial is pro-pot.. But it's not. It's actually anti-drug, produced by the government to suggest marijuana smokers are slackers and losers.

VOICEOVER: We sat on Pete's couch for 11 hours. Know what's going to happen on Pete's couch? Nothing.

REPORTER: SAFER, the group promoting Amendment 44, says the commercial actually helps their cause, especially the teen actor's sarcastic line that marijuana is the safest thing in the world.

VOICEOVER: Safest thing in the world.

MASON TVERT: It is the safest thing in the world, and that is a quote, it is not mine, it is the drug czar's via his advertising.

REPORTER: SAFER now has the quote on a billboard, and the drug czar speaking in Denver today says it is misleading and dishonest.

JOHN WALTERS: I never said that. What I said to you today is what I tried to say -- try to say to fill that blind spot. Marijuana's the single biggest cause of substance abuse problems among illegal drugs in the United States today.

MASON TVERT: The ads that they were running telling people how dangerous marijuana was were not having any effect, and now the drug czar has resorted to simply acknowledging it's a relatively benign substance, but you're a loser if you use that drug.

REPORTER: So, both sides now see the new TV ad as ammunition for their side. As for the new billboard, the drug czar says, it's simply a lie.

JOHN WALTERS: This is ridiculous, and it is ridiculous, except it's not funny, it's harmful, because it sends the wrong message.

STEVEN DOWNING: My name is Steven Downing. I'm a retired deputy chief of police from the Los Angeles Police Department, and I also serve as member of the board of directors of LEAP, Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, Steve, you and I had the opportunity, if you will, back with the Caravan for Peace and Justice, back in, earlier in this decade, traveling with Javier Sicilia and about a hundred of his associates, warning us of the horrors down in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the death, the misery, that this drug war perpetuates.

Let's begin with that era, there, that situation we dealt with.

STEVEN DOWNING: Well, that was a -- it was a very inspiring trip. We traveled from the Mexican border in south -- southern California, traveled through 23 major cities, making speeches, having meetings, seminars, demonstrations, parades, all the way across to Washington, DC, where the people met with government officials, and John Lewis. It was especially an inspiring day.

We revisited the civil rights sites across the country, and recognized that the war on drugs is probably the worst intrusion on our civil rights and the freedom of human beings than, since slavery.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir.

STEVEN DOWNING: And, unfortunately, the carnage in South America has not stopped. The mass incarceration in the United States hasn't stopped.

I do see some hope on the horizon. I do see that more and more people are beginning to talk about criminal justice reform, removing money bail, reducing mass incarceration, legalizing and regulating marijuana, recognizing that there's a need for treatment rather than incarceration, recognizing that addiction is a disease, and not a crime.

And so we're starting to see some movement. I think it's going a little bit backwards right now, with the present administration, especially with the voice that attorney general Sessions has, but I think we will overcome that.

I think that the polls, the education that we've done since those days, the education that the Caravan brought to America, along with the speakers in Europe and all the other advocates for ending this drug war, are starting to have an impact, and I think that the people see the need for change. It's just a matter of now getting our politicians to listen to the voice of the people.

DEAN BECKER: Well, well stated, Steve. And you know, the heck of it is, is that, you know, I think that this current attorney general, Jeff Sessions, now there's a, I guess, seventy years of difference in their ages, but I feel like he would have gotten along real good with our first drug czar, Harry Anslinger. They just seem like they came off the same branch, if you know what I'm saying. What are you thinking?

STEVEN DOWNING: Ah, well, of course, their cultural orientation is reefer madness, and they're completely, both of them, completely uneducated on the subject. Both of them completely biased on the subject, and both of them mercenary about the subject.

Harry Anslinger promoted the outlawing of marijuana for -- so that he wouldn't have to give up his bureau at the end of alcohol prohibition, and Sessions wants to rebuild the criminal justice army in the United States to continue to incarcerate people for marijuana, and renew the war on drugs with the same old methods that have been proved time and time and time again over the last fifty some years that those methods don't work.

But I think we're going to beat him this time. I think that the public is educated, and they understand that real change is needed.

DEAN BECKER: No, you're absolutely right, yeah. Anslinger and his ilk, you know, they were afraid that a black man might step on a white man's shadow, I mean, it was just that bad back then. But luckily we have moved on. Friends, once again we're speaking with Mister Steven Downing, my friend, my traveling companion on the Caravan for Peace, Justice, and Dignity, a former deputy police chief of the city of Los Angeles.

Now, Steve, I know you are, I don't know how to say this, a bit Hollywood savvy. You wrote a few editions of MacGuyver.

STEVEN DOWNING: Oh, quite a few. I wrote, over the years, while I was still in the police department, I wrote 230 hours of television. A lot of cop shows, of course, and after I retired, I produced a number of television series. Probably the best known of the series that I produced was a show called MacGuyver.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Oh, one of my favorites. I even like the new edition. They're doing a pretty good job, it's not as good as you used to do. But it's a bit entertaining. And I think about this, Steve. The -- the media has been responsible for at least some of the perceptions, the beliefs, that the public holds in regards to drugs, because it was really demonized in the '70s by some programs.

They were, drug users were shown to be radical murderers at time, when that's truthfully just not the case. Most of them are hippie, soft-hearted folks. Your thought in that regard, the distortions that the media and then the politicians latch onto to help develop or exacerbate these drug laws, your thought there, please.

STEVEN DOWNING: Well, sure, the pattern was established, again, with your friend Harry Anslinger. He enlisted the support of a radical reefer madness newspaper baron by the name of William Randolph Hearst, and he used the newspaper chain to spread the myth of the evil and harm of marijuana, and that -- that the people that used marijuana are evil, and will attack and rape and pillage white women.

And so those kind of myths, because of that depth of newspaper coverage, really created the anti-drug culture in this war, and then when President Nixon proclaimed the war on drugs and poured all the hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into -- the federal government poured those dollars into local law enforcement to leverage them.

And they did leverage them, and they continued this messaging that was so counter to reality, so anti-science, that it was -- it took us many, many years to start re-educating the public, and demonstrating that all that was said since Harry Anslinger's time, and Nixon's declaration of the war on drugs, and Reagan's continuation of that war, with even more billions of dollars, we're now starting to see an educated public being turned around.

And organizations like LEAP, that has hundreds of law enforcement and criminal justice speakers out there talking to the public, writing op-eds, meeting with other nonprofits, supporting nonprofits like DPA and others. It just -- we're starting to turn the corner. I think we're getting to the tipping point, and over the next four or five years I think we're going to see major progress, as long as the current administration doesn't get in the way.

DEAN BECKER: I hope you're absolutely right there, Steve. Steve, I look at it this way, that we have, by that I mean LEAP and as you say DPA and NORML and MPP and all these others, have pretty much saturated as best we can the ears and the eyes of the American population. It's really up to that population now to take that information, to have the courage to speak up and stand up and do their part, because it needs a bigger surge to get 'er done. Your thought, Steve.

STEVEN DOWNING: That's right. And, more important is for that educated public to take it to the ballot box. That's how the change is going to be made. We need to elect people that can change our laws. And so that's where the focus has to be. If you have a drug warrior out there that wants to be a politician, they need to make sure that he is not -- does not become a politician.

They need to elect people that will help bring about this needed change.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly right. All right, friends, once again, my friend, my traveling companion, former deputy police chief of Los Angeles, screenwriter, my friend, Steve Downing. Thank you, sir.

STEVEN DOWNING: You're sure welcome.

DEAN BECKER: If you want to learn more about Law Enforcement Action Partnership, please go to our website, LEAP.cc.

[music] Darth Drug Czar, you're a coward,
A liar, demon, and thief.
Seems you can't face the truth for just one hour,
too busy looking at pee.

Dean Becker, DrugTruth.net.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Physical stimulation, appetite suppression, the prevention of altitude sickness through increased oxygen supply. Time's up! The answer, as is so obvious in the lives of millions of Bolivians: coca. Mother Coca.

Recorded earlier this week, out on the campaign trail, this is US Congressman Beto O'Rourke.

US REPRESENTATIVE BETO O'ROURKE: So, we just read a note from a parent who went to a PTA meeting this week, and at the PTA meeting, of course everyone was talking about the shooting that had just happened in Florida, and the parents at that PTA meeting were instructed on how to teach their children to respond to an active shooter who comes into their classroom with an AR-15.

And this is what your child is supposed to do. They're supposed to act crazy, now. This is the new guidance. Throw books. Start screaming. Run around that classroom, and the mom says, well, how is that going to save my kid's life if this person has an AR-15 and can very quickly kill every child in that classroom? And what they say is that it takes it from ten second to kill every child in that classroom to 20 seconds when the kids are moving around. And in those extra ten seconds, maybe some kids can get out the door.

That is what we're talking about right now, is can we save some kids at the margin. So here's something I've done, and listen, this is as, you know, politically charged as it comes in Texas, and this is how I hope you know that I have the courage of my convictions because I'm willing to do this. I co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban.

And now, I understand there are many Texans who own these AR-15s, and some of them are very good friends of mine, that I've been out shooting with, and they said Beto, why are you going to prevent me from buying a gun? I haven't hurt anybody, I haven't shot anybody. I keep this gun in a gun locker, I teach my kids gun safety. How could you do this because there's some crazy evil person in Florida or Sutherland Springs or Las Vegas or pick the next city that's going to happen.

And I say, you know what, you're right. We have the Second Amendment, and it's incredibly important. But the Second Amendment is not unlimited. You cannot carry a bazooka down the street. You cannot drive your tank down the street because we have the Second Amendment.

There's going to have to be some rational limit to our ability, that keeps more people in our communities safe and alive. And will I get the stuffing knocked out of me by the NRA for this? Just watch it come down on us, in this campaign.

But, I've got to look myself in the mirror, and I'm not going to answer those moms who come to my town halls and say what are you going to do, and I say, well, you know, we've got to listen and understand, or we can't control this, or there's just evil in the world, or our thoughts and our prayers are with the families. We've got to do something. And if it means, you know, we're not as viable in the election, you know, so be it.

What you want is my honest opinion on this, this stuff. You want to know that I have the courage of my conviction. I do, and I'm glad that you're with me on this one.

DEAN BECKER: Beto O'Rourke is challenging Ted Cruz for his Texas Senate seat. The word thus far is that the turnout is up 102 percent for Democrats in Texas.

Well, over the many years of the Drug Truth Network, we've had the opportunity to speak with our next guest many times. He spent many years working with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, but he has now branched out, has his own organization, and as of today, is at a conference there in the DC area. I want to introduce our friend, Mister Howard Wooldridge. Hey, Howard, where are you at?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Dean, good to be with you. I'm on the eastern side of Washington, DC, belly of the beast.

DEAN BECKER: And, you're attending a conference. What's going on there?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: This is the CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and --

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: About six thousand rabid conservatives get together every year for three days to hear speakers and learn stuff.

DEAN BECKER: And, I guess, many of them are good friends of our friend, Mister Grover Norquist. Right?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: That -- they're all friends of, loving friends of Grover Norquist.

DEAN BECKER: Well, this is -- gosh, I would think, a time of, maybe developing a new perspective, a new presentation. What's your thought? Are they morphing a bit at this time?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Oh, absolutely, Dean. The -- this is my eleventh CPAC. I've seen a tremendous change over the years, from hell no I don't like because of your message, to now, the vast majority into the 70 percentile agree that we should end the war on drugs and at least legalize marijuana.

DEAN BECKER: And, yeah, that seems to be working its way across the country, does it not? Lot of folks are, both sides of the aisle, are starting to realize this is not the problem, it's actually become a burden to enforce these laws. Am I right?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Oh, yeah. My colleagues who are active duty police see the wisdom of putting our time into public safety. We saw the tragedy in Florida, where police are so overwhelmed with tips on shooters, but they're spending so much time chasing a green plant or Charlie Sheen that they can't adequately process and investigate the potential shooters.

More and more, my colleagues are seeing that public safety is suffering because of the drug war.

DEAN BECKER: Right, and over the years, I'm trying to remember, but, the majority of arrests, more than fifty percent of the arrests in this country, are for drug charges, which certainly diminishes their capacity to go after shooters and violent folks. Right?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Oh, sure. We arrest more for drugs, if you will, than we do drunk drivers that actually killed 11,000 people last year. Innocent people.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. And, you know, Jeff Sessions is having his go, and that other Sessions, I can't think of his first name, they're both trying to tell us how horrible marijuana is, how necessary this drug war is. But they're becoming, I don't even know how to say it, just loners. There's very few people standing in support with them. Right?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, there's very, very few that, behind the scenes especially, will support -- excuse me, in public, in public, that will support what's going on today, that it's a failure is admitted and the trouble is, they've run politically afraid to bring it up and discuss.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and that's been the failure, I guess, of my radio program over the years, is that I can't get any of those people who believe in drug war to come on air and discuss why they have that belief. It's -- it's a real quandary.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, and here at CPAC, while I have run into a couple people who push back on my -- I'm wearing the t-shirt Cops Say Legalize Drugs, it's the belief, based on no science, no research, that millions out there are ready to use heroin, crack, meth, if you legalize. And they just pull that information out of their ear.

DEAN BECKER: Sure. Right. Well, and it's, again, it brings me back to, you know, next month I'm going to Lisbon, Portugal, I've been invited to speak to the -- some of the medical leaders, and of course, topic of my presentation is, drug prohibition is evil.

And I guess what I want to -- you know, these people have blazed the trail, they're way ahead of most of the rest of the world, but they forgot, we're still empowering terrorists, we're still enriching barbarous cartels, we still give reason for these street gangs to exist, through the policy, and we're ensuring more overdose deaths because nobody knows what they're buying. Your response to that, Howard Wooldridge.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, and I hear it on a daily basis here in Washington. When I mentioned that about 18 teenagers are shot every day due to their employment in the drug trade, I'm still a little surprised how the reaction is, well, they chose to sell drugs, as opposed to their 14 and made a mistake, that actually cost them their life.

There are always going to be a diehard ten, twenty percent that, like Jeff Sessions, our attorney general, will go to their grave believing that prohibition's a good idea.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And, you know, that same attitude towards kids has kind of spilled over into this response we're getting now from the living Florida students, those who made it through that last attack, and now are standing proudly for logic, common sense, and just a new means of controlling these guns. Your thought there, Howard.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, it's -- it's, they're symbolic of the growing numbers, from, you know, 15 to 90 years of age, who understand that the misallocation of resources of the law enforcement does have an impact down the road.

Like we see at the failure of the local, state, and FBI agents to effectively identify this shooter and then take away his gun. I mean, and there's -- it's going to happen again, and it will just simply add more pressure, but, that's what drives me to work, Dean, is, you know, hundreds die across the world every day due to drug prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: No, absolutely right, Howard. It's -- you know, it cripples the economy of certain cities, when things just get out of hand, out of wack, Chicago, Detroit come to mind. And, and even certain neighborhoods within my city of Houston, I'm not going to name the names, but there are areas that are out of control, but way more so than if I dare say the white areas, because it's been allowed to run amok, and the police just have a different attitude in those neighborhoods, and it's not the right combination, thus far.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: It -- no, I mean, there's nothing I can add to that. It's just -- what is, the good news is, as I see it, in the halls of Congress every day, is this growing feeling that we need to do something dramatic, and I still have medium confidence that a bill I worked on to move marijuana to schedule three has a solid chance of passing this year. I can't give you all the details, but I have medium confidence we're going to put this bill on Trump's desk to go schedule three.

DEAN BECKER: And, I think there is a strong support for such a measure. We see indications of various bills coming forward, lots of people speaking more boldly than ever before, and I think it's just going to take kind of rounding a curve, people agreeing to agree on something they've ignored for so long.

Just last night I was rewatching the movie Lincoln, Steven Speilberg's, and how it just wore on and on and on until finally the last person said yea, rather than nay, and the nation was changed. Your thought there, please.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, this is, especially here at CPAC, you see the generational shift, the 20, 24, 27 year old students are so much more libertarian bending, more focused on personal liberty, and less government intrusion into personal life. They see this and I'm getting just wonderful feedback and everybody wants to take a picture with my t-shirt, and it, it just -- but it just tells me that the -- these kids will go home and talk to their parents, and they will be effective in bringing the anti-prohibition message to their parents, who hold office, who vote, who have money.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And, it's, you know, we've been talking about it for decades, that the old die-hards are, well, they're dying off, and --

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: -- having less influence and sway. You know, it is, as I understand, the Texas legislature, the US legislature, it's just a handful of people that are really denying the ability to vote on these issues, to have a hearing to bring it forward for consideration. They just won't have it. But, I think soon they will have to have it. Your thought there, please.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, it -- indeed, in the Congress today, Don Murphy, my colleague with MPP, that's kind of the gnosis, we're confident that, if we can get the leadership to allow a vote on going schedule three, we will have over 300 votes to, in the House, and 80, 8-0, in the Senate, easily, easily passing legislation to make marijuana schedule three.

DEAN BECKER: And, you know, despite the pronouncements of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, I don't think Trump's in much agreement with him. He would probably sign the bill. Your thought, Howard.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Well, as we know, Trump's position today is different tomorrow by 180 degrees, so -- however, however, my 37 cent opinion says, we put it on Trump's desk, he will sign it.

DEAN BECKER: Well, your mouth to god's --

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Because of the pressure, the pressure of the NRA and the American Legion, conservative groups.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Not to mention a lot of the Veterans Administration folks and others that are wanting to lean that way, if only they were allowed.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: You bet. That's exactly right.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Howard, I'll tell you what, I do appreciate the work you do. You know, folks, I want to close this out, if you don't know who Howard is, he's a man who rode his horse across America, not once, but twice. He rode a bicycle across America, in order to gain attention, to get your focus, to have you help bring these changes to our drug laws about. He's written a book about his trip with Misty, his horse. I got to meet Misty, a wonderful being, she's quite an ally and a friend to you, wasn't she, Howard?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: She was, and before I forget, Dean, thank you for the kind words, for your audience, all I ask you to do is write your Senators and Congressman or woman and simply say, apply the Tenth Amendment to marijuana. Full stop. Not legalization, not decrim, just for the broad, general message, just say please apply the Tenth Amendment. That will enable us to get this job done.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed it will. Well, Howard, I once again thank you for your time. Is there a website, some closing thoughts you'd like to share with the audience?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah. There's more out there, full resources, frequently asked questions, CitizensOpposingProhibition.org. It's all there to see, and if you have questions, there's contact information, I can answer more specific questions.

DEAN BECKER: For nearly five hundred years, colonialist powers like England, Spain, and later the US made it their business to impose their will on lesser countries, to force new religions and morals on all the heathen cultures of this earth.

In the process, they vilified and demonized the use of such drugs as marijuana, coca, and opium, which previously had been a recognized part of many religions, many cultures, for thousands of years.

In the early twentieth century, corporate heads foresaw gleaming profits in prohibiting the use of certain plants. They claimed that Chinamen on opium were a threat to a decent society, that Mexicans and blacks would rape white women after smoking marijuana, that prison or death were too good for users, and that the religious underpinnings of these drugs were sacrilegious and evil.

These men of influence and wealth had the contacts to force through laws based on nothing more than rumors, circulated through newspapers controlled by these same interests.

The American people were fooled into believing they were saved, and that the control and distribution of these herbs and their extracts should be prohibited.

This prohibited drug commerce now exceeds four hundred billion dollars a year. Today, the US, through its drug convention treaties, forces its ideas of Judeo-Christianity and all the attendant drug laws and morals on the whole world.

US media now ignores the ongoing drug reform in England, France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, and much of the rest of the world. Research, experience, and common sense have shown these enlightened countries that the medieval drug laws are simply a mechanism that if left unchecked would someday devour the meaning, the very fabric, of liberty.

[music] We all need re-education,
We demand more thought control,
More guns and money for the cartels,
Congress, let those drug gangs grow.

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: Hello?

DEAN BECKER: Hello, is this Mary Kay?

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: Yeah, hi Dean, how are you?

DEAN BECKER: I'm good, yeah. The reason I was calling, your post, your reactions you were getting. I was trying to find kind of a human interest story to include on this week's program. I didn't know if you wanted to go public, or what. But I thought I would ask.

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: Okeh, I appreciate that. I -- I, you know, I'm always public, kind of, now, because I tell my story, and, you know, hope that other people can benefit from that, and Families for Sensible Drug Policy, and I advocate for families of people that are struggling, and how, you know, decriminalization and other things would help.

I don't know how I could, I mean, I only have my own story. I'm 63 years old, and I have been through -- through problematic substance use myself, and my son died from overdose in 2001. So, I gather myself all together from there.

I used to be, you know, I went through the whole program of Hazelden and twelve step and all that stuff for years and years, and I've just grasped harm reduction probably in the last, you know, ten years or so.

DEAN BECKER: Right.

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: And that's where I am right now.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I think you're story, your larger story, you and the loss of your son, are, kind of exemplifies what in the hell is going on in America right now, where we have this, oh, I don't know, divergence, where, one side has problems and the other has worthless solutions. By that, I mean the government's solutions of --

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: Right.

DEAN BECKER: -- of arrest and, you know, conviction and demonization and --

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: I agree with -- I agree with you a hundred percent, I couldn't agree with you more. I think that's -- I think that's the bottom line. You know, when we talk about it, I say, let's do that first. Let's decriminalize and let's look at it differently.

But, yeah. So, that's my story. And, you know, I don't know what you're looking for. I thought when you --

DEAN BECKER: We -- we are capturing it right now. We, the fact of the matter is, is you represent that courage that is so necessary to help this change come about, because to admit you had a failure, to admit that you have improved yourself, to admit you're striving for a better solution, and asking the community to join with you. That is America, that is what is going to fix this situation. Your response

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: I agree. I think that, you know, I had a paradigm shift. I, you know, I bought into the abstinence only, the twelve step, all that stuff, for so long, and, you know, and then I, as things went on, and, you know, I had my problems my own self, with my own -- my own problematic substance use, whatever, and then my son's, and after, you know, I realize now that we -- we're going the wrong way, demonizing drugs, doing other things, the whole system is, you know, it's just not -- it's not working.

DEAN BECKER: No, it isn't, it's counterproductive. I -- can I, I want to throw this thought in here. It was just about 32 years ago, I went to Alcoholics Anonymous and with their 12 step program, and I was doing real good, I was about six months in, and I happened to let it slip that I find the occasional use of marijuana helps me to --

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: Oh, dear lord.

DEAN BECKER: -- to stop my cravings for my drug of destruction.

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: You're awesome. You're awesome, yeah, I know.

DEAN BECKER: And, in essence, I was kicked out. In essence, I was told that isn't, oh, you have to leave. And I haven't been back since. But I haven't had a drink in the last 32 years, and I've enjoyed marijuana nearly every day since. And it is -- it's the -- where is common sense?

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: I'm with you, Dean, I'm with you.

DEAN BECKER: Where is rational thought, and that's what need to go into all of this, am I right, Mary Kay?

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: Absolutely. Abstinence only is a ridiculous, ridiculous saying, and I did it myself, you know, for years and years, and I wouldn't -- I went to all the big twelve step rehabs in Minnesota, and I went to all the best places and stuff like that, but now, as I look at things now, I'm like, I'm really into harm reduction right now. You know? Like, what's the lesser, you know. You're smoking some pot, it's really not as bad as you're shooting up. So I'm good with that.

You know, I think -- I think that, you know, I think we have to look at things way differently. That abstinence only thing, I think, is doing a lot of damage, kind of.

DEAN BECKER: It's enriching cartels and terrorists, for that matter.

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: Yes. Yes.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Mary Kay, please tell the folks about the group, or groups, you work with, and how they might be able to join forces with you.

MARY KAY VILLAVERDE: Well, I'm -- I work with Families for Sensible Drug Policy, and what we're doing is looking for sensible drug policy. We are -- our main focus is harm reduction. We're an organization that's global. We have members all around the country, all around the world, actually. Look it up at FSDP.org, and look it up. And it's a 501c3 group, and we're out there, and we're just pushing. We're trying to change the paradigm, we're trying to change the emphasis.

We want decriminalization, we want harm reduction, we want things like -- that can make things different right now, like, you know, maybe we can't change the world, is how you think about addiction and stuff like that, but how about this: legalize marijuana and psychedelics. Let's, you know, psychedelics are a great source of healing for so many people. Plant medicine, let's legalize that.

Let's, you know, let's have safe injection facilities, you know, for people that are going to use. Let's make things safer for people that are going to use until they're ready to come in and not, you know, do something safer. You know, we're just Families for Sensible Drug Policy. Look it up.

DEAN BECKER: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the abolitionist's moment. War is over if you want it. The drug war is over as well. It's just awaiting your approval. The evidence is overwhelming. The science, the ramifications, the injustice, the lost lives, the families fractured and forfeited. Judges handcuffed to inequity. Politicians trapped by the bones they made. The great wall of blue corrupted and inbred.

All await your approval, your thoughts, your voice, before they will stop feeding their evil cornucopia, the lives of their fellow man. Please, do your part to end the madness of drug war. Visit EndProhibition.org. Do it for the children.

As we're wrapping up here, I would advise you to go to DrugTruth.net. There's nearly seven thousand of our radio segments there, and I want you to join us next week when our guest will be Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, the new director of the Drug Policy Alliance and author of the brand new book releasing next week: There Are No Dead Here: A Story Of Murder And Denial In Colombia. It promises to be one hell of an interview.

Once again I remind you, because of prohibition, you don't know what in the hell is in that bag, do you? 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 an abyss.

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