06/27/10 - Jodie Emery

Jodie Emery, wife of Canadian Marc discusses his incarceration in US prison for selling cannabis seeds + Former servicemen Michael Krawitz and Josh Fenton discuss PTSD, medical cannabis and the Veterans Administration

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Guest: 
Jodie Emery
Organization: 
Cannabis Culture Magazine
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage June 27, 2010

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

It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally un-American….. ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’

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.
________________

Alright, my friends. I’m back. We’re live in the studio. We have with us today, Mr. Josh Fenton. A recently discharged Sergeant from the Army and he’s going to be here talking with Mr. Michael Krawitz, a little bit later. About medical marijuana, PTSD and what’s going on in the VA. But you’re also for Texans for Compassionate Care. Right, Josh?

Mr. Josh Fenton: Well, yes. I particularly am going to be working with the initiative for Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana.

Dean Becker: Alright, Josh. Well, chime in here and there throughout the conversation, if you will. But we do have with us on-line, the wife of a man I greatly respect and have interviewed numerous times over the years.

A man who has for his activism; for his work, is now in a Federal Prison for five years and though they’re not newlyweds, they always struck me as very much in love and with that, let’s go ahead and welcome our guest, Jodie Emery. Are you with us, Jodie?

Mrs. Jodie Emery: Yes, I am. Thanks for having me.

Dean Becker: Jodie, for those who may not know, kind of summarize up what it is that Marc did that got him sent to a US prison.

Mrs. Jodie Emery: Well, you can go all the way back to his earliest years of activism as a teenager in London, Ontario. Where he started a book shop and fought against book and music censorship. He fought against Business Associations that gave too heavy taxes. He was very much a freedom fighter for many different reasons and then he just found out about Cannabis through ‘The Emperor Wears No Clothes’ book and started on that crusade. (http://www.jackherer.com/chapters.html)

He came to Vancouver B.C. in 1994 and started selling marijuana seeds to raise money to fund the movement. He saw that all the hippies and the hemp enthusiasts weren’t organized enough and he’s a brilliant businessman so he decided to start up his store. Selling books, bongs, clothing and marijuana seeds. For over a decade, he sold those seeds and became the most popular, famous seed seller in North America, bringing in Amsterdam and Canadian genetics and selling them to Americans and people around the World.

With the point that you would spend the profits on ending prohibition and drug policy reform. Elections, ballot initiatives, court challenges, suing the Federal Government, drug rehabilitation clinics, the World Wide Medical Marijuana March, political parties - state and federally. Just tons of money, up towards four million dollars he spent, on peaceful democratic activities to change the drug laws and to also overgrow the government.

That was his slogan. ‘Plant the Seeds of Freedom, overgrow the Government.’ He meant that he wanted everybody to be able to grow their own so that they wouldn’t have to buy from gangs. The prohibition would begin to crumble, as the police went running after everybody and the gangs are unable to keep a market because everyone could grow their own. In the same breath, he spent the money and sent the genetics to help many medical marijuana patients in California and many other states.

But up here in Canada, he was very well known. He’s run for office a number of times. He’s the leader of B.C. Marijuana Party and he’s very famous in the media. He’s been on CNN, National Geographic, Rolling Stone magazine, Wall Street Journal, every major media, 60 Minutes. He’s well known around the world and in Canada when John Walters, George Bush’s Drug Czar, came up here when we were about to be criminalized in 2002, he made threats about shutting down the border.

Marc went to the dinner he was holding, had booked a table for Activists and every time that John Walters lied about marijuana statistics, they would call him out on it. Literally. By heckling him at this police and business meeting he was attending and the Mayor of Vancouver and the mayor-elect both agreed that the drug czar was an idiot and Walters was humiliated.

So he told the Vancouver Police to charge Marc and have him arrested and get rid of him. So the Vancouver Police took the charges to the Court here in 2003 and the Court said that it was nonsense. Marc is well known. He paid over five hundred thousand dollars in taxes on his seed sales. He was known to every member of Parliament. Health Canada sent medical marijuana users to get seeds from him.

So the courts here thought, ’This is outrageous! Why would they charge him here in Canada? The last time he was convicted, he paid a small fine for selling seeds.’ When that happened, the Vancouver police working with the DEA and the Federal Justice Departments, in Canada and the US, operated to have him indicted down in Seattle. Where he was indicted on three different conspiracy charges for manufacturing and distribution of marijuana and money laundering.

When the DEA press release came out the day of his arrest, it spoke only of his legalization activities. That he was the leader of a marijuana legalization movement, a publisher of a magazine, well know for giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to different groups. The entire press release as all about his politics and his political activities. Not about seeds. It didn’t mention seeds or marijuana, once. It also called him the most wanted drug trafficking king-pin in Canada, according to the Attorney General of the United States.

Which is outrageous and of course ridiculous, anyone who knows. But the US was upset that they didn’t get Marc indicted up here. So they had him facing life in prison, in the US. Marc decided to sign a plea deal so his two co-accused would not have any jail time. He’s currently sitting in SeaTac Federal Detention Center in Seattle, awaiting sentencing on September 10th for a five yeas sentence instead of the life that he was facing.

He’s a political prisoner. He just got out of three weeks of Solitary Confinement isolation, for having me record a phone call, to tell his supporters that he was OK. The prison said, “You’re not allowed to do that”, put him in the hole for three weeks and he just got out. So I get to go visit him tomorrow.

But I’m not sure where he currently is, just awaiting sentencing. A political prisoner who never set foot in the United States, but is now imprisoned there, unjustly. Just like the hundreds of thousands of ‘Drug War’ prisoners.

Dean Becker: All across America. We are talking with Mrs. Jodie Emery. She is a brave soul, carrying on in her husbands stead, while he is in a US prison for selling marijuana seeds. What many people do all across Canada. In fact people on the same block, there on Hasting Street, are selling cannabis seeds, as well. I’m sure the DEA had to walk by them, when they went to arrest Mr. Emery. Correct, Jodie?

Mrs. Jodie Emery: Absolutely and there are seed sellers there from Amsterdam, who are much bigger and wealthier than Marc ever was. Because they keep the money. Marc spent it all on activism. But those seed sellers go in and out of the United States on a regular basis. Now if they visit California at trade shows, where there’s people who sell plants and seeds and cuttings and pot. California and many other states have functioning, legal medical marijuana dispensaries and programs and gardens. Yet Marc is in prison for selling the seeds that helped feed that revolution. Just like his money helped feed it all too, with initiatives that have been adopted.

So Marc is there representing all the work that had been done helping spurn that movement, which has now turned into something great in America. We’re watching and hoping that California legalizes and all these other states, that their proposals move forward.

Because prohibition is crumbling and perhaps it takes Marc’s imprisonment, after devoting his life to ending prohibition. Perhaps he has to go down there and represent all those who are nameless and faceless. So people know that this is just a travesty that has to end and we hope that he won’t serve his whole five years. He’s going to apply to have it transfer, up to Canada.

But our conservative government, that’s been in empowerment here, is like George Bush. It’s just such a bad Bush hangover and they’re stripping Civil Liberties and building new prisons and introducing mandatory minimum laws and asset forfeiture and it’s just… Canada is getting very dark. So we look towards the US with a bit of hope for what’s happening there and hopefully Marc can get home and when he comes home, everybody else who’s in prison for Cannabis can go home to their families too.

Dean Becker: Alright. Jodie, I want to say this. That we have, over the years, watched this persecution; prosecution of Marc from here in the US. I’ve been embarrassed by it, to be quite honest. I think lots of other folks here in America are as well. That we would stoop so low or reach so far, as to levy these types of charges against a gentle and intelligent man. Like your husband, Mr. Marc Emery.

Now as I understand it, we have over the years also ‘morphed’ our perceptions and as you have just said, people are now selling marijuana openly. They’re having trade shows. They’re selling seeds. They’re selling clones. Right here in America! The reason, to back up to what you said earlier, is Marc was singled out. Not because he was selling seeds. But because he was trying to change these laws. Am I correct?

Mrs. Jodie Emery: Absolutely. You know everyone who stands up to authority and oppression, will eventually get hit down by that very heavy handed militaristic force. Which we call government and police. But you have to take those blows. You have to have the enemy overreach and show how cruel and barbaric they are, in order to expose them and bring people back on scientific good.

Marc is certainly targeted for being outspoken and considered to many a leader, if not a hero. People ask, ‘Well, what is a hero?’ It’s somebody who saves lives. I can tell you that I have met hundreds of people over the years being with Marc. Who have come up to him and said, ’Mr. Emery, those seeds that I got from you. They cured me of this ailment‘ or ‘They helped me live; they helped me want to stay alive.’

People who say that that medicine has helped saved their lives and even Marc just being a person, has inspired so many and that’s always what he wanted. But not to just be recognized as the end-all, be-all leader of a movement. He wanted to inspire his supporters and followers, to become leaders in their own right.

To that end, he has had so many success. From Loretta Nall, who’s down in Alabama helping change there and ran the US Marijuana Party. To Mason Tvert, who when he first came on the scene, we contacted him to congratulate him for his incredible work in Colorado and he said, “Wow, Mr. Emery. You’re my screensaver.”

You know, there’s a lot of people who’ve written and said that they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, if they had not met or heard of Marc. That’s the best thing we can hope for. Is that he continues to inspire and especially now, while he’s locked away and they’re trying to silence him. Now is the time for everybody who has ever been inspired or touched by Marc, to turn that into action and not just for him, but for everybody.

Dean Becker: I want to jump in here. We’ve got just a couple of minutes left Jodie, and say this as I always do. That if not for Mr. Marc Emery and his help about five years ago, the Drug Truth Network probably would not exist either. I say that openly and proudly, to be associated with Mr. Marc Emery.

Now Jodie, as I understand it, you guys could use some help. Monetary help if possible. But right now, Marc would like to hear from some of those people he’s helped. Some of those people who have been inspired by him over the years. Would he not?

Mrs. Jodie Emery: Absolutely. Getting letters is the best thing he could receive and especially people telling him how they’re being active or trying to change the way things are. So you can go to cannabisculture.com and click the FREE MARC Emery logo at the top. You’ll be able to get the address through there. Or just go to cannabisculture.com/sendmarcmail and that’s Marc with a ’c’.

But you can certainly find the address direct to him or even to deposit funds in his prison account, so he’s able to live comfortably. Because it’s costing a lot of money for me to go visit and legal fees and such. But Marc would definitely love to get letters from people. That really keeps him going.

Dean Becker: One more time, that website Jodie.

Mrs. Jodie Emery: cannabisculture.com/sendmarcmail or you can go to just the front page of cannabisculture.com and click the Free Marc logo and get a T-shirt like Tommy Chong and many others wear and just get the name Marc Emery out there. Because when people look him up, they will be exposed to the whole drug war and the inhumanity of it all and hopefully be inspired to help everybody, by ending it.

Dean Becker: Well Jodie, you be sure and tell Marc that Dean Becker and the Drug Truth Network will not let him be forgotten and we will be working to educate and motivate folks in his behalf. Alright?

Mrs. Jodie Emery: Thank you so much, Dean and you do excellent work. I’m so glad you are doing your thing too and Free Marc Emery and end the Drug War.

Dean Becker: Alright. Thank you, Jodie.

Mailing address:
Marc Scott Emery #40252-086 Unit DB
PO Box 13900
FDC SeaTac
Seattle, Washington
98198-1090
USA
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It’s time to play: "Name That Drug - By It’s Side Effects!"

Birth defects, miscarriage, premature birth, feeling sad, anxious or empty, irritability, anger, loss of pleasure or interest. Sleeping too much or too little, depression, trouble concentrating, suicide!

(((gong)))

Time’s up! The answer: Accutane!

For Acne. Another FDA approved product.
________________

Alright. You are listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network. We have with us in-studio, Mr. Josh Fenton. A recently retired Army Sergeant and we have with us on the phone, Mr. Michael Krawitz. Are you with us Michael?

Mr. Michael Krawitz: Yes, I am.

Dean Becker: Michael, tell us a little bit about the work you do, sir.

Mr. Michael Krawitz: I work with an organization called Patients Out of Time and Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, veteransformedicalmarijuana.org is their website and medicalcannabis.com is the other website, for all issues. Also medical marijuana, but not veterans related.

Working at the national level, we’re working with vets across the county that mostly fall into the situation, I think that your fellow there in the studio unfortunately is experiencing. We’ll talk quite a bit about that, I’m sure and also too, working with the VA to try to set National policy and working with States. To try to find policies at the state level, that will blend well with the veterans needs.

Dean Becker: Michael, I know there is a hodgepodge of medical marijuana laws across this country. Some of them in direct conflict and some of them in support of the VA stance.

As you indicated, we do have in-studio, Mr. Josh Fenton. Josh, I met you the other day at a meeting for Texans for Compassionate Care. Tell us a little bit more about why you’re involved with that organization.

Mr. Josh Fenton: That’s right, Dean. I got involved with the Texas Compassionate Care movement, for the fact that I believe these changes are going to first occur on a state level, at a local level and then they will be able to move forward at a national level, when we have enough support at the local level.

Dean Becker: Again for those who don’t know, Texas basically has levels of felony and misdemeanor marijuana laws. But they don’t have a medical marijuana law. Not one per say. There’s one that’s on the books that’s not used and they’re trying to get one more powerful, an Affirmative Defense Initiative. Somewhat like Washington State, if I understand it correctly.

Now Michael, you have kind of looked at this on a National scale. Tell us your observations. What’s going on with medical marijuana, PTSD and the Veterans Administration.

Mr. Michael Krawitz: Well, first I’ll definitely second Josh’s point there, that working at the state level right now is the best thing that a veteran can do. If he wants to try to make a better situation nationally, believe it or not working at the state level, especially in states where you haven’t established a good standing Medical Marijuana Law that’s working, that’s the best that you can do.

But when the VA does come out with a policy on medical marijuana, it will be a National policy and there won’t be a state by state application of it. That’s actually something very unusual in the VA system, for them to have a policy that is dependant upon any particular state.

When a doctor goes to work for the VA, for example they could be from Toledo. Go all the way out to Seattle and be a doctor in the VA system as long as they’re licensed in the United States. That’s all the VA cares about. So that gives you an idea about how they work. It’s a very national, state based health care system. It’s interesting, the relationship that the VA has with the Federal Government.

Because of that relationship, it probably will be about the same time that the Federal Government reschedules Cannabis, finally to a reasonable schedule. For those in the know, there’s a rescheduling petition that’s awaiting a signature, right now. All that the President or his people under him have to do, is just sign that petition. Which they’ve already been advised to do.

That will put Cannabis in the same schedule as what it’s been appropriately told by their advisors, that it should be in. At least III, if not more higher a number or less restrictive schedule than that. Once that happens, than the VA will be in a more comfortable position, to set their policy. I have a feeling that they’re dragging their feet right now, waiting for that day.

Dean Becker: Alright. Once again, that was Michael Krawitz of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access. Michael, you served your time in the military as well and you’ve had your circumstance with the VA as well, have you not?

Mr. Michael Krawitz: Sure, I’m a disabled veteran. I was in the US Air Force. I served in many places, but in Guam USA, is where I had an unfortunate accident. As a result of that accident, I’ve had bunches of surgeries. Over a dozen surgeries and they put me back together pretty well, but I am a typical veteran in the VA system. They were my main healthcare providers, until this whole thing started up with pain contracts and stuff.

It’s not a VA particular situation. Patients out there probably nodding their heads, ’Oh yeah. They gave me a pain contract at my pain clinic down town.’ It is. It’s like an epidemic problem within the pain community of doctors and providers, to give these pain contracts.

For the best that I can tell, the pain contracts in associated drug testing that they do to look for illegal drugs, is mostly to make the doctor feel better. Not to make the patient feel better. It’s to make the doctor feel more comfortable, that he’s tried to comply with the wishes of the public and the wishes of the police. Not so much to make sure that you’re getting your best treatment.

So it’s really turned the whole medical practice on its head. When they handed me one of these things, I refused to sign it. I refused to go along with their drug testing and they refused to give me my pain treatment and I fought them. Five years later I’m now at a cross-roads, where the VA has agreed to pay for my treatment outside the VA, because I refused to comply with their program. Which on it’s page shows you that they don’t have the authority to demand your urine and to demand you to sign a pain contract, if I’ve been able to get them to pay for my treatment outside the VA.

Dean Becker: Alright. Once again, that was Michael Krawitz and we have with us in-studio, Mr. Josh Fenton. He was recently discharged from the Army earlier this year. He’s a young man. Looks to be rather physically fit. But physical pain is not the only thing that one comes back with form these tours of duty, is it?

Mr. Josh Fenton: That’s right. I’ve lived the army life I guess for a good four and a half years now. I was an infantryman. I did two tours in Iraq. I saw a lot of things and experienced a lot of things and only by God’s blessing, did I come back physically unharmed. But there is a mental aspect to the whole experience and sometimes you don’t realize how bad it is until you are out and out on your own and you can finally look at the big picture and see how rough that experience was. So I’ve had to turn to alternative ways to help that and transition from that stressful environment.

What’s helped me the greatest has been medicinal Cannabis. I feel that it’s important if I’m going to use or medicate with this, that I need to be actively involved in making it legal and doing the right thing. Because that’s what my life’s been based on and I don’t think it should quit, now that I’ve been released from the military.

I served my time and now it’s time for me to help myself so I can help others. I think the best way about going through this, is aligning yourself with an organization such as Texas Compassion. I think that as a veteran we need to speak up and say, ‘Hey! We know what our issues are. We can identify them and the best way to treat them, is more than likely going to be able to be identified by us.’ Who better to treat one, than yourself?

I understand a doctor has a lot of insight and understanding on the psychological effects. But they’re in a certain area, where they can’t speak the truth all the time. That’s rough and that’s why I understand why the VA can’t do this, because they’re handcuffed federally. It’s a bit frustrating to be out here and to not be able to do the things legally that I have to, to get back on the right path.

Dean Becker: Alright. Now Josh, I want to throw in a couple of thoughts here, to Michael. We have hundreds of thousands of veterans now, that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them, again well over a hundred thousand diagnosed with PTSD and there have been studies. Very valid medical scientific studies done, which show that medical Cannabis is of benefit. {It} can help reduce the use of opioids in some of these hypnotic drugs, that really drive people even further over the edge sometimes. Your response, Michael Krawitz?

Mr. Michael Krawitz: Well absolutely right, Dean. Of course as usual, you do your homework. It’s interesting from my perspective working nationally, that if we’re talking about veterans in Israel, or veterans in Canada or United Kingdom or Netherlands and others, all those veterans can get medical marijuana from the government. Everyone of those.

The U.K. just approved a new drug, made by a company out there called Sativex, which really promises to be an excellent medicine and it’s an FDA type approved process in the U.K. Which they’ve just gotten passed. So we have mountains of research that shows Cannabis works for both Post Traumatic Stress and pain.

Obviously, Post Traumatic Stress is something that they just really haven’t worked on as much as pain. So there’s not as much research yet. But there is research in hand that definitely shows the elements in Cannabis as very, very effective for some of the most problematic things in Post Traumatic Stress and it’s interesting to note that New Mexico is the one state law that actually mentions Post Traumatic Stress as a disabling condition entitled to Marijuana.

They’ve actually had more people come in and sign up for their program for Post Traumatic Stress, than for pain. Or for that matter, for anything else. Which tells me that we’re looking at the tip of the iceberg of a problem here. We’ve got a huge number of vets here, across the country that are either suffering needlessly because they don’t have access or they’re using Cannabis under some other reason to satisfy a State Law that was made overly restrictive, when it was passed.

Dean Becker: OK. Once again, we have with us in-studio, Mr. Josh Fenton. Josh, we’re starting to run out of time here. Why don’t you give folks the website for the Texas Compassion Organization and we’re about to wrap it up.

Mr. Josh Fenton: Well it’s just that. It’s texascompassion.com. That’s the Texas Coalition for Compassionate Care. I advise any veteran or anybody who feels that they could benefit this or their loved ones could benefit this, to go ahead and sign up for their newsletter and start getting involved with your local representatives and write to them and let them know how you feel.

Dean Becker: Alright. On the phone here, we have Michael Krawitz. Michael, why don’t you give your website and you’ve got about a minute here to wrap it up.

Mr. Michael Krawitz: Sure, veteransformedicalmarijuana.org. I would definitely second something that Josh said about vets. They want to do the right thing. They don’t want to be breaking the law and more. The same story comes to me again and again and again. Where vets come in and they say, ‘I’ve got these six jars of pills they gave me at the VA that turn me into a zombie.’ or there’s ‘Post Traumatic Stress or pain’, same thing.

They use medical marijuana and they can either get rid of most of them or in some cases, all of those pills and they’re not a zombie and they can function. So that’s the story that we get and I want to tell any vets out there, if you’re having any trouble or if you haven’t reached out to the Disabled American Veterans, etc. for issues other related than Cannabis and need help reaching that, come to us. We’ll help you reach them. If you’re having trouble with Cannabis in the VA system of any kind, give us a holler. We’ll refer you or we’ll help you. One or the other. We’re out here.

Dean Becker: Alright. Again, thank you, Michael. Thank you, Josh. Be sure to tune into the upcoming Century of Lies show. We’re going to be interviewing Author Charles Bowden, a brand new book. Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields.

You guys, the drug war is a scam. It’s a sham. It’s flim-flam. It’s got no basis in reality. It’s up to you to do your part to help bring it to an end and as always I remind you, because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.
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To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.

Tap dancing on the edge on an abyss.

Submitted by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.net