01/20/13 Jodie Emery

Jodie Emery of Cannabis Culture, Baroness Meacher per BBC, Dan Savage, CNN re states rights on MJ & Doug McVay of Drug War Facts

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Guest: 
Jodie Emery
Organization: 
Cannabis Culture Magazine
Download: Audio icon COL012013.mp3
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Transcript

Century of Lies / January 20, 2013

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DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.

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DEAN BECKER: Hello friends and welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. Here in just a moment we are going to bring in our main guest for this show, Mrs. Jodie Emery. She is married to Marc Emery. She is going to tell the story of corruption which stole him from her up in Canada and stuck him in an American prison.

We got a couple other great segments to share with you.

Reporting on the drug war these days is like shooting fish in a barrel after you drain the water – just hit them while they’re flopping on the bottom.

Here we go.

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JODIE EMERY: This is Jodie Emery in Vancouver, B.C.

DEAN BECKER: For those who may not know you are the wife of Marc Emery - a gentleman who is now locked up in a U.S. prison. Tell us what happened to Marc. Why is he there?

JODIE EMERY: That’s a kind of story that people should google Marc Emery and watch the “Prince of Pot” documentary made by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation or any of the many movies or interviews or CNN, National Geographic, 60 Minutes. There’s endless amounts of information out there.

Marc Emery is a freedom and liberty activist who has fought for various causes for freedom since his earliest years in London, Ontario – his hometown out east in Canada. He brought cannabis magazines such as High Times and the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes into Canada to sell them and promoted them in the newspaper because those kinds of literature were illegal. He wanted the police to arrest him so he could challenge the law to make marijuana literature legal in Canada.

He was arrested and he’s had civil disobedience in his life for many different causes. He moved to Vancouver in 1994 and decided to open up a hemp shop called Hemp B.C. which would sell bongs and pipes and all the marijuana paraphernalia which were not available in Canada at that time. In the 80s all the head shops had been shut down.

Marc decided to start wholesaling to different stores across Canada so that they could open up and sell hemp and cannabis-related material to people who wanted them. He started selling marijuana seeds at the same time saying that he would send them to anybody in the world because the money that sent him for buying those sees would all be spent on legalization activism.

To that end, from 1994 to 2005, he spent over 4 million dollars. He gave to the marijuana movement, to the U.S. Marijuana Party, to ballot initiatives, to medical marijuana court cases, to well-known activists and organizations throughout the United States. He helped finance NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project, political parties in New Zealand and Israel and all over the world.

Marc Emery was the leader in financing and activism. He started Cannabis Culture magazine, Pot TV (one of the first video-streaming websites), and he was the leader in the marijuana movement and called the “Prince of Pot” by CNN because he was so recognized and so well-known.

He was always arrested but continued to do what he was doing because he knew it was right and because nobody else had the balls to sell the seeds and make the money that he did. He paid taxes on all the seeds though.

He ran for office on every level of government. He financed the B.C. Marijuana Party campaign. He appeared in media regularly. He was very reachable and in contact for anyone who wanted to reach out to him.

He was arrested by American agents in Canada with Canadian police on July 29, 2005 even though he had never left Canada and gave away every dollar. He only had 11 dollars in his bank account the day he was arrested. The DEA admitted that all of the money was given away and that he had nothing left to his name.

They admitted that they went after him because he was financing the legalization activists in the United States and in Canada and around the world and that was the only reason they went after him. The stole him from his home country of Canada, gave him a 30-year minimum sentence (30 years to life) in U.S. prison even though he had never gone to the United States and only gave money and seeds to Americans to help them “overgrow the government.” That was his slogan: Plant the seed to overgrow the government!

They came up here when they were tired of it, in 2005, and had him facing 30 years to life in prison. He accepted a 5-year plea deal. He was extradited in May of 2010 and is currently serving his sentence in Mississippi State.

DEAN BECKER: So well-articulated but I guess with practice comes that perfection. The fact of the matter is you have been following in your husband, Marc’s, footsteps. You have been running Cannabis Culture. You have picked up a couple other gauntlets. You have run for office. You’re now on your second endeavor running for public office, correct?

JODIE EMERY: It’s actually my 4 th. The first one was in 2005 with the B.C. Marijuana party. Then in the 2008 bi-election for the B.C. Marijuana party. In 2009 I was asked to run for the B.C. Green party. That whole campaign was based on ending prohibition to end gang violence which is a major issue in the riding.

The MLA, the member of the legislation who won is now a legalizing activist similar to how Marc’s own prosecutor, John McCain of Washington State, is also a legalization activist. So we’re continuing our campaigning as much as we can to win people over to our side. I’ll be running in the B.C. provincial election for this May 13th in Vancouver West and right here downtown in Vancouver, British Columbia.

DEAN BECKER: It’s amazing how many politicians “go to Jesus” so to speak once they leave office. People seem to see the futility of this drug war. Your response to that.

JODIE EMERY: Yeah they all decided until they’ve done their job to campaign against but they admit that when you’re in office there is a lot of pressure. I’d like to know what kind of pressure that is - what kind of gun is being held to their head and by which hand – the cops or the gangs? I don’t know but there’s obviously a lot of pressure to keep silent on this issue when they’re in office.

We know that politics is an ugly game. It’s just a game of labels and party names and giant organizations working for their own self-interest so politicians don’t really have a whole lot of power when it gets down to it.

It’s still good to have people coming out. At least they give a bit of encouragement to those who are still serving in office. When you have more and more former politicians speaking out in favor of legalization it gives it a bit more encouragement and confidence to those who are still serving in office who might be hesitant to speak about it otherwise.

DEAN BECKER: I want to talk about your website because you guys (I looked at it a minute ago) you have so many different stories showing so many different angles, different ways of understanding that this drug war has no connection with common sense, right?

JODIE EMERY: The prohibitionists don’t have any argument left. There is no reason to continue prohibition. We’re not hearing anybody defend it as a policy. We’re only hearing more people explain why prohibition is a failure and why we need a different approach.

It’s fantastic to see the conversation changing so much – not about whether we should legalize it or not but how we should legalize it.

DEAN BECKER: Just this week U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy was talking about that it is time to repeal the mandatory-minimums. That it just doesn’t work. Give the decision back to the judges.

A Texas Senator, John Whitmire, was telling me that we’ve got to stop looking at drug users…we’ve got to stop treating them like we hate them. We’ve got to treat them as if they are fellow citizens. We’ve got to find a way to bring them back into the fold without a prison sentence.

JODIE EMERY: Absolutely. A lot of times we forget that prisoners are still there. There’s a lot of sympathy, compassion for medical marijuana patients, for a lot of people whom obviously suffer injustice and arrest but there is a lot of prisoners who aren’t ever ….it’s hard to fight for prisoners. It’s hard for politicians to work for prisoner’s rights. Oftentimes they are the forgotten ones.

I always remind people let’s not just jump ahead to how we regulate marijuana – let’s talk about calling an amnesty. Let’s talk about releasing all the prisoners who are in prison right now. If we’re talking about this law begin unjust and changing then let’s release everybody who is suffering under that law as it exist.

DEAN BECKER: We are speaking with Mrs. Jodie Emery.

You’re based up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. You guys have had some new interpretations of your marijuana regulations coming out of Health Canada.

JODIE EMERY: Federally…in Canada we don’t really have states’ rights so our medical marijuana program is a federal program. Our federal government is conservative and very George W. Bush-like. They really don’t like medical marijuana. They don’t like marijuana at all. They’ve increased all our penalties and laws here for mandatory-minimums. They’re looking at private prisons. There is so much bad stuff going on up here.

But medical marijuana was usually pretty good. We’ve had problems with people having difficulty finding doctors because the rules are very strict up here. They’re not at all like U.S. states. It is a very tightly controlled, very regulated, restrictive program.

They’ve allowed people to grow their own. People are allowed to either have a license to grow their own or have a license to designate someone to grow for them. That’s been great for so many people.

Recent Health Canada proposal for the way to change the system would be to eliminate all of the personal and designated grows and only allow patients to purchase through companies authorized by Health Canada to produce marijuana for medical marijuana patients. That would change things quite a bit but we still have a couple years until that is implemented and it may be modified even more between now and then so we don’t know how it is going to work out.

If people are interested in finding out about that we’ve been covering it a lot at http://cannabisculture.com and http://pot.tv

Just a disclaimer – Marc and I are not medical marijuana patients. I don’t have a license. I’m not much of a medical marijuana activist beyond advocating for its use and, of course, supporting the medical marijuana movement. For me most of my focus is on prohibition as a policy and particularly the human cost of incarceration and arrest – more the civil liberties angle of it.

We definitely support medical marijuana 100%. I don’t think our nation should be losing the right to grow. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of fighting to defend that right, to maintain it when the new regulations come in to place.

DEAN BECKER: I got to agree with you. I am a pot smoker. I admit that. I think it’s medicinal for me although I don’t have a recommendation. I believe it’s beneficial sacramentally as well. It helps the spirit.

But the fact of the matter is I’m, like you, I think, I hope, I pray that all these marijuana smokers are working towards the end of prohibition – to stop empowering the terrorists, the gangs, the cartels, to diminish our prison population, to find a better way. Your response?

JODIE EMERY: We can’t forget…When I go to Seattle Hempfest or the Boston Freedom Rally…I haven’t seen much of California besides going down there to campaign for Proposition 19 back in 2010. What I see is a lot of celebration of the culture. There’s a lot of freedom and protection for a lot of people and that’s fantastic. I love seeing that but we can’t forget everyone else.

At the same time somebody in Colorado is walking into a medical shop and buying a bunch of strains and using it for their insomnia or what have you…I’m OK with medical marijuana use for whatever ails you or whatever doesn’t ail you. I’m a supporter of anyone being able to use it but people enjoying that sort of freedom and protection from the law you have to remember that at the exact same moment there’s a little old lady in Arkansas who just got arrested because her medicine isn’t protected.

There’s all sorts of people suffering every single day. I’m sure today in some federal court somebody who was involved in medical marijuana just got a five year mandatory-minimum. Every single day people continue to suffer.

So while we do have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for and to build upon and to use as a model for elsewhere…these rallies and such that go on – those are great but we cannot forget those who have fallen. We cannot those who will soon lose their freedom.

If people stop fighting for those who are locked up or those who will be locked up or those who ever were locked up - if you stop fighting for them one day you might end up locked up and who is going to be fighting for you?

I see it as an obligation that if you live somewhere that you’re celebrating cannabis, you have access to it, you get to use it – if you have that sort of freedom and access and lifestyle you owe it to those who don’t to not stop fighting until everybody has the same freedom.

DEAN BECKER: Wow – what wonderful stuff. You know, Jodie, we’re closing it out here but it just occurred to me that it wasn’t that long ago (I think less than a year) that Canada started up their mandatory-minimums on certain drug charges and here we are with the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for an end to it here in the U.S. Funny how things tumble, isn’t it?

JODIE EMERY: The ironies abound. For example, on the same day that Colorado legalized 6 plants for every adult to legally grow Canada’s mandatory-minimums came into effect. That means that if you’re an adult who grows 6 plants or more you get a mandatory 6-month, 9-month or 12-month in prison. What kind of irony?! The exact same day – legal for 6 plants there, illegal even more so here.

Changes are happening for good and for worse. We can’t stop until we get as much good out of it as we can.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed. Once again we’ve been speaking with Jodie Emery of Cannabis Culture and many other worthwhile endeavors. The website is http://cannabisculture.com.

Jodie, before we go I want to ask. Marc would probably love to hear from some of the listeners out here wouldn’t he?

JODIE EMERY: Absolutely. He appreciates letters and he loves writing back to people. He tries to make time for everybody. Definitely write him and tell him what you are doing to legalize pot because that’s what he likes to hear the most – people who are getting active and getting stuff done.

His address is on the front page of http://freemarc.ca

DEAN BECKER: Thank you, Jodie.

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[music]

I am the Reverend Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network standing in the river of reform, baptizing drug warriors to the unvarnished truth - Drug Truth dot net.

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DEAN BECKER: The following segment out of the UK features Baroness Meacher being interviewed by the BBC.

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REPORTER: What you seem to be proposing is even that some drugs should be regulated and sold in licensed shops.

BARONESS MEACHER: That’s right. At the moment we have a situation where all drugs are either in the hands of criminal gangs or, in the case of legal highs, in the hands of Chinese, very dubious scientists who are cooking up substances in their laboratories, advertising them on the web and then sending them over to young people in Britain and elsewhere.

There’s nowhere that young people can go if they’re determined to take drugs - we know a lot of young people are determined to take drugs – nowhere where they can get really good information about what is in the drugs, how safe they are, how much they should take, how they should take it and so on.

Therefore the current system, in our view, is, in fact, dangerous. What we’re looking for is a safer system to protect young people.

REPORTER: Why is it going to be any safer? It’s just going to be sanctioned by the state.

BARONESS MEACHER: What we’re saying is there are drugs a great deal safer than alcohol and tobacco. One can use ecstasy as an example and there are many legal highs that are substituted for ecstasy. If those much safer drugs were provided say in a chemist, very carefully labeled giving exactly what the ingredients are and so on and what the risks are…

REPORTER: So a 16-year-old, 17-year-old get some…

BARONESS MEACHER: No, 18 plus.

REPORTER: So an 18-year-old going out on a Saturday night could pop in to a chemist and buy some what? Ecstasy?

BARONESS MEACHER: Well we would say, at the moment, a legal high replacing ecstasy but basically the same thing. At least you’d know what was in it. At the moment 60 million ecstasy tablets are sold every year – 60 million- to young people all through the criminal gangs and the illegal dealers.

What we’re saying is that if young people are going to buy these things is it not better that they know exactly what is in them. They will not be contaminated because they will be provided through legal channels and the young people will, in fact, be relatively safe.

No drugs are completely safe. Coffee is not safe. I’ve just had a cup of it but it is not safe. Alcohol, tobacco – they’re not safe.

REPORTER: But the argument that those are not safe and therefore we should make these other things which aren’t safe perhaps tax them…it’s …

BARONESS MEACHER: The fact is some of these drugs are a food deal safer than tobacco and alcohol. It may be a very good thing if we could get some young people to switch - we know a lot of young people are drinking far too much – get them to switch to something rather safe…

REPORTER: It’s not going to happen though is it? We know the Prime Minister has ruled out a reform of the drugs law. He says that the current policy is working and drug use is falling.

BARONESS MEACHER: Let’s look at it. Cannabis use increased 20-fold in 40 years. We’ve had a drop of a couple percent over the past three or four years while the demand for the legal highs has, of course, been going up. 1 in 10 young people have tried these legal highs recently. So maybe cannabis use has gone down but it is cannabis use rather than more dangerous drugs but been replaced by much more dangerous substances – substances that people don’t know about, they …

REPORTER: Briefly, it would be more acceptable to have it as long as it was safe but possibly more people taking these substances or similar substances.

BARONESS MEACHER: Portugal have decriminalized the use of drugs and they have found that there are less and less young people using drugs, less of them becoming addicted. That is the case certainly in this country and, indeed, in neighboring countries. This is a better system.

REPORTER: Baroness Meacher, thank you very much.

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ANNOUNCER: This program contains coarse language, mature themes and the strong opinions of Dan Savage. Discretion is advised.

DAN SAVAGE: One marijuana smoker is arrested in the United States every 42 seconds. That’s more arrests than are made for violent crime. However things are improving.

Recreational pot use is no legal in Washington State and Colorado. This is exciting news for pot heads in those states but it shouldn’t just be limited to them - the excitement or the reform. There are reasons why everyone should be happy and everyone should get involved.

Elections have consequences. After voters approved recreational marijuana use in Washington State prosecutors threw out 220 misdemeanor cases that had been brought against recreational marijuana users the very next day.

A study conducted in Colorado by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project shows the breakdown. 210,000 people were arrested in Colorado for marijuana possession since 1986 and who are they bringing charges against? Minorities and young people, of course.

Even more alarming in the last decade blacks accounted for 3.8% of Colorado’s residents but 10.5% of marijuana possession arrests. Latinos – 19% of the state residence but a full quarter of Colorado’s marijuana possession arrests.

Studies show that whites smoke more pot but blacks and Latinos are arrested way more often. According to the U.S. Department of Human Health Services white people between the ages of 18 and 25 use marijuana at a higher rate than their black and Latino peers.

You might wonder how did we get here?

There was a strong connection between jazz, pot and African American subcultures in the 1920s. The government ignored this until white people starting partaking in that subculture which was deemed unacceptable by some.

Then a man named Harry Anslinger, the first Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and a douchebag racist named William Randolph Hearst, founder of Hearst Publications, started a campaign called “Reefer madness.” They used publicity, propaganda, demagoguery to discourage people from using marijuana. They claimed that marijuana led to violence and induced insanity.

Reefer Madness audio clip:
“It causes one to be hopelessly and incurably insane - a condition caused by the drug marijuana…”

DAN SAVAGE: The truth is Hearst had invested heavily in timber and hemp (which can also be used to make paper) threatened those investments so Hearst took on this issue and wrote false stories in his newspapers. This type of propaganda actually promoted discrimination and racism.

You don’t have to be a pot smoker, a young person or a minority to benefit from marijuana reform. There can be 40 to 100 billion dollars in new tax revenues if we made pot legal federally.

The benefits aren’t just economic. There have been shit loads of studies proving that marijuana is good for people with all sorts of different health conditions. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is a non-profit dedicated to the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana and is at the forefront of informing the public on the real and surprising consequences of our harsh anti-marijuana laws.

At their website you can find marijuana laws and regulations in your state as well as which representatives you can contact where you live to let them know you support marijuana reform.

We can’t be afraid to talk about the implications of pot prohibition. The more we share with the others the more progress we can make.

In the course of this episode 5 people were arrested for marijuana possession. This is a scandal and you can do something about it.

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DEAN BECKER: The following courtesy of CNN.

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[crowd cheering]

REPORTER: There was a euphoria the moment pot became legal in Washington State but 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C. the justice department and the Whitehouse are reviewing how the federal government should respond. At the moment they’re sticking to this statement by the U.S. Attorney in Seattle, Washington who would prosecute violations there.

“Regardless of the state law growing, selling or processing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.”

But several former DOJ officials who spoke to CNN said that likely won’t be the end of it. Former Attorney General under President George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales, laid out the options facing Eric Holder and the Justice Department.

Option 1: Lock the users up.

ALBERTO GONZALES: Go in to Washington State and arrest and prosecute those in possession of marijuana and then wait for the defendant to say, “Wait a minute. I’ve got a state law here that says this is not lawful.”

And at that point the department can raise the issue of preemption and say, “The federal government laws preempt state law on this regard.”

REPORTER: Option 2: Fight it out in the courts.

ALBERTO GONZALES: Sue the state of Washington and the state of Colorado. Take them to court and say that in this field the federal government has preempted and that the law has to fall.

REPORTER: Option 3: Cut off federal money to law enforcement.

ALBERTO GONZALES: It may simply start by withholding federal grants to the state because of the fact that they are not helping the state enforce federal laws.

REPORTER: Gonzales didn’t mention option 4 – do nothing. Listen to former federal prosecutor Mark Osler.

MARK OSLER: I think they should stand back. I think the best course of action here is to employ prosecutorial discretion at that macro level and let the states do what they will.

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DOUG McVAY: Fact-checking the drug czar.

ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske visited Portland, Oregon recently. Gil talked marijuana, referring to it as a public health issue and mentioning a study of drivers in California which found that 7.4 percent had tested positive for marijuana use, more than tested positive for alcohol.

It's commendable that he's talking public health, but is what he's saying true or meaningful?

First let's look at “Results of the 2012 California Roadside Survey of Nighttime Weekend Drivers’ Alcohol and Drug Use ,” that was published in November of 2012 and is available in full online. The authors say, quote:

“A random sample of nighttime drivers was interviewed on Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight and 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Data were collected on one weekend in eight communities and on two weekends in one community during the summer of 2012. The nine communities where data were collected were Eureka, San Rafael, and Redding in the northern part of the state; Fresno and Modesto in the central part of the state; and Anaheim, Ontario, Chula Vista, and Gardena in southern California. Anonymous breath tests and oral fluid samples as well as responses to questionnaires were collected from over 1,300 drivers. ”

End quote.

Random sample, not people being pulled over for erratic driving or any cause. We'll come back to that in a minute.

The authors report that, quote: “In terms of breath and oral fluid test results, 184 (or, 14%) tested positive for at least one drug, and 7.3% tested positive for alcohol. One percent of tested drivers were at .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) or above. ”

End quote.

They also report that, quote: “Marijuana was the most frequently encountered drug at a prevalence rate of 7.4%, with 5.5% of drivers testing positive for marijuana alone; ” end quote.

So there was a difference, but only one tenth of a percent. In Table 27, the authors report that most of the cannabis-positive drivers had no blood alcohol, and that no cannabis drivers were above .08 BAC.

Now let's look at real law enforcement data.

Washington state just legalized adult marijuana possession, at the same time setting up a blood THC standard for drugged driving. Washington state law does not allow random sobriety checkpoints, so police are supposed to have probable cause when they pull someone over. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported earlier this week that, quote:

“With more than 130 arrests for suspected driving under the influence of drugs in the state (16 in King County) since marijuana possession became legal on Dec. 6, it's likely the first DUI charge for driving while having a blood level of 5 nanograms or more of THC is in the pipeline. “The blood samples from those suspected drug DUIs are currently at the state's toxicology lab and should be reported back to the law enforcement official within the next few weeks, said Sgt. Paul Erdahl, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol. The state has made 1,355 alcohol DUI arrests, with 240 in King County during the same period.” End quote.

In other words, even when marijuana is legal, alcohol is ten times more of a problem.

So how did Drug Czar Kerlikowske do? Survey says: Fail.

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay with Common Sense for Drug Policy and Drug War Facts.

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DEAN BECKER: Thank you, Doug. I also want to thank Jodie Emery for joining us. I want to thank those reporters from the BBC, CNN and elsewhere who have finally pulled their heads from their posteriors and taken a good look at this drug war. It’s about time.

I want to thank you, dear listeners, for joining us. Once again we’ve proven that there is no reason for this drug war to exist. Please visit our website http://endprohibition.org. Prohibido istac evilesco!

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For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

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