01/27/13 Michael Krawitz

Michael Krawitz of Patients out of Time regard veteran's access to cannabis, report from British Med Assoc, Drug War death in Okla, Indiana Senator wants to decrim weed, Doug McVay with Drug War Facts, CNN report on MMJ, John Legend sings "The House I live In"

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Guest: 
Michael Krawitz
Organization: 
Patients out of Time
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Century of Lies / January 27, 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: Thank you for joining us on this edition of Century of Lies. Here in just a minute we’re going to bring in our guest, Mr. Michael Krawitz, who speaks about the medical needs of our veterans. We’ll also have several other reports from around the nation and around the world.

First up is Michael Krawitz.

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MICHAEL KRAWITZ: I’m Michael Krawitz with Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. We’re a national veteran service organization dedicated to working towards supporting the rights of veterans to be able to go to the VA and be able to talk to their doctor about medical cannabis without being punished and, of course, to be able to work through the VA system to get access through normal channels to cannabis.

We also work for any medicinal issue - if the veteran comes and is having trouble accessing medicine that their doctor or doctors is recommending. Although we don’t get a lot of those that’s why we’re called Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access we are open to any those medical issues.

DEAN BECKER: A ruling came down just today from an appeals court regarding medical marijuana. What’s your response to it?

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: It’s an interesting one, personally, because I’m a patient plaintiff in that action in the Appeals Court. I came in with my veterans argument essentially saying that because of the fact that I have to leave the VA and go to another doctor and get another general physical and what not just to get a recommendation for cannabis because the VA has a mandate against that that that is a harm. That is something that justified me to bring action in court.

Evidently they accepted that argument. We didn’t lose on standing. We had had trouble for many years with standing – not getting anywhere with our arguments. Now, finally, we got past that just to get the next door shut in our face.

So they killed the appeals court action by saying the DEA has not acted arbitrarily and capriciously by denying the application for rescheduling. What exactly do you have to do to be arbitrary and capricious in the eyes of this court because the DEA has had a record of being arbitrary and capricious going back decades. That is well-documented on this issue.

DEAN BECKER: There was a judge, Francis Young, who came out and called the DEA’s methodology capricious. It seems that continues. Your response, Michael.

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: I’m well familiar with that having studied the previous actions. That was an action that was brought on by NORML back in the 1970s, championed by Bob Randall - the medical patient that started the whole ball rolling in the United States with medical cannabis. The Investigative New Drug program that still gives marijuana to the so-called IND patients - that was what Bob Randall was doing.

In Bob Randall’s eyes if we could just get cannabis moved out of Schedule I to Schedule II that was enough so that patients could have access. That was, indeed, their goal.

They kind of worked with the system as well as they could and made as many compromises as they could. The court they were in was under Judge Francis Young. Judge Young was an Administrative Judge in the DEA. He worked within the DEA. He ruled very clearly on our side. The DEA took that ruling to the appeals level where they won.

The appeals court in that ruling said the DEA didn’t need to listen to its own judge. The DEA essentially has more authority than its own judge. The interesting take-away from that whole thing is “What do you do when you win and then you go home but you really didn’t win?”

I’ve been telling people this is something that just occurred to me recently. The United States we have this way about us. When you lose you go home and you don’t come back for a while. You come back something different. Just ask Mitt Romney, right?!

This is not the way we do things in the United States. Losers don’t count – they immediately disappear. Here we won. We won. We got the ruling that we wanted in court and then they overruled us. It really screwed us up. What do you do?! What kind of argument do you come back with when your arguments were already a winning argument but then they shot you down?

That’s where we’ve been for a long time. We have winning arguments. They just have the authority to shoot us down.

DEAN BECKER: It becomes well beyond preposterous. The fact is you’re working for medical marijuana patients who wore our uniform, who served our country, who did their duty and now they want a little relief from the pain or the anguish they’re suffering from, right?

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: I think to be fair you have to recognize that the vets have already been using cannabis for a long time. As a matter of fact, if you go back far enough you’ll find that the veterans were using cannabis legally in the United States for a long time.

If you came back from the Civil War and you had Post Traumatic Stress, even though they didn’t call it that – they called it battle fatigue or shell shock or something along those lines, you could certainly go to the pharmacy and get a cannabis product. They were on the shelves – at least in the late 1800s they were widely available in the pharmacies. You had to find a fairly well-educated pharmacy in the 1860s but they did exist.

They had hashish candy. It was widely available and legal. Vets that came back from the Spanish-American war, from World War I and even during World War II they had the whole Hemp for Victory campaign. They weren’t talking about medicine at that point but they were reinvigorating the hemp aspects of cultivation of cannabis.

Veterans are very familiar with cannabis, have a long history with it and, I think, somehow or another that’s been remembered because I’ve got a lot of veterans who use cannabis, get benefit from it and have so for a long time. Now they’re just beginning to come to terms with that being even medical. It was just something that they did. It was just something that was part of their existence.

Now, like any patient, you have to go through somewhat of a genesis where you’re recognizing that you’re using this as a medicine because society has you convinced that you’re using it as some sort of recreational device.

It’s usually when you discontinuing using it and you see the flood of your symptoms come back that you really recognize it. Especially …this isn’t just the veterans telling me this. This is their family members, friends, their community telling me that, “Gosh, when this guy or gal has cannabis they’re easier to deal with. They are easier to communicate with. They’re able to spend more time with their wife, their kids – have more productive family life.”

This is more than just saying, “Hey, this is something that works for me.”

This is a very obvious, valuable medicine for people.

DEAN BECKER: The fact of the matter is the newspapers and broadcasters are really starting to cover the death toll, if you will, the suicides that we’ve had more soldiers die of suicide following their time in battle than we’ve had die on the battlefield. It’s outrageous.

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: That’s something that we’re, obviously, extremely sensitive to. It’s something that’s complicated as far as why that is true. It’s not just something that just cannabis can cure, frankly. But if cannabis helps at all – it’s such an easy option.

We have actually great science now to understand some of these processes in the brain that I’m sure you’ve covered on your show before – the endogenous cannabinoid receptor system.

Through that understanding of the endogenous receptor system we now know that cannabis helps to kill memories, bad memories. It actually causes memory extinction. This is something that we’ve known for a long time – in a way – because you think of the “forgetful stoner.”

This is something that may be a very valuable thing for a veteran to be able to compartmentalize and even forget some of these horrible memories. You add that to the fact that it helps you sleep. You add that to the fact that it’s generally useful as a pain medicine.

Someone who has suffered Post Traumatic Syndrome often has pain. It’s often a painful event like an explosion, for example, that causes the Post Traumatic Stress afterward. So you might have loss of limb. You might have any number of types of very serious painful conditions on top of the trauma.

We know now that brain trauma – whether it’s a blunt trauma or Post Traumatic Stress or even some of the other things that aren’t from a specific injury like Alzheimer’s – these cause brain changes that can be affected by cannabis. Cannabis is being proven and being shown through this understanding of this endogenous cannabinoid receptor system to work and to alleviate some of these problems.

I have a feeling that within the next 10 years or so you’re going to see some of these dotted lines connected because we know a lot about sport’s injury and we haven’t really applied that to veteran’s head injury. We know a lot about the cannabinoid receptor system but we haven’t really applied that to the sport’s injury. You see what I mean? Back and forth.

When these doctors start talking to each other I think we’re going to see some major breakthroughs.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed we will. Today we suffered a setback but you and I are in this for the long haul.

Michael Krawitz, please share your website.

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: It’s http://veteransformedicalcannabisaccess.org

If any veteran or family member has issues with the VA hospital whether they’re trying to get treatment and being treated with disrespect, not getting the medicine that they think they require have them give us a call, give us a holler. We have our email address on the website and we can certainly help as friends of the family and as friends of the veteran to intercede and to help get through these roadblocks to treatment gotten rid of.

DEAN BECKER: Michael Krawitz, thank you so much.

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: Thank you, Dean. Thanks for having me.

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DEAN BECKER: The following from the British Medical Association.

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REPORTER: The latest reports produced by the BMA’s Board of Science is “Drugs of Dependence: The roll of medical professionals.” With me today to discuss this report is Professor Averil Mansfield, the chair of the MBA’s Board of Science.

If I could just start by asking you why the BMA has produced this report?

AVERIL MANSFIELD: You’ll be aware of the fact that there is quite a lively debate going on at the present time about drugs of addiction. To some extent we feel that the medical aspects in that have been rather neglected. We, obviously, are quite clear about the fact that one has to be tough on the criminal aspects of it but we would also like people to remember that drug addicts are patients and we, as doctors, have to care for these patients who have a drug addiction and we need the knowledge in order to do so.

REPORTER: So what is the BMA trying to achieve with the publication of “Drugs of Dependence: The roll of medical professionals”?

AVERIL MANSFIELD: It would like to put into the public area the fact that we have a concern about the way in which the debate is going. We would like to be central to that debate when the opportunity arises and we particularly want to have that debate based on good factual evidence. We’ve been helped by a team of experts who have given their time and we have, I think, a very useful resource for doctors and others to refer to.

REPORTER: Sure and many doctors will have expertise in treating patients who use illegal drugs. How can they come to reach the BMA’s work on drugs of dependence?

AVERIL MANSFIELD: They’re very important because they can feed back to us some of the practical things that they have discovered and possibly some of the things they disagree with in the formal report as we have written it. So we’d like to hear from doctors.

We also want them to feel enabled to participate in this debate – perhaps locally, perhaps nationally – when the opportunity arises.

REPORTER: You can download a copy of the report from the BMA website and print copies of the report are also available.

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DEAN BECKER: Next some “good news – bad news” out of the Midwest. Sadly, first we’re going to hear the bad.

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MALE ANCHOR: Glad you’re here. We begin Tonight at 5 with a Paul’s Valley family dealing with a tragedy.

FEMALE ANCHOR: A 33-year-old pregnant mother died from a medical condition while being held at the Garvin County Jail.

News Channel 4’s Jesse Wells went to Paul’s Valley to talk to friends, family and investigators.

MALE ANCHOR: Live now in our newsroom to explain exactly what happened. Jesse?

JESSE WELLS: The victim in this case is 33-year-old Jamie Lynn Russell. Jamie also used the last name of Fisher. Her death came just a couple of hours after she went to the hospital seeking help for severe abdominal pain. Her family and friends now wonder what went wrong.

Inside this small, black holding cell here at the Garvin County jail 33-year-old Jamie Russell died a painful death. Before arriving at the jail Jamie first went to the Paul’s Valley General Hospital.

WITNESS: Jamie was seeking help. She was in extreme pain – massive pain.

JESSE WELLS: …reported Jamie wouldn’t cooperate. In too much pain to even lie down so the employees asked the Paul’s Valley officer to assist. Unfortunately when police found two prescription pills that didn’t belong to Jamie they took her to jail for drug possession. That’s where Jamie sat for less than 2 hours before being found unresponsive.

SHERIFF: There is nothing my staff in the jail could have done differently.

JESSE WELLS: Sheriff Rhodes points out hospital staff authorized Jamie’s release to their custody.

SHERIFF: She had a medical release from the hospital that she was fit for incarceration.

JESSE WELLS: The state medical examiner’s office confirms Jamie died from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. That’s where an embryo plants outside the uterus.

SHERIFF: It’s very recredible for the family. My heart goes out and my thoughts and prayers go out to them.

JESSE WELLS: Still those who knew Jamie believe the hospital staff, not the sheriff, neglected to care for the 33-year-old ailing mother.

WITNESS: Something’s wrong. Something needs to be fixed. If it’s not she will have died in vain.

JESSE WELLS: The sheriff did call in the OSBI to investigate. A spokesperson for that agency said they’re investigation is basically complete. They did not find any criminal wrongdoing on the part of the jail staff.

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DEAN BECKER: Next we hear from an Indiana state senator with “the good.”

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KAREN TALION: I have had requests from many, many people to know the status of Senate Bill 580 which is the decriminalization of marijuana. This is just a quick update.

The bill has been filed. It has now also been assigned “not to rules”, thank you (which is the graveyard of all bills) but it has been assigned to the Criminal Procedure Committee.

The next step is to make sure it gets a hearing.

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DEAN BECKER: Next up – Doug McVay.

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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: I would urge you to check out http://csdp.org or http://drugwarfacts.org

Next a report from CNN.

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REPORTER: …Arizona mission to change the public’s perception about the people who smoke marijuana and it’s taking its crusade for patient’s rights to the airwaves.

PATIENT 1: I get muscle spasms real bad.

PATIENT 2: I was hit by a drunk driver.

PATIENT 3: I’m an AIDS survivor.

REPORTER: This bold, fully paid for TV commercial is the first of its kind in the entire country. The producer says these are real people who use cannabis to help deal with a variety of serious ailments.

You never see a marijuana plant or hear a blatant reference to the drug. The dispensary’s director says that was done on purpose.

LANETTE DAVIES: I’m not looking at getting people high. I’m looking at getting people well.

REPORTER: Lanette Davies got involved with medicinal marijuana 5 years ago. She became an advocate after the medications her teenage daughter took for a rare bone disease were too much for her to handle.

BRITTANY DAVIES: I’ve been a patient of Canna Care for 5 or 6 years now.

REPORTER: Her daughter is the first person that appears in this ad.

LANETTE DAVIES: It was so awful that she dropped on the floor one day and she went into spasms on the floor and she begged me - she was 15-years-old – she begged me to let her die. She begged me to let her die.

REPORTER: Davies is a conservative Christian and she wants to make her position clear. She does not support Proposition 19 which would legalize marijuana. She wants the state to have strict rules and regulation on the use of what she says God’s nature has created. Not everyone is buying that religious sales pitch.

Randy Thomason is with marijuanaharmsfamilies.com

RANDY THOMASON: What’s next?! Medical cocaine? Medical heroin?

REPORTER: Thomason says that a survey in San Diego found 98% of people who said they use pot for medicinal purposes just wanted to get stoned. And he says research has proven it’s a gateway drug to cocaine and meth. He says no matter how you push it marijuana is extremely harmful and this ad is purely dangerous propaganda.

RANDY THOMASON: This is going to harm people if they get used to it. This ad sadly is mainstreaming pot. It’s not good and it shouldn’t be run.

REPORTER: Our station is the first TV station to air it and the interim general manager defends it. He says, in part, “Under careful supervision of a physician people have said they benefit from the appropriately prescribed dosage of medicinal marijuana.”

He also says the Canna Care ad is no different than this one:

COMMERCIAL: These things are for real. So is Excedrin Migraine.

LANETTE DAVIES: What we’re trying to do is not have these patients be ashamed or be ridiculed or feel humiliated because they’re already going through so much. We just want them to know that if this herb helps them we’re here to help you.

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DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy KETV in Omaha, Nebraska.

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REPORTER: Cheeba Chews…

SHERIFF: They look just like regular candy.

REPORTER: But it contains cannabis oil extracted from marijuana plants.

SHERIFF: I’ve heard of other methods of ingesting marijuana like marijuana brownies, marijuana cookies.

REPORTER: A drug dog hit on the candy and other pot during a traffic stop along Interstate 88 near Lincoln this week. Deputies arrested a 30-year-old Denver woman for possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver.

Seeing marijuana packaged this way has the Sheriff concerned.

SHERIFF: Candy cigarettes came under fire for making it attractive to children. I would suspect this will be the same kind of…hopefully it will be the same kind of outrage on marijuana made to look like candy or made into candy.

REPORTER: According to the Cheeba Chews’ website their product, legally produced in Colorado since 2009, is for medical purposes.

CHEEBA CHEWS’ REPRESENTATIVE: A lot of the people who come down use it for nausea and more so for chronic pain.

REPORTER: But the website also includes this video appearing to target a younger audience.

CHEEBA CHEWS’ REPRESENTATIVE: Give it up for the dancing mascot…

REPORTER: The owner of Cheeba Chews responded in an email to KETV News Watch 7 saying, “We do not target young people. There is not one documented sale to a minor from a dispensary in Colorado. Not one. Cheeba Chews are not candy. Comparing Cheeba Chews to candy is like comparing Nyquil to Kool Aid.”

They also sent a copy of the warning label on their product.

But still law officers are concerned. It’s hard to tell this contains a substance illegal in Nebraska and most states.

SHERIFF: That raises concern that we might not be able to detect it or that every item that looks that way will come under suspicion.

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DEAN BECKER: Next up we have a segment featuring John Legend singing “The House I Live In.”

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JOHN LEGEND: Again we have this concept, this ideal of what we think America is but we’re also the most incarcerated country in the world. We’re the land of the free and we lock people up more than anybody.

[music]

What is America to me?
A name, a map, or a flag I see?
A certain word, "democracy"?
What is America to me?

The house I live in,
The friends that I have found,
The folks beyond the railroad,
And the people all around.

The worker and the farmer,
The sailor on the sea,
The men who built this country,
That’s America to me.

The house I live in,
My neighbors white and black,
The people who just came here,
Or from generations back;
The town hall and the soapbox,
The torch of liberty,
A home for all God's children;
That's America to me.

The house I live in,
The goodness everywhere,
A land of wealth and beauty,
With enough for all to share;
A house that we call Freedom,
A home of Liberty,
But especially the people,
That's America to me.
But especially the people,
That's the true America.

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DEAN BECKER: The song was originally sung by Paul Robison and it is the soundtrack from the movie, “The House I Live In.” I urge you to go see it.

Thank you for tuning in and, as always, I remind you there is no legitimacy to this drug war. Please do your part to end this madness. 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