02/24/13 Elvy Musika

FROM WASH DC: Elvy Musika who receives 300 marijuana cigaretes each month from the US Govt + Canadian Philippe Lucas re their Med MJ situ & Terry Nelson of LEAP

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Guest: 
Elvy Musika
Organization: 
Patients out of Time
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / February 24, 2013

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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!”

DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.

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DEAN BECKER: Hello my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. This week I’m reporting from Washington, D.C. I’m attending the National Cannabis Unity conference. It’s put together by Americans for Safe Access.

There is so much to share. First up we’re going to hear from Elvy Musika. She gets 300 joints per month provided by the federal government.

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ELVY MUSIKA: My name is Elvy Musika. I am one of four people today who receives federally grown marijuana. It is grown at the University of Mississippi. It is part of a Compassionate Protocol Investigative New Drug program that has been going on since Robert Randall established it back in the 70s – this new drug research.

Unfortunately the results never get published. I have maintained my intraocular pressure under control for 38 years – the last 25 with the government supply of marijuana that grows at the University of Mississippi.

Before anyone could enter the program they had to prove to FDA, DEA and NIDA that cannabis was the most efficient, the most reliable and the safest part of our treatment. For that we had to have extensive medical records which were not encouraged to keep and reliable doctors to keep those records. Believe me they did not want to hear the word marijuana when we got treatment.

I worked with the Vascular Eye Institute since 1977 – the beginning of it – and I went home and tried everything they had for intraocular pressures of 49, 56 which are very high for me and for glaucoma in general.
I went home that weekend and made some brownies. First of all my roller coaster ride began with a doctor telling me back in 1975 that I if I did not start smoking marijuana I would go blind. I had been born with congenital cataracts. I had several surgeries as a child but I lived a very normal life. We live with unstable vision but then, at that time, nothing but nothing that was available controlled it except the marijuana.

Unfortunately even though I went home and showed them that I could come back 2 days later while eating brownies every 12 hours and pressures were 12 and 14. For me that was nothing but a show of a miracle. Unfortunately they were not impressed. They were unhappy because I had done research without them with an underground doctor and they didn’t like but he helped many people in Fort Lauderdale with my problem to maintain their sight.

I went on to let them try their experimental surgeries. Much to my dismay…I saw no reason to go onto surgeries which even they told me that the best chance I had was 30% and a 70% chance of damage to the eye. Why would you want to go for such a surgery if you already found something that works?

I couldn’t understand that then. I guess they were saving my brain. The problem was I really hated not seeing and as far as I was concerned especially after each surgery my pressures would be controlled with very temporary time and then they would go back up but my determination to maintain that sight…

They wanted to do surgery in both eyes but I never let them except my better eye – the right eye – which had better pressures. That, of course, proved to be a disaster. After the second surgery I was unable to return to the bank to work so I became a tax burden for a while.

Then I went and worked for the state of Florida. Through the 80s there was a lady with a powdered nose that snored. She told us to no drugs. That told us that all of us who were using marijuana illegally just couldn’t go off for any kind of job. It was the urine test began and all we would get was room and board that we really weren’t looking forward to.

We knew we were breaking laws so we made the doctors keep keeping records all of which came to light when I got arrested. I had said, “Keep my records because I’m going to get arrested sooner or later. I’m doing something illegal and have to tell people in order to get the material.”

So I was arrested and it was like finding freedom for the first time ever because I had no idea that we were arresting 200,000 people in those days. I thought marijuana arrests were rare. I certainly knew I had the right to use it because by the time I was arrested 12 years had gone by with the eye institute. I had lost the eye completely. I was depressed except when I had marijuana. I would write music and escape the depression that way. I was a pretty happy camper but not having it always was really scary.

With the trial coming up the support in south Florida was incredible. I was not prepared for that. It was wonderful. My children were in college so they couldn’t threaten me with taking my custody away which, of course, it had been a burden that they would get me as it does to millions today. We’re not free to smoke marijuana as recreational or medical because we had children, we had jobs …we can get drunk all we want to when we get home from work and do other drugs but not the cannabis.

I won my trial and the public support continued to be around me and the program that Robert Randall had introduced which was the IND I spoke about. He was receiving the famous tins filled with cigarettes. He worked with me at the trial with my doctors for the papers. He was the lifeline along with my doctor and my attorney. All of them were brilliant. I was extremely lucky.

They put enough pressure on the federal government and threatened to sue them if I didn’t get the federal marijuana and I did finally receive it in November of 1998 – 25 years ago. I’ve been using it since then. Not only has it maintained my sight but my sight actually improved for a period of time.

It is important to know that marijuana doesn’t cure the illnesses that we arrest. We do keep them from developing and getting worse.

Last year the government was sending very, very bad marijuana. You can’t call that marijuana. Of course that’s not the right name of the plant in the first place. It’s cannabis. They count on ignorance and prejudice to come up with a new plant that made people killers and you had to outlaw. Those kind of lies and misinformation and programming has been going on for one hundred years since 1913.

The first laws was in California against “marihuana” – whatever that was. By 1937 we know the rest of it – I don’t even want to go there. The Substance Control Act was infinitely the legacy of a man who left the presidency for lack of honesty and in disgrace.

The legacy that he left us was the beginning of the prison industry – a trillion dollar industry that there is no way we can afford in any shape or form. Financially 1 trillion dollars to have a war against our own people – that needs to end.

DEAN BECKER: I want to remind you that you’re listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network and Pacifica Radio. The voice you’re hearing is that of Elvy Musika who receives 300 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes per month from the U.S. government approved by the FDA and stamped by the DEA. This was recorded in Washington, D.C. at the National Cannabis Unity conference. Again the speaker Elvy Musika.

ELVY MUSIKA: My marijuana has not only taken care of my glaucoma problem …as I said last year they sent me terrible stuff and it happened at a time that the - I now live in Oregon – had also upped their fees in my case from $10 to $150. I’m living on a very limited income because I haven’t worked since 1980. Anything that I could accumulate a decent social security check or anything else.

It’s really too sad because since 1996 when we made marijuana legal in California I certainly had many opportunities to work with dispensaries helping other patients, growing the pot but it was something I couldn’t do because I really wanted to maintain my prescription. As long as I had my prescription I can show you that my government lies because they know it’s medicine. It’s been my medicine and I wasn’t trading eyesight for brain cells as I was lead to believe.

I thought the only good thing about it was I was going to fade my memory and I wouldn’t remember any of it anyway. But, as we know, that’s not the way it turned out and I thank God every day in the spirit of thanksgiving.

I will continue to work to change the laws to end this blasphemous prohibition on the creator’s work because I really understand that spiritually this cannot possibly be accepted to torture people – make them go blind.

It’s like Judge Young from the DEA except he died – that’s why he’s not the head anymore. But he had the hearings around the country and 5,000 years of history and concluded that marijuana in its natural form is one of the most benign therapeutically active substances known to humanity. He said that for a government to come between a patient’s suffering and benefits of this herb which had killed no one and couldn’t possibly be associated with a death in 5,000 years of history that he had studied was unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.

I add to that it is unconstitutional and immoral. It is unaffordable environmentally. The paper mills of the world are polluting our world and worse than that the chemicals used make the worthless paper will continue to deteriorate because it is so harshly put together. That goes up to your ozone and continues to make the ozone hole bigger.

We cannot afford it environmentally. We cannot afford it financially. We cannot afford it morally, constitutionally. If you are safe and secure in my own body according to the 4 th amendment. When I have to pee in front of a stranger to apply for a job I think my constitutional rights are being violated. When I have to testify against myself by allowing illegal searches or providing information that is considered criminal today that is not my 5 th amendment protection.

I have worked with many states of the 18 we have now on making sure the patients can get the marijuana. We’re interfering with state’s rights. We cannot afford this prohibition at any level. Also pollution and destruction of the environment definitely helps the fact and really continues the fact that the immune deficiencies today in our planet are out of control – something we’ve never seen before.

The endocannabinoid system in your body and in your brain and in your mind has been protected with the cannabis plant throughout all history.

If you want to look at your bible, “Behold I have given unto you every seed bearing herb to be taken as protein as food.” When you close that bible up and the disaster we have made it says the green leaf is here for the healing of the nations.

Come on let’s get on it. Let no legislator not know what you are learning. Make sure that information is available. You’ve got to go see them. You’ve got to go talk to them. You’ve got to end the madness and you have to tell them that you will not continue any financial benefit to the party or to the individuals if they are so irresponsible as to continue to squander all of our resources in the manner that we have been doing for one hundred years and since the 80s more than ever.

That’s all I got to say.

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(Game show music)

It’s time to play: Name That Drug By It’s Side Effects

Yellow eyes, vomiting, black tarry stools, cloudy urine, fever with chills, sores, ulcers or white spots on lips and mouth and unusual bleeding.

(gong)

Time’s up!

The answer: Another FDA approved product, Acetominophen.

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Homer Simpson: I had a bad experience with drugs.

(Psychedelic music)

Homer Simpson: It was that golden weekend between summer school and regular school.

Lenny Leonard: Hey Homer, you wanna smoke some marijuana?

Carl Carlson: They say it’s a gateway drug.

Police Officer: Well, well, if it isn’t the Doobie Brothers?

Lenny Leonard: Oh, uh. Crotch the weed, man.

Police Officer: Smell any drugs, Sergeant Scraps?

Sergeant Scraps (dog): (sniffs and growls)

(Sergeant Scraps attacks Homer Simpson who is screaming.)

Homer Simpson: For me, the sixties ended that day in 1978.

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PHILLIPE LUCAS: My name is Phillipe Lucas. I’m a Research Affiliate with the Center for Addictions Research of British Colombia, co-founder of Canadians for Safe Access, founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society and I’m here at the Americans for Safe Access conference in Washington, D.C. down from Victoria, British Colombia which is my home.

DEAN BECKER: There’s a varying tactics and procedures and applications of laws, different misunderstandings…I don’t know how to say this…in the U.S. and Canada seems we chase one another in processes. Speak to that will you?

PHILLIPE LUCAS: I think what you see in Canadian and U.S. drug policy…it’s kind of interesting, I’m the father of 4 year old that at 15 years in child care in my life as a former school teacher and yet nothing has taught me patience like the work that I’ve had to do with drug policy reform.

It’s abuse that moves slowly and there’s always a pendulum shifting one way or the next. It’s never stasis and sometimes it shifts right and sometimes it shifts left. Right now it seems like the U.S. has taken a really progressive shift on drug policy. You guys are abolishing mandatory minimums, got Washington State and Colorado who have full-on legalized cannabis, 18 medical marijuana states – just seems to be a movement that’s moving forward in the U.S.

Canada we’re suffering a swing right right now. We’ve got a very conservative federal government that put in place an ominous crime bill that includes harsh mandatory minimum sentences even for small scale production and distribution of substances like cannabis. For example producing 6 plants or more can lead you to a 6 month mandatory minimum sentence in Canada.

Although we have a federal medical cannabis program right now – something that doesn’t really exist here in the U.S. – our program only protects a tiny minority of Canadians who claim to medical cannabis and the rest are now subject to these harsh penalties. Unlike in the U.S. who have a number of state programs that recognize dispensaries as legal entities in Canada dispensaries are not regulated or legal at any level of government so those who work at dispensaries to supply medical cannabis to critically and chronically ill Canadians are really vulnerable under this system.

I’m amazed and so pleased that the U.S. is moving forward because it’s been pointed out to Canadian drug policy reformers for years and years that we can’t make these shifts. The government always says we can’t liberalize access to cannabis because the U.S. would never stand for it. The fact is I live in British Colombia and now my U.S. neighbor, Washington State, have the right to use cannabis and to sell and distribute cannabis so I think that those excuses fall down.

In other words I think we’ve progressed together and it’s great to see progress in the U.S. I think that helps in Canada as well and vice versa.

DEAN BECKER: In less than an hour you’re going to be giving your presentation to this conference. Can you give us a quick summary of what you’ll be presenting?

PHILLIPE LUCAS: I’ll be talking mostly about the state of medical cannabis in Canada. I’ll be looking and focusing on a few different developments. The emergence of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries which is an organization that represents dispensaries in Canada. They are doing some lobbying efforts in Ottawa as well as at the provincial and municipal levels in order to try and get medical cannabis dispensaries integrated into the federal medical marijuana program or at least recognized at the provincial level.

In fact they’ve done a parallel project to what’s going on in the U.S. They’ve worked to develop their own standards and certification program which is something that Americans for Safe Access has been doing for down here with the American Health Product Association. It’s interesting that these projects of self-regulation are really being developed separately but at the same time in Canada and in the U.S.

The other thing I’m going to be talking about is Health Canada’s overhaul of the federal medical marijuana program. They are completely decentralizing this highly centralized program. Ottawa is trying to get out of the business of being involved with medical cannabis and so they’re taking a kind of neo-con approach. They’re going to license a bunch of large scale medical cannabis producers and basically devolve responsibility to this program or leave the responsibility of this program to provinces and to doctors so Health Canada is no longer going to be receiving and reviewing applications to the program for patients. That’s a benefit. Doctors are going to simply be able to write a script and someone is going to be able to walk out of a doctor’s office legally protected which is something that’s never happened in Canada before.

It used to be a 33-page application process – a very long complicated process and it didn’t have buy in from the medical community. There’s some other positives I should mention. There’s practitioners who now, theoretically, will be able to prescribe cannabis so that opens up the number of providers who are able to give cannabis recommendations.

Those are positive steps. The two steps that are more worrisome are that they are going to be taking away individual patient’s rights to produce their own cannabis. We know that a lot of patients choose to grow their own – about 70% of the Canadian federally authorized users do choose to grown their own cannabis so this is not something that patients want taken away from them. It’s really placing patients as a secondary stake holder to municipality’s fire and police chiefs who have been calling for either an inspection regime or the abolishment of personal production and that’s too bad. I think that patients ultimately are the experts in this and they are the primary stakeholders over federal program and shouldn’t be as regulated as secondary stakeholders.

The other problem that we see is that Health Canada didn’t take this opportunity to integrate cannabis dispensaries into the program. I think that that’s a real shame as well so they’ll continue to exist in kind of a gray area of the law unless they can find a way to work the new regulations of the program into the dispensary system.

So what we have are some minor improvements but a program that overall isn’t patient centered.

DEAN BECKER: One last thought is from my understanding of what you just said is they are taking away the patient’s ability to produce cheap cannabis for their own use and forcing them into a more inflated rate.

PHILLIPE LUCAS: Yeah, that is exactly right. In fact Health Canada’s own calculations suggest that the cost of cannabis is going to rise from …those who produce it themselves might be able to produce it for a dollar or two per gram while those who buy it from the Health Canada production facility right now which hasn’t been very popular and is $5 per gram.

They estimate that the price of cannabis is going to come in at about 8 or 9 dollars per gram. Through their own research and report they suggest that 6,000 people ( I think it’s 20% of the people in the program) are not going to be able to afford this new system. They’re readily acknowledging that they’re going to have 6,000 critically and chronically ill Canadians who will not be able to follow and meet these guidelines.

As we all know people who are critically and chronically ill a lot of the time are on fixed income. Medical cannabis patients in all the research that’s been done in Canada and the U.S. typically show up as being on the lower income level – lower than the average – so cost is still a huge obstacle for access both in Canada and in the U.S.

That’s a significant impact. The other impact is that a lot of patients find that they have found a certain strains that work particularly well for their conditions. They’ve invested into equipment to allow them to produce those strains and the time and energy to be able to grow these strains and by April 2014 apparently that’s all going to be for naught. It’s going to be illegal.

So what we’re going to see is patients have to make the tough choice of taking down their own production facilities, their small gardens in order to order cannabis through the mail because that’s how it’s going to be delivered now. So they’re going to lose all the benefits of working and growing their own medicine. On top of that they’re going to lose their investment that they’ve put into equipment and learning how to produce their own plants and have to take the chance of an unknown strain in hopes that it works as well.

DEAN BECKER: I want to remind the viewers and listeners that you’re one of my oldest friends in drug reform. You have committed your life to making these changes come about. Is there a website or two that you’d like to point folks toward?

PHILLIPE LUCAS: In B.C. right now I’m working with a group called Sensible B.C. that’s putting forward a referendum initiative to try and decriminalize cannabis at the provincial level in British Colombia. They’ve got a referendum…British Colombia is the only province in Canada that has a referendum initiative. If you can gather signatures from 10% of the population in every district in British Colombia you can put a question in the electorate.

Sensible B.C. has crafted a question called the Sensible Policing Act that would virtually decriminalize cannabis in British Colombia. I’m setting up a series of panels for them and you can find out more about Sensible B.C. at http://sensiblebc.cn

Otherwise I always recommend that people check out http://drugsense.org. It’s a great organizations and still one of the leaders in reform in Canada and the U.S.

If you want to learn more about the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries I recommend you check them out as well - really amazing dispensary representative organization in Canada. It’s worth having a look at.

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TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The Drug War by whatever name our government wants to call it has again shined the light on it’s total failure as a Public Policy. A recent report by Human Rights Watch indicates that abuses by Mexican Police and Army units are so egregious that the U.S. is threatning to hold up funds that were promised to prosecute the war. And, I might add that the Mexican government’s financial situation is much better than ours, one might ask why we are even providing aid in the first place. But, we know why... it is so we can buy some influence in their affairs.

Remember that we promised hundreds of millions of dollars (or by some accounts over a billion) to Mexico, under the Merida Initiative, to prosecute this War on Drugs. One of the points was to bring major cartel leaders to justice. Well, every time you arrest a cartel leader someone else steps up to assume the leadership and more violence and deaths occur, as others then fight for the top spot vacated because of the arrest of the leader. So that is a non-winnable situation.

With almost 70 thousand deaths reported since 2006 and hundreds of people missing and suspected of being kidnapped and disappeared by the Mexican authorities and with the Mexican people completely fed up with the situation. Fox News Latino reports that 71% of the people do not trust the police.

Recently the drug czars office put out a release challenging LEAP’s position that drugs are cheaper, easier to get and more potent than at the beginning of the drug war. They claim that we are actually winning the drug war and that cocaine production is actually down in Colombia. They are correct that production acreage is down but fail to mention that plant yield has increased three fold. Meaning that it’s takes less land to produce the same amount of product. They also conveniently ignore the fact, according to United Nation’s report, that Peru cocaine production is up by 41% and Bolivia’s has increased by 112%.

When your government is less than honest with you then you have to be very suspicious of the policy. We have to remember that the drug czar is prohibited by law. According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225: The Director shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of this substance (in any form).

Take action and call or write to your elected representatives and ask them to stop this dangerous failed public policy. This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc, signing off. Stay safe.

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DEAN BECKER: Thank you, Terry. I want to thank Elvy Musika. I want to thank Phillipe Lucas for their thoughts and comments. I want to thank you for listening to this edition of Cultural Baggage. We’ll have much more for you on the Century of Lies show and on our Unvarnished Truth television program.

As always, I remind you, because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.
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Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org