05/05/13 Mike Gray

Tribute to Mike Gray, screenwriter, author of "Drug Crazy" with 2013 speech who died on 04/30, Howard Wooldridge of Citizens Opposing Prohibition + CannaBus tour arrives in Houston, CBS report on 10,000 dead children in Mexican drug war

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Guest: 
Mike Gray
Organization: 
Common Sense for Drug Policy
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / May 5, 2013

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[music]

DEAN BECKER: 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: This is Dean Becker. You know one of the first people I spoke with when I got into drug reform was Mr. Mike Gray, author of “Drug Crazy.” It is with a great deal of sadness that I report the passing of Mike Gray with Common Sense for Drug Policy and just common sense in general.

I did some checking and Mike was a guest on the Drug Truth Network program at least 14 times. The following was recorded this year at the California NORML conference by our good friend Mr. Sam Salsazar. The introduction is by Dale Gieringer, president of California NORML.

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DALE GIERINGER: The next speaker is Michael Gray, a multitalented individual. He’s a screenwriter who some people may know from the “China Syndrome” but also the author of a very interesting book, “Drug Crazy” about how the United States got into this drug war in the first place.

MIKE GRAY: Dale asked me to talk about Hamilton Wright who is the archvillain of…the man who kicked this whole thing off. It began…let’s see. I wrote this book but I haven’t read it lately.

May 1 st of 1908 Hamilton Wright was walking across DuPont Circle when Cal O’Loughlin, a Chicago Tribune Washington reporter, caught up with him. Wright was well-known to the press because he was famous for discovering …he was a research physician from McGill University and a very brilliant guy. He graduated at the top of his class. He was famous for his discovery that beriberi is an infectious disease. It isn’t. It’s a vitamin deficiency but by the time his mistake was uncovered he was already famous.

He also had the good fortune to marry the daughter of an industrialist named Washburn who was a multi, multimillionaire and very powerful politically. Wright knew a lot of people in Washington even though he hadn’t done anything there yet.

Cal O’Loughlin told him about the opium commission of 1909 that was coming up in Shanghai. He heard nothing about it. He knew nothing about opium and he certainly didn’t know what the commission was for but as he said later, “I could see this would be a great deal of work and at a high level.”

He volunteered and because of his family political connections he got the appointment – one of three people – to the first Chinese Opium Commission conference in Shanghai in 1900. We weren’t interested in opium. We were interested in the Chinese markets. Taft called it the greatest untapped market in the world.

The British had screwed up because the Chinese felt misused, mishandled. Every time anyone showed up in China for a conference they would walk away with a piece of Chinese real estate. The British got Hong Kong and all that stuff.

So the Chinese were very leary about this but the Americans thought this was a very excellent opportunity because the British were responsible for the opium addiction in China. They, in the 1800s, had a huge outflow of silver into China because they were buying silk and tea and the Chinese weren’t buying anything.

So they were keeping the silver and the huge imbalance in trade…The British were getting very nervous about this – understandably so. They decided that they would have to do something about this and they instituted a trade in opium from India where the British East India Company got it for nothing and moved it to China where they created a huge sea of addiction and tremendous problem and great profits which returned the silver to its “rightful owners” in London.

Taft saw this as an opportunity to get rid of the British and outmaneuver them in the Chinese market for shoes and everything else. We volunteered to take this on and create this opium commission. Wright went over there and he had done some research. He was a research guy.

He, not knowing anything about opium, sent out letters to the people who would know about it – prison wardens, police chiefs – all the law enforcement professionals (no doctors because he was the doctor).

He managed to convince himself that not only was opium a global scourge it was worse in the United States than in China. We had opium addictions sweeping the country. None of that was true.

Wright, by this time, had become an evangelical missionary on eliminating narcotics addiction in the world. The first conference he managed to get them to agree to agree to something in the future. Then he came back to the States and he would talk to the people here in congress and would say, “We just signed an agreement with the international and we’ve got to institute narcotic laws.”

He managed to crank this up by going back and forth between these foreign conferences – one at the Hague and then he’d come back and tell congress…and without running it by any of the people in the United States he obligated us to stamp out opium addiction in the United States. That led to the Harrison Antinarcotics Act and the rest of it flows from there. Total fraud from start to finish – had no reason. It was just this one evangelical nut who outmaneuvered everybody - the State Department, the Home Office – by telling lies.

The other problem at this time was in order to get this law in effect you had to have a national police force and that’s, as Wright said, “I’m trying my best but the God damn constitution keeps getting in the way.”

The Supreme Court had figured out a way around that which we’re familiar with already on the gun, machine guns. You can regulate anything you tax. So they came up with the idea the tax for drugs and the understanding was that if you needed them you wouldn’t get it because you have to buy a tax stamp and they wouldn’t sell it to you.

So that was prohibition by fiat.

The medical profession didn’t know what had happened to them. He put one extra word in the clause, “A doctor will be allowed to prescribe opium in the course of his professional practice only.”

The “only” is why we are here today.

Thank you very much.

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DEAN BECKER: Mike Gray helped to hatch a whole brood of new reformers just like me. We’ll miss you, Mike.

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DEAN BECKER: Long-term listeners may remember the story of Mr. Howard Wooldrige, a former cop who twice rode his horse, Misty, across America. Well he’s doing something similar again and he was in Houston to attend the NRA convention. I got a chance to sit down and talk with him at an Olive Garden.

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DEAN BECKER: Howard Wooldridge, retired detective, drug policy specialist for Citizens Opposing Prohibition (COP).

Howard, we’re here in Houston. You’re on hiatus I guess. You’re touring across America on your bicycle. You’re 2,500 miles into this trip across the U.S.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, I started on the coast of Oregon almost 2 months ago and now I’m about 10 days from the finish line in Tennessee. The trip has been a personal venture plus kind of like a “Johnny Appleseed.”

I talk to 15 – 20 people every day because of my T-shirt (Cops say legalize pot – Ask me why). In addition to fulfilling a personal dream I’m laying little seeds of ideas across America that our marijuana prohibition policy is a failure and is hurting our kids and others and it needs to go.

DEAN BECKER: The hiatus I was speaking about …you’re here in Houston to attend the National Rifle Association convention. Tell us what brings you here in that regard.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: I’m here in Houston for the NRA convention because many of the members of the NRA (of which I am one) disagree with us. As you know, Dean, my entire 16 years of activism I try to go where people disagree with us because that’s how you change the world – by talking to people who don’t agree.

I’ll be at the convention tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday talking to fellow NRA members about the fact that we all agree about the 2nd amendment that we should be able to bear arms, wear a gun on our hip, concealed, even carry an AR-15 with a 30-round clip. What I say to those people is we trust each other with deadly force so why would you then say that if I have a little green plant in my pocket I’m a threat and should be arrested?

I point out the absurdity of NRA members who believe strongly in the right to carry deadly force but that same person still believes that a Willie Nelson should be arrested for smoking marijuana on his back porch. This is the reason I’m here in Houston and I’ll be working hard at the convention in the next three days.

DEAN BECKER: It is a preposterous notion to think that a joint or a green plant is more dangerous or a bigger threat to our nation. It’s a crazy thought.

You and I work to inform people to do their part. You and I know this truth. I think most politicians know this truth. Most folks we talk to seem to know a large portion of this truth. Do they not?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: The majority does however there’s still a sizeable minority (in Colorado 45% of the people voted against legalization) so we still have a lot of work out there. People just aren’t receiving the straight forward facts of what it means to have a prohibition and the harms it does to our children in terms of a job option. We have less time to devote to the pedophiles who want to attract our kids in a chat room. Our tuition for colleges are higher because we spend so money building prisons, etc.

When people find out the facts many of them in the squishy middle are converting very rapidly and that’s the reason we need to get the word out there that prohibition is a policy with no benefits and no advantages.

DEAN BECKER: You and I were talking earlier and I shared my 50 words which ends with the thought what have we derived from this policy that offsets this horrible blowback. You can’t really find anybody to answer that. They’ll avoid that question like it was the plague, right?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: That’s correct. As a person who goes from office to office in the United States Congress for the last three years I’ve been putting out that challenge to the legislative aide and sometimes even the congressman saying, “Please give me one benefit or advantage to drug prohibition and I’ll go back to Texas tomorrow.”

So far in three years not one congressional office out of all 535 has said, “OK, I’ll take up that challenge and write up an OPED or state in writing the reasons why prohibition is superior to a legal, regulated and taxed market.”

DEAN BECKER: So many people…I hear it on TV quite often the other side…their objection is, “Well we don’t want to make it more available to our children.”

What’s your thought to that, Howard?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: I simply show them a DEA brochure, the Drug Enforcement Administration, that states clearly, “Drugs are readily available to America’s youth.”

How does it get worse than “readily available”?

My fellow police officers will say that in front of congressional hearings or state capitals but they are simply not telling the truth. The DEA admits it’s readily available. It cannot get worse in terms of availability. It’s just one of the many lies or distortions put out by the prohibition crowd to keep this thing the way that it is.

DEAN BECKER: You say you started in Oregon on this last trip. Probably came through Colorado?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: I did.

DEAN BECKER: Those people are still celebrating what happened there from last November, right?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: They certainly are. They’re certainly feeling better about the fact that they can now smoke in peace and not worry about the police crashing through their door. “It’s a wonderful feeling,” they’ve told me.

DEAN BECKER: I think about Maine is now considering legalizing. There are other states that are touching on it. Even yesterday in Texas there was a hearing for a medical necessity – one of those third rate law that basically says after you’re busted you can go to the judge and if you have a recommendation from your doctor then you would be exonerated. Even in Texas they’re thinking about it.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: We already have that in Maryland. It is third rate. It’s certainly better than nothing and I’ve seen some cases in Maryland get kicked because that particular law was put through about 10 years ago.

Certainly, you and I agree, Dean, what is medicine is an issue between the doctor and the patient and the government should stay outside the door of the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, in this particular issue, (and I‘ve seen this on Capitol Hill) …everyday on Capitol Hill the drug companies fight me because they do not want citizens growing medicine in their backyard like Thomas Jefferson did because it would cut into their profits and that’s all that they’re interested in is the money.

That’s just one of my many adversaries on the hill besides, of course, the police, prison industry. Private prisons are a big adversary of mine. Last but not least the alcohol industry is a big opponent of me because I want to take away their money. I want to take away their profits. Money is what makes Washington, D.C. go round and round.

DEAN BECKER: You know your mention of growing medicine in their backyard like Thomas Jefferson did – most folks don’t realize that until 1968 outside that Monticello home there was opium poppies growing everywhere. It was in ‘68 when the DEA finally recognized them for what they were and yanked them out of the ground.

But if he were alive today and growing his favorite flower we would be compelled to convict him of a minimum of 10 years in the federal pen. It’s ridiculous.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: This whole thing has been absurd since the first day when the government has the task of trying to fix stupid. Everybody I’ve talked to on Capitol Hill agree that the government can’t fix stupid. Yet here we are my profession, law enforcement, every day out there thinking the government can fix a Charlie Sheen or a Whitney Houston or whoever else who has a drug problem.

It’s a fool’s errand. It always has been but now law enforcement is addicted to the money you give us to chase the Charlie Sheen’s of the world and we don’t want to give it up. So that’s why it’s still illegal and that’s why I still have a job on Capitol Hill to do.

I want to point out to your listeners that all I do on Capitol Hill is try to repeal federal prohibition of marijuana, federal prohibition of drugs and leave it to the states to decide what to do after that. Like alcohol, tobacco, firearms and gambling these are 10th amendment, states’ rights control issues and that’s what drugs ought to be.

DEAN BECKER: Our good friend Mike Gray passed away this morning and he always talked about the beginning of this – how it was just a fabrication by some charlatans and do-gooders just manipulating things to their advantage. It’s time to do away with these pipe dreams of these men who died long ago.

Closing thoughts, Mr. Wooldridge.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: I wanted to say that progress has been everywhere – widespread, the polls are going our way. We’re going to have at least another 7 states legalize, regulate and tax in 2016. Keep the faith. Keep the pressure on. We are going to win. It’s just a question of time.

DEAN BECKER: Howard, share your website, please.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: If you want to learn more about this and what I do http://citizensopposingprohibition.org. Get my newsletter and do what you can to put pressure on your federal senators and congressman to repeal federal prohibition. That’s what I do every day. Please help me out.

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(Game show music)

It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.

Change in amount or color of sputum, fever, chills, increased cough, breathing problems, osteoporosis, cataracts and glaucoma, increased blood pressure, heart rate and heart rhythm, pneumonia and death.

(Gong)

Time’s up!

The answer from AstraZeneca, Symbicort for asthma.

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DEAN BECKER: A couple of days back I spent some time at Outlaw Dave’s. They’re on Washington Avenue just south of I-10. We got to talk about the CannaBus – a big green vehicle touring the U.S., educating and emboldening good folks like you.

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OUTLAW DAVE: Outlaw Dave, Houston’s rock and roll ambassador to talk radio. after spending one-quarter of a century doing radio music formats all around the state of Texas my home town finds me doing my part to spread the world about community, about stewardship, about peaceful coexistence on one of the longest-running radio stations in Houston (KPRC radio).

We now broadcast the show 6 nights a week from a converted 1927 ice house – one of Houston’s original ice houses. We revitalized the property. It’s right next to what used to be Camp Logan (now Memorial Park).

It’s kind of cool. It’s in the epicenter of the city. We use this to base not only the radio program but a lot of the work we do for the Outlaw Dave Foundation trying to support people in the community – widows, orphans, first responders – they’re the people who take care of us or those who can’t take care of themselves.

DEAN BECKER: You’ve got a beautiful club here. Been here for about 6 months and it’s also a gathering place for folks like Houston NORML and others and we’re expecting the CannaBus to show up here basically any minute, right?

OUTLAW DAVE: The Big Green Bus tour is going on all across America - stopping in Texas this week. We’re very excited that the Houston NORML chapter asked us to play host as they come in.

We’re going to have live music here tonight. There’s going to be speakers both from national and local (such as yourself) will be talking to the people. It blends in perfectly with what we’ve tried to create here at Outlaw Dave’s which is a place for everybody from all walks of life to hang out, to relax.

Sometimes we have non-traditional entertainment and that certainly dovetails with my program which is non-mainstream media. Long have we been an advocate for at least jury nullification if not the decriminalization and medicinal marijuana advocates. I’ve worked hard in the community for decades to advance that notion so we were very pleased that we were considered to be a stop especially on Willie Nelson’s birthday.

DEAN BECKER: Around the world broadcasters and publishers are starting to recognize this need for change. It’s time for folks to stand up and speak up, isn’t it?

OUTLAW DAVE: We just saw a national poll come out and the number of people who would like to see marijuana decriminalized and this senseless war on drugs has eclipsed 54% where traditionally 30 or 40 years ago 95% of the country was for this ban, this prohibition that was born out of greed and fear and ignorance.

I know that you’ve railed against this long and hard and it’s now finally the time to go ahead and stop this. It’s time.

DEAN BECKER: I often talk about how until this point and time people have been afraid to speak up at work, at church, at school, to their neighbors or anybody but I think they’ll find a similar understanding should they begin those discussions. Your thoughts?

OUTLAW DAVE: I think by now more and more people realize that the recreational use of marijuana or the medicinal use of marijuana is not something that …a crime or does not create crime that the people need to be protected from.

I don’t know if necessarily they’re aware of the conspiracy that led to the prohibition but they certainly see the senseless waste of time, of money and damaging people’s lives for what arguably is our own right as Americans to choose whether we want to enjoy this naturally grown intoxicant.

DEAN BECKER: Dave, is there a website or any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

OUTLAW DAVE: You can always find out what’s going on with us on our Facebook page, outlawdavesshow, or on our website http://outlawdaveshq.com

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DEAN BECKER: A lot of excitement at that Outlaw Dave’s – free food for the CannaBus people, a lot of people signing up for NORML and some good music from Guy Swartz and his friend Billy Bourbon.

While I was at Outlaw Dave’s I got a chance to speak with Mr. Guy Swartz.

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DEAN BECKER: We’re here waiting on the CannaBus. Tell us what that means to you – why you’re waiting on the CannaBus.

GUY SWARTZ: I’m waiting for the CannaBus because these are people who are dedicated year round (just like you, Dean) to help me and everybody like me who enjoys my marijuana.

DEAN BECKER: You and your buddy, Mr. Bourbon, have a brand new album. Tell us about it.

GUY SWARTZ: It’s called “Weed at Walmart.” We’ve got 10 new weed songs – 5 of mine, 5 of Billy Bourbons.

DEAN BECKER: You’re involved with Houston NORML. You’re involved with KPFT. More and more people care. More and more people are stepping up and proving that they care about the needs to change these drug laws.

GUY SWARTZ: That’s why you have to cut your hair, Dean, to communicate with people on TV. When you just had to communicate with the fringe it didn’t matter what we dressed like, what we looked like but now that the mainstream is moving with us and legalize marijuana and medical marijuana are moving into the mainstream in the USA you got to cut your hair and communicate with those few extra folks that we’re going to need to push this thing over.

FOOTCH: I’m Footch from Cannaflage Clothing. T-shirts are first. We’ve cargo pants and cargo shorts coming down the road. We supply NORML chapters across the country. I donate whatever I can.

DEAN BECKER: We’re here at Outlaw Dave’s in support of the CannaBus touring the country for much the same reasons I guess you started Cannaflage, right?

FOOTCH: The need for change is enormous. There’s so many people out there that can utilize marijuana in order to help their pain. To me that is the key thing – pain. Why should we be taking narcotics, addictive items in order to combat pain when we could do something that’s simple, it’s less expensive and not addictive to help everyone?!

DEAN BECKER: Is there a website where folks could learn more about Cannaflage?

FOOTCH: http://cannaflage.com

STACY TICE: I’m Stacy Tice. I’m co-founder of CannaSense and the proud owner of the CannaBus. We are doing a national 7-month tour educating communities about the truths of cannabis and the need to end prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: What’s been the response as you travel around?

STACY TICE: It’s been beautiful. Everyone’s ready for this besides our legislation. A lot of people are ready without knowing the truth so we’re able to bring a lot of the truths out to the public, let people know about their local organizations that can get involved with and contact to get more information.

We started this educating patients and politicians and stuff on the truths and now we spend a lot of time educating officers, police officers, because the green bus gets pulled over all the time. What starts off is them pulling us over wanting to know what we’re doing becomes a beautiful education opportunity. They let us know their experiences and for the most part they’re on our side.

We have a whole wall on the bus dedicated to police officers that get on the bus and sign it after we educate them and share with them what we’re doing. My family is victims of the drug war so we have personal attachment on how this beautiful plant that does so much magic for people cannot continue to destroy lives – especially our children.

DEAN BECKER: Is there a website where folks can learn more about the CannaBus.

STACY TICE: Our website is http://cannascensecampaign.org and most active on Facebook at the Green Bus Tour for Marijuana Legalization.

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DEAN BECKER: Here to close us out with this snapshot from Outlaw Dave’s and the CannaBus Tour is Bourbon and Swartz with a song from their new album “Weed at Walmart.” This was recorded live at Outlaw Dave’s.

Once again I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.

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[music]

I got that reefer madness
Like the young boys I want to get high
The only way I’ll leave this world happy is if I’m stoned when I die.

I’ve always got friends when I’m “holdin”
But now it seems that I’m always alone.

Go on and make yourself a brand new friend
Anywhere in America say the magic words, “Ya’ll want to get stoned?”

When I can’t find no reefer, when I get down to my stems and seeds
I’ll quote the mighty man that said it’s better to have weed and no money than to have money and no weed

I got that reefer madness
Like young boys I want to get high
The only way I’ll leave this world happy is if I’m stoned when I die.

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