05/19.13 Ann Lee

Bob and Ann Lee, parents of Richard founded a new organization: RAMP Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition + US Rep Beto O'Rourke, WKYC/Ohio report on legal cannabis & Joy Strickland of Mothers Against Teen Violence

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Guest: 
Ann Lee
Organization: 
Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition
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transcript

Cultural Baggage / May 19, 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: Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I am Dean Becker, your host. We have in studio with us the parents of Mr. Richard Lee. We have Bob and Ann Lee. Welcome.

ANN LEE: Thank you. Good to be here.

BOB LEE: It’s nice to be here.

DEAN BECKER: The hook, I guess, one of the main reasons I wanted to bring you hear was not just your association with Richard but the fact that Ann and Bob have started a new association something that you out there might consider joining up with. It’s called RAMP (Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition). Ann, tell us about that new organization.

ANN LEE: It got started at a NORML convention last year in October. I know the exact date because we were there at the time of Richard’s 50th birthday which was October 7 th of last year.

In talking to different people and while I was on a panel it turned out that 3 of the 5 of us were all Republicans and we all deplored the drug war, think that the drug war goes against every Republican philosophy of principle in which we believe – smaller government, fiscal responsibility and less intrusion in your private life.

And the drug war flaunts all of that. It just kind of came out in discussions and so on and then in the meeting with the women’s group RAMP came up. I put out a clipboard and asked people to give me their names and email addresses and that’s how we got started.

We now have a webpage http://republicansagainstmarijuanaprohibition.org or http://conservativecannabis.org.

I have definitive objectives with RAMP because I think there’s some things that need to be publicized. Certainly a myth needs to be dispelled and that by supporting the drug war you are supporting law and order and, in truth, nothing could be further from the truth.

The drug war supports bad law, much disorder and great, great injustice. There is so much injustice that we now have the documents that show we now have the new “Jim Crow.” This book was written by an author that I would like to meet someday – Michelle Alexander. She documents everything. She does not whitewash anybody. No president since Nixon that cannot be blamed in some way – some more than others.

Having grown up in south Louisiana with the original Jim Crow that is the Jim Crow that not only had segregated schools but in my home town didn’t even have a high school for the blacks to attend.

The Jim Crow laws that grew out of Abe Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and I’ll have to say that as a Republican I ain’t going to say that it was not the Republicans that brought about Jim Crow laws or the segregation laws. It was definitely the white Democrats in the south.

As Condolezza Rice has said more than one times it was not Republicans that stopped her father from voting. I may be digressing a bit, Dean…

DEAN BECKER: Well, no…and this is part of it. The drug war has its tentacles involved in much of civilization – not just the American society but around the world it has major ramifications.

I want to come back to the thought that politicians have been reluctant to speak. You had mentioned that.

ANN LEE: I’m so angry with that. I’m very angry with what we were not able to do with the legislature. I am really angry. Now we just had Armed Forces Day and we are coming up on Memorial Day and I would like to ask who has been supporting our veterans?

Certainly not the Houston Chronicle – they didn’t give us any publicity at all. There was a bill that was heard by the public health. It was not to legalize marijuana. It was simply to give somebody who was using marijuana with the suggestion of a doctor the fact that if they were taken to court they could use what they call an affirmative defense.

Right now if that’s the situation you can’t even tell the judge or jury why you are using marijuana. This was the bill that we tried to get through. If you had been there and heard 30 to 40 people speak in favor of the bill – not one person spoke against it.

If you had sat there and heard our veterans – one from Viet Nam but most of them from Iraq or Afghanistan – who have suffered so much, who have had so much injuries from this service to our country and it turns out that the best relief that they can get is from marijuana.

Now the sad part or ironic part is that for them if they lived in a state that supported a person’s right to use marijuana medically they could use marijuana with the approval of the VA but what a price they have to pay for living in Texas.

I hope everybody would look up who their own state legislatures is, who their own state senator is and get in touch with them and tell them this is not acceptable. If enough people got in touch with them I think they could get it through by the end of this session. It would take a miracle but if enough good people in the state house and senate got behind it maybe it could happen but I hope everybody will call their state rep and their state senator and tell them how they feel about the fight that we could not get out house bill 592. Thank you.

DEAN BECKER: And thank you, so much. It is important to do your part. You may know this and just feel that you should speak up. What I’m trying to say here is that this will go on until enough people say what is obvious and true.

I’m glad to say more and more stations, more and more broadcasters around the country are beginning to carry but it was almost 12 years ago we began this process. I began the Unvarnished Truth about the drug war right here at the mother ship. I’ll tell you the truth at night when I went home I was very worried about who would kick in the door – would it be the cartels, would it be the cops?

Luckily it didn’t happen – 11+ years and I’m still standing. I’m proud to know that others within the broadcast/print media are beginning to parallel what we are doing. They don’t quite say what we say here but they are beginning to recognize the solution is legalization. They just don’t know how to say it even in the media.

What do you think there, Ann?

ANN LEE: It is strange that people do not want to face the truth because they have had these long-held beliefs. I can relate to that because until 1990 I had believed all the lies and propaganda that my government had put out about marijuana. In fact, I’ve been quoted many times as saying, “It’s the weed of the devil.”

But even if that were true, even if marijuana was harmful why was I not smart enough to know that prohibiting it is not the answer?!

They found that out with alcohol prohibition. If you want me to, Dean, I can draw the parallel that I have done many times.

Alcohol prohibition was supported by Herbert Hoover and by one of Herbert Hoover’s supporters by the name of Pauline Martin Sabin. The name Martin was her family name which she was from the Martin salt family. Those of those who remember seeing salt on the table the little girl with the umbrella and salt pouring out – that was the Morton salt family.

She was of wealthy means and supported alcohol prohibition because she thought a world without alcohol would be wonderful. She wouldn’t have to worry about her kids having alcohol.

Well, they got prohibition and, you know, it wasn’t so great. The main thing that she realized (plus all the violence that we know came about) that happened was that it was not far easier for her kid to get alcohol because the saloon keeper did not worry about keeping a license.

So I ask you to fast forward to today. What license does a drug dealer need to sell drugs to your kids or to make drug dealers out of your kids because every high school has a drug dealer – a student who is a drug dealer who is selling marijuana at their high school and that flaunts law. It teaches kids to be disrespectful of law. You do not respect the law that you know is wrong.

Since 1937 when marijuana was outlawed in a shameful act I have told more than one person and given the information on this that I think this is one of the most shameful pages in the history of this great, wonderful country.

I’ve had my Republican friends say, “Ann you have a case.”

The way is was done is certainly shameful and there are so many facets of it that if it hadn’t caused so much harm it would be funny.

The one that I think is the funniest of all…this was done in Washington…the House passed it – didn’t they have hearings? Wouldn’t there have been some report on all of those hearings?

When the people who was trying to find out more about the prohibition of marijuana asked the Library of Congress for a copy of the hearing – to the shock of the Library of Congress none could be found.

It took them 4 months to finally honor our request because – are you ready for this?! – the hearing was so brief that the volume had slipped out inside the side shelf of the bookcase and was so thin it had slid right down into the bottom inside the bookshelf. That’s how brief they were.

DEAN BECKER: This is the minimal study or investigation or thought involved in crafting these laws.

Ann, here in just a minute I want to get your thoughts. I want to play this track from a U.S. Representative out of El Paso, Mr. Beto O’Rourke.

The following was recorded at the recent unveiling of the Drug Policy Alliance’s exit strategy of the War on Drugs from the Legislative Guide this is new U.S. Congressman from Texas Beto O’Rourke

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BETO OROURKE: I just want to tell you a little about my perspective on this issue as a new member of congress. I’m from El Paso, Texas. We are part of the largest financial community in the world with Juarez which until last year was probably the deadliest city in the world bar none.

10,000 people murdered in the course of about 5 years largely due to drug violence in a country that saw about 70,000 citizens murdered due to drug violence in that same period of time.

That’s what got me initially interested in this topic that I never really thought about drug policy reform before. I was on the city council for El Paso and started to take some action related to the violence that we were seeing in Juarez and asked for an open and honest dialogue in ending the prohibition of drugs in the United States.

Pretty harmless resolution by all accounts. We weren’t asking to policy – we just wanted a debate. From El Paso unanimously adopting that resolution we really helped start a conversation in our part of the world about the War on Drugs and the realization that it’s been an epic failure and what should replace it going forward.

One thing I want to tell those of you who are interested in working on this issue from a political perspective is that my outspokenness on this issue was used against me when I ran against a 16-year incumbent for this seat who was a hardline drug warrior.

There were literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of TV ads running morning, noon and night that showed these incredibly cute 4 and 5-year-old kids saying, “Say no to drugs. Say No to Bento.”

I’m pleased to report that we won that election which would be a tough one to win regardless but with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent I think what it shows, at minimum, is that this issue is no longer the politically dangerous, third rail that no one can touch. The American public is far ahead of the legislators here in Washington, D.C.

If people here would have the courage of their convictions and act on those and get behind legislation that will replace this failed War on Drugs I think they will be rewarded by their constituents and by the American public at large.

I think this is a very exciting time to be working on this issue. I want to thank the DPA for putting together this legislative guide.

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DEAN BECKER: That was U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke. You can access the DPA’s Exit Strategy Report at http://drugpolicy.org

Alright, friends, you are listening to Cultural Baggage on KPFT Pacifica Radio and the Drug Truth Network. I’m Dean Becker, your host. We have with us in studio Mr. Bob Lee and his wife, Ann.

I want to switch gears here for a second and, Bob, we heard Beto talking about truthfully it did not have repercussions for him to speak out because he knows the cost of this drug war – 45 million arrests, some say a trillion, some say more than 2 trillion dollars invested into this drug war.

What’s your thoughts there?

BOB LEE: I’m glad you asked that because while Ann deals out in the social problems that are involved in the drug war there’s a lot of people who are not really personally affected by that and yet when we step back we realize that each and every one of us have a big stake in this drug war – that is that we are paying for it.

It’s been going on for 40 years and today things are worse than they were when it started.

You may say, “Well, how am I paying for this?”

The government puts their money into it. When I say “their” money I was wrong. They put your money into it. The law enforcement which then creates our slum areas by arresting people for small amounts of marijuana and sending them off to prison leaving a desolate wife and small children to create a slum.

Dean, we are just touching the surface of the cost of this. I hesitate to go into it…

DEAN BECKER: Can I interrupt to say that many folks don’t realize that there is a drug division within the U.S. Forestry Service. There’s one within the U.S. Postal Service. There’s one in nearly every government organization that there is. There is a subset of people who look for drugs or test for drugs or in some fashion have to deal with the subject of drug prohibition.

Uncounted….hundreds of billions just frittered away in that fashion.

Did you have something you wanted to say?

ANN LEE: I sure did. First of all I wanted to thank this radio station for doing this. If we don’t get the word out on this, if people are not educated onto the evils of the drug war we can’t do anything about it.

I wanted to personally say thank you to Dean for pioneering and producing this segment in the radio world and letting people know about this.

DEAN BECKER: I don’t think there’s anybody besides me that is quite willing to say it as cleanly as I do – the drug war is a scam. It has no basis in reality. It was a pipe dream of men who died long ago and the modern day adherents are smoking the lies of their fellow man.

We need to stand up, speak up. 45 million arrests – those people’s futures have been fractured. Trillions of dollars frittered away – we won’t get it back. At the same time more than 10 trillion dollars have flowed into the pockets of these terrorists organizations. All they have to do is grow flowers on the mountainside, turn that into weapons in which to kill our soldiers.

We’ve had these barbarous cartels in Mexico – over 70,000 dead, 10,000 of them children – You can’t say they were traffickers. Here in the U.S. each year one hundred billion dollars + flows into the pockets of more than 30,000 violent gangs prowling our neighborhoods with high-powered weapons selling contaminated drugs to our children.

There is no logic to this drug war. There is no one in government or anywhere who can defend this policy when logic is allowed to be part of the discussion.

We’ll be back shortly – about one minute.

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(Game show music)

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

Here to help us regarding a powerful side effect is U.S. Congressman, Jared Polis, asking the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration some very important questions.

JARED POLIS: Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?

MICHELE LEONHART: I believe all illegal drugs are bad.

JARED POLIS: Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?

MICHELE LEONHART: I don’t think any illegal drugs…

JARED POLIS: Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?

MICHELE LEONHART: Again, all…

JARED POLIS: I mean either yes, no or I don’t know. If you don’t know you can look this up. You should know this as Chief Administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. I’m asking a very straightforward question. Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?

MICHELE LEONHART: All illegal drugs are bad.

{{{ gong }}}

DEAN BECKER: Times up…for the DEA.

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DEAN BECKER: Alright, friends, I hope you enjoyed that one. Again, that shows the ignorance of these people in positions of power. They cannot speak knowledgeably. They just spout, “Drugs are bad.”

That’s all they’ve got. That’s their only arrow in their quiver. They’ve got nothing.

That’s why they never come on this show. I promise you. I would gut their logic in about 15 seconds.

I want to thank Bob and Ann Lee for being our guests on Cultural Baggage. It’s been a pleasure having you in studio.

BOB LEE: Thank you KPFT and thank you Dean Becker.

DEAN BECKER: Well, alright.

ANN LEE: I add my thanks to both. Thank you so much.

DEAN BECKER: Alright. Folks we need to hear from you. Show your support for the common sense, logic, the chance to touch reality about this drug war that you get every week right here on KPFT Cultural Baggage show.

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[harmonica music]

The DEA’s a joker. The FDA’s the joke.
The joke is on the USA so why not take a poke?!

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DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy WKYC.

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JIM DONOVAN: I think it has a lot of people fired up right here in Ohio.

ROBIN SWOBODA: Should medical marijuana be legalized in Ohio? 18 states and D.C. have approved it and many say it helps control their pain. Senior correspondent, Monica Robins, joins us with the pros and the cons.

MONICA ROBINS: We’ve been talking about this a lot. Pain management is a huge issue and because of the pain pill epidemic – the abuse of it – many doctors are curbing how many pain killers they are prescribing. That’s leaving many suffering and looking for another solution.

Some are finding it in marijuana and they want it legalized here but is it the answer voters should decide?

Imagine pain so intense that picking up a pen from the floor or emptying the dishwasher is excruciating. A degenerative disc problem makes life difficult for Shaun and millions of other Americans suffering from chronic pain.

SHAUN: [face blurred for anonymity] Patients with chronic pain are exhausted all the time. It wears you out and yet you can’t sleep at night.

MONICA ROBINS: He tried standard pain killers but says medical marijuana works better.

SHAUN: There’s no highs and lows. It takes care of the pain and you’re still able to function.

MONICA ROBINS: Pot does help some people.

BINT SHAH: We actually do have evidence that marijuana is helpful but the two conditions in which it’s most helpful are neuropathy (or nerve pain due to HIV) and spasticity or muscle pain from a condition called Multiple Sclerosis.

Most of the conditions that people for which they use it for we don’t have good medical evidence.

MONICA ROBINS: But some don’t believe it should be up to voters to decide.

JEFF CAPRETTO: That it goes through the same clinical trial studies and research that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) would go through for any other type of medication.

MONICA ROBINS: But because it’s a plant there’s no way to regulate how much THC a patient is getting.

BINT SHAH: So we don’t have a dose. We don’t know how much a person gets when they smoke and we’re just asking people to say, “Is this helpful for you or not.”

So that’s very concerning for me.

MONICA ROBINS: But for people like Shaun it’s currently illegal relief.

SHAUN: You don’t ask the question how when it takes the pain away. You’re just happy it’s gone.

MONICA ROBINS: The Ohio Rights group is trying to get an amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would make marijuana legal. They are still a long way from getting the issue on the ballot but as support for it grows it may be an issue that all of us are going to have to decide one day in the election booth.

JIM DONOVAN: How about that. Well we’ve decided it today or, at least, we’ve taken a little test. [giggling] They would not leave it up to Robin and Jimmy.

MONICA ROBINS: That’s a good thing, actually. That makes me very comfortable to know that.

JIM DONOVAN: Anyway…back to the show…

ROBIN SWOBODA: Yeah, we’ve been asking you all day long on WKYC.com if you think Ohio should legalize medical marijuana. The results…

JIM DONOVAN: The results say yes you do. 81% say and 19% say no. We want to thank all of you who voted on WKYC.com.

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[sollem music]

During this time of eternal war I find it my somber duty to report the death toll from the drug formerly known as marijuana is 0.

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JOY STRICKLAND: My name is Joy Strickland. I’m the founder and CEO of Mothers Against Teen Violence. We’re an organization that’s been around for almost 20 years. We like to say we are rethinking drug policy in Texas. Our mission is information, education and advocacy for drug policy reform in Texas.

DEAN BECKER: We are here in Brooklyn, New York. We are attending the Drug Policy Alliance gathering of allies. Tell us what you’ve learned from this and what you are going to take from this.

JOY STRICKLAND: First of all it’s always such an inspirational event. It’s extremely energizing to me to know that there are people around the country doing this important work.

In Texas we are working in the legislature and our legislative agenda for this session has been orientated towards our public health. We have championed a syringe exchange outreach pilot program. Unfortunately that bill did die recently after a floor debate. Our Good Samaratan bill which is sponsored by Representative Eric Johnson is still alive. It’s in the Calendar’s Committee and we’re hoping that that will get a debate soon.

Certainly decriminalization is light years ahead of where we are in the United States today but as far as the way I see it it falls short in that it does leave the narco-trafficking infrastructure in place which is the source of so much of the violence. I think that’s one of the short comings but, still, if we get decriminalization in the United States for all drugs that would be a super thing.

I think the time has come and really passed but this is a critical time for us to begin to think about what we are doing for non-violent drug offenders. It is so egregious that we are still locking up people for non-violent drug offenses. It doesn’t make communities safer. It doesn’t solve the problem of drug abuse, addiction or drug use. It just creates and sustains the criminal justice system and keeps the drug traffickers in place and sustains them as a business model.

So that’s what needs to change. There needs to be a whole paradigm shift.

DEAN BECKER: The website for Mothers Against Teen Violence is http://matvinc.org

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[music]

Bad cops, bad cops…whatcha gonna do when prohibition comes for you?

Bad cops, bad cops…whatcha gonna do when prohibition comes for you?

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DEAN BECKER: I love you. I hope you have a good future. If we end the drug war I’m certain it will be much better.

As always I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what is in that bag. Please be careful.

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DEAN BECKER: To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.

Drug Truth Network archives are stored at the James A. Baker, III Institute for Policy Studies.

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.

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