07/21/13 Richard Lee

Richard Lee of Oaksterdam Univ in Houston to talk to Young Republicans Tues July 23 at 7 PM at Benjys 5922 Wash Av + Bourbon & Schwartz sing "Weed at Wal-Mart" + more!

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Guest: 
Richard Lee
Organization: 
Oaksterdam University
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / July 21, 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: Alright, my friends, welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage, I am Dean Becker, your host and potentially your engineer, so hang on to your hats as this should be a fun ride.

We do have with us, in studio, a couple great musicians out of Houston, Texas. We have Mr. Billy Bourbon and Mr. Guy Schwartz of Bourbon and Schwartz. We have a segment that’s recorded here in Houston with a gentleman from Oakland, California who – don’t know how else to say it – founded Oaksterdam University, is one of the leaders of drug policy reform, in particular, medical marijuana reform. I want to go ahead and play…let’s see if I can do this…that’s CD2 and here we go – my interview with Mr. Richard Lee.

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DEAN BECKER: Houston home boy coming back to give us some advice, some instructions, perhaps, on how to better regulate and control marijuana this coming Tuesday, July 23r d @ 7 p.m. at Benjys at 5922 Washington Ave. We’re going to have Mr. Jerry Epstein, Carl Valey and Judge John Delaney of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas.

The home boy that I’m talking about is the founder, the one-time chancellor of Oaksterdam University, Richard Lee. How are you doing, Richard?

RICHARD LEE: Doing good. Thanks for having me on, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: The evidence of this need for change is just sweeping the country. Is it not?

RICHARD LEE: Yeah, we’re definitely making more progress than we ever have. Unfortunately we still have a long way to go.

DEAN BECKER: Especially here in Texas. Now you’re based in Oaksterdam – right there in the heart of change in California, correct?

RICHARD LEE: Yes I am.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us about the differences you perceive between Oakland and Houston.

RICHARD LEE: Oh, completely different. The attitude up here in northern California as compared to Texas much more Oakland to medical marijuana and to cannabis utilization so it’s hard to compare but there is a strong Libertarian bend to the Houston area and I think that gives a lot of hope to things changing here in Texas.

DEAN BECKER: That brings us that the point of this event there Tuesday night at Benjys is sponsored by the Young Republicans of Houston. Your thought there, sir.

RICHARD LEE: My parents are long-time Republicans and are big proponents of ending cannabis prohibition. They’ve come around and seen that this really is a Republican issue. If you believe in smaller government and more personal responsibility you should be for taxing and regulating cannabis to adults similar to the way we treat alcohol.

Nobody looks back at alcohol prohibition and says that it was a success. We all know that it just created more crime and didn’t stop people from drinking. The same thing is happening with cannabis prohibition. The Republicans are …more and more Republicans, at least, not all of them by any means but more and more are starting to wake up to that.

DEAN BECKER: A few weeks back I interviewed the Police Chief of Houston, Charles McClelland, and he talked about the racial disparity and the implementation of the drug laws in regards to marijuana use and he was calling for our elected officials to reexamine and redirect this policy.

RICHARD LEE: The one big opponent we have is law enforcement. In general we see the Sheriff’s associations and the Police Chief associations who are against ending cannabis prohibition but we also see more and more law enforcement coming out and seeing the futility of it. They realize that it’s not working.

We saw law enforcement in Washington State being in favor of I-502 - their legalization referendum that passed last year. We have LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Your listeners can look them up and support them. They are a group of law enforcement that realizes that prohibition needs to end.

DEAN BECKER: Folks may not remember or know that back in the election in the 2000 season you invested over one million dollars trying to get marijuana legalized in the state of California.

I want to share with you this thought. I’ve interviewed dozens of people since that effort and nearly all of them say that it was your sparking the fire that led to the legalization in Colorado and Washington State.

RICHARD LEE: That’s very gratifying to hear. I have seen other quotes from other people who say they got started during the Prop 19 campaign. That’s what we really hope to achieve with Prop 19 – to get the message out there, the issue on the table and to encourage lots of other people to get involved.

DEAN BECKER: In one such way we’re all doing that. It’s your particular focus as the speaker at a keynote event put together by the Young Republicans of Houston. It’s going to be Tuesday night, July 23r d 7 p.m. at Benjys at 5922 Washington Avenue.

Richard, I look forward to seeing you there.

RICHARD LEE: Thanks so much, Dean. See you there.

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DEAN BECKER: As I indicated we have, in studio, Bourbon and Schwartz. I wanted to first talk about what you guys are up to. I’m hearing some of your great songs on the web and elsewhere, live. You guys are making a bit of a situation in Houston a little more obvious that we need to talk about weed.

GUY SWARTZ: We need to talk about weed so we can smoke our weed without being incarcerated.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed, indeed. Last week I had a lady on the show whose son was in the car with 3 other boys. They had one-half of a pound. They got 10 years in prison.

BILLY BOURBON: I just don’t have a big enough car. If I could fit 150 pounds in my car they’d just send me right back across the border. Since the most I ever have is one and one-half ounces I get to spend time in jail and fines. It’s bad in Texas.

DEAN BECKER: This engineering has got me jumpy….

BILLY BOURBON: Well, especially when you’re high.

DEAN BECKER: [laughing] of course, of course.

Let me just mention this. You have made an impression with your “Weed at Walmart” album. Do you have one you would like to share with us?

GUY SWARTZ: Why don’t we just start with Weed at Walmart?

[guitar]

They say all this buzz about weed, man
Between you and dis don’t we have all we need, man?

I want to feel like I done my part when they start selling weed…at Walmart.
Weed at Walmart, yeah.

I’ll smile in every aisle.

Well in the refund line it ain’t ever gonna be the same.
Half the people want to argue about the seeds in their Walmart brand weed the other half forgot why they came.

We’ll have a whole department devoted to weed – happiest boys that you ever seen.
The only bad thing when Walmart starts selling pot is finding your way out of the parking lot.

What’s all these songs about weed, man?
Between you and Willie Nelson don’t we have all we need?

I want to feel like I done my part when they start selling weed…at Walmart.
Weed at Walmart, yeah.

Gonna be a great day in America.

We’ll have a green light special in aisle number 4
That got some Yukatan Blue that’s moving out the door
Only about 20 bucks of Walmart weed – that’s all it takes
And 200 dollars for Lil Debbie cakes.

We’ll have a drive through, they’ll have a fast lane
First time I charge weed on my Visa I know I got it made.

Low, low prices - that’s the Walmart guarantee
Even that little yellow smiley face looks kind of stoned to me.

What’s all these songs about weed, man?
Between you and the Snoop Dogg don’t we have all we need?

I want to feel like I done my part when they start selling weed…at Walmart.
Weed at Walmart, yeah.

My buddy, Guy, he’s got a retirement plan …
He’s gonna be the greeter at Walmart when they start that thing, yeah?

“Can I see what’s in your bag, please?”

Sticky fingers - they call him.

I ain’t waiting for Walmart to have no piddly little sale
I’m heading straight to Sam’s Club and getting a big ‘ol bale.

DEAN BECKER: There you have it – Bourbon and Swartz, Weed at Walmart.

BILLY BOURBON: If we only knew what the song was about…it’s kind of one of those mysteries. We’re optimist.

DEAN BECKER: Contained within that song…I was writing down thoughts here. Talking about Willie…why do they keep busting Willie? Is there some people that don’t know that he smokes weed?

BILLY BOURBON: There’s probably something in a certain population of law enforcement in which it’s like a “badge of honor.” They probably get a little Merit Badge to put on their sleeves – “I arrested Willie in ‘87” you know.

GUY SWARTZ: It’s the same damn thing that the musicians have – “I smoked on Willie’s bus.”

DEAN BECKER: I’m a reporter and I’m proud to say I smoked on Willie’s bus.

Also contained in there is commerce. Weed at Walmart get the big bale off the top shelf. Studies are coming out recently showing…well, I heard that in Colorado it’s $140 per ounce for primo which is one-third of what it is here.

BILLY BOURBON: Way more money has gone to the government for taxation to help the state, help education, help the things in Colorado even at those lower prices.

GUY SWARTZ: Instead of lining the politicians and the judges…

BILLY BOURBON: …and the organized crime.

DEAN BECKER: I love you guys – that’s it. We’re funding terrorists, cartels and gangs and saying it’s for the public good.

BILLY BOURBON: It’s just like the alcohol prohibition in the 20s and 30s. You created people who had large sums of money that they couldn’t put in banks so they had to have guns and thugs to take care of it for them. If it was just a banking thing…if Walmart was just making a deposit every day and paying their taxes it would be a better situation.

Lot of poorer politicians out there…

DEAN BECKER: You mentioned bankers – they’re one of the main beneficiaries of the laundered drug dollars – billions and billions every year.

BILLY BOURBON: Computers are making that harder to launder every year.

DEAN BECKER: They’re hiring better IT people. This brings to mind you can’t hardly find an “average Joe” who believes in prohibition especially when it comes to marijuana. They might think, “Oh, it’s against the law.” But that’s really the only backdrop they have.

GUY SWARTZ: The reason is simple, Dean, it just makes no sense. There is no sense to it. There are rich people who get richer. There are vested interests that keep getting their budgets to fight that crime. The working man gets hurt and doesn’t get to toke his reefer without fear of a fine or incarceration.

DEAN BECKER: You mention the word reefer…you got another song for us, right?

GUY SWARTZ: I thought you were going to say, “Do we have another reefer?”

DEAN BECKER: We got a show to do, man – hold on…

GUY SWARTZ: This is one of Billy’s songs called, “Reefer Madness”

BILLY BOURBON: I moved here from the Midwest. I know you’re talking about how repressive it is here in Texas but I gotta tell you it’s a lot more uptight where I used to be. It surprised me when I came down here how more open and accepted and just don’t “blow smoke in the officer’s face” that I’ve seen.

GUY SWARTZ: It’s changing all over. You go west coast to east coast up on the northern route and you’re in a medical marijuana state every other day. If you’re willing to carry it through that other state you’ll be in a state where your California prescription is still good the very next day. That sure beats the heck out when I first started on the road and it was illegal in any way, anywhere.

BILLY BOURBON: Before I moved down here I wrote this song on the way down because I had seen a chart…

GUY SWARTZ: You mean when you were up there and you believed in things like gator’s press?

BILLY BOURBON: That’s it.

GUY SWARTZ: Pretty cool. Gator is going to dig that.

BILLY BOURBON: One of my goals was to get on the chart and this one actually went to #1.

Tell the story about how I have 5 songs and you got 5 songs.

GUY SWARTZ: That’s just how this album happened. When I went broke a couple years ago and started needing to take on work other than doing my own art projects Billy Bourbon was one of the first to call and hire me as a bass player. After a few gigs I started realizing this cat’s pretty good. He’s got 5 songs about weed. I’ve got 5 songs about weed. We should go do an album about weed.

We took an old cover we knew by Little Feat and a cover we knew by Snoop Dogg and we added those to our 10 and that’s how this album came. Now that I’ve told that story how does that fit into this song, Billy?

[guitar]

My time always slips away
Always down to my last red cent.
But all the time and money I spent smoking weed
Has been time and money well spent.

I’ve sailed the whiskey river
And I’ve drunk more beer than I need.
I’ve even developed a taste for tequila
Getting cotton mouth smoking all that weed.

I’ve got that reefer madness.
Light me up 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’.
When I’m out seems I’m always alone.
You want to make yourself a brand new friend
Just say the magic words, “Ya’ll wanna get stoned?!”

Come on Mr. President won’t you hear our plea?
There’s about 100 million of us don’t want to be criminals.
Come on Mr. President – legalize that weed.

I’ve got that reefer madness.
Light me up boys I want to get high.
The only way I’ll leave this world happy
Is if I’m stoned when I die.

Cheech and Chong said it all, you know
Up in smoke is where my money goes
Course smoking reefer is cheaper than having a hole in your arm
Or putting that powder up your nose.

I’ve got that reefer madness.
Light me up boys I want to get high.
The only way I’ll leave this world happy
Is if I’m stoned when I die.

On the day of my funeral when they put me in the ground
I want all my friends to light up big ‘ol doobies and pass them fat boys all around.

When I get up to heaven and I check in for my eternal rest
I’ll have a great big ‘ol stoner smile up on my face
because up in heaven they only smoke the best.

I’ve got that reefer madness.
Light me up 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 got that reefer madness.
Light me up boys I want to get high.
The only way I’ll leave this world happy
Is if I’m stoned when I die.

DEAN BECKER: There you have it. Once again, Bourbon and Swartz – Billy and Guy.

I love that music. You’re saying some profound truths, some stuff that just needs to be shared and understood, appreciated. Thank you.

BILLY BOURBON: Well, thank you.

DEAN BECKER: Folks, you know somebody who gets high, smokes weed on a regular basis – maybe after work and they’re not a nuisance, they’re not a problem to society – hell, they’re probably a whole lot safer than if they were drinking all that beer that might otherwise be.

I’m a living proof of that. I figured out the other day I haven’t sent about 30,000 dollars into the coffers of Coors since I quit drinking and I think that’s a good thing for me and my family and help for society in general.

GUY SWARTZ: We generally smoke a couple joints before we get out of bed in the morning and the only thing we feel we are threat to is shellfish and cake.

DEAN BECKER: I don’t know how else to say this. You were saying what needs said. There are at least 50% of Americans who have, at some point, smoked some weed and who ought to just step out of that closet, just say it’s a bunch of bull.

GUY SWARTZ: I’ve been on the road since I was 18 and 50% of that 50% of that population has probably offered me a smoke from time to time. I believe that you’re right about that.

BILLY BOURBON: If we counted all the people who tell us something along the lines of, “I would but I’m tested for work.”

GUY SWARTZ: We just hope that we do a little bit of our part and put a little melody and rhythm to these thoughts and make it the “spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.” For those few hard cases who are standing in the way because they’re supporting an old power structure and rich people they don’t know who are holding them down. Face it, we’re in America and we’re pretty damn comfortable here.

DEAN BECKER: What is gaining traction – not just music from you and Snoop Dogg and Willie and others ….

BILLY BOURBON: He put us and Snoop Dogg and Willie in the same sentence – thank you, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: FOX, MSNBC, ABC and, hell, the other day there was this lady, Cheryl Shuman with the Beverly Hills Moms for Cannabis, she was on Katie Couric and ABC and FOX on the same day talking about these women smoking weed and benefiting from it.

There’s stories of children with Epilepsy (300 attacks per day) taking cannabis treatments which brings them down to 1 attack per week. That’s on, again, major networks. It’s there. We just gotta do something with it.

BILLY BOURBON: I have a lot of friends that think that the idea that you could use marijuana medically is a sham. The biggest misconception is they hear that I use it for pain and they think, “I smoked weed when I was in college. I didn’t get any pain relief from that.”

Maybe they should understand that it’s not about the pain relief. When the pain is all you have on your mind all day because it’s so extreme it’s hard to get anything done and help society.

When you have a little smoke you get distracted from that pain and you might actually get productive for a couple hours before you remember that shoulder is just killing you.

I have friends that juice and believe in…Google yourself “juicing marijuana leaves” and find out about that. It’s a whole new train of thought. It’s very impressive information. The President would be talking about this instead of broccoli if they just took note of the research that is out there.

DEAN BECKER: That speech he made about Treyvon Martin the other day…he included in there the thought that we know the black community is talking about there has been a great deal of disparity in the implementation of our drug laws especially in the regards of the death penalty and the drug laws.

GUY SWARTZ: We’d both be in prison if we weren’t white.

DEAN BECKER: One more song, please. Ladies and Gentlemen we have Bourbon and Swartz here.

BILLY BOURBON: Let’s do, “I roll my own.”

[guitar]

Well, I roll my own and smoke my own
That’s the way the law planned it.

I roll my own but I smoke my own
I wish they’d all understand it.

I like my reefer like I like my fun
But the government’s part of a great big conspiracy.
The rich man come with his money and guns
And say you can’t get high unless you buy from me.

Well, I roll my own and smoke my own
The stuff I grew last summer.

Well, I roll my own and smoke my own
I’m down to the seeds it’s such a bummer.

[guitar solo]

Well, I roll my own and smoke my own
The stuff I grew last summer.

Well, I roll my own and smoke my own
I’m down to the seeds it’s such a bummer.

Mr. President listen to me
It’s time to set ‘ol Mr. dope man free.

It’s time for medical use and hemp products, too
The precedent to show you some dope revenue.

That’s why I roll my own and smoke my own
The stuff I grew last summer.

Well, I roll my own and smoke my own
I’m down to the seeds it’s such a bummer.

Well, I roll my own and smoke my own
That’s the way the law planned it.

Well, I roll my own and smoke my own
I wish they’d all understand it.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, once again, Bourbon and Swartz in the studio with us. Thank you guys so much.

GUY SWARTZ: Thank you for having us, Dean, and thank you for fighting the good fight.

DEAN BECKER: Somebody had to do it and I’m glad it was me.

We got less than a minute. I wanted to point out again that at Benjys Tuesday night the Houston Young Republicans will have Richard Lee. Please go to the http://dpft.org site if you want further information.

GUY SWARTZ: Hey, Richard, I know you’re going to listen to this. This is Guy Swartz saying hi and thanks for all the good work you’ve been doing for all these years.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, he’s a damn hero. We’ve got a few seconds left. I wanted to just say…well, I’ll get better at engineering. I might bring in my high quality mic because I don’t seem to work too good on this studio.

GUY SWARTZ: You get used to it.

DEAN BECKER: It’s coming up on 12 years that I’ve been doing this. You’ve been hearing me for 12 years. How many times have you called your elected officials? How many times have you broached the subject with your minister or a person in your neighborhood?

It’s time.

BILLY BOURBON: It really makes a difference. You wouldn’t believe what one real voice…they figure that for everybody that talks to them means there is a hundred or thousand people that want to talk to them about it.

DEAN BECKER: I’ve been doing “Name that drug by its side effects” so here it is. It is my somber duty to report that the death toll from the drug formerly known as marijuana is zero.

GUY SWARTZ: Still zero?

DEAN BECKER: Still zero. I’m going to try to get to my outro here. Thank you so much. Because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.

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DEAN BECKER: I’ve only got time to say that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.

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