11/10/13 Russ Bellville

Joe Tripolte cannabis grow mgr, Rev Edwin Sanders interview, Russ Bellvile of 420Radio.org, Aaron anonymous Denver MJ patient + KOB TV report on US obsession with anal probing

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Guest: 
Russ Bellville
Organization: 
420Radio
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / November 10, 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: Hello friends. This is Dean Becker. You are listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network and Pacifica Radio. This week we go back once again to Denver, Colorado to some interviews I conducted with some growers and plant managers who are legally growing cannabis, selling it there on the city streets and nobody is too upset – not even the cops but around the rest of the nation it’s still all hell breaking loose, hundreds of thousands of our kids being thrown in jail and why? Because you know this truth but you sit silently and watch. It’s your turn. Please stand up, speak up, do something about this.

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JOE TRIPOLTE: My name is Joe Tripolte. I’m with Local Product of Colorado. I’m our grow manager. We have our retail store on 419 West 13th Avenue here in Denver, Colorado. I also work with another organization called Americans for Forfeiture Reform. We work on paramilitary policing and asset forfeiture in the United States.

DEAN BECKER: We just took a tour of your facility. It seemed to be well stocked with all the various edibles and extracts and other products cannabis related. It seemed to me so normal in its own way. I guess for Denver it is.

JOE TRIPOLTE: Absolutely. I’ve been here for the last year and one-half. We came here in May of 2012. I was in California before that. I can really appreciate the environment that’s developed in Colorado.

I met John and came out to Colorado in 2010 about 3 years ago. Back then it was before HB 1284 passed which is the regulatory bill put together by the legislature here in Colorado. That created the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division along with all its rules for businesses and its operators.

That has satisfied to some extent the Department of Justice’s concerns with respect to state marijuana programs and has become a model for other states across the nation.

DEAN BECKER: Right, Eric Holder came out and in essence said as long as they do it by the rules they’re going to leave folks alone, right?

JOE TRIPOLTE: Absolutely. It seems there’s been a dramatic shift from the federal government with regard to enforcement priorities. They’re really only targeting individuals and businesses breaking those rules and regulations on the state level providing the state regulations are robust enough to address the federal government’s concerns.

DEAN BECKER: My understanding is limited in so far as what goes on in Colorado and I hear discussions about the offsetting or perhaps counterproductive situation of medical vs. recreational. What’s going on there? How do you think that will pan out?

JOE TRIPOLTE: It’s a very interesting discussion. My hopes when Amendment 64 was on the ballot and before it passed was that the recreational market would create a more honest industry to some extent. Right now our only consumers and customers are red card holders however the consumer base for cannabis is obviously much larger than that red card market.

DEAN BECKER: That’s the medical holders – the red card, right?

JOE TRIPOLTE: Correct. These patients are allowed to buy 2 ounces at a time. What I was hoping Amendment 64 would create was that people would come in and buy grams and eighths for personal use as opposed to people buying ounces and 2 ounces and more at a time and then redistributing that to friends and family or maybe even out of state.

It’s unfortunate the way the state regulations have played out. The average ounce for a patient is going to cost about $180. The average ounce for a recreational consumer will cost about $360. There’s really no difference in that product so any marijuana consumer that buys marijuana from a retail store for the first time is immediately going to come to the conclusion that they could save $180 by getting their red card or becoming a medical marijuana patient.

That is a very dishonest incentive and it discredits the medical marijuana community in a way that is very unfortunate. We’ll see how that evolves. I don’t think the recreational market is going to capture as big of a market share because people are going tend to get their red card and become patients for the discount.

DEAN BECKER: You’re right there. At $180 for an ounce vs. $360 recreationally is going to continue a little bit of the black market at least. Am I right?

JOE TRIPOLTE: Absolutely. It’s the same market ...whether it’s diversion, interstate commerce or any other illegal activity related to drugs or marijuana in this case. The only way to combat illegal activity is through economics. Law enforcement has never been effective means.

If you look at a state like Missouri that’s very close to Colorado – it’s 2 states away – the majority of its product comes from California. 70% of the nation’s supply does. It’s supplemented hugely by more and more product from Colorado as cultivation has expanded on a caregiver and business level.

All of that product leaving the states and entering the Missouri market is illegal. It’s subject to federal enforcement due to the Interstate Commerce clause and that was reaffirmed in Raich vs. Gonzales.

I actually had a voice conference with the city council of Columbia and the chief of police there. One of the topics that got their attention the most is where does their marijuana come from today and what do they do to combat the flow of that product to their state or to minors or whatever they may be concerned about there.

I couldn’t stress enough more to the group there that the only way you’re going to stop interstate commerce to your state is by domesticated production. Everybody can see that allows you to capture a tax revenue. It allows you to create rules and regulations that prevent diversion to minors. It adds to the community. It’s not harming the community.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly. Well, Joe, we’re going to wrap it up here. Is there a website or some closing thoughts you might want to share?

JOE TRIPOLTE: Yeah, you can check out http://localproductco.com or http://localproductcannabisconsulting.com and definitely check out http://forfeiturereform.com

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EDWIN SANDERS: I’m Edwin C. Sanders, II. I’m the Senior Servant in the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in Nashville, Tennessee. I serve on the Drug Policy Alliance board and I also head up an organization called Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy.

DEAN BECKER: You just had a panel here at the Drug Policy Alliance conference with several members of that group you speak of. This is an issue. I think at the heart of this issue is the moralistic posturing that entraps this whole situation. Your thoughts?

EDWIN SANDERS: I think one of the things that is a gift to us in terms of the primary faith tradition that we find represented here with just the Judeo-Christian tradition is that it’s a tradition that is a tradition of the intellect. It’s not a tradition that is exclusive to intellectuals but it is a tradition of intellect which means that we’re called to think and we’re called to wrestle with the issues we frame usually as moral and ethical and that kind of thing.

This issue fits into that framework because indeed it is one where people are challenged to get beyond some of the stereotypes that have served to stigmatize the ways in which people are thought about and looked at as relates to the whole question of drugs in our society.

What we’re vent on doing is one, normalizing the way in which people look at drugs and appreciate the fact that, indeed, we’re very much a society that is filled with drugs in every direction that you look - the mere fact that we have drug stores on every corner, the mere fact that when we go to the doctor is always includes a prescription.

We think that dealing with sickness is a matter of getting the right pill to take and that suggests that if you take the right pill it reestablishes the chemical balances which then allow you to feel better and the like. I would venture to say that people who use drugs that are not the drugs that are commercially sold in the mainstream are looking for the same things.

Usually it’s people who are trying to feel better, for people who are trying to address pain. It’s to heighten pleasure and it’s also to decrease pain but I think the issue is to feel good. I think we live in a society where there are so many pressures and so many anxieties that there are all kinds of ways in which people find themselves stressed out and not feeling good so I think that opens the door for the likelihood that you will try to find some chemical whether it be prescription or otherwise that will allow you to have the result you are looking for in terms of alleviating the pain or to elevate pleasure.

DEAN BECKER: I can’t help but bring this up. I have studied this. I’ve looked at the history of this. I can’t ignore the fact that it started out as racially motivated in so many ways and it continues to this day to operate in that fashion. Your thoughts, sir?

EDWIN SANDERS: I don’t think you can forthrightly talk about this whole issue especially when you bring into the equation the whole reality of the War on Drugs and not see that the way in which the laws have been advanced are primarily the byproduct of the ways in which racist attitudes tend to be pervasive and tend to be a part of just about everything that goes on in our society.

When my kids were growing up sometimes at the dinner table I would always be...we’d talk about issues of the day, what was on the news, what was in the paper. I remember when they were young they said to me at the dinner table, “Daddy, is everything about race?”

My response was, “Just about.”

I think there’s a way in which we need to appreciate that. It’s not just drugs. I think it’s true in terms of economic opportunity. It’s true in terms of educational opportunity. It’s true in terms of most of the things that we think of even as being basic necessities of life.

There are ways in which the dynamic of race are into it and very often it translates into there being tremendous disparity which continues to grow between people on the basis of their ethnicity and their race.

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DEAN BECKER: Once again that was the Reverend Edwin Sanders, Senior Servant of the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church out of Nashville.

By the way the Century of Lies show has a panel featuring many other leaders of faith talking about the drug war. It’s available on many of the Drug Truth Network stations or check it out at http://drugtruth.net

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It’s time to play: "Name That Drug - By Its Side Effects!"

Headache, nasal ulceration, back pain, pyrexia, cough, reduction in children’s growth velocity, glaucoma, cataracts, fungal, bacterial, viral or parasitic infections, ocular herpes simplex and adrenal suppression.

(((gong)))

Time’s up! The answer: From GlaxoSmithKline:

Veramyst! Nasal spray for allergies.

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RUSS BELVILE: I’m Russ Belvile from 420Radio.org.

DEAN BECKER: Russ, we’re here at the Drug Policy Alliance conference, 1000+ people mostly from the U.S. but from around the world. A lot of Central American folks are here. It just seems more cohesive, more powerful, more ready for change doesn’t it?

RUSS BELVILE: Well legalization is a reality now. We don’t have to dream. We don’t have to imagine. It’s not an abstract concept. It actually exists in 2 states. Now, not as much as I’d like. Not as legal as it should be but we’ve gone over the presavice now. We’ve gotten into how rather than if.

We’ve seen the massive jump in the Gallop Poll. We’ve seen a poll out of Texas at 58%. I mean, come on. This has changed the world. Uruguay is set to legalize marijuana and not just possession but the market of marijuana which we all know that’s the big problem is the illegal market not the illegal possession.

So, yeah, it feels good to be in the majority. It feels good to see the rest of America getting on the bandwagon and the rest of the world too.

DEAN BECKER: So we have here in Colorado a situation where it’s quasi-legal, nearly legal – however you want to say it – and I guess the fact of the matter is that there are still those who are nay-sayers, still those who want to maintain through their efforts maybe without the realizing it the black market. Your thoughts on that.

RUSS BELVILE: For me it’s always been about stopping the imprisonment and the ruining of people’s lives over marijuana. So first and foremost if something occurs that leads to that end I am for it and certainly that has happened in both Colorado and Washington. People whose lives would have been ruined for a marijuana possession charge or even if not ruined affected in any sort of negative way is no longer happening.

To the people who would say that’s not “real” legalization or “true” legalization I would say real legalization is that which makes the ballot and passes and keeps people out of cages. Now, it makes me question for some people what has this been about for you – the ending of the criminality or the maintaining of the profits.

If it’s all been about business and maintaining the profits, well, welcome to the 21s t century – that’s going to change. Marijuana is going to become an industry like any other that’s going to require business acumen and smart production and good marketing and competition. It’s not going to be an easy “grow in your closet make a bunch of extra money” gig anymore.

Now we should work to include those people. When they passed these laws that say if you got a previous criminal record for growing you can’t grow, well, some of these people that are growing medical marijuana we could use their expertise. It makes no sense to keep them out just because what they were doing to help someone who was sick before it was legal.

They can’t do it now that it is legal? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

A lot of folks are just going to have to accept that things are going to change in a radical way – not just for the mainstream that’s not used to weed being legal but also for our side that’s not used to weed being legal. There’s going to be a lot of differences.

DEAN BECKER: Let me kind of extrapolate on the question and that is by virtue of recreational pot being made legal here in Colorado they’re setting up layers of taxing which will increase the price well beyond that available to medical users. I guess the thought there is that that will help perpetuate the black market. Your thought?

RUSS BELVILE: Well, you know, nothing is going to help perpetuate the black market more than prohibition did. The black market is not going to get any bigger than it was. Will there still be a black market? Well, yeah. There’s a black market in cigarettes. A pack of cigarettes in Manhattan is like $12. There’s people who go down to Virginia where the taxes are nothing or North Carolina, a tobacco state, where they are almost nothing and load up a van full of cartons of smokes, take them to Manhattan and sell them in the allies and make $50,000 a van load.

So, yeah, you can over tax something but when that happens – and it is happening, I think these taxes in both states are probably too high to start with – but when that happens and people aren’t buying the overtaxed weed if the government wants to make some money they’re going to have to do what any other business does. It’s going to have to cut overhead or lower taxes or do something to get more customers in.

The fact that it might not get rid of the black market is actually our leverage. When people say black market there is an aspect of the Mexican cartels and that but for me it was always the guy that was a grower. He was an old Viet Nam friend of mine who grew weed. He was no black market. He was no sinister force.

Part of this black market that they so fear is going to still work is our friends that have been growing all this time. If that stays alive and provides the leverage to force those taxes lower – hey, great – let’s see those taxes go lower.

DEAN BECKER: For those who may not know Mr. Russ Bellvile is a very, very busy man. He has online radio and TV dealing with the subject of drug war with a primary focus on marijuana but he also carries the Drug Truth Network programs as well. He’s not afraid to speak the whole truth about this drug war.

Russ, point them where they can go on the web and some closing thoughts.

RUSS BELVILE: For myself, personally, you can find me on any social media network as Radical Russ – pretty much all the ones that are out there. The show is the Russ Belvile Show. It’s online at http://420radio.org/.

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DEAN BECKER: While touring one of the cannabis dispensaries there in Denver a patient came in and we had to stop taking pictures and so forth but as he was leaving I asked if he would submit to a quick interview to kind of get a thought on who’s an average cannabis buyer there in Denver.

AARON: My name is Aaron. I’m a 32-year-old Denver resident. I hold degrees in sociology, law with a specialization in a couple other areas. I work in the legal field and I’ve been partaking in cannabis for probably 10 years now.

DEAN BECKER: We’re here at a cannabis dispensary on a busy street in Denver. Doesn’t seem to be a threat to the community. You’re here purchasing some medicines for your health, correct?

AARON: Yes, sir, that would be correct. I like to use the product here to help get to sleep and I also have a bit of chronic pain from a few surgeries I’ve had. I don’t prefer to take stuff that’s been mixed in labs in beakers and done by chemists. I like stuff that’s grown in the ground naturally and not manipulated in any way. I feel like it’s very beneficial.

As far as the crime and stuff like that goes it’s pretty much nonexistent here in regards to the cannabis trade. I’ve lived in Denmark, England so I’ve seen the cannabis trade from underground and above ground. In Denmark we had an area called Christiania which was a hundred times better than Amsterdam could ever dream of being.

DEAN BECKER: You mentioned there doesn’t seem to be an increase in crime. It’s not a contributing factor in that regard. I guess there’s a message here. I hope Denver is able to relay to the other cities and states in the country that it’s just not a complicating factor is it?

AARON: No, sir. What you get here is you have normal business people, just normal, common folk who are just trying to make a living promoting a product that actually benefits people rather than having stuff come across the border that’s done by violence by cartels and other means of violence.

When you push something like this underground you are going to consistently have an element in society that’s going to benefit from that and they’re not necessarily going to be who you would want to benefit from such a product.

I think Denver is definitely emerging. I think the state of Colorado and the state of Washington are definitely on the right path. We’re the only ones in the world right now with legal cannabis. Amsterdam is tightening their laws. Denmark shut Christiania back in 2005.

A great example would be Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen, Denmark had an area called Christiania which ran for many years. It was an area of the city where you could buy your cannabis, your hash and your mushrooms/peyote. There were signs everywhere that said, “Say no to hard drugs.”

You could come in after work – many men and women in business suits would come in and have a spliff and a cup of tea as their choice of relaxation rather than going to pub. Ever since they’ve shut this down and criminalized marijuana and cannabis in Denmark they have had a rise in shootings. They’ve had a rise in violence because when they shut that one area of the city down it pushed everything underground.

What Denver has done is they’ve done the complete opposite. They’ve taken away from the underground operators and now they’ve made it legitimate. Now people who benefit from it don’t have to go into the alleyway to buy their medicine, per se. It’s made it more up in front and let people know that the mess you’ve heard about cannabis and marijuana aren’t true. There’s actually very beneficial effects from using cannabis and benefits that you can possess without having to go to a doctor and get pharmaceutical pills.

DEAN BECKER: Last question as I don’t want to hold you up. You mentioned that it helps with certain maladies that may occur from time to time – surgeries past and so forth – and I guess the point being if you ever watch TV you hear about the horrendous, deadly side effects of what would be considered everyday type pills. It is kind of an upside down scenario isn’t it?

AARON: If the cannabis industry had lobbyist in the same manner as the pharmaceutical companies have lobbyist then you’d probably see a different kind of picture but as it stands now you have pharmaceutical companies that donate millions of dollars to political campaigns and they pay millions of dollars to lobbyist each year to not regulate drugs in a certain way.

For instance, I watching TV last night and a commercial comes on for Cialis. There were 3 benefits for Cialis and the there were 15 side effects that could potentially harm you. Now with cannabis the only potential side effect you will have is maybe it will make you hungry. You may fall asleep. You’re not going to die. It’s not going to affect your body in a way that’s going to be irreversible. That’s the thing for me. I hate pharmaceutical pills. I don’t like dealing with pharmaceutical companies because they’re “for profit”.

The guys out here in Colorado yeah you do have your “ganja-preneurs” they’re calling themselves but for the most part a shop like the shop you’re in today sells everything across the board at the same price no matter...the quality is here and you’re getting the same price so you know these guys in this shop are actually for the patient. They’re not just for the profit.

DEAN BECKER: I notice the prices here are about half of the black market. Would you mind telling us what you purchased today?

AARON: No, today I bought an eighth of Lamb’s Bread. It’s a nice Sativa. It’s like a 90/10 cut. On top of that I grabbed a gram of Sour Diesel. The Sour Diesel will pick me up and keep me going through the day. It’s not going to put me to sleep. It’s going to take away any sort of pain I have. The Lamb’s Bread the same way. For night time I might grab an Ingrid. The shop’s known for Ingrid which is really a good night time medication. It helps assist in sleeping. If you have any sort of insomnia I would recommend that sort of strain.

The guys here are phenomenal. They’re fantastic. They’re product is on time. I grew up in North Carolina. I lived in Chicago. I was paying 60 bucks for an eighth there. I come here and I pay $25 and I don’t have to worry about being arrested, having some bullshit record, having a police record.

From being in college I have plenty of friends who got popped with a roach (a small joint) and they couldn’t get financial aid anymore but the guy down the street getting 3 or 4 DUIs can come back anytime he wants. It’s just mind boggling the way we judge these things and the way we allow society to class them when we don’t do our own informational research into it to make our own independent judgments.

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DEAN BECKER: So, no matter the minor imperfections of the laws in Washington and Colorado they look pretty damn good when you compare it to news like this.

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MALE REPORTER: 4 On Your Side continues to uncover shocking stories of humiliation and physical violations by authorities.

FEMALE REPORTER: We’ve reported Monday on a lawsuit by a driver who claimed he was subjected to a series of probes and even a colonoscopy after a traffic stop in Deming.

The next day we brought you another case of a man who says something similar happened to him.

MALE REPORTER: No drugs were found in either incident. Tonight 4 On Your Side investigator, Chris Ramirez, is back with a story of a woman who says she was violated by federal agents and doctors.

CHRIS RAMIREZ: Laura Shower Ives is representing a life-long New Mexico woman who says she was trying to cross the border from Juarez, Mexico into El Paso.

LAURA IVES: A dog alerted to her – at least they claim a dog alerted to her. At that point border patrol agents strip searched her at the facility. They asked her to undress, to spread her genitalia and to cough. They also pressed their fingers into her vagina looking for drugs.

CHRIS RAMIREZ: She considers herself to be a victim of sexual assault. We do know she’s a lifelong resident of New Mexico. She’s a woman in her 50s.

The woman claims that once they didn’t discover anything at the port of entry they took her to University Medical Center in El Paso.

LAURA IVES: First staff and border patrol observed her bowel movement and no drugs were found at that point. They then took an X-ray. The X-ray did not reveal any contraband. They then did a cavity search and they probed her vagina and her anus. They describe it in the medical records as “by manual, two handed.”

They didn’t find anything doing that. Finally they did a CAT scan. Again, they didn’t find anything.

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DEAN BECKER: So the question becomes does that really make you proud to be an American?

This is Dean Becker reminding you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s 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