10/26/14 Ed Rosenthal

Ed Rosenthal, author of Beyond Buds - Marijuana Extracts - Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines + Eapen Thampy director of Forfeiture Reform & Stephanie Jones Night Life Mgr for Drug Policy Alliance

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Guest: 
Ed Rosenthal
Organization: 
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / October 26, 2014

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DEAN BECKER: The following was recorded October 22nd at Houston Police Headquarters. This is Cultural Baggage with your host, Dean Becker.

[various crowd noises, whistle blowing, drum beating]

CROWD: Hands off...don’t shoot....hands off....don’t shoot

KATHY SELF: My name is Kathy Self and I am with the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice. It is an organization for families and victims of police brutality. My brother is one of those.

His name is Blake Pate and he died on Christmas night in 2011. He was involved in a traffic accident and instead of the police officer calling for assistance and an ambulance he ended up shooting my unarmed, un-intoxicated brother three times and he died right there on the street on Christmas night. It’s a tragedy we will never ever get over.

DEAN BECKER: What happened to the police officer?

KATHY SELF: The police officer was no billed by the grand jury. We had 19 witnesses and not one of them were called. Not one person was called and that police officer was no billed. That officer has a rap sheet longer than any police officer should ever have.

[crowd noises]

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DEAN BECKER: Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. That’s from a recent protest at Houston police headquarters on October 22 – one of many similar demonstrations around the country.

We are going to move from that very serious topic - consider that our Halloween segment – to a very positive segment.

I want to bring in my very good friend, a man who invited me to stay with his family a couple weeks while I attended Oaksterdam University. In many ways he has been very, very helpful to the Drug Truth Network and with that I want to bring in the author of a brand new book, “Beyond Buds - Marijuana Extracts - Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines”, Mr. Ed Rosenthal. How are you, sir?

ED ROSENTHAL: I’m fine. It was very disturbing listening to that. That travesty is going on all over the United States. Of course everybody knows about what happened in Missouri but what happened earlier in Missouri with the drug raids so there was no doubt that the Missouri police are trained to shoot first. Justice in Texas and here in Oakland where we’ve had unarmed people shot to death. It is beyond the tragedy. It is a travesty. The fact that there is no repercussion for these killers is outrageous.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah and this was in response to 40 murders of unarmed citizens in the last 4 years here in the U.S. I talked to one lady whose brother was buried 30 years ago. His killer, HPD officer was fined one dollar. It is just amazing.

Let’s talk about something more positive here. You have over the years educated many of us to the truth about the marijuana plant, the means to use it and grow it and all the various ways to make use of the product but you have a brand new book, “Beyond Buds”, which I’ve been reading through it. It is so informative, so easy to understand and I think very important that the truth about these products be put forward in such a way that people can make better use of it. Your thought there, Ed?

ED ROSENTHAL: The reason why I wrote this book is so people could have a better understanding of what is being offered on the market now and the uses of those products.

Basically although not in Texas but in many states they’re entering the post-prohibition world and in that post-prohibition world there is a lot more choices for the consumers and a lot more products. In the prohibition world you go to the dealer and say, “Do you have any?” In a post-prohibition world you go to a dispensary or a store and they have a wide choice and a wide variety of products available to consumers.

That’s what we are entering in many states now and it’s affecting even the states that are not post-prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah because there is the “spillover” effect that some of it makes its way to the other states. I guess the point that I really wanted to focus on is that I’m an old guy. I’m in Houston, Texas for God’s sake. I don’t have access to or am aware of many of these products that you are talking about. Give us an idea of some of the products that are out on the market now.

ED ROSENTHAL: There are all kinds of concentrates, edibles, drinkables so those products are very available. Some of them are kief or dry sift. Dry sift is when you take a screen and you rub marijuana along that screen and what happens is the glands fall down so you have a more concentrated product.

DEAN BECKER: I think about ...I mentioned in my introduction that thanks to you and your wife, Jane, I was able to stay over a week attending the Oaksterdam University and it gave me some understanding but the fact of the matter is this knowledge, the array of products is just growing enormously, isn’t it?

ED ROSENTHAL: Yes it is. For instance let’s talk about edibles. At Harborside dispensary here in Oakland they have a menu of over 100 different products. Those vary a lot, too. In a post-prohibition world like, for instance, in medicine you have all these CBD products, THCA products both of which don’t get you high but have tremendous medical value and of course you would not have that in a prohibition world. It wouldn’t be available.

There are kinds of other things as well. There are what’s called Shatter. That’s made by concentrating marijuana and using critical or sub-critical CO2 which is in a different state. The carbon dioxide which is sort of a cloud state picks up the THC from the grass and then you can condense it so you get a very pure product. With a very pure product you don’t have to inhale burning vegetation.

DEAN BECKER: And that is the point isn’t it, Ed – that through these various processes you can make a product that requires less smoke, less volume, less irritation – all of these things that are frowned upon, right?

ED ROSENTHAL: That’s right. For instance in New York State they are talking about legalizing medically but not marijuana – just concentrates.

DEAN BECKER: There’s a lot that going on in the South – for just CBD only or get it from another state or don’t grow it here.

ED ROSENTHAL: Perhaps we should describe the book a little bit?

DEAN BECKER: OK, go ahead.

ED ROSENTHAL: The book has chapters about dry sift, water hash, CO2 hash, butane and it also talks about vaping. It has a review of many different vaporizers and it also has sections on dry ice hash. In each of these it talks about how to make it, how to use it, what the advantages are, what the disadvantages are - everything about it.

DEAN BECKER: It also has a little informative sections telling about various products - which ones are useful, what they do, how they do it. Not necessarily rating them plus or minus but giving some description of their use, right?

ED ROSENTHAL: Yes.

DEAN BECKER: You just returned from Europe. I don’t really know the details. What were you up to, my friend?

ED ROSENTHAL: In Europe in different countries there are different ranges of legalization or moving towards legalization. Austria, which is where I was primarily, they have a trade show every year called Cultiva It’s is both for the industry and for consumers. My book is published in German and that’s the language of Austria. I was asked to come and speak there and also to sign books.

DEAN BECKER: I’m sure it was.

ED ROSENTHAL: In Austria they have a weird law. Plants that are vegetative that aren’t flowering are legal but flowering the plants is illegal. You can grow the plants. You just can’t flower them. Isn’t that strange?

So you can sell clones and that’s fine but once they start flowering they are illegal.

DEAN BECKER: Are they as draconian as we are? Would they lock you up for a handful of plants?

ED ROSENTHAL: Oh, no. It’s not like that. They are not as near legalization as we are in many states but it’s just not as draconian as...

DEAN BECKER: There’s hope on the horizon, isn’t there? There is progress being made.

ED ROSENTHAL: There’s progress being made right here in the United States. State by state it is happening. Texas happens to be one of the more conservative states but all around states are getting interested in either decriminalization, medical use or legalization.

DEAN BECKER: Real good, Ed. Once again that was some sound advice from Mr. Ed Rosenthal, the author of “Beyond Buds - Marijuana Extracts - Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines”.

Ed, I got to play a couple tracks. I’ll be right back with you in just a moment.

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(Game show music)

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DEAN BECKER: Once again, my friends, this is the Cultural Baggage show. We are speaking with Mr. Ed Rosenthal, the guru of ganja, the author of “Beyond Buds - Marijuana Extracts”.

Ed, were you able to hear that “Name that drug”?

ED ROSENTHAL: It’s testosterone, a testosterone drug that you put under your arms. You either get hard or you die.

DEAN BECKER: [chuckles] Very true, Ed. We run that “Name that Drug by Its Side Effects”...

ED ROSENTHAL: Blind...Oh, I’m going blind...

DEAN BECKER: [chuckles] We run stuff like that every week and it’s amazing you watch TV and hear the radio commercials and the list of potential side effects is enormous. We’ve got this weed, this marijuana, this cannabis that helps with so many problems and I don’t know if it’s an aphrodisiac but it certainly can give a little impotence to sex – I know that. We’re just shooting ourselves in the foot with a machine gun on a continuous basis, aren’t we?

ED ROSENTHAL: With Restless Leg Syndrome it’s harder to shoot yourself in the foot. [laughing]

DEAN BECKER: [laughing]

ED ROSENTHAL: You could stop that Restless Leg Syndrome or you could die...that will stop it.

DEAN BECKER: It is so true. We’re going to have to wrap it up here. I want to thank you for being our guest. Again, folks, please pick up your copy of “Beyond Buds - Marijuana Extracts - Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines.”

Ed, any closing thoughts, websites you would like to share with the audience?

ED ROSENTHAL: They should check out my website, http://edrosenthal.com/ They can just go on there. I’m on Facebook. I’m all over the internet so they can just put in my name and get YouTube stuff and everything.

DEAN BECKER: Will do, buddy. I appreciate it. Say hi to Jane for me. I hope to see you guys next time I’m in Oakland.

ED ROSENTHAL: Thank you for having me on.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, my friends, that was Ed Rosenthal, the guru of ganja, the author of “Beyond Buds - Marijuana Extracts - Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines.” It has very valuable information that you need to help fortify yourself as we move into this 21st century,

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[music]

We are the plant police with each arrest we bring peace.

We fight eternal war so you can never score.

Yes, we are the plant police.

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DEAN BECKER: There’s a lot of plant police, isn’t there? In fact, I think that’s what all police do is go after plants. That seems to pretty much be what their main job is these days and it’s because of the propaganda, hysteria, the bigotry, the hatred, the fear of this drug war. It is based in fairy tales and fabricated from fictional facts. It has no reason to exist. It is an abomination before God, man, everybody.

We have arrested 45 million of our fellow citizens and for what? Indeed, for what?! What is the benefit? What have we derived from this policy that even begins to offset the horrors we inflict upon ourselves by believing in this?

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DEAN BECKER: It’s the second day of the SSDP conference. I got to get to the airport soon but luckily I ran into my friend, Mr. Eapen Thampy. Let me get your thoughts. What do you think of this conference so far?

EAPEN THAMPY: I love SSDP. This is a great meeting of activists and intellectuals and I look forward to seeing a lot of positive change develop as a result of this conference and the ones before it.

DEAN BECKER: You travel the country a lot. You get a chance to take the pulse of America in regards to drug war and the various shenanigans that just keep going on. Your thought there? What do you see these days?

EAPEN THAMPY: I’m particularly reminded of some focus groups in Missouri back a couple years ago on marijuana legalization. We were fighting in these relatively conservative areas in Missouri that ordinary people have by in large seen the failure of drug prohibition. They understand that it is a waste of money. They may not always understand the path forward but they see the failure of the policy.

That’s something that I’ve seen time and time again as I go around the country. Ordinary people have an understanding of how deeply the government has failed.

DEAN BECKER: I keep hearing this chord that speaks to the idea that, as you say, that a lot of people have recognized the futility of this but they don’t know if their neighbors or their friends or their co-workers feel the same and therefor it is like a taboo subject which keeps progress at a minimum.

EAPEN THAMPY: The real opposition is still there. It’s still law enforcement that’s funded by asset forfeiture and federal grants. It’s still opioid pharmaceutical manufactures and the forced rehab treatment industry but besides that there’s not much opposition. It’s just overcoming the inertia of the mainstream and generating enough support to get to that tipping point.

DEAN BECKER: When you travel the country...you were in Ferguson a month ago and we see the stories in the press. What was your perception. What did you see going on there?

EAPEN THAMPY: I was in Ferguson on August 9th, 2014 which is the night that Darren Wilson from the Ferguson police department shot and killed Michael Brown. I had come into St. Louis to do some outreach and to see some music and then we turn on the TV and see a SWAT team sniper standing guard over a prayer ritual in the apartment complex one quarter of a mile away and we said we have to go see this.

As we walked down the street into this apartment complex where the community is grieving and holding this memorial we witnessed dozens if not hundreds of law enforcement vehicles swarm the complex, run over the memorial. Militarized police patrolling with aggressive dogs, with military rifles. There was a couple helicopters, black helicopters with powerful spotlights.

I’ve seen a lot of police militarization. I work very closely with that issue. I’ve seen militarized police from coast to coast but Ferguson, Missouri was really a notch above anything I’ve seen before in terms of the immense overreaction of law enforcement to what should have been a manageable event. Since that day you’ve seen continued protests, continued overreaction from law enforcement. It seems that every time there’s a protest they respond in the worst possible way.

Although the situation has kind of deescalated in terms that there’s been some changes – the governor stepped in, the feds are investigating – the root problem is still there. The root problem is that we have law enforcement in this country that’s become disconnected from the populace, disconnected from what the voters want, become kind of a creature of bureaucracy and inertia. We have to rest back control of our own government if we are to see a positive change come out this situation.

DEAN BECKER: I see it as an escalation that kind of started with the declaration of drug war, maybe with Nixon and declaring a certain subset of the population to be “less than human” and instituting measures that were designed to stop these degenerates and it has expanded over the years and with 9/11 it just put a pedal to the metal to escalate this even further to where we now have tanks on our city streets. Your thoughts, there?

EAPEN THAMPY: That’s exactly correct, Dean. It was Nixon’s War on Drugs that started us on the path towards militarizing our domestic police. It was the Patriot Act in the Bush years that kind of really ramped that up in a tremendous way. Now we’re paying the penalty. We are paying the costs. We are seeing the impact of all these bad decisions from the president to congress to the federal bureaucracy. We are seeing how far the system has gone away from where we are as a people, where we are as a society.

As we look at places like Ferguson we really have to examine these roots. If we cannot move beyond drug prohibition another Ferguson is inevitable.

DEAN BECKER: Is there a website or some closing thoughts you might want to share?

EAPEN THAMPY: You can always check out our advocacy at http://www.forfeiturereform.com/ or Tweet us @forfeitureabuse

Attend events like SSDP conferences or Drug Policy Alliance conferences.

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[harmonic music]

The DEA’s the joker,
The FDA’s the joke.
The Joke is on the U.S.A.
So why not take a poke.

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STEPHANIE JONES: My name is Stephanie Jones. I’m Night Life Community Engagement Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance. I’m initiating a new program at DPA that is going to talk about drug use and harm reduction in the context of night life and festivals.

DEAN BECKER: This is an area that should be of concern to more people because it is an area where things could be adjusted, could be fixed rather easily. Am I right?

STEPHANIE JONES: That’s right. There’s a lot of experience already in European countries where they treat night life as a benefit and as a public health issue to address and so they’ve already integrated a lot of the policies and approaches that we want to see replicated here in the U.S.

DEAN BECKER: If you would describe maybe a couple of those situations you would like to address.

STEPHANIE JONES: There’s one really great thing that they do....well, they do a lot of great things in Europe but one thing that’s very notable is they have a process of drug checking. One of the things as we know because of prohibition you can never be sure what’s in your substance. There are ways to test things particularly MDMA and other powder drugs to see what may or may not be in them. This is a process called drug checking.

There are various ways to do it. A layperson can do it with a quick liquid re-agent test to something that can be in a full lab setup with very high-grade equipment and very specific results. In Europe they actually...because they see this as a harm reduction endeavor to give information about what they might be ingesting they do very high-level drug checking. They have a network of different organizations that do it in different countries in Europe and they share information. It’s a really fantastic sort of system that we can hope and dream that someday the U.S. might be part of or we might have our own network of a similar kind.

DEAN BECKER: Now in failing to adapt or adopt these type measures what are the ramifications for us here in the U.S.?

STEPHANIE JONES: With drug checking in particular that’s actually not the most important thing to begin with here in the U.S. I think the first thing that we want to do here in the U.S. is open up the conversation about drug use that’s mostly non-problematic, that’s happening in night life and festival settings but that we can reduce the risks associated with it.

The first thing that we have to do is acknowledge that that is happening and then provide people with information about how to keep themselves safe. Basic harm reduction information should be accessible at festivals and night life events that currently isn’t so that is one of the things that we want to focus on first – having organizations like DanceSafe that works in the electronic music community and Amplify which works in the live music community...giving them more access to events and having event organizers get on board. This is something needed and necessary and they should support it.

DEAN BECKER: Like many of the ramifications of the drug war there are constraints and measures that prevent people from adopting these more reasonable approaches because in essence can admit some sort of culpability. It’s a weird, twisted situation. Is it not?

STEPHANIE JONES: That’s right. I think you might be referring to the federal legislation called the RAVE Act. It’s actually technically called something else. It’s called the Illicit Drug Anti-proliferation Act but the original text was called the RAVE Act because it was specifically aimed at that community.

What it essentially does is holds event promoters and organizers responsible for the drug use of their patrons so that if they have any indication that they know that drug use is happening at their event then they can be held criminally or civilly liable which is a terrible situation of course because this makes them incredibly resistant to drug education and harm reduction services onsite at their events.

It’s an unfortunate situation where they are really caught between a rock and a hard place whether or not they might want to do this thing they certainly don’t want to be going to jail or having their event shut down.

What we really want to do is get in between that and provide them some protection so they are able to integrate these harm reduction practices at their events and help save lives.

DEAN BECKER: I’ve watched the progress, the reach of many young drug reformers such as yourself and it’s always a pleasure to see the growth and the ability to do more by driving a little harder. Some closing thoughts you might want to share with the audience?

STEPHANIE JONES: Thanks, Dean. I’ve been in the drug policy reform movement for a while now – 8 or 9 years. I’m just excited to be moving down this path and talking about this issue that maybe hasn’t been at the forefront of the drug policy discussion and to give it a bigger space at the table. I think it’s an emerging issue. It is an incredible policy opportunity. It really addresses a category of drug users that haven’t been represented yet.

It’s people who are using drugs non-problematically. It’s mostly people who have had positive experiences with drugs and it gives them a way to come to our movement and a reason to bring their personal experiences to our advocacy.

I’m really excited to be a part of that and I’m really excited to be on your show reaching out to your listeners. I hope that they will contact me and others working on this and help us move it forward.

DEAN BECKER: And that website?

STEPHANIE JONES: They can just go to the Drug Policy Alliance website which is http://www.drugpolicy.org and within that site there is a page that is called “Are You a Music Fan?” They should check it out there for more information.

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DEAN BECKER: Once again I want to thank Ed Rosenthal for being with us and please grab a copy of his new book “Beyond Buds - Marijuana Extracts - Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines”

As always I remind 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.

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT Houston.

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.

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