06/12/15 Beto O'Rourke

US Representative from El Paso Beto O'Rourke, Dr. Mitche Earleywine, Richard Lee Founder of Oaksterdam U

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Friday, June 12, 2015
Guest: 
Beto O'Rourke
Organization: 
US Representative
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CULTURAL BAGGAGE

JUNE 12, 2015

TRANSCRIPT

DEAN BECKER: The insane are in charge of the asylum,
The fox in charge of grading the hens,
The cartels need drug war to make their billions,
And Obama says let's do the same thing again.
Oh what will it take to motivate
To examine this century of lies,
What will it take to motivate
You to speak of what's before your eyes?

Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

DR. G. ALAN ROBISON: It is not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally un-American.

CROWD: 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.

Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I am Dean Becker, I'm glad you could be with us here. In a little while we'll hear from US Representative Beto O'Rourke, US Congressman out of El Paso as well as from Richard Lee, the ganja entrepreneur from Oaksterdam, who's coming to Houston by the way. But first up, we're going to visit with Dr. Mitch Earleywine, he's a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, he has more than 100 publications in scientific journals on addiction, he's received various research grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. After years as an alcohol researcher, Mitch began teaching an undergraduate course on drugs and human behavior, and there's just so much to talk about in the field of marijuana, let's talk about that field of marijuana, what do you say, Dr. Mitch?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Oh, and I'm super delighted to be on the show and answer any questions you might have, thanks a lot.

DEAN BECKER: Well, yeah, Mitch, the fact of the matter is, you know, you have, you're not a newbie, you've been at this a while, you've been investigating this quite a long time, have you not?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: My book, Understanding Marijuana, first edition came out in 2002, so, I've been at it more than a decade now, it's a harder field than I had originally envisioned, but I'm happy to be doing work that I'm, you know, waking up and eager to get to the job about.

DEAN BECKER: And, was it just yesterday that you began your own radio show if you will on Cannabis Radio, you have a show, Burning Issues: Setting Fire to the Stoner Stereotype. Correct?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: You've got it. CannabisRadio.com. Now that I've got one of my own, Dean, I really need to bow to you, man, it's a lot harder than it looks. I really didn't quite understand all the skills involved.

DEAN BECKER: Well, it is, there's a little bit of juggling goes along, eventually you get up to three and then four balls, man, you've got to be careful though. Now, Mitch, the fact of the matter is, the news on marijuana is just coming forward like a tsunami, is it not? I mean, politicians are getting on board, it's starting to happen, isn't it?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: It's delightful to see, and what's funny is the crazy blowback now, so, William Bennett had a thing in the LA Times today that looked like something that came out of the 1940s, I mean, it's really strange how the folks who are resisting cannabis law reform are suddenly kind of curling up in a ball and shouting out the sorts of things that we all know are ridiculous, like gateway, or aggression, or things that, you know, just anybody who's ever been anywhere near cannabis wouldn't believe anymore.

DEAN BECKER: Well sure, and that's -- that's what it is, it is just a history of rumors, a continuance of rumors, propaganda, hysteria -- it's just a means to frighten people into believing this to be necessary. Am I correct?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Absolutely, and it's funny how we're still getting some of the old things that go back, literally, a hundred years, so this cannabis producing schizophrenia, which clearly, I almost wish schizophrenia were that easy to produce. You know, it just, it just clearly doesn't fit the data, and ignores important socioeconomic contributors to psychoses, and things like that, and yet that's an argument that went back to the 1890s, you know, it's like, we can't quite seem to get folks to open their eyes, but as the polls are getting over 50 percent now, with people favoring tax and regulate, and literally over 80 percent with medical cannabis access now, I think the politicians are going to have to catch on or get voted out of office.

DEAN BECKER: Well, that -- even the worry about psychosis, it does indeed go back. You say 1890s, I'm aware of it with William Randolph Hearst and Harry J. Anslinger, our first drug czar if you will, talking about it leads to insanity, criminality, and death. And they're still trying to recycle that same old stuff, huh?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Well, and at the time, you know, it's controversial but, you know, William Randolph Hearst had just bought a whole lot of logging areas to make paper from wood for his newspapers, and suddenly hemp was going to endanger his investment, and then what a surprise, his newspapers suddenly have stories about people hacking up their parents after smoking a joint, it's just, it's just insane.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and then there was also the fact that I think, I don't know, the law against marijuana from 1937 was passed, and I think it was the February issue of Popular Mechanics had on the front cover, the world's first billion dollar industry, and they were talking about the invention of the decorticator, which was able to harvest hemp efficiently, and turn it into a moneymaker, and of course, it never happened. And, well --

MITCH EARLEYWINE: And it's funny because, the ecology alone, if we had gone that direction instead of the cotton direction, we would have needed fewer pesticides and less water, and probably wouldn't be in some of the predicaments we're in right now.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Right, indeed, and we -- by that, I mean, intelligent people, have been putting forward this positive information, this diminution of these thoughts that had come before, and we're starting to gain traction, as I said, I mean, I tell the folks, we're going to have later in the show an interview I did with Beto O'Rourke, a US Congressman, who got elected by calling for the end of drug war, right there in the middle of Texas. So it's not the third rail issue anymore, it's more like a, of a, I don't know, an express train, people ought to get on board.

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Oh, it just warms my heart, and I mean, I think of people's stereotypes about Texas are really getting challenged about this, the Dallas-Fort Worth NORML group, some of the other Texas chapters are big, and out there, and really outspoken, and they showed up at our fly-in in DC, and basically went to their congressional reps in Congress, and I think, you know, word is getting out, and people are getting behind it, and it's delightful to watch.

DEAN BECKER: Well, even tonight, I got to go home, change clothes, and I'm invited to speak as a LEAP speaker, if you will, at an event out in Sugarland for Sugarland NORML. People are just starting to latch onto the fact that yes, these laws against marijuana are outrageous, incredible, but so too are the laws against all these other drugs that are, well, they're more dangerous because they're prohibited. Am I right?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Exactly, and it's funny because it's, it's still touchy to discuss, but the idea that say cocaine problems are a health problem and not a criminal justice problem shouldn't be that controversial, but everybody hears cocaine or heroin and suddenly gets all up in arms because we've all been inundated with slight misinformation, but gradual exaggerations year after year from the grade school on, and we just don't know the real data, and then suddenly we're treating people who have a medical condition as if they're criminals.

DEAN BECKER: Well, then, let's come back a minute to your new show. I was able to catch some of it before I came down here, I noticed you guys were talking about vaporizers and, oh and dabbing. Right? And, I've been in an area where, I was in Washington DC where it's legal. Some people had some dab and one of those anvils and a heat pipe and all that, and, I smoked Marlboros for 40 years and it damn near ripped my lung out, I'll be honest with you. But, it did get me instantly higher than I'd been in quite a while, and I guess, with a little discretion or caution, perhaps it could be of benefit to somebody like me, but, it is some powerful stuff. Correct?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: I mean, there's no two ways about it. I interviewed Mallory Lawson, who published the very first paper on dabs, and generally her data suggests the idea that folks realize that there's a rapid onset here, and like any drug that enters the blood really rapidly, your risk for dependence symptoms and withdrawal tends to increase just because it's such a rapid change that your body has to adjust to, so people did report that that was the concern that they had, but nobody was having the accidents, nobody was burning themselves, nobody was falling down or anything like that, any of the fears that I think were initially out there when these reached the scene.

And then a subset of medical users are really outspoken and say look, I really need rapid relief. If the nausea hits, if I get those first flickers before a migraine headache, I've got to get this substance into my bloodstream as fast as possible and I really need access to this. And for those people, god love them, I think they should have it, whatever they need. Recreationally, I'm apprehensive, I know it's not for me, but we'll have to wait and see how the data turn out.

DEAN BECKER: Well sure, and they may be able to refine the process, cool it down, whatever, find a way to make it more accessible to folks like us. Now the other side, the vaporizers, and again I've seen and I've had vendors sell me -- send me some, you know, for reviews, that kind of thing. And I find them to be of benefit, a little bit of a nuisance because they tend to not hold very much. But, you know, it is an alternative to smoking and choking, I guess, right?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Yeah, well so, I've got three studies out now, first a correlational one just showing that folks who use the vaporizer had fewer of the respiratory symptoms that a lot of us often have and don't often attribute to smoking, so this modest coughing and wheezing and shortness of breath, when you're going upstairs, that you think oh maybe I'm out of shape or maybe I'm getting old, right? But in fact when they switch to the vaporizer for a month that we provided in my lab, they got better on those. The -- also that total lung volume where you go to the doctor and blow in that thing as hard as you can, as much air as you can hold? That went up in a month as well. I had a nice interview with the folks from Firefly Vaporizers, obviously they're not the only one out there, but theirs has a nice battery set-up, it's attractive, and it's portable, which was the biggest complaint I was getting back in the day when everybody had to plug them in.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Right. Yeah, they've got them down to where it's just like a fountain pen or something. The -- change out the cartridge, I understand that in California and Colorado they are, folks can go in and just hand in their old cartridge and get another one for a fairly decent price.

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Those use the oils and so I don't have the data on those, but it sounds like it ought to work just as well as any other kind of vaporizer.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Well, when I was up in Portland, they had a marijuana business convention, I was up there and they were using, well they were making available all kinds of vaporizers to test and take home, and every one of them worked pretty good, I'll just say that. Now, let's talk about your next show on CannabisRadio.com, what are you going to bringing forward, Mitch?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: So, we've got another interview that's just been posted, a researcher from the University of Pittsburgh looked at some folks who were just experimental users early in adolescence, and this has always been something controversial that we've been worried about, and basically his data suggest that, you know, the gradual experimenting at 14, 15 and 16 is not a giant catastrophe. We don't want to encourage teen use because we know that heavy use tends to lead to problems, particularly early in life, but there's no need to suddenly throw somebody in inpatient treatment, or get supremely punitive simply because you catch your 14 year old smoking pot once.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And the, they, people who are not in the know tend to go way overboard and send them off to a treatment center or something like that. Yeah, it's just crazy. Well, let's talk about the media. You mentioned earlier that William Randolph Hearst wanted to use his timber instead of hemp to make the paper for his newspapers, and I think the media was very much responsible, certainly in cahoots with the government when these laws were put in play, and went along to get along, promoting the hysteria, the insanity, criminality, and death, but of late, newspapers and broadcasters around the country are just doing all kinds of stuff. Time came out with an issue, had a mouse smoking weed on the front I think it was. I'm looking at my most recent copy of National Geographic, Weed: The new science of marijuana. It's time for these politicians to get on the right side of this issue, history is not going to be very kind to those who cling to this propaganda for too long, is it?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: If you think about how we look back on the folks who were resistant to repealing alcohol prohibition, and how bad they look now, I think it's going to be exactly the same, and yes, it's delightful, I know you've got reporters who you've talked to frequently over the years, and it seems like it's, requests are coming in more and more every day, we've got sections of Forbes now, and some other business magazines seem to keep addressing cannabis-related issues, it's coming and it's not a fait accompli yet, I want everybody to still work hard, but to understand that it's a great time to get on the train.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. And you're right, I've mentioned it before, the first night I did my radio show I didn't know who was going to kick in the door, the cartels or the cops, but they never did. Nobody has ever hassled me over this work, and it's a wide open venue for anybody who dares arm themselves with this truth, they can go forward and whoop some ass, am I right?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Absolutely, man, and I think it's a time too where you can really feel like you're part of something that you'll be able to tell your grandchildren, I remember my grandma telling me about running an illegal speakeasy back in the day, and we'll be telling them these jocular stories about when cannabis was illegal and all the crazy things we did.

DEAN BECKER: The 26 foot plant I grew over on Hempstead Highway, within the city limits. Yeah, and, we're running out of time here, Mitch. Some closing thoughts, website, what do you want to bring forward?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: If folks are willing to check out cannabisradio.com, it's just like it sounds, and there are a whole -- my show's there, and a couple of my colleagues all have shows, and I think they'll get a real big kick out of it.

DEAN BECKER: All right, folks, once again we've been speaking with Dr. Mitch Earleywine, he's a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, and his show, again Cannabis Radio, Burning Issues: Setting Fire to the Stoner Stereotype. I wish you luck with that, Mitch, and we'll have to do this again, all right?

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Oh, thanks so much, looking forward to it.

DEAN BECKER: All right sir, thank you.

MITCH EARLEYWINE: Bye now.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects: Dry mouth, dilated pupils, blurred vision, indigestion, allergic reactions, severe abdominal pain, increased risk of heat stroke, dizziness, drowsiness, and prolonged constipation. Time's up! From Astellas Pharma US Inc and Glaxo SmithKline: For bladder control, the answer: Vesicare.

Opening up a can of worms, and going fishing for truth, this is the Drug Truth Network. DrugTruth.net.

Well, just last week the El Paso Times had a story that recognized one hundred years has passed since their, they put in place a marijuana law in the city of El Paso, and here to talk about that situation and more is the US Congressman from El Paso, Beto O'Rourke. How are you, sir?

CONGRESSMAN BETO O'ROURKE: I'm doing great, it's, Dean, it's good to hear your voice again and thanks for having me on the show. I've known you now, you know, for 5 or 6 years in terms of being able to listen to your show and you're very kind to have me on as a guest from time to time and, just want to thank you for the great work that you're doing to make sure that more people understand our drug laws and also understand a more rational, humane way to address drug policies, so thanks for having me on.

DEAN BECKER: Well, thank you, Beto. Now, the fact is, this situation in El Paso has, well, it's expounded worldwide in many ways at this point, has it not?

BETO O'ROURKE: Yeah. You know, a hundred years ago, in 1915, El Paso was one of the first, or the first municipality in the United States to ban marijuana, and that prohibition on marijuana really followed rising anxiety about Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, and the perceived threat that they posed to non-Mexican-Americans in this country, and fairly soon after El Paso did this, you saw other cities and states in the mountain west, along the Mexican and Mexican-American migration path, follow the lead of El Paso and they very much associated marijuana with Mexicans and Mexican culture, and when you read the testimony, whether it's in the legislative hearings in Montana, the city council or city newspapers in El Paso, describing the dangers of marijuana, or even by the time you get to the US Congress deciding on this in 1930s, there's very much a xenophobic, ethnic, racial, dimension to what people are talking about.

And so, you know, El Paso Times did a wonderful article on that, kind of tracing the, this irrational response to a perceived threat from Mexico that we connected to marijuana, and as you know Dean, it's really interesting that chapter of the story culminates in the 1930s where you have Harry Ansliinger, who is the head of the anti-narcotics division of the US, repeating some of this really racist, awful stuff about Mexicans and their connection to marijuana, and the group standing up against prohibiting marijuana is the American Medical Association, you know, the scientists and the doctors who say, really you've not made any, there's no factual foundation for this prohibition, and we in fact may see some medicinal purpose for marijuana, and so, you know, we're arguing against it.

But, in that case, you know, emotion and anxiety and fear and racism frankly, you know, trumped logic and a more rational, humane approach, so yeah. Unfortunately, El Paso has the distinction of really starting that process nationally, when they prohibited marijuana in 1915.

DEAN BECKER: And, what should also be recognized is that you and a co-author wrote a book which refuted much of that situation, and yet, the belief, the hysteria continues if you will. We had a couple of bills pass last week in Congress that dealt incrementally with this situation, but it's time to open up as I say on my show, open up this can of worms and go fishing for truth, am I right?

BETO O'ROURKE: You're absolutely right. I just read an article this morning about this half-way point in which we find ourselves, where the majority of states have decriminalized or medicinalized or legalized marijuana at some level or other, and much of the importation of marijuana from Mexico, kind of the origin of that anxiety in El Paso a hundred years ago, has abated, and what you're starting to see is exportation of marijuana from places like Colorado into Mexico.

So, you really, you know, as you make the point, Dean, you really have to ultimately address this nationally and I would argue even hemispherically if you're going to get this right, and you want to make sure that, much the way we do with cigarettes or tobacco, and alcohol, that you have a regime in place that will allow you to regulate, control the sales such that this doesn't fall into the hands of kids or teenagers, the profits don't go to the bad guys and the cartel members, and adults making rational decisions, deciding what they want to do in the privacy of their homes as long as it's legal and as long as they're paying taxes on it, they're able to do, and as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. And that's the, obviously a difficult, painful decision we made with alcohol in the 1930s, it's something that we've been very successful with in tobacco, where we've seen teen and child use of tobacco drop considerably in the last 40 years, as we've amped up marijuana and other drug prohibition.

So, I agree with you, Dean, it's really time for us, you know, most of the country's already spoken through their state legislatures, or their governors, or popular ballot initiatives. You know, it's really time for us to do the whole deal. Although, I'm grateful for these incremental steps because they are steps in the right direction.

DEAN BECKER: All right. Once again, friends, we've been speaking with US Congressman Beto O'Rourke. Beto, I know you've got to get back in session here soon, but I want to just thank you for standing tall for this truth. We've got to stop arresting, well it's over 20 million of our fellow citizens for possession of this herb. Closing thoughts, sir.

BETO O'ROURKE: Well, I agree, and I'll tell you, even though El Paso started on the wrong foot in 1915, the bookend to this is that Suzie Byrd and other members of that El Paso city council in 2009 began a different conversation nationally, or at least added to the conversation nationally, by voting unanimously to look at the contribution that marijuana prohibition has had towards the terrible violence that we've seen in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in general, and the problems that you point out in terms of the imprisonment of entire generations, primarily of people of color in this country, and the terrible costs that we've had to pay to do that without achieving any of our goals of diminishing supply or access or reducing potency or keeping the bad guys out of the picture in terms of profiting from this.

So again, really appreciate what you do on this show and to all your listeners who are fighting the good fight, just want them to know that we are with them and doing our best here in Congress to ensure that reason prevails, so thank you again for having me on the show.

DEAN BECKER: Richard Lee, the ganjapreneur, the pioneering marijuana entrepreneur, is coming back to Houston on June 25th at the invitation of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition and Liberty On The Rocks.

RICHARD LEE: You don't have to be a Republican to come, you can come check it out and learn more about the, what's going on with the reform movement and the repeal cannabis prohibition movement. And we're also going to be doing something special, a memorial for Dr. Al Robison, who was one of the early pioneers who, being in cannabis research and cannabis politics, he actually worked on research on cannabis back in the 60s, and one of my favorite lines I got from him was that they were having trouble trying to find how much was the lethal dosage to kill a lab rat, and they finally figured out that it was 2 pounds dropped on a lab rat from a height of 10 feet. In other words, the cannabis is so non-toxic that they couldn't kill a lab rat with it any other way besides using cannabis to crush it. Dr. Al Robison was the dean of the University of Texas at the Houston Medical Center.

DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, Rich, I'm looking forward to seeing you again and I would urge folks to come out to this event. The time is right, these politicians in Texas kind of facetiously passed a law that would allow for cannabis oil, though apparently there's never going to be any way for it to be implemented, but it did begin the process. Closing thoughts, Mr. Richard Lee.

RICHARD LEE: Yes. Texas has a long way to go, but there's a lot of good activists, I know the NORML Dallas chapter is very active and doing a lot as well as the Houston and other cities in Texas, and we have a great Congressman, Beto O'Rourke from El Paso, leading for reform in Texas, and so if you folks can come out and learn more about what's going on.

DEAN BECKER: Rich, if folks want to learn more, I would urge them to go to RAMPGOP.org. This event, featuring Richard Lee, will be at Paul's Kitchen, which is at 2502 Algerian Way, that's Thursday June 25th, 7 to 9 pm.

Enough, enough! The multinational companies that make the goods, that write the paychecks, that own the media, that control the politicians, have for too long run amok. We, the people of the United States of America, have for too long been hornswoggled, rode hard and put up wet. The corporations who now own the government, send our jobs overseas to make a better profit, to buy a bigger yacht. Democracy has been stolen from our nation disguised as security. Ignorance is taught at every level. Trust and obey is our mantra, and meantime the water boils to a deadly froth. The future of America, of individual Americans such as yourself, is in your hot boiled red little hands, the corporations are counting on you being too distracted, disengaged, and too afraid to stop their take-over of all your rights.

A quote from Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants," end quote. Will you jump from the boiling water? Will you dare to compare the US constitution to what these corporate whores in Congress now call governance? Or will you continue to squat and watch the bubbles rise?

Well, that's about it folks, I hope you'll do your part to end this madness of drug war and I remind you once again, because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

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.

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