05/13/20 Doug Fine

This week on Century, it's part two of our conversation with Doug Fine, the farmer, hemp activist, journalist, and author whose new book American Hemp Farmer has just been released by Chelsea Green Publishing; plus we hear from Sanho Tree, director of the Drug Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, on human rights and the drug war.

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Guest: 
Doug Fine
Organization: 
Institute for Policy Studies
Sanho Tree
Doug Fine Book
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COL 
051320
TRANSCRIPT
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DEAN BECKER: The failure of drug war is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies. 

HOST DOUG MCVAY: Hello and welcome to Century of Lies. I'm your host Doug McVay editor of drugwarfacts.org on today's edition of Century part 2 of my conversation with Doug Fine, the jounalist, hemp farmer activist and author of his new book American hemp farmer is out. It's great and we'll hear about that in a moment. But first Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a US based nonprofit organization with an international Focus. It's a terrific organization. I have the honor of being on its Advisory Board. I was an actual board member for a brief time; SSDP held its annual conference recently. It was originally to be held in Baltimore, but due to covid-19 in the resulting Shut down it was moved online fortunate for me because I was able to attend there were a lot of great speakers were going to hear from one of them. Now. Sanho Tree is the director of the drug policy project at The Institute for policy studies. He's a longtime drug policy reformer, a military and National Security historian and a great friend. He spoke at SSDP conference on the topic of Human Rights and the drug war.

SANHO TREE: Drug policy have been doing this for 22 years now, is one of the most interdisciplinary problems of ever study and that's what makes it hard to solve and it makes it hard to talk about the totality of this problem. But if we only stick to our own silos we end up talking to ourselves. So I want to find ways or lenses for for wasting talk to your colleagues and friends about these connections. So I do a lot of work on the axis of authoritarians and the War on Drugs. So there are these it's not a formal alliance by any means but there are these right-wing Global governments that have waged vicious drug wars and how they're reacting to covid. I think it teaches us a lot. So the most obvious example, I think would be the Philippines where the drug war is the most deadly and brutal at right now president duterte since he took power and 2016 has killed by many estimates up to 30,000 people.

No one really knows the final of the ultimate death toll so far that's been on pause for a little bit because of the Lockdown but he's using many of the same tactics to keep people who are often very very poor don't have more than you know days worth of food stocked stockpiled in their shacks and letting them from going out and getting food. In fact, he's issued shoot to kill orders for people who resist the curfew and cause trouble and one person has already been killed as a result to that but he's been able to get away with not only the drug war but also these brutal lockdown tactics by playing the strongman tactics that that made him very politically popular and he still is very popular within the Philippines. But he gives simple answers to very complex Solutions. This is a common thing you'll see whether it's was talking about Donald Trump or president Erdogan and turkey or president or Bond and hungry or president both scenario in Brazil. These are really far right wing governments that take a cornucopia of social ills projected onto minority groups and say aha. That's why we have all these problems in our society just unleash holy hell on these people get rid of them kill them if you want and that's how we get to a better world. So president Duterte I think is the most obvious example of that but what he's been doing reminds me very much of what what what the czarist Russian secret police did in the 19th century.

They wage a pogrom right, a pogrom is where you take a cornucopia of social ills under czarist Russia, projected onto a minority group in this case. It was Jews in the 19th century. And you say aha. They're the reason we have all these problems just unleash holy hell on this group. And that's what they did and president duterte flipped that formula and adapted with the drug war. Now. The drug war is awful and it's bad But what's really important about this is that once you condition your police forces, once you're once you take your security forces and get them to be able to identify the track and then to murder extrajucitially people that you don't like once you train them to do that. Then you've got a really powerful and dangerous tool, right? It's getting their cops to kill. The first person is the hard part. The next hundred murders are really easy after that. And so it's very important for us then to look at the drug war and how it's going to be used because they can take that apparatus and then turn it on a dime to go after other targets curfew violators under under, you know, Corona virus. Or they can go after Labor organizers next year feminists, indigenous organizers, sexual minorities.

It's very easy to use a kind of scapegoating tactic and that apparatus to go after people and so I think it's an exterminationist policy, eliminationist policy and one that is morbidly being used talked about by various political actors. There's some very cynical stuff going on. So the current  President in Brazil came to power last year. They called the Trump of the tropics far far far right president. He was a he was a military officer in the Junta in the 80s. In the dictatorship and these pot openly about returning to a dictatorship he is a huge coronavirus denier he says it's just a little flu and he absolutely refuses to go along with these lockdown policies and his help him that he's on the brink of firing as health minister right now and this court ends very badly for the rest of the world because if we are able to manage to to suppress this problem in the northern hemisphere as we go into summer.

You know he'll be there winter down there and Brazil is a huge reservoir of this virus and it could come rocketing back to us in the next season so these things have Global implications and so we need to pay attention to this axis authoritarians not just how they avoid the drug war but how they use social control and President also when he ran for office at my spoke openly and admiringly at president Duterte in the Philippines say I'm going to do even more than he did in terms the drug war so this is kind of a tality we're dealing with right now in Columbia another country that you know done a lot of work in Colombia over the years and they're thinking of returning to this disastrous policy of aerial fumigation of spraying to try to destroy these crops, but beyond that there's also the problem of human rights Defenders and people who work for social justice under the drug war are being targeted have been targeted are especially being targeted in recent years, especially after the recent peace deal. Because there's a graph for land for power for resources in Columbia. And a lot of these people are now being threatened and assassinated. Some of them have worked on drug policy issues in the past. They also work on indigenous rights issues and peasants rights issues. And what's happening with the lockdown is that once these people are in quarantine, they can't go out and so now the death squads know where to find them and hunt them down. I think that's an incredibly sobering thing to keep in mind quite apart from from the drug war. 

SANHO TREE: In Guatemala, We just found out the two days ago that the US has been deporting people taney's for immigration violations who are positive who are actively you know ill and sending them back to Guatemala, which I think is an absolutely sick and disgusting and in saying thing to do we're sending vectors back to to these regions to spread this disease and I think quite frankly it fits very nicely with Steven Miller's agenda which is always been to conflate immigration with crime disease rape all these the social ills that you know, go back to the Third Reich in terms of that kind of dehumanization and scapegoating and now he's able to then take these people send them back create more disease and that forces that that gives them a feedback loop and say Ah, that's another reason we have to keep you know, these enforcement policies in place is because they carry the disease.

Well, we're actively contributing to that in a horrific way in other places. There are more guests in a perverse way optimistic things going on in in places like El Salvador, Brazil, Cape Town. There are gangs that have been fighting and feuding for many many many years killing each other and they're now actually declaring truces amongst themselves and trying to provide basic social services and enforce the lockdown. Where their own governments won't do it. So they're the ones kind of keeping order and making sure people get fed. This is a double-edged sword because these are criminal groups, but on the other hand, it's a great way of illustrating the struggle for legitimacy. The state should not have to fight this hard to establish legitimacy within their own borders. It really highlights what they haven't been doing and people who've been involved in the drug war have known that for a long time.

These are marginalized populations that never did really taken care of and it's no mystery why these gangs were able to get traction today? Because they're actually fulfilling a role in state won't or hasn't been able to and then finally just want to show you a couple of images to think about these are some photos from let me see from the Philippines. This is when I talk about disease, this is a major prison in the Philippines, right? This is taking back in 2016 it in it's been over crowded but especially so after president Duterte declared his drug war and so those who were able to turn themselves in got locked up and we've been our I've been saying for years. We need to pay attention to disease. It's not just now under coronavirus but in situations like this where you have these right-wing governments to lock people up in horrendous conditions.
 
This is a breeding ground for disease and tuberculosis is bad enough, but now we have strains of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, which scare me as much as this Coronavirus. Because we literally have no cure for them. And once that comes out it could play the rest of the world. We need to take these kinds of situations very very seriously and then finally in closing what we're living through today keep in mind. This is not unlike what indigenous peoples confronted 500 years ago in this hemisphere that a disease with people have no natural immunity is taken over and caused unprecedented damage, some estimates up to 90% of the indigenous peoples in this hemisphere were wiped out before they even laid eyes were able to lay eyes on a white person the disease travels much faster than the colonizers. So as we think about things like Columbia and how do you deal with drug cultivation and and helping the human rights of drug producers? We need to also keep in mind the rights of indigenous peoples and how we're affecting their lands and their lives and their life with aid. So thank you very much. 

DOUG MCVAY: That was Sanho Tree director Drug policy project at The Institute for policy studies. He was speaking at the students for sensible drug policy annual conference, which was held online at the beginning of May. You're listening to Century of lies. I'm your host Doug McVay Doug Fine is a solar-powered goat herder a comedic investigative journalist and a Pioneer voice in hemp and regenerative farming. He's cultivated hemp in four US states is we genetics or in five more. He's an award-winning culture and climate correspondent for NPR the New York Times And The Washington Post among others his books include first legal Harvest, not really an Alaskan mountain men, Farewell My Subaru, too high to fail and hemp bound. Well Doug has a new book. It's just been released. It's called American hemp farmer available at bookstores everywhere, you know once book stores are open again. It's published by Chelsea Green publishing. You heard the first part of our interview on last week's show so here's part two.

DOUG MCVAY: I'm very particularly interested to know moving forward. And now how are things looking for Hemp Farmers. 

DOUG FINE: This is still the really early postnatal period for the industry. We are truly embryonic as big as the industry is becoming we're embryonic and so everything now has these really wide jolting changes in One Direction or another that are you could have you could predict them by the behavior of markets in general by the way people behave in Gold rushes and all that and all that business and that's why I so harp on the the fact that a lot of it's going to come down to customers choosing their regions Farmers on those products rather than something that they see on TV that's actually a publicly traded Corporation or whatever, you know, I love our system and I love a free market and I love Everyone having options. I just urge people to make the free choice to support a community based regionally-based B Corporation or cooperative farmer owned entity that's going to win-win and get you the better product. So at this moment there's a lot of panic amongst farmers who left in and really went all in with just CBD because the wholesale Market predictably, you know has shown Corrections.

DOUG FINE: It's like always as folks give me remember from Black Market cannabis. It creeps up the further one gets away from Harvest Time and that's true in any commodity but the prices that people may have been sort of already, you know, pricing out their new tractor or their new truck. Those aren't the kind of prices that you're seeing if you're just growing for CBD and that's why I think it's so important to brand for value-added products one side of the plan architecture. We haven't discussed it. We talked a little bit about flour and a little bit about seed one side that we haven't talked about yet is fiber.

The fiber of the plant as I'm sure most listeners will know is outstanding performance. I wear hemp clothing all the time. I'm wearing hemp Yoga Pants by Pacific Northwest company right now. My sweetheart likes to there's a TMI alert. She likes to make my underwear out of Organic hemp provided by the women-owned Enviro textiles of Colorado. So it's all about performance for me. It's not I’m in the hemp World therefore I should just the part. It's this is what I like to wear works. Well, it feels good. So at it and it lasts a long time so fiber requires large acreage and it's going to be no trick no easy trick. I should say to get fiber established back in the US it's going to involve the herding cats, which is you know, what it what it's like to get Farmers cooperate because if I crunched the numbers in the new book and even for the smallest of the professional TurnKey fiber processing facilities that run about five to eight million dollars, you need to have minimum of around 3100 acres and that's a small-scale operation feeding that processing facility and in a place like a North Dakota and Nebraska.

That's no problem. Um, I mean that's like Joe to round the corners got more than 3100 acres but in most places it's going to evolve Farmers cooperating just on the fiber regardless of what they're doing with the other side of the plant and my favorite next-generation hemp. I'm going to say it application that I haven't you know, this one will solve a lot of problems. This one feels a lot of gaps in this sort of righteous low-carbon my life.

DOUG FINE: I and many others have been trying to live live and that Is hemp-based supercapacitors in next-generation batteries. So the premise on this as a Layman is for of the types of next-generation batteries that are going to not just charge our phones quickly or devices quickly, but charge our entire solar-powered homes super quickly our vehicles super quickly our equipment quickly. We want to move away from these Rare Earth minerals many people are aware of the damage those cause Right. So guess what? I don't know. I'm a spiritual man. So I won't say it turned me religious probably more spiritual but I learned that hemp has somehow known to evolve in this sort of waffle like pattern at the at the Nano level at the 1 carbon level in such a way that it outperforms any other known nanomaterial many of them are not very environmentally friendly it outperforms any other known nanomaterial slightly in performance and at 1000 of the cost not to mention one one trillionth of the environmental cost being a regenerative so visualize the hemp fiber on your Tesla or some other electric vehicle with the embedded solar, you know collectors in the actual vehicle charging a battery that is not only made from hemp but it's compostable and recyclable and I think we're going to see that in 10 years or less. That's my prediction. Straight here for you today Doug

DOUG MCVAY: I mean the drug. The drug side is obviously whether it's CBD or the or just smokable we did is the the one that gets people's attention. But yeah change that last question around a little bit. So do you think that with with some of these fiber products with things like these hemp batteries with things, you know hempcrete and other kinds of things mean infrastructures are real thing. Do you think that hemp, do you think Hemp is going to be some kind of what do you think happens going to do for the farmers could hemp could hemp save some of the the what the farm economy that we that there still is one God knows.

DOUG FINE: there is yeah. So yes, I would say the answer to that question is I do believe that hemp and other crops in the digital age have the potential to revive rural economies. It's going to be up to Farmers to make brave decisions to grow regeneratively. To realize that the practice of farming is not seasonal anymore. It's your round. The farmer has to be a farmer and an entrepreneur. That's jolting and hard. I've experienced this in the real world and talk about it in the book that the best farmers are often the hardest to convince that there's more to it these days than just selling stuff to wholesalers. So and then a lot of it is going to be up to customers folks listening to this broadcast to say I am going to read every label and everything.

I buy it. I'm going to try and do Everything that I can to support local broccoli, hemp and everything farmers, and when it comes to the wider thing The Wider question does have the potential to actually help mitigate climate change and save Humanity. I would say not just him but hemp and other crops have the strong potential to help mitigate climate change in a significant Way by turning our entire Industrial Pipeline from a petrochemical based one to a Biomaterials based one so hemp is kind of leading the way for whatever reason the intelligence of the hemp plant is it's the spearhead of a Renaissance in biomaterials. And this is not like oh because it feels good or even oh we better do this to save the Earth.

It's a performance issue Sherwin-Williams paint never moved away from hemp seed oil as a stabilizer in their paint because they couldn't find anything better. There's some really funny correspondence between their marketing director and the head of of cannabis prohibition. Harry Anslinger about dude. We need the hemp seed oil for our product. What are you doing making us important? And we all know that that came to a head with hemp for victory during World War II George Bush senior's life saved by his hemp cord, but on his parachute, but will it happen? I'm an optimist Doug. There's a lot of things that have to go right but it has to happen because I want Humanity to Survive and Thrive and if that happens, we have to mitigate climate change and cultivating hemp regeneratively and support the farmer entrepreneurs to do that. He is one of the best things we can do to help bring about that reality. 

DOUG MCVAY: You've published this you can do the book tour and all that. But what's next for you

DOUG FINE: besides prepping my own fields and growing hemp to do my own part to mitigate a few and you know, tons of climate cup carbon. I am putting together a TV show of the same name American hemp farmer where I'm profiling farmers of like mind who are trying to do the same thing that I am which is support their families communities and the planet by making a good I mean a good living regionally-based. The only thing the only thing that's different about the new entrepreneurialism is that it stays Regional base to end game is not selling out and having shares and like living in that kind of way. It's the long-term community based potential for the plant and and the industry. Yeah. So the TV shows that I love joking around and having a good time. So it's an opportunity as the host to kind of, you know show my ineptitude on a tractor while making the key point that you know, these particular farmers are growing Clover right around there hemp plant which not only builds nitrogen and is a great polyculture technique but keeps the grasshoppers that are bothering their neighbors out of their own field. So it's a one part humor one part earth-saving and one part practical profile of farmers

DOUG MCVAY: apps and influencers and now a reality show. Truly the 21st century is a return to the roots and and regenerative practices of our grandparents.

DOUG MCVAY: The the listeners don't realize how far we go back here. I mean I have I have memory the last time I saw you was at another United Nations event in New York. I think that was the last time I physically saw you that was really interesting. The Bolivian indigenous folks came there and get a ceremony right there in the street across from the UN while you and I are hanging out and so listeners should know. Doug has full green light to tease Doug as Doug does to tease Doug.  So please tease

DOUG MCVAY: I I just I just thought it was fascinating. It's a reality show. It's a reality show about him farming. I mean, I would watch that. I don't know I would watch that. I would I want to 

DOUG FINE: thank you 

DOUG MCVAY: the I'd watch that. I will watch that. Wow. Okay. So American hemp farmer look for it on look for it on Channels Near you I'm I'm wow. So, uh, so where can people find it work me find your book you're doing the you have a website for it. They want your social media other people follow you

DOUG FINE: thank you for asking that. Yes at Dougfine.com. There is information on all the books and some media appearances tedtalk the United Nations testimony, you mentioned and places to get all the books as well as live events in the Portland area. I've got Powell's, the Great, the mighty policy of books on June 23rd at 7 p.m. Hope to see everybody there. And on social media is organic Cowboy one word the two C the middle at organic Cowboy

DOUG MCVAY: terrific. Terrific. I'm going to try and make it to that reading. I hope to see you when you are here. Now. Do you have any closing thoughts for any closing thoughts for our listeners?

DOUG FINE: I would say to all the folks out there who enjoy the cannabis plant in any one of its forms to realize that that very enjoyment can be manifest as playing a positive role for the future of humanity. The return of the cannabis plant is not only the biggest Economic Development the biggest economic Market sector development since Silicon Valley came on strong in the late 70s just in sheer impact and dollar value but it also for those of us who know about cannabis and and how it works in our bodies and our brains. It is precipitating a shift a sort of dark It's always darkest before the dawn kind of feeling and many of us have the situation with grannies that have rediscovered cannabis for their arthritis.

And and it's it's a it's a giggly positive development as opposed to and again their folks, Enjoy a drink. Every now and then that's fine. But you know as opposed to sort of the barroom fight pituitary lizard brain stuff that happens in some of the drugs that have been popular while we have been forced to shut down our endocannabinoid system. So in closing for folks to enjoy the cannabis plant if you actually think about it as part of your home maintenance program, but also as part of your pro Humanity activism in terms of supporting outdoor cultivated, Grown cannabis and hemp and thinking of it as one plant realizing We're All in This Together. I do think that Humanity I get a twinge when I say that because it sounds a little pollyannaish but I do think Humanity has a chance 

DOUG MCVAY: and on that note. My guest today has been Doug fine. His new book is American hemp farmer. It is a great read. I recommend it highly look for it in your favorite bookstore go to an independent bookstore. That's locally owned. That's the right way to do it Doug the best of luck to you and thank you man 

DOUG FINE: Doug. It's so great to connect with you again. And I hope to see you in June. If not sooner. 

DOUG MCVAY: That was my conversation with the hemp activist farmer journalist and author Doug Fine his new book American hemp farmer published by Chelsea Green publishing is out now and again a quick reminder. The bookstore event that we discussed in that interview is actually not going to be happening, certainly not on that date the state of Oregon and many other places remain. They shut down because of the covid pandemic be sure to check local listings and look at the website DougFine.com public service time. If you are one of the lucky ones who are able to work from home and earn a paycheck if you're able to cover your housing and other bills and you still have something left over then please consider helping out those less fortunate community service agencies are always hurting and now more than ever.

They need your help syringe service programs, Food banks shelters; we’re spoiled for Choice really which is quite sad and also part of the point. The need is great and it's getting greater those of us who can really need to step up. Thank you. That's it. You have been listening to Century of Lies. We're a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation radio network on the web at DrugTruth.net will be back in a week with 30 more minutes of news and information about drug policy reform in the failed War on Drugs for now for the DrugTruth Network this is Doug McVay saying so long so long for the drug truth Network. This is Doug McVay asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition. The Century of Lies Drug truth Network programs archived at the James A Baker III Institute for public policy.

COL 
051320
TRANSCRIPT
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DEAN BECKER: The failure of drug war is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies. 

HOST DOUG MCVAY: Hello and welcome to Century of Lies. I'm your host Doug McVay editor of drugwarfacts.org on today's edition of Century part 2 of my conversation with Doug Fine, the jounalist, hemp farmer activist and author of his new book American hemp farmer is out. It's great and we'll hear about that in a moment. But first Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a US based nonprofit organization with an international Focus. It's a terrific organization. I have the honor of being on its Advisory Board. I was an actual board member for a brief time; SSDP held its annual conference recently. It was originally to be held in Baltimore, but due to covid-19 in the resulting Shut down it was moved online fortunate for me because I was able to attend there were a lot of great speakers were going to hear from one of them. Now. Sanho Tree is the director of the drug policy project at The Institute for policy studies. He's a longtime drug policy reformer, a military and National Security historian and a great friend. He spoke at SSDP conference on the topic of Human Rights and the drug war.

SANHO TREE: Drug policy have been doing this for 22 years now, is one of the most interdisciplinary problems of ever study and that's what makes it hard to solve and it makes it hard to talk about the totality of this problem. But if we only stick to our own silos we end up talking to ourselves. So I want to find ways or lenses for for wasting talk to your colleagues and friends about these connections. So I do a lot of work on the axis of authoritarians and the War on Drugs. So there are these it's not a formal alliance by any means but there are these right-wing Global governments that have waged vicious drug wars and how they're reacting to covid. I think it teaches us a lot. So the most obvious example, I think would be the Philippines where the drug war is the most deadly and brutal at right now president duterte since he took power and 2016 has killed by many estimates up to 30,000 people.

No one really knows the final of the ultimate death toll so far that's been on pause for a little bit because of the Lockdown but he's using many of the same tactics to keep people who are often very very poor don't have more than you know days worth of food stocked stockpiled in their shacks and letting them from going out and getting food. In fact, he's issued shoot to kill orders for people who resist the curfew and cause trouble and one person has already been killed as a result to that but he's been able to get away with not only the drug war but also these brutal lockdown tactics by playing the strongman tactics that that made him very politically popular and he still is very popular within the Philippines. But he gives simple answers to very complex Solutions. This is a common thing you'll see whether it's was talking about Donald Trump or president Erdogan and turkey or president or Bond and hungry or president both scenario in Brazil. These are really far right wing governments that take a cornucopia of social ills projected onto minority groups and say aha. That's why we have all these problems in our society just unleash holy hell on these people get rid of them kill them if you want and that's how we get to a better world. So president Duterte I think is the most obvious example of that but what he's been doing reminds me very much of what what what the czarist Russian secret police did in the 19th century.

They wage a pogrom right, a pogrom is where you take a cornucopia of social ills under czarist Russia, projected onto a minority group in this case. It was Jews in the 19th century. And you say aha. They're the reason we have all these problems just unleash holy hell on this group. And that's what they did and president duterte flipped that formula and adapted with the drug war. Now. The drug war is awful and it's bad But what's really important about this is that once you condition your police forces, once you're once you take your security forces and get them to be able to identify the track and then to murder extrajucitially people that you don't like once you train them to do that. Then you've got a really powerful and dangerous tool, right? It's getting their cops to kill. The first person is the hard part. The next hundred murders are really easy after that. And so it's very important for us then to look at the drug war and how it's going to be used because they can take that apparatus and then turn it on a dime to go after other targets curfew violators under under, you know, Corona virus. Or they can go after Labor organizers next year feminists, indigenous organizers, sexual minorities.

It's very easy to use a kind of scapegoating tactic and that apparatus to go after people and so I think it's an exterminationist policy, eliminationist policy and one that is morbidly being used talked about by various political actors. There's some very cynical stuff going on. So the current  President in Brazil came to power last year. They called the Trump of the tropics far far far right president. He was a he was a military officer in the Junta in the 80s. In the dictatorship and these pot openly about returning to a dictatorship he is a huge coronavirus denier he says it's just a little flu and he absolutely refuses to go along with these lockdown policies and his help him that he's on the brink of firing as health minister right now and this court ends very badly for the rest of the world because if we are able to manage to to suppress this problem in the northern hemisphere as we go into summer.

You know he'll be there winter down there and Brazil is a huge reservoir of this virus and it could come rocketing back to us in the next season so these things have Global implications and so we need to pay attention to this axis authoritarians not just how they avoid the drug war but how they use social control and President also when he ran for office at my spoke openly and admiringly at president Duterte in the Philippines say I'm going to do even more than he did in terms the drug war so this is kind of a tality we're dealing with right now in Columbia another country that you know done a lot of work in Colombia over the years and they're thinking of returning to this disastrous policy of aerial fumigation of spraying to try to destroy these crops, but beyond that there's also the problem of human rights Defenders and people who work for social justice under the drug war are being targeted have been targeted are especially being targeted in recent years, especially after the recent peace deal. Because there's a graph for land for power for resources in Columbia. And a lot of these people are now being threatened and assassinated. Some of them have worked on drug policy issues in the past. They also work on indigenous rights issues and peasants rights issues. And what's happening with the lockdown is that once these people are in quarantine, they can't go out and so now the death squads know where to find them and hunt them down. I think that's an incredibly sobering thing to keep in mind quite apart from from the drug war. 

SANHO TREE: In Guatemala, We just found out the two days ago that the US has been deporting people taney's for immigration violations who are positive who are actively you know ill and sending them back to Guatemala, which I think is an absolutely sick and disgusting and in saying thing to do we're sending vectors back to to these regions to spread this disease and I think quite frankly it fits very nicely with Steven Miller's agenda which is always been to conflate immigration with crime disease rape all these the social ills that you know, go back to the Third Reich in terms of that kind of dehumanization and scapegoating and now he's able to then take these people send them back create more disease and that forces that that gives them a feedback loop and say Ah, that's another reason we have to keep you know, these enforcement policies in place is because they carry the disease.

Well, we're actively contributing to that in a horrific way in other places. There are more guests in a perverse way optimistic things going on in in places like El Salvador, Brazil, Cape Town. There are gangs that have been fighting and feuding for many many many years killing each other and they're now actually declaring truces amongst themselves and trying to provide basic social services and enforce the lockdown. Where their own governments won't do it. So they're the ones kind of keeping order and making sure people get fed. This is a double-edged sword because these are criminal groups, but on the other hand, it's a great way of illustrating the struggle for legitimacy. The state should not have to fight this hard to establish legitimacy within their own borders. It really highlights what they haven't been doing and people who've been involved in the drug war have known that for a long time.

These are marginalized populations that never did really taken care of and it's no mystery why these gangs were able to get traction today? Because they're actually fulfilling a role in state won't or hasn't been able to and then finally just want to show you a couple of images to think about these are some photos from let me see from the Philippines. This is when I talk about disease, this is a major prison in the Philippines, right? This is taking back in 2016 it in it's been over crowded but especially so after president Duterte declared his drug war and so those who were able to turn themselves in got locked up and we've been our I've been saying for years. We need to pay attention to disease. It's not just now under coronavirus but in situations like this where you have these right-wing governments to lock people up in horrendous conditions.
 
This is a breeding ground for disease and tuberculosis is bad enough, but now we have strains of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, which scare me as much as this Coronavirus. Because we literally have no cure for them. And once that comes out it could play the rest of the world. We need to take these kinds of situations very very seriously and then finally in closing what we're living through today keep in mind. This is not unlike what indigenous peoples confronted 500 years ago in this hemisphere that a disease with people have no natural immunity is taken over and caused unprecedented damage, some estimates up to 90% of the indigenous peoples in this hemisphere were wiped out before they even laid eyes were able to lay eyes on a white person the disease travels much faster than the colonizers. So as we think about things like Columbia and how do you deal with drug cultivation and and helping the human rights of drug producers? We need to also keep in mind the rights of indigenous peoples and how we're affecting their lands and their lives and their life with aid. So thank you very much. 

DOUG MCVAY: That was Sanho Tree director Drug policy project at The Institute for policy studies. He was speaking at the students for sensible drug policy annual conference, which was held online at the beginning of May. You're listening to Century of lies. I'm your host Doug McVay Doug Fine is a solar-powered goat herder a comedic investigative journalist and a Pioneer voice in hemp and regenerative farming. He's cultivated hemp in four US states is we genetics or in five more. He's an award-winning culture and climate correspondent for NPR the New York Times And The Washington Post among others his books include first legal Harvest, not really an Alaskan mountain men, Farewell My Subaru, too high to fail and hemp bound. Well Doug has a new book. It's just been released. It's called American hemp farmer available at bookstores everywhere, you know once book stores are open again. It's published by Chelsea Green publishing. You heard the first part of our interview on last week's show so here's part two.

DOUG MCVAY: I'm very particularly interested to know moving forward. And now how are things looking for Hemp Farmers. 

DOUG FINE: This is still the really early postnatal period for the industry. We are truly embryonic as big as the industry is becoming we're embryonic and so everything now has these really wide jolting changes in One Direction or another that are you could have you could predict them by the behavior of markets in general by the way people behave in Gold rushes and all that and all that business and that's why I so harp on the the fact that a lot of it's going to come down to customers choosing their regions Farmers on those products rather than something that they see on TV that's actually a publicly traded Corporation or whatever, you know, I love our system and I love a free market and I love Everyone having options. I just urge people to make the free choice to support a community based regionally-based B Corporation or cooperative farmer owned entity that's going to win-win and get you the better product. So at this moment there's a lot of panic amongst farmers who left in and really went all in with just CBD because the wholesale Market predictably, you know has shown Corrections.

DOUG FINE: It's like always as folks give me remember from Black Market cannabis. It creeps up the further one gets away from Harvest Time and that's true in any commodity but the prices that people may have been sort of already, you know, pricing out their new tractor or their new truck. Those aren't the kind of prices that you're seeing if you're just growing for CBD and that's why I think it's so important to brand for value-added products one side of the plan architecture. We haven't discussed it. We talked a little bit about flour and a little bit about seed one side that we haven't talked about yet is fiber.

The fiber of the plant as I'm sure most listeners will know is outstanding performance. I wear hemp clothing all the time. I'm wearing hemp Yoga Pants by Pacific Northwest company right now. My sweetheart likes to there's a TMI alert. She likes to make my underwear out of Organic hemp provided by the women-owned Enviro textiles of Colorado. So it's all about performance for me. It's not I’m in the hemp World therefore I should just the part. It's this is what I like to wear works. Well, it feels good. So at it and it lasts a long time so fiber requires large acreage and it's going to be no trick no easy trick. I should say to get fiber established back in the US it's going to involve the herding cats, which is you know, what it what it's like to get Farmers cooperate because if I crunched the numbers in the new book and even for the smallest of the professional TurnKey fiber processing facilities that run about five to eight million dollars, you need to have minimum of around 3100 acres and that's a small-scale operation feeding that processing facility and in a place like a North Dakota and Nebraska.

That's no problem. Um, I mean that's like Joe to round the corners got more than 3100 acres but in most places it's going to evolve Farmers cooperating just on the fiber regardless of what they're doing with the other side of the plant and my favorite next-generation hemp. I'm going to say it application that I haven't you know, this one will solve a lot of problems. This one feels a lot of gaps in this sort of righteous low-carbon my life.

DOUG FINE: I and many others have been trying to live live and that Is hemp-based supercapacitors in next-generation batteries. So the premise on this as a Layman is for of the types of next-generation batteries that are going to not just charge our phones quickly or devices quickly, but charge our entire solar-powered homes super quickly our vehicles super quickly our equipment quickly. We want to move away from these Rare Earth minerals many people are aware of the damage those cause Right. So guess what? I don't know. I'm a spiritual man. So I won't say it turned me religious probably more spiritual but I learned that hemp has somehow known to evolve in this sort of waffle like pattern at the at the Nano level at the 1 carbon level in such a way that it outperforms any other known nanomaterial many of them are not very environmentally friendly it outperforms any other known nanomaterial slightly in performance and at 1000 of the cost not to mention one one trillionth of the environmental cost being a regenerative so visualize the hemp fiber on your Tesla or some other electric vehicle with the embedded solar, you know collectors in the actual vehicle charging a battery that is not only made from hemp but it's compostable and recyclable and I think we're going to see that in 10 years or less. That's my prediction. Straight here for you today Doug

DOUG MCVAY: I mean the drug. The drug side is obviously whether it's CBD or the or just smokable we did is the the one that gets people's attention. But yeah change that last question around a little bit. So do you think that with with some of these fiber products with things like these hemp batteries with things, you know hempcrete and other kinds of things mean infrastructures are real thing. Do you think that hemp, do you think Hemp is going to be some kind of what do you think happens going to do for the farmers could hemp could hemp save some of the the what the farm economy that we that there still is one God knows.

DOUG FINE: there is yeah. So yes, I would say the answer to that question is I do believe that hemp and other crops in the digital age have the potential to revive rural economies. It's going to be up to Farmers to make brave decisions to grow regeneratively. To realize that the practice of farming is not seasonal anymore. It's your round. The farmer has to be a farmer and an entrepreneur. That's jolting and hard. I've experienced this in the real world and talk about it in the book that the best farmers are often the hardest to convince that there's more to it these days than just selling stuff to wholesalers. So and then a lot of it is going to be up to customers folks listening to this broadcast to say I am going to read every label and everything.

I buy it. I'm going to try and do Everything that I can to support local broccoli, hemp and everything farmers, and when it comes to the wider thing The Wider question does have the potential to actually help mitigate climate change and save Humanity. I would say not just him but hemp and other crops have the strong potential to help mitigate climate change in a significant Way by turning our entire Industrial Pipeline from a petrochemical based one to a Biomaterials based one so hemp is kind of leading the way for whatever reason the intelligence of the hemp plant is it's the spearhead of a Renaissance in biomaterials. And this is not like oh because it feels good or even oh we better do this to save the Earth.

It's a performance issue Sherwin-Williams paint never moved away from hemp seed oil as a stabilizer in their paint because they couldn't find anything better. There's some really funny correspondence between their marketing director and the head of of cannabis prohibition. Harry Anslinger about dude. We need the hemp seed oil for our product. What are you doing making us important? And we all know that that came to a head with hemp for victory during World War II George Bush senior's life saved by his hemp cord, but on his parachute, but will it happen? I'm an optimist Doug. There's a lot of things that have to go right but it has to happen because I want Humanity to Survive and Thrive and if that happens, we have to mitigate climate change and cultivating hemp regeneratively and support the farmer entrepreneurs to do that. He is one of the best things we can do to help bring about that reality. 

DOUG MCVAY: You've published this you can do the book tour and all that. But what's next for you

DOUG FINE: besides prepping my own fields and growing hemp to do my own part to mitigate a few and you know, tons of climate cup carbon. I am putting together a TV show of the same name American hemp farmer where I'm profiling farmers of like mind who are trying to do the same thing that I am which is support their families communities and the planet by making a good I mean a good living regionally-based. The only thing the only thing that's different about the new entrepreneurialism is that it stays Regional base to end game is not selling out and having shares and like living in that kind of way. It's the long-term community based potential for the plant and and the industry. Yeah. So the TV shows that I love joking around and having a good time. So it's an opportunity as the host to kind of, you know show my ineptitude on a tractor while making the key point that you know, these particular farmers are growing Clover right around there hemp plant which not only builds nitrogen and is a great polyculture technique but keeps the grasshoppers that are bothering their neighbors out of their own field. So it's a one part humor one part earth-saving and one part practical profile of farmers

DOUG MCVAY: apps and influencers and now a reality show. Truly the 21st century is a return to the roots and and regenerative practices of our grandparents.

DOUG MCVAY: The the listeners don't realize how far we go back here. I mean I have I have memory the last time I saw you was at another United Nations event in New York. I think that was the last time I physically saw you that was really interesting. The Bolivian indigenous folks came there and get a ceremony right there in the street across from the UN while you and I are hanging out and so listeners should know. Doug has full green light to tease Doug as Doug does to tease Doug.  So please tease

DOUG MCVAY: I I just I just thought it was fascinating. It's a reality show. It's a reality show about him farming. I mean, I would watch that. I don't know I would watch that. I would I want to 

DOUG FINE: thank you 

DOUG MCVAY: the I'd watch that. I will watch that. Wow. Okay. So American hemp farmer look for it on look for it on Channels Near you I'm I'm wow. So, uh, so where can people find it work me find your book you're doing the you have a website for it. They want your social media other people follow you

DOUG FINE: thank you for asking that. Yes at Dougfine.com. There is information on all the books and some media appearances tedtalk the United Nations testimony, you mentioned and places to get all the books as well as live events in the Portland area. I've got Powell's, the Great, the mighty policy of books on June 23rd at 7 p.m. Hope to see everybody there. And on social media is organic Cowboy one word the two C the middle at organic Cowboy

DOUG MCVAY: terrific. Terrific. I'm going to try and make it to that reading. I hope to see you when you are here. Now. Do you have any closing thoughts for any closing thoughts for our listeners?

DOUG FINE: I would say to all the folks out there who enjoy the cannabis plant in any one of its forms to realize that that very enjoyment can be manifest as playing a positive role for the future of humanity. The return of the cannabis plant is not only the biggest Economic Development the biggest economic Market sector development since Silicon Valley came on strong in the late 70s just in sheer impact and dollar value but it also for those of us who know about cannabis and and how it works in our bodies and our brains. It is precipitating a shift a sort of dark It's always darkest before the dawn kind of feeling and many of us have the situation with grannies that have rediscovered cannabis for their arthritis.

And and it's it's a it's a giggly positive development as opposed to and again their folks, Enjoy a drink. Every now and then that's fine. But you know as opposed to sort of the barroom fight pituitary lizard brain stuff that happens in some of the drugs that have been popular while we have been forced to shut down our endocannabinoid system. So in closing for folks to enjoy the cannabis plant if you actually think about it as part of your home maintenance program, but also as part of your pro Humanity activism in terms of supporting outdoor cultivated, Grown cannabis and hemp and thinking of it as one plant realizing We're All in This Together. I do think that Humanity I get a twinge when I say that because it sounds a little pollyannaish but I do think Humanity has a chance 

DOUG MCVAY: and on that note. My guest today has been Doug fine. His new book is American hemp farmer. It is a great read. I recommend it highly look for it in your favorite bookstore go to an independent bookstore. That's locally owned. That's the right way to do it Doug the best of luck to you and thank you man 

DOUG FINE: Doug. It's so great to connect with you again. And I hope to see you in June. If not sooner. 

DOUG MCVAY: That was my conversation with the hemp activist farmer journalist and author Doug Fine his new book American hemp farmer published by Chelsea Green publishing is out now and again a quick reminder. The bookstore event that we discussed in that interview is actually not going to be happening, certainly not on that date the state of Oregon and many other places remain. They shut down because of the covid pandemic be sure to check local listings and look at the website DougFine.com public service time. If you are one of the lucky ones who are able to work from home and earn a paycheck if you're able to cover your housing and other bills and you still have something left over then please consider helping out those less fortunate community service agencies are always hurting and now more than ever.

They need your help syringe service programs, Food banks shelters; we’re spoiled for Choice really which is quite sad and also part of the point. The need is great and it's getting greater those of us who can really need to step up. Thank you. That's it. You have been listening to Century of Lies. We're a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation radio network on the web at DrugTruth.net will be back in a week with 30 more minutes of news and information about drug policy reform in the failed War on Drugs for now for the DrugTruth Network this is Doug McVay saying so long so long for the drug truth Network. This is Doug McVay asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition. The Century of Lies Drug truth Network programs archived at the James A Baker III Institute for public policy.