05/27/20 Global Commission Calls for End of Prohibition

Global Commissioners Report calls for legalizing drugs with Ruth Dreifuss former President of Switzerland, Louise Arbour former High Commissioner on Human Rights, Juan Manuel Santos former President of Colombia, Helen Clark former Prime Minister of New Zealand & Anand Grover UN Special Rapporteur on right to health + Phil Smith reporting on Global Commission for Citizen Truth + Norma Sapp reports on cannabis laws in Oklahoma.

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Guest: 
Global Commission
Organization: 
Global Commission on Drugs
Phil Smith
Download: Audio icon FDBCB052720.mp3
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CULTURAL BAGGAGE
052720
TRANSCRIPT
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HOST DEAN BECKER: Broadcasting on the drug truth and network. This is Cultural Baggage…
-Audio  “Drug War, It is really fundamentally UnAmerican, 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. For nearly a decade. Now a collection of former heads of state High political figures businessmen and cultural figures have been working to reform drug policy at the national and international levels known as the global Commission on drug policy. 
This group of planetary leaders has been busy issuing reports every year on how to reduce the harms of prohibitionist drug policy and envisioning more effective and Humane Alternatives, I'm reading that from a recent report in Citizen Truth. It was authored by good friend of the Drug Truth Network. Mr. Phil Smith, who is with us now. Hey Phil, how are you sir? 

PHIL SMITH: I'm fine. And dandy Dean. How are you?

DEAN  BECKER: I'm well now this was a great piece and I've got to fess up. Neither my associate Doug McVay or I read the drug reporter where this was first issued. A few well over a week ago and I think the same can be said for major media around the US and for that matter around the world to ignore. This is just I don't know how it's been for too long your response to that thought the media just ignoring this this issue

PHIL SMITH: They totally ignored it and they've ignored you know, the ten or so previous reports issued by the Global Commission these are some of the smartest people on the planet former presidents of countries businessman like Richard Branson. It was led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan until he died. These are some very experienced and wise people and as I said, they put out a series of reports that no one pays attention to well 

DEAN BECKER: and I if I may underscore what you've just said they issued a video I'll report as well. It's out there on YouTube and you can link to it on your report there. But among those speaking Ruth Dreyfus president of Switzerland back in the 1990's Louise Arbour High Commissioner of Human Rights and Juan Manuel Santos the former president of Columbia just a couple of years back Helen Clark prime minister of New Zealand and Anand Grover special reporter on the right to health the top dog people. These are not hippies on the street corner. Am I right? 

PHIL SMITH: Absolutely and it's a damn shame that we don't have a former President Barack Obama Obama and his commission as well. Well,  somehow u.s. Representation. 

DEAN BECKER: I would certainly have to agree with that. Now Phil, you know, we're going to hear some extracts from that video there on YouTube a little later in the show. But what they say is powerful it's it's worthy of attention. It's worthy of respect. It's worthy of endorsement is it not?

PHIL SMITH:  indeed. I mean they say flat out that countries have to acknowledge the negative. of repressive law enforcement approaches the drug policy and to recognize that it is only enriching and powering and abetting those people we claim to hate the the drug trafficking cartels. You governments have to acknowledge this it may have to educate their citizens about the reality of this and that can help influence drug quality policy decisions at the national level and you making the general public aware of all the damage that Our prohibitionist policies do 

DEAN BECKER: well and so so right Phil Smith. I I think sometimes the work that you do and that I do and certainly that this commission does does seep out into the community out into the powers that be and I think with this covid pandemic now governments are mostly in the Northwest Canada and British Columbia Washington State on down through California theyre lessening the penalties there Drew finding ways to stop arresting people. They are embracing some of these ideas being put forward. Am I right?

PHIL SMITH: you are right and it's not just there. It's broader than that. I wrote about a month or well, maybe six weeks ago about major police departments across the country or just giving up on arresting people for minor charges including drug charges.

PHIL SMITH: They found that arresting people for drug offenses is not an essential service.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Now I want to once again point out that this report on citizentruth.org global leaders are finally realizing you can fight organized crime by legalizing drugs. I urge you folks go read. This report takes a link of listen to the the thoughts being put forward on the YouTube and and look at the report. They are issuing this But how many pages was that report Phil? 

PHIL SMITH:Oh, it's about 90 Pages. 

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, I mean this is this is no

PHIL SMITH: The did not just a flat just toss it off.

DEAN BECKER: No no and and they have the moral High Ground. They have invested the time. Whereas certainly in the United States day. They waste time they do not want to re-examine this policy. They avoided at all costs in most venues because I like to use the phrase these politicians made their bones through this policy and just don't want to look back on it. Now. 

DEAN BECKER: Your closing thoughts there Phil Smith. 

PHIL SMITH: Well people who have actually lived with the reality of Global Drug prohibition such as the former president of Columbia know all too. Well what needs to be done. They've seen the Damage Done to their country. Let me give you just one brief quote from former president Santos of Colombia.

PHIL SMITH: He said I come from a country that has fought drug traffickers and drug trafficking for so long and is probably paid the highest price of any country in the world. Colombia has lost its best leaders best journalists best judges best policemen, and we're still the number one exporter of cocaine to World Markets corruption and drug trafficking go hand in hand the most dangerous and protective of individuals often escaped while Ordinary People Who happen to use illicit drugs, see their lives destroyed by the War on Drugs.
I think he's got it about right.

DEAN BECKER: I am the Reverend Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network standing in the river of Reform baptizing drug Warriors to the unvarnished truth drugtruth.net.

DEAN BECKER: All right will now begin our focus on the launch of enforcement of drug laws refocusing on Organized crime Elites the video out there on YouTube put together by the global Commission on drugs. The panel was moderated by Mr. Mark Shaw. 

MARK SHAW: We reporting today's discussion in a virtual format because of the pandemic the pandemic provides a particular framework around which to discuss an issue like organized crime, which is a global phenomenon itself. And so this particular report enforcement of drug laws refocusing on organized crime and leads comes at a very particular and significant time the report makes some very significant recommendations both for National responses for regional responses and particularly for the global multilateral response to organized crime.

MARK SHAW: The global commission itself is a really unique body. It was founded in 2011, and it's consists of 26 Commissioners. Now those Commissioners are High-profile people, 14 of them are former heads of state and we have some of those Commissioners online with us today to discuss the report the chairperson of the commission, a first former president of Switzerland who has been key to driving forward the work of the commission degrees Arbor is a prominent Canadian jurist with a distinguished International career including as the UN Commission on human rights. Helen Clark is a former prime minister of New Zealand.
And as well as the former undp administrator with long experience of the multilateral system. Anon Grover, a prominent Indian jurist with a long record of advocating for human rights.
And one Manuel Santos a former president of Columbia and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. We hear first from Ruth Dreyfus the former president of Switzerland.
 
RUTH DREYFUS: The first thing I want to do is to say hello to everybody and to present the global Commission on drug policy on one side. We have the dramatic experience of our Latin American fellows who experience the first decade of the Millennium a dramatic situation where the state institution the rule of law was written by the international traffic of drugs and different cat tails in the meantime in Europe leaders were facing another dramatic Challenge and that was the situation of the drugs, the people who consume drugs the threat also of overdoses and marginalization of this people the criminalization of the people the fact that they were really at the margin of the of the society and in both region leaders try to show that it was a consequence of the prohibition and incapacity to deal with the real problems the real problems of Criminality to real problems of health fail since one.

RUTH DREYFUS:So this was the beginning but step by step. We got Global we had fellows in Africa and the valley der shape of the late century. And then we work largely from Asia to the Pacific region. 
Now, we are a group of 26 people. They would say world leaders from the political cultural economic life who feel that it is their responsibility to share their experience and to show that it is possible that it is necessary to change drug policy in order to avoid all these consequences call to the work of the commission has been a strategy around five pathways. Can you tell us a little bit about what those Pathways cover?

It is putting health first. It is also giving priority to the need.
To consider also some of these substances under their medical possibility. It is one of the dramatic situation also mainly in poor countries that they have the people have no access to painkillers. Well the third pathway we think is very very important is really to end the criminalization of the people who use drugs the fourth chapter of our reform program is
Is that we have to deal with the criminality and this is the reason why today we present this report of the commission and the last point we have to take control the state reasonable and responsible people have to take the control of the drug market and not let it in criminal hands.

DEAN BECKER: next up. We hear from Louise Arbour former High Commissioner for human rights.

LOUISE ARBOUR:  it is In fact a date an odd time and a time for reflection. I think the fact that many of us most of us are now in total isolation has given us more than ever an opportunity to think. I think what this report shows is despite its purported intentions the the War on Drugs as it was conceived and particularly as it unfolded to use again a military imagery has been essentially a war on civilians.

LOUISE ARBOUR: And there's been no effort to tackle any of the enemy combatants 

DEAN BECKER: next up we hear from Helen Clark the former prime minister of New Zealand. 

HELEN CLARK: This report has a new perspective on the problem of organized crime organized crime is a challenge in every society and if it gets into the political realm and starts corrupting political systems, that is a huge issue. And of course it has done.

It now, I think where the commission comes from is that we're saying drugs have been caught up on this because of the refusal of the International Community to accept that drugs need to be responsibly regulated. 
The attempt to prohibit them has actually been a license for organized crime to build a half trillion dollar a year industry in peddling stuff. Could we take drugs out of that through responsible regulation.

NARRATOR: And I wonder if I could ask her. If one man. Well your views having LED Columbia dealt with these issues over time. What would your recommendations be drawing on the the conclusions of the report? 
JUAN MANUEL SANTOS: Well my own experience coming from a country that has formed drug traffickers and drug trafficking for so long and has paid probably the highest cost of any
in the world Colombia has lost its best leaders its best journalist bit judges best policeman and we are still number one exporter of cocaine to the world markets corruption and drug trafficking go hand in hand the most dangerous and most protected individuals often Escape while ordinary people who happened to use the illegal substitute see their lives destroyed by the War on Drugs to fight organized crime. 

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS: We must follow the money. So you sense this elements of the report would be immediately welcomed should be welcomed. I hope so because people are are realizing that one word that has been fought for half a century and has not been one is a war has been lost and so you have to change your strategy and change your tactics tactics. If you want to be successful and I use the symbol of a started bicycle my country. We've been peddling and pedaling and a very high cost very high cost. That's why when I realized that this was not working. I started to discuss ways to change that approach and this, this is why I am so happy and proud of being part of this commission. 

NARRATOR: The violence issue comes up again. And again in the report as a key harm something that needs to be reduced by States responding to the issue of organized crime. What was your experience from Colombia? What can be done on this issue? 

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS: It's very closely related corruption violence profits and you should you do away with prohibition you regulate bring the profits down and immediately you will start to see an improvement in violence and in corruption, 

DEAN BECKER: this is Louise Arbour former High Commissioner for human rights from Canada.
LOUISE ARBOUR: When you have bad laws laws that are misguided hugely unpopular and basically not respected. 

LOUISE ARBOUR: And by a large number of the population as was the case in Canada and as is the case in many parts of the world with respect to criminalization of personal use of drugs, two things happen first it they roads the respect for the rule of law more broadly because the minute people see that some laws are not worth obeying. It undermines the confidence that we must that it's in everybody's interest that everybody obeys the law so it has this Pernicious effect on countries that are governed by the rule of law.

It's very bad and it was the case. I think with respect to personal consumption of marijuana widely disregarded prohibition despite the fact that some of the penalties were unduly harsh; that brings me to unduly harsh penalties as soon as the Canada adopted a Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, one of the one of the first cases that came to the court where the laws were challenge was the mandatory, mandatory minimum seven year sentence for importing narcotics, which could include importing one joint of marijuana. A lot of the conversation was well, it doesn't matter if the law is too harsh either prosecutors will not use it, pass it or judges will find a way this again instills a culture Of non-compliance. 

LOUISE ARBOUR: Which is not good you want laws that are just that are fair that are perceived as such and then that are applied fairly and equitably so I think what we've seen the Judiciary and not just the defense counsel prosecutors police officers, we've seen throughout the system as low resistance to bad laws and that's not good. I mean, it's good for the person who escapes this on Unfair punishment, No, but it's very corrosive for legal systems.

DEAN BECKER:  Next up Mark Shaw. The moderator asks a question of Anand Grover. He's the UN special rapporteur on the right to human health now retired...

MODERATOR: and is there a disjunction between sentences handed down to ordinary users as opposed to what the report calls the criminal Elite, Is there a disjunction between that?

ANAND GROVER: well very really will you come across a real head of a criminal gang being arraigned. It's always the small carriers or the the way down the the persons who distribute the drugs at the local level because the the success in Narcotics is in terms of arrests and seizures, you know, the the police are obviously more keen to get that done.
Not only the police all the other entities. 

MODERATOR:  This report them really focuses on what it turns the criminal elite mean you've been in the debates of the Commission in how significant is that in terms of the Genesis of the commission's own thinking

DEAN BECKER: Once again, this is Louise Arbour former High Commissioner for human rights.

LOUISE ARBOUR:  I think it's really important because in the early works of the commission particularly when we got into the very contentious advocacy of complete decriminalization of personal use of all drugs, even in an environment that were very sympathetic as many were in Canada to the decriminalization of the use of marijuana. When it got to Other Drugs It was a lot of resistance.

LOUISE ARBOUR: I think the significance of this report is that it makes clear that we're not friends of drugs and were not some kind of antique hippies trying to promote the free for all drug consumption and pretend that it's a good thing and the significance of this report is that it shows that there is indeed very much a place for law enforcement in drug control and in combination with that we have the developments in artificial intelligence metadata, the capacity of tracking tracking transaction tracking people that is unprecedented and gives tools for what we're advocating which is go after the hard work not the easy work that you've been doing up to now of arresting people on street corners.

DEAN BECKER: here to close out today's coverage from the global Commission on drug policy report is the former prime minister of New Zealand Helen Clark

HELEN CLARK: if we look at crime in general, there are always social and economic determinants to it and sometimes we see countries putting enormous emphasis on fighting crime without looking at what are some of the drivers is that poverty? Is it marginalization? Is that school dropouts? It's also about a broader social determinants approach and I think the commission has long been an advocate with drug policy of saying look at the social determinants. Look at the real issues. Look at the classification and a number of these things like cannabis.

HELEN CLARK: Relatively harmless anyway, when compared with legal drugs like tobacco and alcohol. In other words. Could we have a real discussion here? Not one driven by a simple of the ology that drugs are bad. Every criminal is quote a bad person when we know all from our personal experiences of people who have ended up as criminals who could have had a different path, but I'd like to see it Scientific and pragmatic approach, an approach which isn't based on repression. 

DEAN BECKER: We'll have more from the global Commission on drugs on next week's program.

NAME THAT DRUG:  It's time to play name that drug by its side effect headache dizziness nausea vomiting psoriasis, alcoholism damage to your retina heart disease diabetes liver or kidney disease muscle weakness numbness hair loss death time's up the answer from a Sanofi Pharmaceuticals.  hydroxychloroquine for malaria.

TRUMP: “I sure as hell think we ought to give it a try. What the hell do you have to lose”

DEAN BECKER: Last October, I went to Oklahoma got to tour some of their dispensaries a couple of Grow rooms. Got to see how it's done in Oklahoma and it's done pretty darn good. They have a great medical program there. There has been some recent discussion about improving the situation and I think that Covid dilemma has already changed a few nuances as well. But here to fill us in is drug reform after list extraordinary my friend Norma Sapp.

DEAN BECKER: Hello Norma

NORMA SAPP: Hey there Dean 

DEAN BECKER: Norma. I want to you know, first off talk about what has happened of of late local officials State officials are changing perspectives, they're letting some people out of jails and prisons there and they're changing their perspectives on how they handle drug cases. So to speak have they nuanced the medical marijuana program there in Oklahoma following the Advent of this pandemic.

NORMA SAPP: Well one thing that was right away, we were deemed essential. So all of the cannabis dispensaries and grows are still open operating.
And it's a good thing because a whole bunch of people were sequestered at home and the month of April. They spent sixty nine thousand dollars on- or million dollars on cannabis product. 

DEAN BECKER: There has been a lot of talk through the certainly been resonating in Texas. There was this hope this potential that Oklahoma was going to change their laws to allow for out-of-state folks to gain access to the medical program. You can fill me in on the Details of how that might work and then and then what has happened to that possibility of late

NORMA SAPP: Okay, so I kind of got to go back to the beginning here. We had eight bills all together and House Bill 3228 was actually a request bill by the Oklahoma medical marijuana authority to fix a whole bunch of things that went wrong last year in the bill 26:12 housebill 2612.

We were told we couldn't have but one cannabis bill. So we took some of the meat out of the bills that we had to 7 and put them into this 3228 and it went along great last, Last Friday Night yesterday but a week ago it passed with a two-thirds majority and Senate and House. And so I thought all right, we're good and all the people from Texas and Kansas.
Then come here get a 90-day license and be able to treat cancer, you know with RSO in 90 days and license would not they wouldn't have to change their state of residence or their drivers license or anything that could use the Texas, or Kansas driver's license apply for a 90-day card for $100 and just come on in and put themselves up in a motel or whatever and treat with RSO to help their cancer. 

NORMA SAPP: Well then yesterday, er well day before yesterday. I guess the governor vetoed are cannabis bill 82 Earth house bill 32:28, so they had to do an override as yesterday. That's pretty much what they came back for yesterday was to do overrides of all the vetoes our governor had done and that one I don't know what the argument is, but they were not willing to do whatever it needed to do, too.
Get it on the you know in the floor in the queue. So I think it's just amazing because I don't know the back or a room discussions, but the legislature the week before had vetoed the budget bill that they come up with and so are no I'm sorry the governor vetoed it and then the legislature went back and overrode the Veto so I think he is the governor's upset that they went ahead and overrode his veto on the budget Bill, and he's holding on to their cannabis bill until they, you know, make concessions. So that's that

DEAN BECKER:Thank you Norma Sapp. Thank you Phil Smith. Thank you for listening. Please visit our website drugtruth.net. And again, I remind you because of prohibition. You don't know what's in that bag. Please. Be careful.