08/12/12 Doug Fine

Century of Lies

Doug Fine, author of Too High to Fail, report on 4 Yr old Cash Hyde, Terry Nelson of LEAP, Mary Jane Borden of Common Sense & report on Roger Christie still in jail

Audio file


Century of Lies / August 12, 2012


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.


DEAN BECKER: Hi, I’m Dean Becker and welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. We have an author with us this week. “Too High To Fail: Cannabis and the new green economic revolution” – that’s a brand new book just hitting the shelves by Mr. Doug Fine who joins us now. How are you doing, Doug?

DOUG FINE: Doing great here in the land of enchantment and getting ready to go on a book tour.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, Doug, the fact of the matter is your book, I’ll be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot that I didn’t know a little bit about but your book has a whole lot of additional information that helps me to understand what’s going on out there in California, in particular.

There is an awakening – a new way of doing things out there, right?!

DOUG FINE: There is but I should say that you’re right in that someone who knows a lot about the topic I am collating and stating what’s been obvious to humans for thousands of years but what I’m presenting it to is a mainstream audience. This book has been reviewed in the New York Times and I was on the Conan O’Brien Show last week. The goal is to talk to those 46% of Americans who haven’t yet been polling to get cannabis out of the Controlled Substances Act. 56% of Americans already want that so this is speaking to people who just needing to hear the facts and the truth that probably you and your listeners already know.

As far as California, yeah, the reason I chose Mendocino to follow a farmer’s plant out there from seed to patient is they’ve decided to permit the plant locally and declare the drug war over and that was the board of supervisors, the county law that the sheriff supported and guess what? It worked. It raised 600,000 dollars in permitting fees from just 100 farmers and saved 7 deputy sheriff jobs. It was so successful that it was going to expand to other counties but the U.S. Attorney after a raid of a prominent member of what they call the zip-tie program - the sheriff put zip-ties on all the permitted plants – after he was raided by the DEA the U.S. Attorney for Northern California then threatened the board of supervisors of the county with personal prosecution if they didn’t shut the program down so they did.

DEAN BECKER: Doug, to me one paragraph here that really caught my attention. You were talking about David Eyster, the District Attorney there of Mendocino, and he was attending a party and you, in your book, say, “And why shouldn’t he be? The legal, permitted cannabis industry had already mid-season promoted close to a half a million dollars to the Mendocino County coffers in 9.3 fees alone saving 7 deputy jobs that was on top of state sales tax, subsidiary contributions to the uHaul, smart pot and compost industry and jobs for trimmers and couriers. Not to mention prosecution and jail cost savings for those steered towards legality rather than punished with the process.”

I like that term “punished with the process.”

DOUG FINE: Thank you and one thing not mentioned in the paragraph is another benefit that the sergeant in the sheriff’s department administrative program told me. His name was sergeant Randy Johnson. He said the reason why this zip-tie program is important in Mendocino County is we’re now getting calls now for the first time that we wouldn’t have gotten in the past for things like domestic violence or home invasion where in the past farmers were afraid that they were going to get in trouble for their plants so they can’t even participate in the public safety program but now they’re registered and permitted and they are so that actually made the county safer. It made crime go down within the county.

As for the solution to the quagmire most law enforcement officers that I met that are still fighting the drug war…they’re good people, they’re just doing their jobs, they’re hard working people who tell me, “Look I’m just enforcing the law. Congress makes the laws. If you don’t like the current state of the Controlled Substances Act tell congress to change it.”

So that’s what I came away with. The drug war ends when America says, “Stop it.”

DEAN BECKER: Enough is enough. You’re dang right. The fact of the matter is we’re up to 70% or more for medical marijuana across this nation and the numbers as far as out right legalization are starting to border on 50/50. A change is afoot. Is it not?

DOUG FINE: It’s beyond 50/50. Last poll I saw was 56% in favor of fully regulating cannabis like alcohol and I think the medical numbers are over 80%. I guess it depends on which polls. But the fact is you got to keep tab on these polls because the tide has turned and I think we’re approaching a national tipping point.

DEAN BECKER: I like the fact that you spent some time with these growers. You have your own example plant that you grew. You wanted to kind of follow its progress.

DOUG FINE: Let me clarify. I did not grow it. I am just a journalist who followed a farmer in California named Thomas Blog who very bravely grew with his own name but I, myself, do not grow cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: I hear you. The fact of the matter is though you were trying to follow its progress from clone to patient, right?

DOUG FINE: That’s exactly right and chart not just the value economically which is huge. In Mendocino County alone 6 billion dollars for the cannabis crop – most of that untaxed and going to criminal elements – and 74 million for the number one currently federally legal crop which is grapes so if you’re a young, 4H farmer with a green thumb which crop do you choose if you want to make a living for your family?!

In following the plant there’s definitely an economic benefit but I also saw the flower reach a liver cancer patient and I got to speak to him about how cannabis has extended his life. His oncologist says that you need to use this plant. He was not a cannabis user prior to this but he is an AARP member.

He was 118 pounds. He wasn’t eating. His cancer doctor said he was going to die. So he joined an above-board, organically grown known source, locally permitted cannabis collective and he’s up to 155 pounds a year later and says he would not be here without this plant.

DEAN BECKER: There’s so many stories breaking now like that little kid, Cash Hyde, up in Montana. 4-years-old with brain cancer and he was having trouble getting the particular strain of cannabis he needed for his chemotherapy. And that’s the amazing thing. There are so many strains of cannabis and each one is a little different. Each one might appeal to one patient or not to another. Talk about that aspect, please.

DOUG FINE: I’m not familiar with that case in Montana but I certainly came across in my research quite a lot of cases. Today I did an interview on Wisconsin Public Radio and, incidentally, the host - it was going across the great state of Wisconsin – he couldn’t get a caller to call in who opposed ending the drug war. Every caller wants to end the drug war. America is ready. This is the heartland. I live in the heartland. I live in cowboy country. And nobody believes cannabis is dangerous. Nobody believes it should remain illegal and in the hands of the cartels.

We could knock out 70% of the cartel profits if we just got it out of the Controlled Substances Act. But today, in Wisconsin, heart-breaking call after heart-breaking call into this program of people who because it’s not a medical legal state couldn’t get it when their husband got…sad stories…their husband was suffering and pharmaceutical pain killers weren’t working for him and were zonking him out and he was drooling. They knew that cannabis could help but they couldn’t get it legally in Wisconsin.

So the people in medical states that are able to get it testify without question that it helps their loved one.

DEAN BECKER: I’ve been doing these drug war-related shows for 10 years and I try like hell…every quarter I contact the ONDCP and the DEA, invite their heads to come on our show and clarify the need for this everlasting drug war and they never, never respond.

DOUG FINE: When I called them I found forthcomingness. It was a DEA spokesman who told me, “Look, if you’re saying that there’s an argument to be made that the law should be changed – change the law. Our job is to enforce the law – whatever it is. We don’t have to like it.”

So that may be passing the buck. It may be true but at the time it was a pretty honest answer. He’s telling us what to do. What to do is change the law so the Controlled Substances Act no longer had cannabis in it. That’s pretty easy folks. Tell your congressman.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed it is.

Alright folks, we’re speaking with Mr. Doug Fine. He’s author of a brand new book – just hitting the shelves – “Too High To Fail: Cannabis in the new green economic revolution”

Now, Doug, you didn’t grow that plant. I’m going to fess up here. I grew at least hundreds of plants back, well, more than 10 year ago. That was kind of my part-time trade, if you will. I’m an outdoor grower like most of the folks you talked about in your book. The fact of the matter is I don’t care if it’s Mendocino County or Harris County here in Texas – we can grow it 20 feet tall without much problem.

The fact of the matter is America is suffering economically and agriculturally in all kinds of ways and this is another means whereby we could kind of boost the economy and put people to work, isn’t it?

DOUG FINE: 30 billion a year is what one Harvard economist says and not only that it would be crippling the cartels at the same time. It’s only win-win for America and then there’s the industrial side, too where we can wean from foreign oil since the industrial plant is a terrific biofuel source.

DEAN BECKER: What I was wanting to gather from this interview is the fact that it’s OK to talk about it. It’s not such a taboo subject anymore because people across America are afraid to speak about it not realizing, as we talked about, the majority already agree with them.

DOUG FINE: Yeah, I‘ve had this experience with my last two books. My last book was about getting off petroleum and living on solar power and driving on vegetable oil and all that good stuff. At first I thought it was going to seem like a radical, you know, enviormentalist pipe dream but everybody wants to get off of foreign oil.

Everybody wants to end the drug war. You can talk to your grandma, you can talk to the Republican chairman of your local county party, you can talk to your health care provider, you can talk to your religious leader – Pat Robertson wants to end the drug war. He openly wants to end the drug war. So we’re winning on this thing. It’s just time to get congress on board.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, Doug, I know you’re a busy fellow with this book just hitting the shelves. You got people calling you from all over but I want to thank you for joining us. I know we’ve probably run into each other some NORML or other drug reform conference over the years and I look forward to seeing you, perhaps, on the Caravan for Peace - coming through your state I think.

DOUG FINE: Cool. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for having me, Dean. Enjoyable talking with you and folks can check my website, http://dougfine.com if they want to see if there’s any live events near them.


DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy of KPAX, Misoulla, Montana.


REPORTER: Brain cancer is as relentless as the four-year-old boy who has beat it twice but Cash Hyde’s cancer is back and this battle will be different than the two before. Brianna Roy joins us with that story.

BRIANNA ROY: Little Cash Hyde’s parents call him a miracle child. He’d beat cancer twice but he’s gone through more hospital visits, surgeries and procedures than most people can fathom so on his third bout with the brain tumor his parents have decided to fight it on their own terms right here at home with an all-natural diet including marijuana oil.

4-year-old Cash Hyde’s precious little laugh has persisted through more than two years of pain.

MICHAEL HYDE: Cashy said on Friday after he has IV placed and we came home…he said, “No more pokes. No more pokes.”

Cashy do you want any more pokes?


MICHAEL HYDE: No more pokes?


BRIANNA ROY: The Hyde’s have had more than their share of heartaches and hospitals. Cash has gone through six rounds of high dose chemotherapy, three bone marrow transplants, stem cell rescue, proton radiation and doctors have asked his parents to shut off life support four times.

Now his brain tumor is at 2.5 centimeters and the diagnosis isn’t good.

MICHAEL HYDE: Cashy’s battle with cancer has taken our family thousands of miles from home, put Cashy through more pain, torture and treatment than any little kid should ever endure. As a family we’ve decided for this third battle that we will stay right here in Missoula. We will fight it as a family, as a community with natural alternatives.

BRIANNA ROY: The Hyde’s are going against Montana’s medical marijuana repeal to give Cash a daily dose of cannabis oil which they say is effective. The Hyde’s are convinced the cannabis oil and an all-natural diet are Cash’s only hope at recovery.

MICHAEL HYDE: We want Cashy forever but we’re not willing to put Cashy through endless torture to keep him here for another month.

BRIANNA ROY: But even this natural treatment isn’t cheap especially since Montana repealed the medical marijuana law. They Hyde’s are now struggling to find people willing to break the law and sell them the oil on Cash’s behalf.

As you can imagine the parents are huge proponents of marijuana as medicine and they want to see the laws changed.


DEAN BECKER: The following television ad is now airing in Washington State.


FEMALE: I don’t like it personally but it’s time for a conversation about legalizing marijuana. It’s a multi-million dollar industry in Washington State and we get no benefit.

What if we regulate it? Have background checks for retailers. Stiff penalties for selling to minors.

We could tax it to fund schools and health care. Free up police to go after violent crime instead.

And we would control the money – not the gangs.

Let’s talk about a new approach. Legalizing and regulating marijuana.


REPORTER: The state says that you can’t advertise medical marijuana but the doctor says that he’s got every right to. Anna Kim has more from both sides.

ANNA KIM: Marty, the Washington Department of Health says that the Tacoma doctor is the first health professional they’ve charged with unprofessional conduct over openly advertising medical marijuana.

If you’re in the business of selling medical marijuana …

LACY CROSS REPRESENTATIVE: We’re just treading on very, very delicate ground.

ANNA KIM: So the people who run Lacy Cross, a collective garden, say they choose to advertise discreetly to stay under the radar.

LACY CROSS REPRESENTATIVE: There’s really no medical marijuana. There’s no giant pot leaf.

ANNA KIM: Although establishments like Lacy Cross are not affected Washington State doctors have to deal with a new restriction when it comes to advertising medical marijuana.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REPRESENTATIVE: A doctor who advertises cannot use references, statements or pictures or drawings about medical marijuana in their advertising.

ANNA KIM: Like this website where there is no question that this doctor is in the practice of prescribing pot.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REPRESENTATIVE: He’s using medical marijuana references throughout it.

ANNA KIM: The Department of Health says they gave Dr. Scott Halfsy the chance to take down the mention of medical marijuana from his website but when he refused they charged him with unprofessional conduct.

We reached out to Dr. Halfsy but were told he’s on vacation but his office says the fight is not over marijuana but the doctor’s first amendment rights to free speech.

LACY CROSS REPRESENTATIVE: I definitely support what he’s doing and I would stand by his side.

ANNA KIM: Defensive Attorney Douglas Hyatt is a proponent of medical marijuana.

DOUGLAS HYATT: I think there’s a good chance that the law will be struck down because it violates the first amendment but you really don’t want to put your license - if you’re a doctor and you spent a couple hundred thousand bucks to go to med school – you don’t want to put your license on the line until we get an answer for sure. As long as it’s a law that’s on the books it’s up to us to enforce it.


TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohbition

This past week several teenagers from Ohio became the latest victims of the drug war.
The leader of the group, a Junior in High School was accused, and has pleaded guilty, of running a cannabis smuggling ring involving six juvenile associates. He worked with a group of adults that ran the grow operation and provided him with the cannabis for distribution. He allegedly was selling about twenty thousand dollars a month and had close to six thousand dollars cash stashed in his home.

Police also seized warehouses and homes where there was allegedly 600 hydroponically grown cannabis plants, worth about three million dollars, being grown. The police allowed this operation to continue for over a year while they conducted their investigations.

Our government has a drug war operating budget of over 20 billion dollars and this same senario is played out daily all over the United States, they allow kids to continue selling drugs to other kids just to make arrests. Arrests that will make absolutely no difference in the scheme of things. Drugs will continue to be grown and sold in the United States and there is nothing our drug warriors can do about it. They will continue to conduct year long investigations looking for “mister big” and then they will hold the requisite press conference announcing the arrest. The officers will comment that this will make a difference in the drug war, etc. Yet, nothing will have changed except those arrested will have had their live forever changed.

Domestic cannabis grow operations produce about ten millions pounds of cannabis yearly and is the largest cash crop in the United States. More valuable a crop that soy beans or corn. So six hundred plants will not even make a dent in the supply.

We at LEAP call for legalization of cannabis as it’s use causes far less harm to the individual than arrest and incarceration does. LEAP wants cannabis to leglaized and a system of regulation and control implemented. If this plant is sold in licensed stores then it will be far more difficult for kids to get than it is now. Licensed stores and regulated grows will control the strength of the product, the purity of the product and the price of the product and collect the taxes on the sales.

These seven young men have had their lives drastically changed. They will be placed in juvenile confinement until they are 21, they will not attend regular school and they will be scarred for life. All because of the failure of our national drug policy. They share the blame for their conduct but they would not be in jail except for the failure of the policy. The drug war only makes things worse and causes harm and any government policy that does harm to our citizens is a bad policy and must be changed.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.copsaylegalizedrugs.com, signing off. Stay safe.


DEAN BECKER: The following segment, out of Colorado, comes to us courtesy of CNN.


EDWARD BOGUNVOITCH: It’s a beneficial thing. It is very beneficial.

REPORTER: Growing marijuana…

EDWARD BOGUNVOITCH: There’s four people who are legally here.

REPORTER: 87-year-old Edward Bogunvoitch says it was more like a family business. He tells his daughter is even in the mix.

EDWARD BOGUNVOITCH: I was a caretaker for 24 people for the last year or two.

REPORTER: Which is the reason Bogunvoitch says his household had documentation to grow but there are rules and guidelines that have to be followed.

A police affidavit says officers raided the backyard they described as a forest of marijuana trees. They estimate around 500 plants were growing back there.

EDWARD BOGUNVOITCH: This is where the greenhouses were- right here, both of them. And they took all of the plants.

REPORTER: Bogunvoitch gave investigators state medical marijuana documents but they only allow him to have 231 plants. Agents say he was over that amount by 259 so they hauled him off to jail.

EDWARD BOGUNVOITCH: It don’t make sense to me. There was no crimes committed. We were trying to be legal.

REPORTER: Now these pot plants are what’s left of the family’s marijuana supply – an amount Bogunvoitch says really hurts his pockets.

EDWARD BOGUNVOITCH: How do I feel?! I lost a lot of money – that’s about the worst part.


DEAN BECKER: The following segment comes to us courtesy of Hawaii News Now.


REPORTER: ..failed in his sixth attempt to get released today to try to gain release from federal custody as he awaits a marijuana trial. Hawaii News Now Kioke Kerr is just back from federal court now with the story.

KIOKE KERR: Roger Christie has been held behind bars for two years without bail but prosecutors say he has caused many of the court delays that have postponed his trial.

Christie is the founder of Hawaii Cannabis Ministry also known as the THC Ministry that was headquartered in Hilo. Two years ago federal prosecutors charged that he led a huge marijuana growing, processing and distribution ring that masqueraded as a church and he’s been at the federal detention center ever since.

Christie asked the federal judge to allow him to be released to the big island or to a half-way house on Owahu to await his trial that is set to start in January but the judge agreed with prosecutors that he’s a risk to the public and might not follow conditions of his bail.

His attorney says Christie is a good, honest man.

ATTORNEY: He does not want to do anything to jeopardize his goal in his case and the goal in his case is to win his case and to be the first legal marijuana ministry in the country.

KIOKE KERR: He faces 5 to 40 years in prison for each of the four counts against him if he is found guilty at trial. Kioke Kerr, Hawaii News Now.


MARY JANE BORDEN: Hello drug policy aficionados! I'm Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts.

As a multiple part series on drug control models, the question for this week asks, What is drug depenalization?

Depenalization is often confused with decriminalization. In fact, according to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, depenalization in Spanish "often refers to what in English is most often called decriminalization."

The Global Commission describes depenalization as "the relaxation of the penal sanction provided for by law," and the "elimination or reduction of custodial penalties, although the conduct or activity remains a criminal offence."

A 2011 report from the World Bank quotes Glenn Greenwald's definition of depenalization as a drug control model in which, "drug usage remains a criminal offense, but imprisonment is no longer imposed for possession or usage even as other criminal sanctions (e.g., fines, police record, probation) remain available."

A 2002 Canadian Journal of Public Health article stated that under depenalization, "Penalties for possession are significantly reduced and would include discharges, diversion to treatment instead of jail for possession of large amounts and trafficking, and "parking ticket" status for possession of small amounts for personal consumption." But under this regulatory model, "The black market for heroin and cocaine is created and maintained."

The World Bank says that, "depenalization, has been applied to marijuana in 12 (now 13) U.S. states, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and parts of Australia." But that, "There is no obvious channel by which [it] would reduce the much larger problem of systemic violence associated with drug trafficking."

Hence, while drug depenalization reduces drug penalties, it does nothing to end the drug war.

Other drug control models that might end the war will be discussed in the next few Drug Truth Network segments.

These Facts concerning depenalization and others like them can be found under the new Drug Control Models subchapter of the Drug War Facts Economics Chapters at www.drugwarfacts.org.

If you have a question for which you need facts, please e-mail it to me at mjborden at drugwarfacts.org. I'll try to answer your question in an upcoming show.

So remember when you need facts about drugs and drug policy, you can get the facts at Drug War Facts.


DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy of USA Today.


REPRESENTATIVE: The athlete Nicholas Delpopolo has had his current attention taken away. He’s on his way home. He’s failed his drugs test following his competition, 73 kg judo and he’s on his way home.

This isn’t the IFC which is making this decision. These substances are on a list of banned substances by the World Anti-doping Agencies agreed by all the sports and he took this substance.

Now what he took it for, why he took it…you have to remember also, by the way I wouldn’t talk about this particular case but sometimes people take substances for other reasons than going faster, higher, stronger – it might be to calm them down, whatever – so I don’t really want to get into the details of this particular drug. I don’t know what it could be used for but suffice to say it is on the World Anti-doping Agency’s list of banned substances and, therefore, if someone is taking it they will be sent home.

I wouldn’t comment on Team USA. I think we can see…I think there is a clear trend that people know that we are after them in terms of doping and drug taking and I think every national Olympic committee has dealt with that. We are seeing, actually, at this stage possibly, I think, a low level of positives but we are testing in the same extensive way as we have before. There will be 5,000 tests these games so if these people are doping we will catch them.


DEAN BECKER: OK. It looks like we got enough room and I’ll share this story with you. Courtesy of Rostoff on Don or Rapsynews.com.

Narcotics police in South Russia’s Rostoff Region have unveiled a scheme in which a cat was used to smuggle heroin into a prison the region’s drug control service said. The staff of a medical penitentiary facility in the town of Zachaty became suspicious after they noticed that the same black cat was often roaming around the prisoner’s quarters.

A probe revealed that that cat was taken out of the prison by released inmates. They carried the animal in their bags and handed it over to drug dealers who were waiting outside the prison fence. The stuffed the feline’s collar with heroin and released the animal who sneaked back into the prison.

Police and drug control officers detained accomplices when they were putting drugs into the collar but the cat escaped. The fate of the feline drug runner is unknown. Prison workers say it has not been seen since the bust.

For the next few weeks I’m going to be reporting from the road so to speak. I’ll be starting in San Diego. We’re going into Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Cruces, Laredo, Austin, McAllen, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Montgomery, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

This is all part of the Caravan for Peace. We’re going to have a lot of folks from Mexico coming up here including Mexican Poet Javier Sicilia who lost his son to the drug war. We’re going to try to educate the American politicians and encourage the American media to do more to bring about the end of this eternal war on sanity.

So please visit http://globalexchange.org/mexico/caravan and as always i remind you there is no logic to this drug war. Prohibido istac evilesco!


For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

Drug Truth programs archived at the James A. Baker, III Institute for Policy Studies.

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