02/20/15 Carl Hart

From San Francisco/ICBC Convention: Dr. Carl Hart, Rep Dana Rohrbacher, Steve DeAngelo, Lauren Frazer + 85 Yr old Ann Lee of Houston heads to CPAC to end reefer madness

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Friday, February 20, 2015
Carl Hart



FEBRUARY 20, 2015


DEAN BECKER: Riding the BART train to San Francisco to attend the International Cannabis Business Conference. This is Dean Becker, this is Cultural Baggage, and we'll be right back just as soon as this train stops.

Hell yeah, we've got a great show lined up for you, we've got reports from the ICBC and some reports from around the country and even from Texas, where things are starting to move. First up, Dr. Carl Hart.

CARL HART: So, the title of my talk is, not just about cannabis reform, it's about changing the entire culture. I think that if we think, I think this has been the theme here throughout the conference, is that, it's more than just cannabis, cannabis reform, because what you are doing is something that none of us would have predicted would happen. It wasn't long ago when Bill Clinton was being dogged about having smoked marijuana in his youth. Now it seems like it's a requirement to be president, so the world has changed overnight.

And I think there have been a number of people who helped the world, helped change the world around drugs, and many of those people are in the house today, and so I will say something about some of them as we go. But I just want to talk a little bit about High Price, the book that I published. I published this book in 2013, June, and since that time I've been all over the world, from Brazil to the Philippines to Switzerland to Paris, all over the world talking about this book, and one of the things that I talk about in the book, and I'm going to use the book as a model to talk about this talk, one of the things that I talk about in the book, you know I talk a lot about my personal life. I talk about how I got involved in this.

So, I got in this business, this drug business, because I wanted to solve drug addiction. I kind of came up in the 80s, came of age in the 1980s when there was some hysteria about crack cocaine. And so I was told, and I fully believed that crack cocaine was destroying the black community, the community in which I come from. So I got in this business to try and help, try and solve that problem, try and figure out the neurobiological mechanisms that were responsible for drug addiction.

So that's why I got in this business. But it turns out, as I point out in High Price, I got an education as a result of being in this business. And as my favorite author has said so beautifully, the paradox of education is precisely this: that as one begins to become conscious, one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated, and I hope that you all are educated, because if you are educated, you will be some – you will be disturbed by many of the claims that are made about cannabis and other drugs.

You should be disturbed, and you should be making these connections between some of the misleading information made about cannabis to misleading information made about methamphetamine, about heroin, about crack cocaine. If they can lie about cannabis, you damn well believe they're lying about those other drugs. And so you all should be making these connections.

We have to be in this science game, and we have to recognize that the mainstream sort of science comes from a certain perspective. Other things we can do is that we can get out of the closet about our drug use. So often, the folks who are talking about their drug use are the ones who are having problems, are the pathological users, and that becomes the face of drug users. And that's inappropriate, and so people need to get out of the closet.

DEAN BECKER: All right, once again, that was Dr. Carl Hart, author of High Price, speaking to the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco.

Because of his enormous intake of drugs, the DEA keeps him on the payroll. He once purchased the world's supply of crack and turned it back into cocaine. The air he exhales is psychedelic. He is the most interesting man in the world. I don't always do drugs, but when I do, I prefer marijuana. Stay informed, my friends. Drugtruth.net.

Next to speak was US Representative Dana Rohrabacher.

REPRESENTATIVE DANA ROHRABACHER: I just have to say, I had a strange thing happen to me last night. I was up here in San – you know I used to spend time when I was younger in San Francisco, and last night I was walking around and a guy came up to me and he pulled a gun on me, and he goes, give me your money. I said, wait a minute, you know, I'm a Congressman, you can't steal from me. And he says, you're a Congressman? Give me my money! So, there's a lot of views about what we in Congress and what members of Congress are all about.

And, I think that the History Channel probably has a little bit more accurate description of the people who made the revolution in our country. And they portray them as, Samuel Adams pub, when they went in, it was like a biker bar. These were not upper middle class people acting respectably of the law who founded our country, these were gutsy people who, they were, they meant to have their freedom and they were willing to fight for it, and the British government better not get in the way, and we're going to throw the damn tea in the harbor and we're not going to pay your taxes because it's unjust, the laws that you have, and unless we're participating in making those laws we are not going to obey them. And that was the attitude that made our country.

And somewhere along the line, because we're so proud that we had accomplished a country that was based on this, we've lost some of those fundamental principles that were laid down, and the most important thing of course is, we believe that rights are given by god to the individual and the government has no business stepping in telling us how to run our lives unless we are violating others.

So – and there are serious, serious implications that happen when government goes beyond the rightful role that government is supposed to play. And nowhere is that more clear than in the drug war that we've been seeing and the effect that it has had on our country. It was a, until, what, until the 1900 or right around the turn of the century there, it was considered someone's right to consume, it was his body, his or her body, and they could consume what they wanted, I mean that was part of their right, you owned your body, and that sort of concept has just gone way over because they want to protect us from ourselves.

And by protecting us from ourselves and our decisions, what we have created is the basis of what for a large segment of our population is no different than a fascist or communist state. You have a – I know I'm being real hardcore here, but look, if you're a black citizen in this country, and somebody says to the police there's drugs in that person's house, the police can come busting in with their guns blazing for pete's sakes. What? Is that freedom?

And of course, in the area where I live, and I live in an upper middle income area in this state, Orange County, California, along the coast, the police don't do that. They don't. And, a policeman who arrests somebody in my area, you can bet that that really, that person, that young person, if it's a young person especially, will have a lawyer and will get out of it, and probably won't even spend a night in jail.

But in our minorities and poor communities, we have, we basically know that those people, it will destroy their lives. You arrest some young person, he's going to spend a long time in jail, they won't have a lawyer so he's going to have to plead guilty, you're going to plead guilty because I'm the court-appointed lawyer, and you plead guilty to this you'll only spend 6 months in prison and it will be all okeh, we are destroying that person's life, for the rest of his or her life, they can't get a job, this is ridiculous, this is absolutely ridiculous.

And we, as I say, somewhere along the line, I guess it comes down to again, I lived a pretty wild life in my time. My whole goal in life was to, well frankly drink tequila on the beach and catch some good waves for about half of it. And, the uh – but I spent half of my life trying to defeat the Soviet Union. That was the number one threat to freedom. And, I dedicated my life to that. You know, the cold war, I'm proud to have played a part in that. And, I will tell you this now, if, years ago, had I been arrested for smoking marijuana, all the things that I have done to try to make this a better world would not have happened.

And, uh – think about that. So, you're taking somebody out of the game of making this a better world, that, uh, yeah, and maybe he or she would not be doing things that we like, but there are a lot of people who were, have made major contributions that we are cutting off, and in the poorer communities we're cutting them off even from having a decent middle class life and taking care of their own families, because now they've got an arrest record, and they're not going to be able to get past that person doing the hiring.

DEAN BECKER: Again, that was US Representative Dana Rohrabacher, speaking at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco last week. We'll come back to the ICBC conference here in just a couple of moments, but, while I was flying out to California to attend this conference, they were holding a funeral for my friend, my alum from Oaksterdam, Mr. Bob Lee, who passed away at age 90. He was one of the founders of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, and the co-founder of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. Next up, we hear from Bob's wife, Ann, who is on a mission.

Even in Texas, people are starting to stand up and declare a need for change, rattle the cage of the legislators, and it happened just the other day here in Texas, about 300 people showed up in Austin to call for changes to our marijuana laws and amongst that group was the co-founder of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Ann Lee. Now tell us about how that went in Austin, please.

ANN LEE: The reception was I thought very good. I particularly enjoyed visiting with Representative Moody from El Paso. He is the one who has sponsored the bill, I think it's 507, it's sort of a decrim bill. I said he has a lot of courage, but he has always been on this side of the issue. Mainly we saw some of the staff, and we always were told that we were doing it right, that the information we were giving them was good.

I did not know how many people who would commit to doing this, but this is going to have to come later, I think we're just going to have to keep doing it, keep letting them know that their constituents, their voting constituents in their district, support this. It's long been their rationale why they didn't, oh I think this is a good idea but my constituents wouldn't like it. Well, that is not true, so we have to show that, we have to show it to them.

DEAN BECKER: Here coming up in just a little over a week, is it, you're going to be headed to Washington, DC, you're going to be attending the CPAC convention, and manning a table there, handing out information and seeking some answers from these candidates running for president.

ANN LEE: We need to make this a national item, have a, like a 21st amendment for marijuana as such, but we need to do away with the federal penalties, the federal – which would make it turning back to the states, and there is some movement for that, and that's one of the issues I think that RAMP, with its national support now, should work on.

DEAN BECKER: These legislators as you say are beginning to hear, it's just going to take a little more courage on their part to get 'er done, isn't it?

ANN LEE: When the voters in your district are supporting it, I think it would help give them courage.

DEAN BECKER: Friends, once again, we've been speaking with Ann Lee, a great-grandmother, who is headed to Washington, DC to lobby our Republican candidates for president. Their website, please check it out, for Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, is RAMPGOP.org.

What gives the drug war life? Is it the cartels? Maybe it's the Baptists, the bankers, the gangs, or the cops? Who's in charge of it? Which politicians? Peasant farmers? Big pharma? Is it the street corner vendor? Is it you? Is it me? It is fear that gives the drug war life.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects. Agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, face chomping, lip eating, heart devouring, brain slurping, ecstasy, suicidality, zombieism. Time’s up! The answer, according to law enforcement, from some crazy-ass chemist somewhere – mephedrone, otherwise known as bath salts.

All right, we're here in San Francisco, California, second day of the International Cannabis Business Conference, I'm here in the atrium with Mr. Steve DeAngelo. How are you sir?

STEVEN DEANGELO: I'm great Dean, nice to be here with you again.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. You've been the director of the Harborside Health Center for many years now, doing a little battle with the government from time to time but you've still got the doors open and doing strong, aren't you sir?

STEVEN DEANGELO: Oh yeah, we're going to be here for many years yet to come.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. Now, I was really surprised and happy to see, they were handing out brochures downstairs in the ballroom, and lo and behold, they handed me one that says the Cannabis Manifesto, a new paradigm for wellness, and it's written by Mr. Steve DeAngelo. Tell us what's in that book, Steve.

STEVEN DEANGELO: So, the cannabis manifesto is eight chapters, each one is a statement of belief, starting with cannabis isn't harmful but prohibition is. Then we move on with seven other core-foundational arguments about cannabis, and I back those arguments up history, science, political analysis, and personal anecdotes, so my personal story is sort of woven throughout the arguments of the book.

DEAN BECKER: Steve, in my work, I try to get, you know, top government officials to come on my show to clarify the need for drug war, to explain why this is so necessary. And lately they've been really recalcitrant, running like frightened rabbits, because there is no real defense to what they're up to, is there, Steve?

STEVEN DEANGELO: No, it's totally clear if you just look at the statistics, that the drug war has been a disaster. It's caused far more harm than any possible good that could come of it. We, uh, it's, upwards of 80 percent of the drug war actually have been for cannabis, not for cocaine, heroin, meth, or other dangerous drugs, so the drug war has mainly been a war on cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and Steve, over the years I've heard one trillion, I've heard, I think it was Judge James P. Gray said two and half or 3 trillion dollars have been quote invested into enforcing these drug laws, and yet we haven't rid ourselves of drugs at all, have we?

STEVEN DEANGELO: Well, no, in fact, you know, all of the quote unquote investment into the war on drugs has directly led to the development of some of the most powerful criminal organizations on the planet. They now have, basically, prohibition acts as a price support system for the cartels and puts hundreds of billions of dollars into their hands every year. If the US government was really serious about breaking the backs of the cartels, the very first thing that they would do is legalize cannabis because the cartels get something like 70 percent of their revenue from cannabis.

You know, I think what we really need to take a look at is, what law enforcement would have been able to do with all of those dollars if they weren't running around chasing people who were smoking weed. You know, we have a violent crime problem in this country, we have a gang problem in this country, we have a hard drug problem in this country, we have a domestic violence problem in this country. There are a lot of much more urgent issues for law enforcement to be focusing on than chasing people who are smoking a harmless plant.

DEAN BECKER: You know I'm looking forward to the publishing of your new book, The Cannabis Manifesto. I hope you'll join us immediately thereafter and help explain and I guess motivate, embolden, encourage others to read this and find out how they can help change this, this, holy, oh I can't say it. How they can change this situation for the better. Closing thoughts, website, what do you want to say, Steve?

STEVEN DEANGELO: I certainly will be back to tell you all about the, The Cannabis Manifesto, I think it's going to be the book that pours gasoline on this fire and blows it up bigger than it is right now. You can find out more about me at harborsidehealthcenter.com or stevedeangelo.com.

DEAN BECKER: He once dug a tunnel through the Himalayas to help Al Qaeda smuggle opium. When his house gets raided, his dogs shoot the SWAT team. He developed a strain of marijuana so strong that even Tommy Chong won't smoke it. He is the most interesting man in the world. I don't always do drugs, but when I do, I prefer marijuana. Stay informed, my friends. DrugTruth.Net.

LAUREN FRAZIER: I'm Lauren Frazier, I'm the president of Auntie Dolores, and we're an edibles brand based in Oakland, California, been in business since 2008, and we service the state of California providing edible, uh, edible treats to patients from San Diego up to Humboldt County.

DEAN BECKER: I've developed a much better understanding of the, what's going on in California, I've been to Colorado a little while back, but here, it's, it's got some similarities to Colorado, you, hell we've all got maladies, we all have reason to seek medicine that is harmless to us, and I hear the major media trying to say there's some weirdness, some discrepancy in the fact that people with headaches or something that doesn't require surgery are allowed to use medical marijuana. Your thought in that regard.

LAUREN FRAZIER: In terms of the acceptance of cannabis as a medicinal remedy, I think that, I think that on a national level it's becoming more accepted in that way, and then certain states and certain individuals representing those states have a stance towards it. In California, it's a much more mature market, but much less regulated than someplace like Colorado, and what you find in somewhere like Colorado is that the recreational or adult use market is actually more regulated than the medical market, and so it's kind of counter-intuitive but we're going to see the same shift here in California when we regulate.

We're, you know, for adult use you have to be much more conscious of the end consumer, but there is significant medicinal value to cannabis, I think that can't be refuted at this point, but it's just a matter of the infrastructure that supports that and then the nature of the conversations that happen in the media and our ability to do research and validate what we all kind of know anecdotally to be true.

DEAN BECKER: I keep hearing the thought, we need more science, we need to do more studies. Okeh, let's do more studies, but let's recognize many of the thousands that have already been done and begin to change our attitude and implementation of war on these people. Your thought.

LAUREN FRAZIER: Yes, there's plenty of research that's out there across the world. There's studies with rats that show, you know, injections of cannabinoids and tumors reducing overnight. We personally know patients that have become cancer-free from the use of cannabis, and so, there are studies, but they're not, you know, clinically recognized on a larger scale, and you know the national drug institute, there's just a lot of kind of barriers to doing the research. They would rather show that cannabis has negative, you know, effects than positive ones, and so good luck getting a Phase Two when you come out and you show that cannabis can actually have a reduction in cancer cells.

DEAN BECKER: On a more lighter note, let's talk about your products. As I say, the pretzels were tasty, very unique but delicious, and I thought the fact that, through having it in, you know, a bag full of pretzels, you can pretty much regulate how much you're taking. I thought it was a cool means of delivery that each person could figure out for themselves how many pretzels, right?

LAUREN FRAZIER: Yeah, exactly. Most of our products are very easy to titrate your dose, so they're kind of segmented. We know the overall milligram content in the bag, so by that you can specify each pretzel approximately has 3-4 milligrams of THC. Figuring out your dose is the harder part. We can tell you how much, how many doses or how many milligrams are in each dose of our products, that comes from, you know, refining of the processes and really dialing in, in the lab results that, you know, help us understand the cannabinoid content in each of the products.

But when it comes to knowing your dose it's a bit of experimentation and so we always recommend that people start slow, and you know start with a really minimal dose, anywhere from 3-5 milligrams for someone who's a beginner use. Obviously you have someone more sophisticated, consumers or patients with very serious, you know, pain that they're dealing with, they have much higher tolerance, so it's really individualized.

DEAN BECKER: And, I want you to kind of list the products again, and it's been a busy week here at this conference, I'm sure you understand, but do I remember some dog medicines as well?

LAUREN FRAZIER: Yes, yeah, we do have a dog treat that's made with hemp-derived cannabidiol. Cannabidiol or CBD is one of many cannabinoids that exist in the cannabis plant, but is also found in hemp, and so we use a CBD derived from hemp and we infuse that into a delicious and healthy natural dog treat, and it helps with, you know, dogs and other pets, they have endocannabinoid systems just like humans do, and so any of the traditional ailments that cannabidiol can help with for humans, it can help with for dogs as well, so arthritis, chronic pain, epilepsy, mood, anxiety, separation anxiety.

We have hundreds of pets that have tried our products at this point and we have had their owners write in survey feedback cards, tell us how it worked for them. And a majority of what consumers were treating their pets for was separation anxiety and chronic pain.

DEAN BECKER: Well, that's good, keep Rover around another year or two it sounds like. Now, the other products, we didn't get to them.

LAUREN FRAZIER: Yeah. So, we have a variety of sweet and savory products that all have kind of a healthy, gourmet angle to them. So the products are vegan, gluten free, sugar free, low glycemic. On the savory side we have our savory pretzels, our glazed pecans, chili lime peanuts, cheese biscuits, and then we also have a few different brownies that are really low glycemic and vegan, they're delicious, and we have sparkle cookies and caramel corn, and a few other products in development.

DEAN BECKER: That sounds wonderful. Okeh folks once again we've been speaking with Lauren Frazier, she's the president of Auntie Dolores Cookies and goodies. Want to share the website? And closing thoughts.

LAUREN FRAZIER: Sure, yes. The website is www.auntiedolores.com, that's a-u-n-t-i-e-d-o-l-o-r-e-s, and you can find a lot of great content and information, more to come, the website's under redesign so it'll be a new fresh look in the coming months.

DEAN BECKER: Be sure to join us next week, I'll have another interview with the police chief of Houston, Texas, Mr. Charles A. McLelland, Jr., going to be doing this every three months until we educate the local politicians and the population to the need to change our nation's, especially Texas's, drug laws. As the chief said, it's a miserable failure. Check with us in the coming weeks, we have much more from the International Cannabis Business Conference. I was tallying it up, I've got about, over 18 hours of recordings. You'll be hearing much more from those good folks at the conference.

Going to close it out this week from my birth city of San Francisco. This drug war's got to go, and as always, I remind you, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful, and pay attention to this government message:

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: You mean you're going to let them get it? It's going to be legal, you're going to let them get it? At least right now we don't let them get it. I don't want to let them get it.