6/14/18 Diane Goldstein

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Diane Goldstein
Michael Krawitz
Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Lt. Diane Goldstein, Law Enforcement Action Partnership Chairman of the Board, Michael Krawitz report on UN proceeding in Geneva

Audio file


JUNE 14, 2018


DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker, your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection, and the liars whose support for drug war empowers our terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent US gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.

This is the Reverend Dean Becker, I want to thank you for being with us on today's edition of Cultural Baggage. A bit later, we'll hear from Mister Michael Krawitz, who just returned from Geneva, working with the UN, but first up, well, over the years, I've probably spoken to well over a hundred, perhaps over 200 members, speakers, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, now Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

Today, we're going to speak with the chairman of the board of LEAP, retired Lieutenant Diane Goldstein. Hello, Diane.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Thank you very much, Dean, like always it's such a pleasure being on with you.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Diane, you know, I'm proud of the fact that I am a LEAP speaker and that we are recognized and, you know, certified, if you will, by a lot of politicians around the country who use our words, our thoughts, our writings, informing their opinions in making adjustments to our drug laws, that's, it's a real benefit, it feels good, does it not?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: It does, and you know, we continue to make some really interesting progress, even in this administration. I think so much of the work of grassroots activists, members of LEAP, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Drug Policy Alliance and the other organizations that have really made the critical difference that we're able to meet where we all agree, to push smart on crime policy forward.

DEAN BECKER: I had Mister Jason Reed, heads up the LEAP UK, on a couple of weeks back. He was talking about their being recognized by the British Medical Journal, for the thoughts and the presentations they have given to them. If only we could get the US Senate, or the House, to invite us to come speak. Right? It would be something.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: You know, and I don't know if you're aware, but I'm also on the board of directors for LEAP United Kingdom, and because it, with all our international chapters as well, we have a representative from kind of the main board, so to speak. And the progress that LEAP United Kingdom is doing is absolutely amazing.

So two years ago, in 2016, we launched in the House of Commons in Parliament, and we're going to relaunch LEAP UK as Law Enforcement Action Partnership United Kingdom sometime this fall, and myself and Neill and maybe a couple of other people will be over in England to do so.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Diane, the thought that things are changing, are being respected internationally, certainly, is a move in our favor.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Well, you know what, you're right, but you know, I think what's very interesting is how quickly we're seeing movement internationally, and I haven't read the World Health Organization report that I think just recently came out on cannabis, and it talked about how much safer cannabis was than other illicit drugs.

You know, I only caught one little brief news release, so when you have health organizations like WHO, or like the British Journal of Medicine [sic], and then you have countries that are willing to take the risk like Uruguay and Canada, Mexico's talking, you know, it's, I think we're going to see that the UN treaties evaporate eventually, because the countries are going to just continue to ignore it, and I think that the United States, our legalization of cannabis, starting with Colorado and Washington, had so much to do to push that envelope.

DEAN BECKER: The drug war is really reefer madness at its heart. It is this old fashioned, primitive belief system that drugs are so bad, in order to keep you from destroying your future we're going to destroy your future by throwing you in a cage, and that's just -- that's just got to go, it's got to be uncovered or exposed and, you know, I spend my life trying to find anybody, you know, in a position of authority who's willing to come on this show and defend the drug war, to tell us the benefit that offsets the horror we inflict on ourselves by continuing to believe it to be valid. Your thought there, Diane Goldstein.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Well, you know what, it's so true, and I think what you're going to continue to see is you're going to have a small group of hardcore prohibitionists, you know, the Walters, the Sabets, the Duponts, and some really, really conservative politicians that are in many aspects, you know, breathing the last gasp of prohibition. They're like the dinosaurs stuck in the La Brea Tar Pits, and they just didn't know that their ideology's dying.

You know, the dinosaurs didn't recognize that death was close, and I really truly believe that about drug prohibition. And, you know, the issue of the opioid epidemic is one of those that's been very interesting. You're starting to see movement from criminal justice organizations, understanding that this is a public health issue, yet many law enforcement organizations are clinging to, okeh, we're not going to punish the user, but if you're a seller we're going to do whatever we can to imprison you for the rest of your life, so that's the battle that we have to continue to push.

This isn't just about people who are suffering from chronic substance use, it's about getting the bad actors out of the illicit drug market, but it's also recognizing that even low level drug dealers are only doing it for sustenance level, and if we impose a heroin assisted treatment program, or other public health strategies, then maybe that wouldn't occur.

DEAN BECKER: And it really boils down to we have cities like New York, San Francisco, Seattle even, a little bit my city of Houston, looking into safe injection facilities, place where people can go, have a doctor on hand, they can do their drugs under a medical supervision, if they happen to OD they can be brought back to life, that they can have access to clean needles, clean water instead of alley water, they can, you know, have another day, have another chance at treatment or understanding the nature of their addiction.

It just really boils down to every aspect of prohibition really complicates it, really makes it that much worse, that the drugs that are being sold? Well, nobody knows if they're counterfeit, if they're -- got rat poison in them for that matter. It leads itself to failure and futility, does it not?

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: Of course. I mean, we've been in this battle for over a hundred years. If you simply look back to the Harrison Tax Act in 1914, or we can go back into the -- in California, the late 1800s, with the issue of opium. And, you know, what we have to continue to do is educate the criminal justice profession very specifically that, you know, if you thought outside the box, you know, and created a new paradigm, we would lessen the impact on public safety resources if we funded communities instead of public safety.

So, you know, public safety is only one small component of community health, safety, and wellbeing. And so we have to start putting money into vocational job training, infrastructure, drug treatment on demand, safe consumption sites, needle exchange programs, you know, harm reduction testing. Education that's based on evidence and not on just say no, I mean, there's so many things that we could be investing in that would lessen the impact on public safety.

Heroin assisted treatment programs. You know, medication assisted treatment, although it's so interesting, you know, you start talking about language, is, one of my favorite journalists, Maia [Szalavitz], she just talked about, you know, we don't refer diabetics as needing insulin assisted treatment, you know, so we need to also start messaging the language relative to, it's not just medication assisted treatment.

Because, it's medication, and we should be providing people on demand suboxone or methadone, or other medications that prevents death, disease, and addiction.

DEAN BECKER: Friends, once again we're speaking with Diane Goldstein, she's the chairman [sic] of the board for Law Enforcement Action Partnership. She's a former policewoman with the Redondo Police Department, she rose through the ranks, became a sergeant, served as a division commander, and retired as a lieutenant.

Diane, I, you know, you were talking earlier about the 1914 Harrison Act, but right before that was the act that I want us to go back to, the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, which required sellers to have, if they're selling drugs, that it should have a label on it labeling exactly the contents of that bag because that's the problem we're having now.

I think of two millionaires that I respect, Prince and Tom Petty, both thought they were buying real Oxy pills out on the black market, turns out even the pills were counterfeit, and both of those men died, and, you know, to me, that's one of the horrors of this, that we have no more respect for our fellow citizens than to force them into a situation where even millionaires can make mistakes and kill themselves. Your response, Diane.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: You know what, and, I think that, for me, is the most frustrating part about drug prohibition, is this clinging to an ideology without recognizing the harms of prohibition on everybody. You know, and I know we've talked about this before, and I think that's the thing that LEAP speakers bring to the table, is we can link every bad thing in our society to drug prohibition.

When I was doing my master's degree, I talked about a paper that linked college attainment with the drug war. You know, in California, we are funding more prisons than we are colleges, and because of that, we see the diversity level in California colleges go down, because we're also, you know, in a disparate fashion, going after communities of color.

And so, there's so many different links, you know. You have health links. You have job links. You have federal aid to student loans, you have families being torn apart, you have -- I mean, everything starts with drug prohibition at the root, really, of kind of all evil.

DEAN BECKER: You know, we've often talked about it, it denies you credit, housing, on down the line, so many ramifications that many states have to cripple a young person's opportunities to prevent their advancement in life. It's --


DEAN BECKER: It's horrible. I guess what I want to bring to the fore is why we do what we do. You know, you've devoted well over a decade of your life, I've devoted near twenty of mine, to trying to expose the fraud and misdirection of this drug war. But we can't do it by ourselves. You know, I don't have the leverage to get those top dog politicians in here to -- to interview them.

And I guess what I'm trying to say is we need our listeners. We need the people who read our writings, who view our webpage, to understand that change is possible. God damn it, it's necessary, if we're going to have a true and just society. Your closing thoughts there, Diane.

DIANE GOLDSTEIN: You know, absolutely, and I think what I would also suggest, especially in light of the recent pardon of Alice Johnson by the president. We, as, you know, political opponents, maybe on opposite sides of many issues, but we need to meet people where we agree, and when that happens, you get progress and you get movement.

You know, it's -- I know you know Amy Pofahl, from CANDO Clemency, is, she did tons and tons of back work on the back side, relative to the issue of Kim Kardashian, and when Kim Kardashian walked into the White House, it wasn't just about Alice Johnson. There was a list of 50 people that was presented to the president at the same time.

And so, you know, I think as our listeners, we may disagree with the Kardashians, or with the president, or with, you know, other legislators relative to this issue, but where we can agree, we need to meet them at that place and work together to end injustice.

DEAN BECKER: All right, folks, there you have it, from the chairman [sic] of the board of LEAP. They're on the web at LEAP.cc. Please check it out.

Program note: one of the guests scheduled for next week's Cultural Baggage will be Amy Pofahl of CANDOClemency.org. I spoke with Amy briefly this week, here's a bit of what she had to say.

AMY POFAHL: Everybody thinks, you know, they know best, and that Trump would never be interested, so when the press criticizes Kim Kardashian, well thank god she's not in criminal justice reform, thank god she wasn't an expert, because all the experts were telling me, oh no, there's no way. So, there you go.

DEAN BECKER: Darth Drug Czar, you're a coward,
A liar, demon, and thief.
Seems you can't face the truth
For just one hour.
Too busy looking at [unintelligible].
Dean Becker, DrugTruth.net.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Frequent prolonged or bothersome erections, birth defects, enlarge genitals, premature pubic hair, increased libido, aggressive behavior, male pattern baldness, increased acne, prostate cancer, and time's up! The answer, from Cerner Multum Incorporated [sic: Eli Lilly]: Axiron, for muscle gain and boners.

MIKE KRAWITZ: I'm Mike Krawitz, I'm executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, and over at the World Health Organization I'm working with an organization called FAAAT, Foundation for Alternative Approaches to Addiction.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Michael, you just returned recently from, was it Vienna, some UN proceedings, correct?

MIKE KRAWITZ: Geneva. World Health Organization.

DEAN BECKER: Okeh, I'm sorry. And, tell us about that gathering.

MIKE KRAWITZ: So, it was -- well this is a UN thing, the United Nations has requested the World Health Organization to do a review of cannabis. This is kind of a routine thing that's never happened, so it would be routine if they ever did it, but they never did it, so, since the beginning of the treaty, 1962, there's never been a review, official review, of cannabis, so it was just sort of arbitrarily placed without science, without evidence, you know the history of cannabis prohibition.

And, it's even thicker, it's even deeper, you know, the Anslinger kind of rift at the international level, and it's never been corrected, there's never been any correction. So, we're working with the World Health Organization. They have the job of collecting evidence and making a recommendation back to the UN, this year we'll be back at the United Nations, and we're hoping to undo some of Anslinger's legacy, frankly, to correct the treaty, update it based on evidence, hopefully maybe have cannabis at the end of this process a little bit more accurately described and a little bit more appropriately scheduled in the treaty.

This still isn't going to, you know, affect your biggest problems of prohibition, because that's a bigger treaty issue, but at least we can update the science and evidence on cannabis and maybe place it a little bit better in the schedules. And you know how in the United States a change in schedule could have a dramatic change on policy.

DEAN BECKER: Well, right, and what you brought forward there, the thought that, you know, Anslinger put forward this quote information set, this dataset, and proclaimed it to be moral and righteous and the appropriate thing to do, and very few people even challenged him, the American Medical Association did try, but they were kind of thwarted by the US Congress, and I guess what I'm saying is, is that the morals of this policy have never been really examined, brought to light, and that's what you guys are trying to do. Correct?

MIKE KRAWITZ: Absolutely. And, it's really, again, just a straightforward collection of evidence, when you're talking about a 1960 treaty, with a substance that the active, you know, quote -- quote unquote active ingredient was discovered in the late 1960s, or middle of the 1960s, and the treaty was started in the early 1960s, so, no matter how you look at it, they didn't know anything about cannabis. They didn't know what the active ingredient was, they really didn't know anything scientific about it.

All they knew was what Harry Anslinger and, like you said, you know, the Hearst paper chain, and there was another person, according to our friends at Transnational Institute and their history that they dug up, they found an Anslinger protege, a guy named Doctor Wolfe, who was working at the World Health Organization back there, it was like 1935, when they put this stuff in the record.

And there was some opposition at the international level, it wasn't the AMA, it was more like India. But it was not enough to prevent cannabis from being put into the treaty, and I was actually there in 1998 at the UN, India came forward and talked to us, they came to our table, a representative of the delegation of India, and told us that they had signed onto the treaty in 1962 with a 25 year delay, it was a reservation to delay the implementation for 25 years, and they were just implementing it then, in 1998, and guess what, Dean? They found already, in that time, just in the year or so of implementation, a decrease in cannabis use to be sure, and a matching increase rate in the rate of black tar heroin use.

DEAN BECKER: It is such a preposterous situation, these laws against cannabis. So few people that the first medical adviser to our first quote drug czar, Harry Anslinger, was Mister James C. Munch, who was a veterinarian [sic: Professor Munch's doctorate was in pharmacology]. And he said that he concocted a marijuana extract and gave it to some dogs, and it basically knocked them out, but then they came to a few hours later and seemed to be just fine.

It's just such a lie, isn't it, Michael?

MIKE KRAWITZ: Well, to be accurate, the extracts of cannabis, they didn't know what the active ingredient was, but they actually were working with the cannabis products back, you know, in 1890, 1910, 1920, they actually had their act together. They had a lot of great products on the shelf, in the pharmacy, and believe it or not, that was the standard way of testing to see if it had an active ingredient. You'd give it to a dog, and you could see the dog's reaction physically, you know that there's active ingredient.

Again, they didn't know what the active ingredient was, they had no science, so they had to use a physical test, that was a physical test for activity of the active ingredient. And this thing about black tar heroin is not a nuance, it's not a side note. We found now in the United States, in hard research, what -- it supports what we've been finding in the field, and that is that cannabis, when you use it as a medicine, you use less of the pain pills. You use less of the opiates. You die less, you have less overdoses.

And I'm talking a pretty significant reduction of overdose, and an increasing rate over the years. So, we've lost so many people since 1930 to overdose and death and mayhem of these hard drugs, and cannabis has been kind of our, you know, Dorothy's shoes, all we had to do was click it together three times and we could help ourselves get out of this mess.

DEAN BECKER: Well, friends, I have my info a little bit wrong about the marijuana extract and the dogs, but I do know that this same James C. Munch once purported in a court room that he took some marijuana, flew around the room like a bat, and then a couple of hours later he was just fine. All kinds of propaganda, right?

MIKE KRAWITZ: I -- it sounds like some stuff I'd love to get my hands on for medicine, actually, but, yeah, I'll tell you, these guys, it's amazing when you look back at the history of this. There was actually a government expert in the United States against marijuana, you're talking right at the time of, you know, she should have said no and reefer madness, and it was a government expert, they would bring him to court, and he would testify that yes indeed this marijuana is a killer, and da da da.

And you know what happened? He actually found a profession out of this. He found a little niche, and he started defending killers, and he got them off the hook for marijuana insanity defense. He tried to do it with one person that, just the marijuana in their proximity caused them to go insane and kill a bunch of people, and the judge drew the line and they threw the guy out of court, and as I understand it they stopped allowing his expert testimony. But he made a cottage industry out of this cannabis insanity defense.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Michael, I know that you work with the -- veteran groups, you're trying to work with the government to make it more feasible, more allowable, for their doctors to prescribe medical cannabis, and the reason behind, one of the main reasons behind that is, every day here in America there are 22 veterans that kill themselves, and, you know, we have the two recent celebrity suicides that garnered way more attention than these veteran deaths ever have. Your thought there, please.

MIKE KRAWITZ: Well, I certainly appreciate your sentiment, and I certainly agree with you that it's a travesty that we don't get more attention to the many deaths we have every day, of veterans that are taking their own lives. I think we ought to have a ticker on the TV, you know, so-and-so Army veteran in Ohio, you know, Iowa, and, you know, Kansas, whatever, takes their lives today. That should be on a ticker on the bottom of the screen, then maybe we'd get some attention to these issues.

But, you know, there's two things going on here with cannabis. One is, you know, the drug action, the pharmacological action, and there's good reason to believe that as a medicine cannabis can help reduce suicides. As a medicine, cannabis can treat pain, cannabis can help do these things. But, as a replacement drug, in other words, use cannabis, use less of these pills, when it comes to suicide, we're giving veterans a pill in the VA that actually has a suicide warning label. That's the medicine that we're giving them for post-traumatic stress.

If we can reduce the amount of that medication that's being used, doesn't it make sense maybe we'll reduce the suicide rate?

DEAN BECKER: Michael, I don't know, the drug laws do not make any sense, anywhere, as far as I'm concerned. Even insofar as, you know, heroin is now not really heroin, it's fentanyl, and it's killing people by the dozens, and, we just have no concept of the repercussions of believing in this system, do we?

MIKE KRAWITZ: You know, and I think that's they key to this whole discussion, is that we actually put the blame where it belongs, and I think the, you know, the United States right now is going through a real serious issue with overdose deaths, and it's very convenient to, you know, blame the doctors, or blame the patients, well how about the policy?

How about the drug policy that was supposed to prevent children from getting hold of heroin, that kept, you know, as we're watching the legalizing countries, their use of, first use of heroin age going up and up, our first use of heroin age going down and down, as we're watching the rest of the world implement these policies like Portugal, that's taking the criminal element, you know, at least a chunk of it, and gutting it, taking away its income, that it's allowing, you know, patients to have better access, and allowing people with a drug addiction to be treated like human beings, and medical patients that they are.

And actually, finally, starting to get at the underlying problems of addiction. No, no, we have to go the other way, we have to listen to people like Kevin Sabet, we have to go and jail people and double the prison rate, because that's what -- we've got to be tough on drugs, and then no one says, hey, maybe getting tough on drugs was a mistake. Maybe listening to Kevin Sabet and Robert Dupont was a mistake.

No, no, let's go further down this rabbit hole, kill a bunch more people, and then blame me, a pain patient.

DEAN BECKER: Well, friends, we've been speaking with Mister Michael Krawitz, very much involved with veterans and medical marijuana, very much involved with the UN and their concepts and precepts about the drug laws. Michael, is there a closing thought, a website you might want to share?

MIKE KRAWITZ: Sure, absolutely. This international stuff is going to be going on for a good year now, from here, we're actually deep in the middle of it, and we can use help. So, come and take a look, take a look at the documentation, it's at FAAAT, three As, FAAAT.net, and you can put a slash cannabis if you want to go right to information about the World Health Organization, all that.

We've got enough information there and it's broken down enough that you could actually just start at the beginning, and an hour or two get a really good understanding of what's going on at the WHO, if you really want that -- that level of understanding.

And I'll tell you, this is going to have an impact on every single country that we work with, 186 countries that are signed onto these treaties. So if we can have some, you know, good results of this process, and we can use your help, definitely, in this process, I think it's going to help patients, it's going to help, you know, this reform. We still need to reform the treaties, we're going to have to get rid of this prohibition. You know that, I know that, we all know that.

But the world leaders haven't caught on yet. So go to FAAAT.net and check us out, and I really appreciate your help.

YOUNG MALE VOICE: Okay, let’s say drug prohibition does support terrorism.

DEAN BECKER: And murder.



YOUNG MALE VOICE: And torture.

DEAN BECKER: Corruption and bribery.

YOUNG MALE VOICE: And whatever.

DEAN BECKER: What’s your point?

YOUNG MALE VOICE: Change the law.

DEAN BECKER: I got you. Make it cheap, more available everywhere, like soda or cheesy puffs.


DEAN BECKER: Cocaine at the playground, crack stands at the laundromat; heroin at the mini mart. Like that?

YOUNG MALE VOICE: Face it old man, that’s what we’ve got now.

DEAN BECKER: Please, visit the website of Law Enforcement Action Partnership on the web at LEAP.cc.

Folks, the drug war is ending slow, ugly, and bloody, and we could really use your help to bring it to a quicker end. Again, I must remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag, please, be careful.

To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth. Cultural Baggage is a production of the Pacifica Radio Network. Archives are permanently stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. And we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.