04/28/21 Lawrence Pasternack

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Lawrence Pasternack
Oklahoma State University

OSU Professor Lawrence Pasternack re OpEd in Tulsa World: What's the best way to regulate legal marijuana? The free market. + Howard Wooldridge is half way across America on his bicycle promoting end of drug war.

Audio file

DEAN BECKER: (00:00)
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 Barbara's cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent, new as games who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is cultural baggage.

DEAN BECKER: (00:29)
Hi folks. I am Dean Becker, the Reverend most high. This is cultural baggage, and a little bit later, we'll hear from Howard Wooldridge who was riding his bicycle across America, but first, Oh, it's rare that I find, uh, people in this world who I don't know, agree with my stance on the drug war. And, uh, there's one guy who had an opinion, uh, published on, uh, four 20 up on the Tulsa world. Um, he's a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma state university. He's been a guest here with us on cultural baggage before, and, uh, I'll let him tell us about his latest, uh, op-ed there in the Tulsa world, but I want to welcome professor Lawrence, pastor Nick, how you doing, sir?

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (01:19)
Hi, I'm I'm, I'm doing fine. Um, for people who don't know me, um, uh, in sort of my, my day job, so to speak, I'm a professor of philosophy. I'm also the director of religious studies at Oklahoma state university, and I specialize in the German philosopher, Emmanuel Conte, you know, so it kind of pretty far field from issues related to drug policy, but I just always, you know, have had this strong belief that the war on drugs is just OBS. Absolutely terrible. Does vastly more harm than good, uh, goes against, I think what I, what I regard as our natural rights to have a bodily autonomy and, um, that furthermore, when it comes to cannabis, for instance, and, and other, you know, plant-based, um, uh, medicines that are banned, that there's great benefit that we have ignored as society. So, uh, I got involved in, in, in this, in late 2017, early 2018, as I heard about our legalization movement here in Oklahoma and became, uh, one of the organizers of the yes, on seven 88 campaign that legalized cannabis and have been active, uh, working with the state legislature authoring or contributing to various bills ever since working with the, um, with the, uh, department of health as well and, uh, being all beds.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (02:43)
And so over the last, Oh, what is it now about three years, I guess I have authored something in the ballpark of, uh, 12 to 15 op-eds magazine articles and so on. And I think that one we're talking about today, uh, came out I'm on, yes, as you said, for 20, um, in the Tulsa world. And, uh, that one has to do with our state having a contract entering into a contract with a company called metric M E T R C, uh, who, um, offers, um, uh, um, a seed to sale tracking program. Uh, and, uh, one of the distinctive things about metric is that they use, uh, RFID tags, radio frequency, identification, tags. And so basically as soon as you plant your seed or as soon as, as soon as it starts to route, um, the business is supposed to, um, identify that individual plant with an RFID tag and that RFID tag then is going to track that plant all the way to harvest.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (03:48)
And then there's subsequent, um, specialized, late bullying that's used from every step onwards until eventually gets to the consumer. So it's seed to sale tracking as they say, and in some regards it's a great thing, right? I think that when it comes to consumer protection, making sure that you get what you think you're getting, that, that the testing, for instance, on the product coheres with what you're actually buying, um, that it's actually being sourced where you think it's being sourced, all that stuff. I really support, I definitely support the consumer protection side of it. And also the idea that we needed an even playing field for businesses, that if some businesses are, um, pulling in product from other States and thus reducing their costs, because it's cheaper to produce a on the West coast than here in Oklahoma, that creates an unfair, unfair playing field for businesses. And so I I'm sympathetic with all of those concerns for seed to sale, but my Mike, my objection, um, has to do with the idea that seed to sale tracking is able to, um, prevent a black market is able to, uh, prevent, um, their state, uh, transfer

DEAN BECKER: (05:05)
Well. Okay. And, and there's the, where I don't know, I, I glom onto your idea a hundred percent. The fact of the matter is this need to control cannabis. This need for complete oversight, uh, parallels the thought that the parents who use marijuana, maybe shouldn't, you know, raise children. It's the same sort of paranoid delusion from my perspective that that marijuana users are suspect from the get go, that they need to be monitored every step of the way that they may fall off the edge of a cliff, whatever that, that, uh, marijuana uses is somehow more dangerous, deadly, a fraught with peril than alcohol cigarettes or anything else that, that humans intake your, your response to your professor. Yeah, that, that I think that this, this, um,

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (05:58)
This fear of cannabis is driving this need for seed to sale. And of course is obviously driving federal prohibition and the need for seed to sale has a lot to do as well with better prohibition. So it's, you know, and so one, one thing you could say is that some people, and I think of this as just sort of the consumer choice issue that some consumers might simply say, you know, I don't care where it's grown. I don't care how it's grown. I don't want you to put, you know, any kind of toxic pesticides on it, but besides the sides that, you know, it's just a plant and let me buy them like a plan, right? Like I would go to a grocery store and buy bananas. So there's, some people just feel like it's just a natural product should always have been just a natural product that just has a psychoactive effect.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (06:48)
And there's all these other health benefits by consuming cannabis, using it as a food substance, using it for medical care. And so some people might just feel like it's, it's, it's absurdly excessive to try to regulate the plant this way. And it is drawn out of this paranoia and this need, it's like their anxiety on the part of lawmakers in a state that has legalized cannabis that comes along with it. Conservative lawmakers are so afraid of it, that just kind of emotionally for them to feel more comfortable with it. They want to have as many regulations around it as possible, even though those regulations are nonsense, even those regulations don't really do what they wanted to do. It's the kind of, you know, resolving this emotional anxiety. Like, I'll give you a related example. I wrote a bill this year to make it legal for dispensary's to make a customized tinctures for patients.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (07:39)
So a patient can come in and say, they want a three to one ratio of CBD to THC or something along those lines. And then the, the dispensary employee could get a CBD oil and get a THC oil and mix them to that ratio to sell it to the patient because otherwise it's all pre-packaged. And, you know, it's hard to find specific ratios and there might be one store that has a 20 to one ratio and another store that has a one-to-one ratio, but then to find exactly what you're looking for and to find the terpene profile you're looking for is really difficult. So I proposed a bill, I wrote the bill and it was doing fairly well then as it was building up support in the house, and then it got killed by a certain house member who a pharmacist, because he was afraid that the employee would get, get the ratio wrong,

Speaker 4: (08:28)
You know, so that

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (08:30)
Not enough of a basis to kill the bill outright, there's no way to absolutely guarantee that you won't get the ratio wrong. But if, if a hundred percent THC is legal in our state and a hundred percent CBD, of course, is legal in our state. And in theory, anything in between is legal in our state. Then it's just a matter of training and employee, but the anxiety and the fear related to cannabis is so much great that while a bartender could mix you a drink, right, with any ratio of alcohol, to fruit juice or whatever, you can't allow somebody to mix CBD and THC together for, you know, a specific customer. And it's, it's I think coming out of this same extreme anxiety, that cannabis is so scary and so dangerous that it has to be limited as much as possible

DEAN BECKER: (09:20)
Right now. Um, professor I was up in Oklahoma, I guess it was late 2019. The medical marijuana law had been in strong effect was, um, being, you know, dispensary is all over the state, I guess, uh, many and, uh, uh, several counties and, and every little Podunk town seemed to have one or two dispensaries, uh, the best I could tell and the, what has happened in Oklahoma since that point in time, I I've, I was praising your state for having the, uh, the courage to come up with medical, marijuana licensing or issuing of, of permits. I guess it is better for, uh, you don't have to have a specific malady cancer dying of anything, whatever, just have to, uh, give it a try, uh, you know, to see if it works for you as the only need for that recommendation and what has changed. I mean, th th the legislature has tried to curtail things and diminish possibilities, but what is unfolded over the last year and a half?

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (10:29)
Well, some, some good and some bad the industry has Berg. And to the point that there's something in the order of 10,000 different business licenses. Wow. Um, that's probably a little bit high five, six, seven, eight, about 8,500 business licenses, um, out there. And, um, one of the reasons why is because we have no caps on licenses and because the cost to get a license is only $2,500. So while in many States they're limited licenses, maybe only five allow five growers allowed for the state, maybe the cost of a license, it's $200,000 here. Anybody could get a business license in theory, uh, $2,500 to get that license. And so there's a lot of entrepreneurs, um, and that has pros and cons because on the one hand, there's well capitalized and well-conceived businesses. And then there's other people who don't really know what they're doing with the money.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (11:19)
And then there's also various sort of nefarious, uh, instances where people are using, um, the low threshold, the ease of getting licensees, basically opening up a growth, changing to another growth you get in trouble with, um, with the regulators, so that, you know, they, they have, um, they have closed out a number of different rows and a number of different dispensary's for engaging in black market activity, um, that there is a lot of, um, Chinese investment in grows here. So a lot of farm land is being bought up, um, by, uh, Chinese investors, um, growing cannabis. And so I don't know whether or not those grows are, um, following all the regulations and laws. I don't know. But one thing is, is that the, the labor that comes in is often undocumented and that it, and the price for the land is such that it's having a negative effect on the farmers in the region.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (12:24)
So you could be a local farmer who basically spans out your farm land based upon what you want to grow, you least plan for a year. You might expand your farm, but buying you're by land. But because, and this is in a sense, a good thing, because, because of all these, uh, cannabis grows coming in property costs in Oklahoma have moved up substantially and some wall on the one hand increasing increasing real estate values is something that a lot of people, if they own real estate should be happy with at the same time, it's had a side effect on two other types of farming, that's made it more difficult for them, uh, to acquire the land that they need for whatever type of farming they do. So that's one downside that that has happened. You know, you can sort of see it in both directions for an investment is good, right on the state investment is good, but on the other hand, there's winners and losers losers when you know, there's economic changes, um, with regards to the patient community. Um, yeah, one of the things that is most unique about the Oklahoma program is that while it's, uh, it's designated as a medical program, there are no qualifying conditions. So in most States, uh, in pretty much every other state in order to get a medical card, you have to have, uh, one of a specific, less list of medical conditions that have been approved for cannabis, fibromyalgia, or Parkinson's disease, or whatever

Speaker 5: (13:52)
Here, though no medical condition

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (13:54)
Is needed. So you could be 18 years old and that the pinnacle health, and you go to see a doctor and they charge $25 and up to like 25, $40, um, for a quick three minutes,

Speaker 5: (14:07)
Um, uh, basically

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (14:09)
They sign your form and you're done. Uh, so no, no medical conditions are needed. And the doctor signs, um, a recommendation for that basically says in his opinion, that you might benefit from cannabis and that's all that you need to do. Then you submit the form with the state. So on the one hand, that means that anybody who wants to use canvas can use cannabis, but it also blurs the line between medical and what we could say, you know, adult use recreational, whatever you want to call it. So many objections have arisen saying that this is basically just 78, was a Trojan horse for recreational, and a lot of conservative States saying that's all that medical marijuana is anyhow, it's a Trojan horse for recreational. Well, that may not be so in many other States, right? In, in, in, uh, Minnesota, for instance, their medical program had enrollment of level of 1% of their state.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (15:04)
They were very tightly regulated. So that's certainly not the case everywhere, but here about 10% of the population have medical cards. So on the one hand that tells you how much interest there is in the use of cannabis, right? 10% of our state medical cards, and probably people are using friend's cards and you can be your friend to buy from them. So on. So maybe 15% of the state using cannabis now. Uh, but on the other hand, that 15% normally would be the majority of those would be just adult users in other States. So it, it, like I said, it learns the line and there's a whole big debate in our state as to what counts as medical. Like if I get home from a hard day at work, and I just want to quote unquote chill out and smoke some cannabis. And is that medical use or is that just comically exactly what we mean by rescues? Or is there any difference between medical and rec use? And so that is a pretty heated debate among the cannabis community here. Well, let me tell you if I do one big downside, but let me interrupt you at something you want me to.

DEAN BECKER: (16:03)
Well, I, I was just going to say the great ganja guru, Dennis Barone said that all uses medical, and I tend to agree with him because, uh, I don't know. It just appeals to me in so many ways. And I think to many others, it's, uh, it's a relief if nothing else, and what the hell is wrong with that, uh, far as medical benefit. But anyway, I'm sorry to interrupt you,

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (16:27)
Please continue. Yeah, we'll get, we'll get back to that issue of medical. I've thought about it and I could see both sides of it. But one thing I wanted to bring out is that here is this a serious downside to, um, the way in which our program rolled out. And it's not as if this is a problem only in the wrong, but the problem is is that the seven 88 is kind of scandalized in a way in the sense that a lot of people regard it as just a quote unquote for planning recreational program. And so it's not a serious medical program. That's the common criticism among lawmakers, the common criticism among some continuance of the public, and certainly a criticism among the medical establishment. And the consequence of that is that the medical establishment has basically just utterly walked away and refuse to involve themselves at all in it.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (17:19)
So you would hope that patients will be able to integrate their cannabis use, but more traditional medicine. But instead, what has happened is that the doctors will say it's one or the other. I'm either going to treat you with traditional medicines medicine, or we're done, and you could use cannabis. So we have this situation in our state where, you know, it's not like if you go to your general practitioner for a boil or whatever, they won't see you, but in cases where you have an ongoing, serious medical issue and a relationship with your, this is in pain management, it's in psychiatry, it's on an oncology, it's in a larger rate of, of specialties where the doctors tend to have a lot of scheduled medication that they prescribed. So in pain management, it would be opioids in psychiatry would be bins. And as a pains, the position of the majority of doctors in our state is if you choose to use cannabis, they will not prescribe for you.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (18:17)
And so you can go to your doctor and pain management and say, look, you know, this might help me reduce my opioids by 50%, or when I'm in so much pain that the opioids aren't helping, I might use this on top of it and finally get relief, or it doesn't help me with pain, but it helps me with sleep, or it relieves me from some anxiety, but it doesn't help me with pain or by, you know, 50, 50 ratio of opioids. And, um, and, and cannabis, I can cut my opioid use in half. So there's all these different permutations for cannabis use, but the majority overwhelmingly the pain management doctors in our state will refuse to prescribe any scheduled medications whatsoever. If you use cannabis and there's, there's no medical or legal reason for this. It's, it's, it's partially just this, as we were talking about earlier, this fear, this paranoia, this, this like cannabis is such a scary and dangerous thing. Nobody, you know, people are just terrified.

DEAN BECKER: (19:14)
Yeah, no, and that's, it. It is it, the reefer madness is a monster. It's a, it's a horrible beast. It's hard to bring down. Uh, it just keeps resurrecting itself, uh, time after time and legislatures. And even within the medical community, I think it was 1937. A house committee was considering legal, uh, uh, excuse me, prohibiting marijuana and a representative from the American medical association showed up and talked to them and asked them why they, they didn't see the need for this law. And, uh, it's, it's just, it's, it's, it's just a paranoid and delusion is all that is wrapped around this idea of marijuana as far as I'm concerned, uh, closing professor. Okay,

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (20:00)
Well that 1937 testimony from William William Woodward is the name of the American medical association. Representative is just pressing it. Anybody who's interested in the history of this should look it up where he basically said that there, the cannabis has really wonderful medicine, basically said, cannabis has really wonderful medicine. They've not seen any significant harms related to it. And what this ban is going to do is ultimately just going to hurt the patient. And, you know, 80 years later look where we are, right. And by the way, a year after, after they banned, after they banned cannabis in 1937, a year later is when oxycodone voted, right? It's, that's basically the market of the shift, right? To sort of our modern day opioid approach to pain management versus the use of cannabis. And, you know, look at, look at harms that have resulted. So, you know, the, the ongoing war against drugs hasn't ended, despite the fact that now about 85% or what is it?

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (20:59)
Um, yeah, about 80% of the state's popular population in the United States lives in some location that either has full access or for medical cannabis. It's about 45% in States with, uh, with full access. And about 40% of States with medical only are not a state such as the populations of the United States. So we have overwhelmingly, you know, about 80, 85% of the entire population, this country now living in places that have, uh, some form of, uh, of cannabis access and our federal government still won't do anything. And you know, that, that the banking bill doesn't seem like it's going to make it way its way through the Senate, at least not easily. It's, it's absurd. It's absolutely absurd for something that's been part of, you know, human medicine, medicine for the human poppy for humanity for over 5,000 years. You know, it's been an agricultural crop for at least 10,000 years for human beings.

PROFESSOR Lawrence Pasternack: (21:58)
And, you know, the ban 80 years ago when the games, the advice in the American medical association and when it became a schedule, one drug that went against the advice. So the Shafer commission, and so it's constantly lawmakers, right? Going against the medical establishment that has put us in this situation. Like there was a, there was a survey in the, um, new England journal of medicine. I forget exactly maybe eight, eight or 10 years ago where something like 75% of physicians supported the medical use of cannabis. So, you know, the, the support is there, but everybody's afraid of it. And in the case of the pain management story, it's not that they oppose the medical uses of cannabis. They're just afraid of the legal circumstances surrounding it. They're afraid of the DEA because despite the Rohrabacher farm, in which prohibits the DEA from interfering with state level cannabis, my understanding is that one of the reasons why all these positions are not allowing the patients use cannabis is the DEA, right? Because they have to rely upon their DEA prescribing license to do their job. And that the words that are coming through, uh, professional societies is that you could get in trouble with the DEA if you were to let your patients use cannabis. So the doctors are not saying no to it because they don't think that it's beneficial. They're saying you're out of the fear of the DD yet.

DEAN BECKER: (23:33)
Yeah. Uh, first three letters of death. DEA, I here's my theory on that one. All right. Friends, once again, we've been speaking with professor Lawrence, Pasternack, he's a professor of philosophy, uh, Oklahoma state university. I want to thank you, sir, for your acting for your, uh, your, your great op-eds.

DEAN BECKER: (23:53)
Well, it was just, uh, almost a month ago, we spoke to, uh, our next guest about his travel and his travel has begun. As I understand it, he's more than halfway across these United States, uh, want to speak with our good friend, uh, one of the founding members of law enforcement against prohibition now against, uh, action partnership, uh, and a man who has traveled across America several times on horseback and this time on his bicycle, uh, to celebrate his 70th birthday. He's crossing the America again. Mr. Howard Wooldridge. Hello, sir. Hey Dean. Good to hear you. Ah, Howard. Uh, yeah, you're over halfway. Where are you now? Yeah, I've done six dates. I got five to go and, uh, then I'll be home and back to work and the United States Congress. And let's, so let's talk about that work in the Congress briefly, but I want to talk about it as you cross these United States, you're in a state where marijuana is legal and then one where it's not, and maybe one where it's legal and then I think Illinois has legal, uh, if I'm not mistaken, but it's a, it's a hodgepodge that he's United States, isn't it?

DEAN BECKER: (25:09)
Yeah, it actually is. It's, it's kinda cute where I've actually got some green cream in my back in my, one of my, uh, bags. And, uh, so in some States it's legal, uh, cause it's medical, I think it's CBD, but I'm not a hundred percent sure. And it's got a funny, just going in and out of the States where, Oh, it's Idaho. I could get a year in jail. And then it's like, Oh, well now I'm in Colorado. It's totally legal. And then I go to another state. Totally. Your Kansas, totally illegal. It's kind of crazy. Funny, sad. Yeah. Sad. Let's underscore that one now ordered a and we didn't get a chance to talk about it. Last time you were on the air with us and, uh, your work in DC, uh, you, you have, uh, attended the halls of Congress, uh, for how many years now?

DEAN BECKER: (26:00)
15 one, five, 15 years. So you have had a chance to talk to every Senator or every senators rep or every, uh, representatives, uh, support staff as well, right? Uh, yeah, I'm the only one who goes door to door, retail politics. If you will speaking to the person in charge of criminal justice, making a presentation as to why we need to end. And I've had a chance to do I'm up to almost 400 congressmen senators personally. So I do the retail politics, um, uh, and have been doing it now 15 years now, Howard, um, this, this trip across America is so far taken, um, almost a month. Uh, you figure you've got another three weeks before you get back to the East coast. Yeah. About three weeks. The whole thing will take roughly two months. Yeah. And, and this, this gives you an opportunity though, to, uh, uh, do something that I think many people would just be so afraid of.

DEAN BECKER: (27:02)
And that is to wear that shirt boldly saying legalized heroin asked me why. Right. Yeah. You know, and the thing of it is Dean is one of the big surprises I was wrong about the heroin shoot. I thought there'd be many, many, many more negative account. Like, uh, but like today at the subway, typical guy says, I'll bite. Why should we legalize heroin? And I said, pedophiles, pedophiles are going after my grandchildren. And we're, we're chasing drug people. It's, it's beyond stupid. And we ended up having a wonderful 10, 12 minute conversation and that's true 90, but 95% of the time, it's a positive encounter. People really? Why buy such a crazy idea as legalized? Why would an officer want to do that? And they listened respectfully and they ended up most of them agreeing that, Oh yeah. If you have a drug problem, see doctor should be the cornerstone of our drug policy. Which of course you. And I know sadly it is not, no, it is not. Well, a once again, been speaking with Mr. Howard Wooldridge, he heads up a citizens opposing prohibition out there on the web citizens, opposing prohibition.org. Okay. And, and Howard, you know, happy trails. We'll be talking to you again, hopefully before your trip is over. Okay. Just pray for West winds. That'll push me faster back to, uh, Washington DC.

DEAN BECKER: (28:28)
Well, I do hope Howard gets some good, uh, westerly winds to help him on his trip across America. One to thank him. I want to thank professor Pasternak. I want to thank you for listening. And I want to remind you once again, that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. And I urge you to please be careful.

DEAN BECKER: (28:47)
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