06/13/10 - Paul Wright

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Paul Wright, editor Prison Legal News, Mike Meno of Marijuana Policy Project, Sandy Moriarty, cannabis chef at Oaksterdam University, NPR starts to understand cannabis

Audio file


Cultural Baggage June 13, 2010

Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally un-American….. ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’

My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. For those of you who emailed and called, I wanted to let you know that my sweetheart Pam, is doing much better. She had her heart by-passed and the prognosis is very good. It certainly hampered my efforts this week. Nonetheless, we have several new interviews to share with you this week. Let us begin.

My name is Paul Wright. I’m the Editor and founder of Prison Legal News, which is a project of the Human Rights Defense Center, of which I’m the Executive Director. Our core work involves media work around the prisons and jails of the United States and doing advocacy on behalf of those who are in prison system.

Dean Becker: Now Paul, it’s an ongoing series of battles you have with prison officials in order to get your publications admitted to those facilities. But you seem to have an ongoing series of success in making that happen. Am I correct?

Mr. Paul Wright: That is true. It’s unfortunate that we have to fight as hard as we do, just in order to be able to get our magazine and our books into the prisons and jails of the country. A lot of that is just due to the hostility that a lot of prison employees have towards both the First Amendment and towards the news media in general.

Dean Becker: Now there are reasons behind that. Because I guess, it’s as simple as ‘If the truth were known’, many of these people would not be in jail. Many of these people would be able to better facilitate their release in showing and exposing the fraud being perpetrated. Your thoughts in that regard?

Mr. Paul Wright: Well I think that’s absolutely true. But even beyond that though is an even bigger problem. That prison officials really don’t prisoner’s in their custody to know about what their rights are, how to enforce their rights through our Civil Justice System. They also don’t really like it when the prisoner’s in their care know about the corruption, the brutality and the illegal acts within that very system, that we often report in Prison Legal News.

Dean Becker: Paul, I’ve heard it said by many of my guests that, ‘When they can’t keep drugs out of maximum security prisons, how in the heck can we pretend that we can keep them out of our neighborhoods?’ Your thought there?

Mr. Paul Wright: I think that one of the most obvious things is that, if they can’t keep drugs out of prisons, then surely they can’t do a very good job of keeping them out of the country. One of the things that we often report on is for example, overdose death and contraband smuggling by guards. When you think about it, if prison officials in the government has total control of the perimeter of the prison and the reality is that almost every illegal drug is available in our maximum security prisons, I think that’s one of the things that really illustrates the failure of America’s drug policy.

Dean Becker: Yeah, and we have over the years, you and I talk many times about the corruption and the lack of medical care and the abuse that’s put forward by the guards. That we have walked away from justice in many cases, just to facilitate this concept of drug war. Correct?

Mr. Paul Wright: I pretty much agree with that statement. I think that it’s also one of those things where the War on Drugs is better characterized as a ‘war on poor drug users’ though, because I think to the extent that the wealthy use drugs. They certainly aren’t going after rich people that use drugs.

Dean Becker: Right, with Rush Limbaugh being the classic example. That he wouldn’t even allow them to search his home. Right?

Mr. Paul Wright: Correct, and of course the fact is that he gets such a light sentence after admitting to buying eighty thousand prescription pills from his housekeeper. Then he violates his probation, doesn’t go to prison. I think that’s all pretty emblematic of this double standard.

Dean Becker: Sure, he’s absolved by a stint in a first class treatment center. Right?

Mr. Paul Wright: Correct.

Dean Becker: Paul, I want to ask you this. We have, here in Houston, one of the most over crowded; most overworked if you will, jails and the State of Texas is always battling Louisiana and California for who’s the most draconian. But even here in Texas, they’re starting to back down just a hair. That’s kind of emblematic of our fiscal failure and our current situation. Right?

Mr. Paul Wright: I think to an extent, as far as any change goes. I think it’s a little too soon to tell. In some states there’s been slight drops in the prison populations. I think for now, it’s too soon to tell whether this is just a statistical blip or whether there’s actually any real more significant change going on. Because so far, states aren’t actually changing their sentencing policies.

What they are changing, is maybe a little bit. They’re tweaking a little bit of what they’re doing, in as far as parole revocation and stuff like that. But we haven’t seen any real hard change as far as the length of time that people are sentenced to and stuff like that. So I think that’s more of where things are at.

If you look at the overall numbers though, as far as the national prison and jail populations. The overall numbers nationally continue to grow. Especially with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where I think there’re over two hundred and fifteen thousand people are incarcerated in the federal prison system. That’s a number that’s continuing to grow exponentially. That is not going down.

Dean Becker: You know Paul, I see these TV shows, ‘Cops’ and they have a new one ‘The DEA’ and they’re always, I think, acting unconstitutionally. Trying to influence these people to squeal on their brethren. To circumvent the Miranda Rights and in essence, to extort these people to become allies of the DEA. Your thoughts on that?

Mr. Paul Wright: Funny you should mention this, because the cover story of the June issue of Prison Legal News, which is going to press right now, is on the subject of snitching and informants by law enforcement and how you’ve got this huge unregulated, unaccountable system of informants in the United States and how it’s used to quite literally subvert the ends of justice. Where criminals are allowed to roam free, in exchange for information. Often again, bigger or smaller criminals.

But basically the underlying message here is, you can break as many laws as you want; be the biggest criminal as long as you’re giving up other criminals and the whole perverse effect that this has had on communities around the country.

Dean Becker: Paul, as always it’s great talking with you. If folks would like to learn more, they can visit your website. Why don’t you point them in your direction.

Mr. Paul Wright: Our website is at www.prisonlegalnews.org. That’s prisonlegalnews.org. We’re the biggest online source of information regarding prisons and jails in the world and we also publish our print magazine and distribute a bunch of books on the Criminal Justice System. That you can all find at www.prisonlegalnews.org.

I am the Reverend Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network, standing in the river of reform. Baptizing drug warriors to the unvarnished truth. drugtruth.net

Mike Meno, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Dean Becker: Mike as always, there’s just all kinds of news happening all across America in regards to the drug laws. Let’s start by talking about Colorado’s marijuana dispensaries.

Mr. Mike Meno: Colorado’s had a thriving Medical Marijuana industry, over the last few years. But like most states, they haven’t had any regulations for dispensaries and it’s been left up to a lot of local towns to decide how they’re going to regulate dispensaries, if they’re even going to allow them. Over the years, the estimate now, is that Colorado has about eleven hundred medical marijuana dispensaries.

So as the issue of, ‘What is legal for a dispensary to do? What isn’t?’ keeps coming up in different towns. State lawmakers saw a need to apply some sort of statewide regulation that would not only make it very clear what dispensaries could do. But would also provide them legal protection if they were following these laws.

This week, Colorado’s Governor Bill Ritter signed two bills that will provide statewide regulation of Colorado’s medical marijuana industry. The first tightens the standards for doctors who can recommend medical marijuana to patients. It requires patients to have a physical examination and a bona fide relationship with their doctor.

But then the second one that’s the most interesting, lists an entire series of new regulations that dispensaries will have to comply with, in order to get local and state licenses. While a lot of patient groups are concerned, because this has potential to shut down many as half the states dispensaries, it’s really important for the big picture. Because it is giving clear legal status to literally hundreds of dispensaries that can meet these new regulations.

Colorado is basically saying, ’These are legitimate businesses. They’re going to follow these rules and we’re going to give legal status to hundreds of them and if demand increases in the future, we can have more.’ So Colorado this week, became home to the nations largest site of state regulated and definitively legal medical marijuana dispensaries.

Dean Becker: Now let’s go to California and talk about what’s going on there. Many of the cities are trying to deny these dispensaries from opening. What is going to be the impact, or the boon, for the criminals and the cartels, if that happens?

Mr. Mike Meno: Right. So California’s in the same boat, where they don’t have statewide regulation and that’s led to conflicts between providers and local governments. Where they’re trying to impose some sort of local regulation. The worst we’ve seen so far is in LA where the city council, fourteen years after California first passed it’s medical marijuana law, has instituted these new regulations, that are going to shut down more than four hundred dispensaries.

This is a city where through, just anecdotally and through research, we know the majority of patients, nearly all of them, are getting their medicine through these dispensaries. If you shut down that many, more than four hundred, we’re afraid people are going to start going back to street dealers. They’re going to start funding that black market that hasn’t been doing so well, because of booming in legitimate dispensaries.

So if people don’t have their local dispensary anymore, we’re concerned that they’re going to just turn increasingly toward street dealers. Also, it’s going to be a disaster for LA’s local economy. I mean, this is in the middle of a recession, in a city like LA that’s already had a whole host of economic problems. Now the city council’s just decided to close down more that four hundred functioning and legitimate businesses. Just because they deal with medical marijuana.

Dean Becker: Denying themselves the tax revenue thereof. Correct?

Mr. Mike Meno: Exactly, exactly. They’re going to force hundreds of people to no longer have jobs. We hear from dispensary owners who have to lay off employees. Even more so, they’re depriving their own coffers, of millions in tax revenue.

Dean Becker: What am I leaving out? What would you like to talk about?

Mr. Mike Meno: Last week we had a big positive development in Arizona. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, which is the group that MPP backed heavily. They just got medical marijuana on the ballot in November. So Arizonians are going to be able to vote and maybe make Arizona the fifteenth medical marijuana state. So that’s big news, right there.

Dean Becker: As I look at the emails, there are many other municipalities; many other entities, that are considering changes or are implementation of medical marijuana laws in this coming election season, right?

Mr. Mike Meno: Yeah! There’s been this pattern emerging over the years, when States and the Federal Government refuse to take the leadership in marijuana reform. We’ve seen individual cities in the past, there’s been Denver, San Francisco, Seattle - cities pass lawless law enforcement priority laws for marijuana.

In the last two weeks, we’ve seen development in Detroit. Where citizens gathered signatures to get on the ballot, a measure that would make legal the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, for all adults. Also in Philadelphia, this was actually led by officials. There’s a new measure that was implemented just yesterday. Put forward by Philadelphia’s district attorney and members of the state supreme court. That is going to basically decrease penalties for marijuana possession in Philadelphia.

They’re trying to get a lot of these cases out of the court system that’s been clogged and it’s going to decrease possession of small amounts of marijuana. From a misdemeanor to just a civil offence. So if people pay a fine and maybe go to a class or two, they won’t end up with a criminal record.

Dean Becker: Well Mike, as always we can’t touch upon all the advances going on. Why don’t you point folks towards the Marijuana Policy website.

Mr. Mike Meno: Sure. They can always read about MPP and news from all over the world with marijuana policy reform on mpp.org. You can also check out our blog at blog.mpp.org.

It’s time to play: "Name That Drug - By It’s Side Effects!"

Side effects may include next day drowsiness, dizziness and headache. Sleepwalking and eating or driving while not fully awake, with amnesia for the event, have been reported. In rare cases, severe allergic reactions can occur.


Time’s up! The answer: {rooster crowing} Two layer Ambien CR

{Eternal War - Featuring instrumentation from Mr. Guy Schwartz and Dean Becker doing vocals}

If they stop Afghanistan from growing opium
and they cut down the Columbian cocaine
When Mexico runs out of marijuana
They think we’ll quit getting high
But the drug store on the corner’s standing by.

Cut me loose, set me free
Judge what I do, not what I put inside of me
Why do you pick my pocket, just let me light my rocket
Who died and made you the boss of me?
Get out of my life, let me be.

Pfizer and Merck kill more of us than the cartel’s crap ever could
They thank us for our silence,
Each years hundred billion dollars
and the chance to do it forevermore
Drugs first eternal war!

Cut me loose, set me free
Judge what I do, not what I put inside of me
Why do you pick my pocket? Just let me light my rocket
Who died and made you the boss of me?
Get out of my life, let me be.

Are we just peasants in the field?
Let’s stand for truth or forever kneel
Every 16 seconds we hear the slammin’ door
and we owe it all to eternal war.

The first Eternal War!

For more that eight years, I tried to convince program directors and station managers all around the NPR network, to carry the Drug Truth Network programs. But they always told me that I was biased. Thank God, they’re beginning to become biased. This is from NPR’s CPR.

NPR: In most of the country, marijuana remains illegal. But it’s state’s that, ’If approved, marijuana for medical use created many gray area’s. Consider the State of Colorado. Sixty-five thousand people have signed up for Colorado’s medical marijuana registry, in the past nine months. Many have started shopping at the states growing number of dispensaries.

This booming industry is creating a headache for state regulators and law enforcement. Now all this week, NPR is taking a look at the new marijuana and today, Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee asks, what all these changes mean for the old marijuana market; the corner dealer.

CPR’s Megan Verlee: To figure out what’s going on with the marijuana black market, I talked with economics’ professors. I talked with law enforcement. I pestered defense attorneys. I even found a dealer, who wouldn’t talk on tape.

But, and I know it’s a stereotype, everything they all said? You could pretty much learn it, just by chatting up the crowd at a jam band concert. I met these girls trying to score tickets, outside a sold out Disco Biscuit show in the college town of Boulder.

Girl #1: I haven’t boughten any weed from anyone besides the club, since I got my card like a month and a half ago.

Girl #2: I don’t even have my card and I still haven’t boughten from anybody… Because all my friends have their cards.

Megan Verlee: If you’re a pot dealer in Colorado, Andrianna, Rebecca and Libby here, might just be your worse nightmare. College girls with disposable incomes and medical marijuana cards.

Girl # ?: It’s just way safer. It’s better quality and you just like, I don’t know. It’s just way easier.

Girl #2: I don’t think I’ve dealt with, like a drug dealer, in like months.

Girl # ?: Kind of nice.

Megan Verlee: A year ago, Colorado only had a handful of dispensaries. Today, there are hundreds. Many of their customers must have been buying from somewhere before. The rules of economics should dictate, that as people move into the above ground market, the underground shrinks, right? Patrons here seem to back up that idea. Dealers complain about a bad economy, losing customers. This girl says the friend she buys from, is having a hard time.

Concerned friend: It’s really tough. It’s slow. It’s people that aren’t like, young. Or older people or people that don’t have the money to get their cards.

Megan Verlee: Those who are still buying illegally, give a couple of reasons. They’re comfortable with their dealer. Or they don’t like putting their name on a government registry, even one that’s suppose to be confidential. Then there are those like this young man. He flew in from the East Coast that day, for the concert and spent the afternoon price-shopping marijuana

Young man: We found that if you go to a dispensary, it’s more expensive. If you go through a buddy, least expensive. It speaks for itself.

Megan Verlee: Of course, there’s no consumer price index for pot, in Denver. But Commander Jerry Peters has a pretty good idea. He heads a drug taskforce in the Metro area.

Commander Jerry Peters: An ounce of marijuana goes anywhere between two seventy - two eighty to about four hundred an ounce. The average being About three hundred an ounce, roughly. Now we’re seeing it in the different dispensaries that we see. In the black market though, when we’re out making buys and we buy an ounce of marijuana, it’s about a hundred and fifty bucks.

Megan Verlee: That’s a hundred percent markup, just to go legit. With a difference like that, Peters thinks there will always be enough price sensitive smokers out there, to keep some kind of black market afloat. But the dealers who’ve stayed underground, may soon be seeing a bit more competition. Here’s why.

Until recently, Colorado had no statewide regulations for marijuana dispensaries or growers and that led to a gold rush. Or green rush if you will, of entrepreneurs trying to stake their claim on the market. Now legislators are reining that in. Making it harder to get a doctors recommendation and outlawing people with felony drug convictions, from working in the industry. That may force some dispensary owners back into the black market. Denver attorney Rob Corry specializes in medical marijuana law.

Attorney Rob Corry: I’ve heard this from at least half a dozen people in the past two or three days. They say, ‘I’m easily accustomed to doing it underground. I’ve done it underground for ten years and I’ll just go right back to it.’

Megan Verlee: If Colorado succeeds in closing some of the loopholes in it’s Medical Marijuana Law, it could be a mixed blessing for the state’s dealers. They might regain some market share. But they may also have to fight harder for a piece of it.

Dean Becker: OK, NPR. The following, is how you share the truth about marijuana.

Hi! This is Sandy Moriarty, from Oaksterdam University. Here in Oakland, California. Today we’re going to talk about the great art of making butter and no one better to teach you, than myself. Because by my process that I’ve developed making butter, they have actually set the standard by it. So I’m going to teach you today, how to make the very, very potent cannabutter.

Now number one, before we talk about it we’ve got to talk about titrating. It’s very important to eat a small dose of the edibles, or the butter itself when you make it, and take small doses and working up to the feeling you’re looking for. The medicine if very, very, very potent.

So let’s begin with one pound of butter.
Four ounces, which equals one quarter pound, of green leaf shake.
One giant stockpot, for cooking stews in.

You put the butter and the green leaf shake in the pot.
Fill the pot full of water.

These are the three ingredients. One pound of butter, a quarter pound of green leaf shake and water. That is going to be used when the trichomes melt from the green leaf and cling to the lipids in the butter. So what we want to do is put enough water in there, to give it a long period of cooking. We want this to cook about three hours and we‘ll end up with a product that is so delicious and nutty and buttery, that it just fits into any recipe beautifully. The butter blends with anything. It’s very delicious.

So you cook this mixture for about three hours. You’re going to cook it through a whole process. You’re going to get the plant to render every bit of material that it has in there. It’s going to get material from the glands. This is where the trichomes are produced. So you‘re getting a really condensed matter and this is all going to be cooked out of the green leaf shake and cling to the butter.

At the end of the three hours, if you have to add water… add water. If you don’t… The object is to cook the water away, to where at the end you just have a spinach like material. This spinach material will then hold all the butter that you’re looking for. So what you want to do is take this spinach looking material, you can just see the butter glistening in it. The moisture and the water is gone and therefore you have a concentrated material at the bottom, that is out of this world as far as potency goes and delicious tasting.

You want to pour it into a strainer which is over a catch pot and you’ll hear the butter trickling down into the pot. So at this point, you want to press with a potato masher (anything you can get) to press the butter out of the green leaf shake. You’re going to get it to a point where it’s cool to touch and you’ll want to knock it into some cheesecloth.

So you’re putting this spinach like material into cheesecloth and this gives you a way of ringing it out over the catch pot, to get all the other butter that’s left in there. But I want to remind you, there is still residual left in that green leaf material and it makes a delicious pesto, when you’re mixing it with pine nuts and garlic and let it dry out and the butter’s already in there. So you’re going to give up your weekend with that. That’s a delicious pasta pesto.

So at this point with the butter, you want to take the catch pot and put the catch pot in the refrigerator. This will start the separation process. The butter is going to solidify on the top, leaving a small amount of amber colored moisture in the bottom of the container. I want to point out that the amber color material is the proof that you’re getting all the residual from the plant and all the matter from the glands of the plant, too.

So the amber colored liquid in there, I want to remind you that you can also use that. That you can make the greatest macaroni and cheese that you’ve ever had in your life. What you do is boil the noodles in the amber colored liquid. Use the butter in your cheese sauce and I’m not kidding, you are going to render your whole weekend. So be sure your family and friends are prepared to spend the night.

The key to this also, no kidding aside is to, like we talked about in the beginning… titrate. Take small amounts because you definitely want to enjoy either the experience or the medicine for the ailment that you’re using. This is a very potent, potent recipe. It sets the standards, as far as potency goes.

At this point, you have the butter and you separate it from the amber liquid. I want to remind you to incorporate the butter in all the recipes that you have. Melt it on the pot in the sauce pan and then measure it into your recipes from the melted stage.

I’m looking forward to giving you all kinds of recipes with the melted butter and until we talk again, this is Sandy Moriarty from Oaksterdam University. Have a great day and happy cooking!

Sadly, because of prohibition, you still 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.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.

Tap dancing on the edge on an abyss.

Submitted by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.net