09/04/19 Chris Conrad
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Chris Conrad, Mikki Norris and Paul Stanford report from Mexico City's "Expo Weed" + Atty Will Hutson "Is it Hemp or Is it Weed" for the nation & DA Kim Ogg of Houston, speaks at major Marijuana Conference.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2019
DEAN BECKER: Hi folks, this is Cultural Baggage, the unvarnished truth about the drug war. I am your host, Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High. Today’s show is very marijuana-centric. We’ve got international and national reports. Let’s get to it.
Alright folks you know we try to focus on things locally and nationally but today we’re going to talk to some folks that are down in Mexico City. They are attending a conference down there, I think it’s called, “Expo Weed” or “Salon Medicinal” or something to that effect. We’ve got three of our friends down there. I think first up we’re going to speak with our good friend the cannabis expert, Mr. Chris Conrad. Hey Chris.
CHRIS CONRAD: Hi Dean and hello to all of your listeners and greetings from Mexico.
DEAN BECKER: Well and I hear all kinds of good things coming out of Mexico. They want to legalize marijuana, hell they might even want to legalize all drugs. What has it been like so far, Chris?
CHRIS CONRAD: Well this event has been quite exciting because you know the new stance by the World Health Organization towards CBD and medical cannabis and what we’re expecting to be ungas has increased national interest in the subject down here and so this event is the 4th annual expo here. Actually I think they have more than one a year but the expo they are putting on to try to make sure we get some progress, and right now as you’ve mentioned in less than two months the country is supposed to be putting out a new policy on cannabis and so this is an opportunity first for us to educate border leaders. Unfortunately more of the national leaders are not here at the event but we’re putting out the information and getting in to their hands anyway.
DEAN BECKER: Well and as I understand it the major media, certainly the T.V. cameras wanted to get your opinions before we talked, did they not?
CHRIS CONRAD: Yeah they did and I think that the situation here is pretty good. There are two senators who spoke. Unfortunately I missed their presentation, so I can’t quote what they said, but they do have some government officials here.
DEAN BECKER: Now Chris, give me quick summary. What did you present at this conference?
CHRIS CONRAD: The history and the cannabis movement in the United States and how we’ve made our progress and how important it is and to have this opportunity just now for Mexico to move forward and you know we’ve been strongly encouraging Mexico to take very courageous and strong steps because you know China is looking at getting in to these markets, too and we just feel like the Mexicans’ relationship with America over cannabis is been actually ultimately very positive over the years. People talk about the drug gang aspect of it, but most of it has just been small groups of people bringing in small amounts of marijuana and they helped to supply our market a long time before the domestic industry got going so we have a special relationship with Mexico that we would like to see develop. Like I said, in the case of China, they should move soon. That’s one of the things they are telling them. The other thing they are telling them, Dean, is to not make these crazy mistakes that we’re seeing in the United States of over-regulating things to where it forces people to go back to the underground market, the traditional market because if you want to really bring this above board you need to have enough retail outlets and you need to have ways that people who are currently making money off the underground market and the traditional market can transition into the aboveground lawful market and so this is something that we hope that Mexico doesn’t make the kind of mistakes we are seeing happen throughout the United States where they instead end up taking the business away from the people who developed the industry and handing it to corporate executives who don’t know very much about it and the plan is to make money because for many of us the use of cannabis has a spiritual realm in the creation of communities that makes us so connected with each other. We don’t want to lose that to commercial interests.
DEAN BECKER: Well alright friends, again as I said we got three of our good friends down there in Mexico City attending the expo weed conference. Chris, could I speak with your wife, Mikki Norris, please?
CHRIS CONRAD: Yeah, so here is my lovely wife, MIKKI Norris, and she’s right beside me at the expo.
DEAN BECKER: Thank you, Chris.
MIKKI NORRIS: Hi, Dean.
DEAN BECKER: Well hello, Mikki. Been a while since we talked as well. I want to get your impressions. How big a crowd--what was the response there? What do you think is going to happen?
MIKKI NORRIS: There is a lot of interest here. I think they’ve had a couple thousand people coming through here. There are vendors, it’s the beginning of a little bit of an industry. There’s activism happening here with the Regulación Por La Paz, people who are working with the government to try to advise them on how best to regulate the policies of the industry and also personal and it’s very exciting. There’s a lot of excitement here and a lot of people wanting to change course and go forward with cannabis legalization here but they are a little here – sounds like a very complicated situation. We’ve gotten very educated on what’s going on here in Mexico in terms of the different aspects that they have to take under consideration going forward here. They asked me to talk about Mujer de Cannabis, (Women and Cannabis), so I basically wanted to inspire women to get involved in the movement and to show that they have a role to play because they are saying that this culture here is very machismo and the women are afraid to come forward. They afraid to consume in public, they are afraid to show any signs of using cannabis because traditionally it’s been associated with a lower class and stigmatized group of people so I wanted to show them what women are doing in the United States and how they use cannabis and how they can plug in also here and there, but that we need to support each other. I showed lots of cases of women in the U.S. who are already doing things from the movement to the industry to entrepreneurs to researchers and educators, but to show them basically, hopefully inspire them to come out and get involved because I know that there is a great desire to so here.
DEAN BECKER: Well and I thank you for that, Mikki. I have been noticing as of late, I have seen some headlines coming across that once again they are trying to frighten mothers that they shouldn’t get pregnant, they shouldn’t breastfeed babies if they’re using cannabis. They present a “fear” but they don’t really produce any evidence. Just the thought that it might be a horrible situation. Your response there, Mikki?
MIKKI NORRIS: Yeah. I just saw that today that the Surgeon General is warning against using it because it’s not safe but they are not releasing any evidence that it’s unsafe really. I mean anything significant that we need to be concerned about, so I tell people during pregnancy if they feel like it’s helpful to them – if they have intractable vomiting or different things like the horrible morning sickness that’s probably worse for them than anything that the cannabis would do to them. I know many women who have used during pregnancy and have nursed during pregnancy and their babies are fine. In fact they are more than fine, many of them are exceptionally intelligent and creative people so I don’t know if the cannabis did that or if it came to them that way but any way it has not created the harm that they are trying to scare people about right now.
DEAN BECKER: Nope.
MIKKI NORRIS: That did come up during my talk because I did want to show people how specifically women have used it traditionally for menstrual cramps or endometriosis and other things and now people are using it--there’s products/topicals that are coming out for sexual enhancement to help women enjoy sex more. So it’s been very interesting but more than that I really wanted to make women feel safe that they is a role for them to play and they should step up.
DEAN BECKER: Yeah.
MIKKI NORRIS: They need to start coming out of the closet because it is so stigmatized here and the only way really to counter that is to tell their stories as to how they use the medicine here, or that they are good people and they just use it. I also touched on spiritual use of cannabis to provide something that we’re starting to explore as well. It’s been really eye opening here.
DEAN BECKER: Look, Mikki, I thank you. I thank you all for going down there and sharing your knowledge and experience with those good folks and as I understand it, we have one more person that’s down there in Mexico City, he was a guest on our show a few weeks back. He’s based up there in Oregon. Mr. Paul Stanford, are you with us, Paul?
PAUL STANFORD: Hello.
DEAN BECKER: What was the event like for you, Paul?
PAUL STANFORD: You know this is actually my fourth time to come to Expo Weed and this one was bigger and better and the Supreme Court of Mexico just ordered the President and the legislative government to reschedule marijuana in the next 180 days. So it was a very timely event given that that just happened two weeks ago.
DEAN BECKER: Yeah.
PAUL STANFORD: So their facility here has just been packed. Every seat is filled and amazing to see the movement growing here in Mexico and across Latin America and the world.
DEAN BECKER: You know, I want to come back to a thought that Chris had relayed to me. He was trying to relay that he was trying to inform the folks that it’s necessary to prevent too many restrictions, too much big marijuana, too much big government in the industry once it gets regulated and controlled. Right?
PAUL STANFORD: Yeah.
DEAN BECKER: But I think I’m gonna go to Oklahoma, which now has I think the most lax standards possibly in the country. Your thoughts there, Paul?
PAUL STANFORD: I think the medical marijuana program in Oklahoma is perhaps the best in the country and it’s grown incredibly in its first year.
DEAN BECKER: But it comes back to this; I’m here in Texas, I can’t grow one plant.
PAUL STANFORD: That’s right.
DEAN BECKER: You know, have that experience. Green thumb opportunity and the truth is most Americans these days I think have that opportunity or at least the opportunity to go to a dispensary and that’s the majority of Americans and yet the minority are threatened with a cage. Your thought there, Paul Stanford?
PAUL STANFORD: You know everybody should be able to grow a plant especially cannabis, it’s the oldest crop. You know people have been cultivating it for twenty-five thousand years or more and so to take the oldest crop away from the people I think is wrong. I think the laws will change there in Texas pretty rapidly once the Federal laws change.
DEAN BECKER: Okay and to close out our discussion here once again, we’ve been speaking first with Chris Conrad, then Mikki Norris and now Paul Stanford down there in Mexico City at the Expo Weed, and Paul as we wrap it up here I want you to I don’t know, what is the pulse? What do you anticipate is going to happen in Mexico, how are they going to regulate and control?
PAUL STANFORD: Well you know it’s hard for me to predict exactly what the legislature will do here but I hope that they allow farmers to grow hemp for seed and fiber without undo regulation, without determining the THC level. I think you know THC has been wrongfully demonized so we’ll see. I am hopeful that they’ll have a more equitable market here in Mexico soon.
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Singing: Remember, don’t say that it’s weed. Is it hemp or is it weed, is the THC over .3, you don’t know you’re not a testing facility, could be hemp unless you call it weed. Nobody knows –
DEAN BECKER: Alright folks you just heard a portion of a song written by a couple of Waco lawyers, a Mr. Will Hutson and his partner, Chris Harris. It deals with marijuana, it deals with hemp and the distinction and the reasons to maybe don’t even talk about it. With that I want to welcome one of the authors – one of the talented attorneys, Mr. Will Hutson, how are you, sir?
WILL HUTSON: I am very well. How are you today, Dean?
DEAN BECKER: Oh, I am real good. Man I see you guys are making a big splash on the internet. The stories hitting the whole country. What’s your response to that thought?
WILL HUTSON: Well you know we’re just pleased that people like our message and we always try to give good advice and help out folks when they’ve got questions regarding whether its criminal or civil law that our biggest splash have been with on the subject of cannabis and most recently the change in the definition of marijuana in the state of Texas.
DEAN BECKER: Right and that’s what – I’m not going to say a complication, I think it’s a relief in a way that for 100 years or nearly so, they’ve been trying to stop people from using this plant and now they’re going to allow it in one instance, but not in the other. But they seem to want to maintain that righteousness factor somehow that they can’t tell who’s high on the road. They gotta have a dog to find the stuff. They don’t know exactly what the result of smoking pot should be. Should it be a drunken behavior? How are they going to know – and it’s just been a ball of confusion for all of these decades, has it not?
WILL HUTSON: Yeah, it has and honestly I think they’ve complicated their own problem because now in Texas cannabis is defined – or excuse me, marijuana is defined as Cannabis Sativa L with a THC content greater than .3%, and hemp is defined as Cannabis Sativa L with concentration of .3% or less, man you know dogs can’t tell the difference, police officer’s noses can’t tell the difference. The only thing that would be the difference is if a person admitted that it was marijuana rather than hemp, and you don’t know and I mean that is the whole reason we wrote the song, “Nobody Knows if its Pot or if its Hemp”.
DEAN BECKER: You’re not a scientist. How do you know?
WILL HUTSON: Exactly. That’s exactly right.
DEAN BECKER: And that’s the whole point, Will, is that again, it’s this nebulous fear that somehow marijuana is going to destroy the nation and I guess it’s my hope here, Will, is that they will eventually pull their heads out and look around and say, “The sky is not falling – it hasn’t fallen in Denver, California, Washington, Oregon – what in the hell are we afraid of?” Your response to that Will Hutson?
WILL HUTSON: Well I agree. I think the hope is that they’ll realize that they have – that this problem they’ve created is gonna cost the state, as you said, hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy equipment to test this stuff and as you’re probably very well aware many if not the majority of prosecutors, whether they’re district attorneys or county attorneys, they’ve kind of tapped the breaks on this in many jurisdictions, saying we’re either not gonna accept cases from law enforcement or we’ll bring the cases in but we’re not gonna prosecute until such time as we can test and if there is a huge backlog – if there is a huge backlog of cases, a huge backlog of people trying—or labs trying to get the equipment in they may just end up throwing their hands up and saying why are we fighting this and maybe listen to the vast majority of Texans who believe that at the very least, marijuana should be decriminalized.
DEAN BECKER: Well for me, you know I am an old hippy. I try to look at it – I am out on the road, I’m smoking some hemp I see those lights flashing, I pull over – there’s smoke drifting out the window. In the old days the cop would immediately say, “I smell weed, get out of the car”—and look and search and look up our rears and whatever, but the point is now he cannot make that determination. He can see a big bag of weed sitting on the dashboard of some kind of cannabis sitting on the dashboard, but that still doesn’t give him justification to search that bag, to search me or my car. This is just my hippie perspective. They no longer have probable cause because they can’t test that stuff out there on the side of the highway, either. Your response there, Will?
WILL HUTSON: Well that’s the question. The question is whether or not the odor of marijuana gives instant probable cause to search a car. There have been a couple of states that have said that the odor of marijuana no longer gives probable cause to search. Now that is not Texas yet and I am sure there’s gonna be a fight over that and it’s gonna take some litigation to make that determination. I don’t know which way it’s gonna go, honestly. I don’t really have a feel for it but I do imagine that’s gonna be the next big fight as far as probable cause to search is concerned because if we can’t—like if said, if we don’t know whether its marijuana or hemp any more, than we don’t know that what is burning or what was burning or what the cop thinks he smells in the car is actually a controlled substance because it no longer is defined as a controlled substance strictly.
DEAN BECKER: I have seen stories of hemp producers in one state shipping a batch on a semi-truck going to another state and that truck getting pulled over and being accused of hauling regular marijuana. A lot of truck drivers jailed, the contents impounded, etc., etc., there’s a big fight in that to head here isn’t there?
WILL HUTSON: Oh absolutely. Absolutely and it’s anybody’s guess how it’s gonna go, everything is kind of state by state these days. The states that have legalized or decriminalized possession are probably going to be in favor of –you know, we’re not gonna do that—we’re not gonna say that that equals probable cause. States like Texas, the more conservative red states – that there’s gonna be more of a fight. Like I say, I think that will be the next thing.
DEAN BECKER: Will, the fact of the matter is you know, the vape pens—that’s gotta be one subject that’s got to be determined because some of those vape pens have CBD and very little THC. But the real telling point I think is in edibles because it only takes about one half gram of marijuana to make a viable dose within a cookie or a brownie or whatever and it just seems that that’s been extrapolated, overblow, over penalized that it is an automatic felony. I want to get your thoughts in that regard, please?
WILL HUTSON: Well it is—you’re correct, Dean. Under Texas law if anybody is out there making edibles this is what they need to know; Texas law allows law enforcement prosecutors to consider the entire weight of the edible, not just the THC content, not just the contraband, so to speak, that is contained in it so maybe the best way to explain it would be to watch our video called, “Pot Brownies”, which you can find on YouTube, and as I explained in the forward of the video, if you take a little bit of THC, cannabis, whatever and infuse it in to anything, they get to measure the entire weight of the product so if you have a pound and a half tray of pot brownies that’s treated as if it’s a pound and a half of heroin and that would be a first degree felony and you could get life in prison. It’s not about the THC content – it’s about the entire weight of the product and that is something that still has to be worked out even under this new definition of hemp vs. marijuana because if you read closely, that legislation actually talks about they have to have what is called the dry weight of the product—of the THC. Now I don’t know how you dry out a vape pen to figure that out and I recently went to a law seminar put on by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, so this was the prosecutor’s seminar on legislation that had changed, it was their legislative update. If they were shrugging their shoulders not knowing what dry weight means. It sounds like it’s very easy to define – dry weight is dry weight. Well, is drying out the cannabis then going to increase the concentration of THC? There are several questions that are unanswered and they are unanswered nationwide. No one knows. So it’s going to take litigation, it’s going to take really good advocacy on the part of defense attorneys to put their best foot forward and try to figure this mess out.
DEAN BECKER: Been speaking with Mr. Will Hutson, Will is there a website and any closing thoughts you’d like to share?
WILL HUTSON: Yeah, sure. I appreciate it. Our website is www.centraltexaslegal.com, and you can link to some of our videos there. We’ve done videos on—probably our biggest one is, “Don’t Eat Your Weed”, and also another one popular called “Pot Brownies”, and we have some that deal with civil law as well and you can always find us on YouTube, you can search Hutson and Harris, and you can see all of our videos there. Dean, I appreciate the time that you’ve given me today, and you can call me any time.
DEAN BECKER: Alright then. The folks there, they remind me a bit of the Smother’s Brother’s. I think you’ll agree.
WILL HUTSON: Laughter
Music – Nobody knows if its pot or if its hemp, they’ve got to show the THC content. Is it pot or is it not, is the THC a little or a lot, nobody knows, nobody knows, YOU DON’T know, nobody knows, ESPECIALLY you.
DEAN BECKER: Labor Day weekend, a major marijuana conference was held in Austin, Texas. The keynote speaker was the District Attorney of Houston, Harris County, Texas and friend of the show, Kim Ogg.
KIM OGG: --And when the legislature legalized hemp, good for them! They cut a big fiscal note that had been attached to that bill. Anybody who’s done legislature work knows when you propose a law in Texas, Texans want to know how much it’s gonna cost them, and there it was as I understand it, another 37 million dollar fiscal note attached to the legalization of hemp proposal. So the Department of Public Safety and the other folks who are responsible for lab testing of drugs, DNA and other physical evidence in Texas weren’t ignorant, they weren’t caught off guard. They were prepared and they told legislators how much it would cost and our legislature ixnayed that idea and so we got legalized hemp, but we got a new standard on marijuana. Now, when laws are applied differently in different jurisdictions that confuses people. Again, especially our young people and I think it puts us in a position of trying to defend a patchwork of application of laws that can’t be equal if we’re not applying them equally and if we have different policies in different counties as the D.A.’s, it creates uneven application of the law. Remember, I am against that. So I called a lot of D.A.’s starting with Judge Wilson and went for Cruz up in Dallas, Gonzales in San Antonio, Moore, and Estimeet here in Austin, Gonzales in Nueces County, Middleton in Fort Bend County – I called my friends and I said, “I think we should do something collectively”. Three of them agreed and so from Harris County down in Corpus Christi – from Corpus to San Antonio and back through Fort Bend you’ve got an agreement among D.A.’s that without testing, marijuana cases are not going to be filed. With testing they will be filed. Now in the felony amounts I can tell you we all agree because nobody wants to sanction the delivery and dealing of drugs especially when it comes through by the 18-wheeler full. We’re not gonna be for that. So we’re gonna help law enforcement find solutions and find money to test large quantities of drugs moving through our counties. Delivery of marijuana—you’re mine but simple possession—go in peace. Go after the legislature in terms of law changes. You know how to do it, you are organized, you have lobbyist, you have human interest stories that I can’t compete with. The Veteran’s at this conference—the Veteran’s that I meet all the time, we need to help you. It only seems fair and you know it does. You kept our country safe, you still do. So we need some compassion in our law. We need some reasonableness, we need some responsibility and you need to elect people with the political will to do your will.
DEAN BECKER: What will it take to motivate you to speak of what’s before your eyes. Exactly why I do what I do and again I remind you because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.