01/27/21 Debby Goldsberry

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Debby Goldsberry
Magnolia Wellness

Debby Goldsberry, long time cannabis activist and dispensary owner re covid caravans of cannabis criminals, pricing, Debby is author of Staring and Running a Marijuana Business. + Houston DA Kim Ogg indicts 12 cops for corruption and 2 for murder of drug users

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: (00:30)
If they stop Afghanistan from growing opium and they cut down the Colombian cocaine. When in Mexico runs out of marijuana will quit getting high, but the drug store on the corner, it was sanding. Buy me loose, set me free, judge. What I do, not what I put inside of me. Why do you get PIP in my pocket? My rocket who died and made you boss and me get out of my life. Let me be Pfizer and Merck. Kill more of us in a car, tills, crap, ever food. Thank us for our silence. Each year's a hundred billion dollars and the chance to do it for album or drugs first term, or cut me loose. Set me free, judge. What I do, not what I put inside of me. Why do my pocket just letting me live? My rocket, you boss me. Get out of my life. Let me be. Are we just peasants in the field? Let's stand for truth or ever heal. Every 16 seconds. We hear the slamming door and we owe it all to a char wall. The first eternal war.

DEAN BECKER: (02:30)
Hi friends. Welcome to this edition of cultural baggage. I am Dean Becker. The Reverend most high that song you heard is called eternal war. It was sung by yours. Truly. Sorry about that. Uh, we're going to be talking about corruption, uh, in Houston and around the world, around the globe a little bit later in the show, but first up, we're going to talk about a lighter subject marijuana, one of the pioneers and, uh, the advances being made California.

DEAN BECKER: (03:00)
Let's get to it. Well, folks, she's been our guest a few times over the years and, um, I'm proud to have with us once again, the author of starting and running a marijuana business, the idiot's guide, uh, a lady with decades of experience in the cannabis industry. Uh, one welcome Debby Goldsberry, hailed. Hello, Debbie. Hey, nice to be here, Debbie. Um, well, let's, let's talk about your experience for a minute. And you have been at this for at least 20 something years. Have you not?

I think 32 years. Yeah, my first, uh, pot rally, the great Midwest marijuana harvest festival back in 1986, the late great Ben Maizel organize those things forever.

DEAN BECKER: (03:46)
Right. And Ben, yeah, he was a pioneer. Was he not? Absolutely. Yes, he was. Yeah. We're losing a few, uh, over the recent years here, but uh, if you, you lived in Berkeley now or Oakland, where are you?

Yeah, Oakland, California, Oakland.

DEAN BECKER: (04:03)
And last I was aware, I, I got to visit your dispensary Magnolia, um, wellness if I got the name right. And, uh, with the COVID and, uh, I don't know the focus of the police kind of changing, et cetera. There have been several burglaries, robberies of dispensaries out there in Oakland. Um, uh, tell us a little bit about that if you will, please.

Yeah, it's been really awful. Um, Oakland is known for being an innovative city, but unfortunately we innovated this new form of crime, uh, caravan robberies. This is where, um, an announcement goes out on Instagram. Everybody show up at a certain place at a certain time and we're gonna all hit it at the same time. So the cannabis industry became the targets of, uh, these caravan robberies where all, all of the dispensaries in Oakland were targeted on the same three-day weekend. Small businesses were targeted all around town. Uh, pharmacies were robbed all around town. Um, it was just a horrific experience for everybody involved. This is, um, the end of may, beginning of June. And it was just a new thing for the police department. They were caught completely unawares. They didn't know how to handle it. They put a bunch of protocols in place. They had an idea, and then it happened again on election night.

Um, and a bunch of cannabis businesses were hit again by caravan robberies. Um, in between there was another little mini attack. So three different times the cannabis industry was hit by these caravan robberies in Oakland. Um, uh, people died. It, it was a mess, not at any of my facilities, but, um, but there were definitely, uh, several associated deaths. Um, this isn't what any of us signed up for it, what a mess. Um, the police have really had to scale up their response. Um, and, uh, again, it's not what we want because as far as I know now, from what I heard from the police to what they announced is they've got, um, 300, uh, police officers on call from res corresponding or close by districts. And from maybe the state police ready to flow into Oakland, if it happens again, um, and they intend to stop it.

So this is not good at all. Let me tell you not good at all. My shop was hit. Um, we were robbed a few times over the course of 24 hours and we lost everything. Um, I look, I stepped back a little bit. I own the shop, Magnolia wellness still. We did get it reopened, but honestly, Dean, I didn't want to go back in there. I got a little bit of PTSD. I watched the cameras, I saw the guys, um, it just isn't what I wanted to do. So I, uh, took a step back and turned my management role over to, um, to some people who've been friends of our dispensary for a long time. Um, almost like a sister company. And so they're in there doing the corporate recovery for us, propping up the company, getting it restarted. And um, and yeah, so that's, what's happening now on the flip side, my other shop in Berkeley had no problems because, uh, it's a very small city. Um, none of the Berkeley shops got hit at all now. They haven't been hit one single time. So, uh, knock on wood. Everything's going just fine. And as always in Berkeley, and in fact in Berkeley, we barely have seen a, even a downturn due to COVID where a lot of the businesses have been hit hard by COVID, but we haven't experienced that. So I'm going to say that's a 50 50, uh, plus or minus like life often is. Um, so that's where I'm at. Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: (07:45)
Well, and Debbie, I want to, I don't know, kind of just get, get another opinion or assessment if you will. Um, with the COVID I see reports online that, uh, uh, the use of cannabis is actually going up, uh, the use of alcohol is going down. Uh, would you agree with that assessment?

I'm not sure what the use of alcohol is. Like. I would say that the use of cannabis is steadily trended upwards. Um, what we've seen is, uh, the only place you see a downturn really right now, I think is in brick and mortar retail, because a lot of people switched over to home delivery. So, um, so that's the only change. It shifted a little, the sales shifted a little bit away from retail towards home delivery. Uh, maybe somewhere between 25, 15% of sales actually flipped from retail to home delivery.

DEAN BECKER: (08:35)
No, I live in Texas where, you know, basically it's all illegal here. We, we have some, uh, provision that allows for weak hemp to be sold, but we, we don't have actual marijuana being sold in this state. And the, and the prices here range from 200 to four announced still. And as I hear from, uh, Oregon in particular, it's down at a hundred and under, in some cases, have you seen the same thing happening there in California?

We're now seeing prices out low? No. I mean maybe, maybe, well, yeah, come to think of it. I mean, a pound of fairly decent cannabis right now, um, can be bought at the distribution level for, um, $800 maybe, maybe between six and $800. That's not top shelf. That's not even mid grade, that's kind of a step below, but something that you and I would still be happy to, um, consume in a joint or in our bong. Um, so yeah, then you know, that, that breaks down well below a hundred dollars an ounce when you break it out by the ounce, but you know, if you still have to Keystone at a retail, um, that's a different story. So yeah, I'd say the prices are, um, the prices have not dropped hugely significantly over the course of the year. I wouldn't say.

DEAN BECKER: (09:53)
Okay. And, um, as a comparison that six to $800 you're talking about, well, it'd be I'm in Texas. I can tell you that's what a pound of Mexicans selling for here in this state right now. So I'd much rather swap that out. I'm pretty sure if I could. I mean, you have been a pioneer yourself really? Uh, you, you talk about 32 years. If I remember you said you've been at this, um, give us a sampler, um, uh, your understanding, your perspective, what it was like back then, was it something like Texas? I mean, were there people going to prison for minor amounts of marijuana and, and how has that changed now? What would it take to actually get in trouble for weed in California now?

Uh, Oh, okay. Back in the day, it was bad because the laws allowed the police to stop anybody that looked like they smoked marijuana. That was a probable cause for a stop and search. And, um, and so people were getting stopped all the time. They're getting searched all the time. They were getting sent to jail. Um, a lot of state States had misdemeanor infractions, you know, in the seventies they had, they had stopped criminalizing in, uh, put them in jail type of way, but they they'd be like, Oh, you get a ticket, but it's still a misdemeanor on your record so that it's doing nobody, any favors. Um, so yeah, the environment's way better. Um, that is for sure.

DEAN BECKER: (11:24)
Now, is there a chance we'd feed him a hamburger or something?

I know I'm going to go lock them upstairs. Do you mind if I just take

DEAN BECKER: (11:30)
A second, take a minute. That's fine. That's fine. All right. This gives us a chance to take a quick break here. We'll be right back in about a minute. Okay.

DEAN BECKER: (11:41)
It's time to play name that drug by its side effects, welling of the tongue crease, bone marrow fever, chills infection, nervous system degeneration, confusion, loss of consciousness, fatigue, memory loss, muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, seizure, speech, disturbance cancer.

DEAN BECKER: (11:54)
And that time's up the answer. Love Amazon, a dog dewormer that has become America's number one, cutting agent for cocaine.

DEAN BECKER: (12:04)
Well, once again, we're speaking with Debby Goldsberry. She's the author of starting and running a marijuana business. I got a picture of it right here for you. It's still available out there on Amazon and elsewhere. Now, Debbie and your expertise and, and folks should be, should realize that you have that experience. You've been, uh, working for the Berkeley patients group. Uh, I think, uh, as maybe your first dispensary, I'm not sure, but you have, as you say, now, the Magnolia wellness and, and a new shop that I'm, I guess, unaware of, uh, in Oakland, um, that, uh, you know, in Berkeley, uh, as you said that, uh, um, you know, shows your expertise, your ability to, uh, to run these shops. But as you indicated with these caravan robberies, you described them as, uh, it kind of took away the, the glory from working at Magnolia and you're, you're probably looking for a different type of job, a different situation. What, what are you looking for?

Well, thank you. Okay. Let me say this. The cannabis industry has become very difficult for mom and pop companies. So Magnolia, even though we had 10 companies hit in Oakland with these caravan robberies, Magnolia is one of the only ones that were mom and pop. So the other companies like Harbor side, um, or if I tology, they could count on the parent company to fund the rebuild, but a company like Magnolia, that's mom and pop, we tried to get the money to rebuild. We couldn't get federal money, we couldn't get state money. We couldn't get city money and finding money on the private market for a dispensary. That's just been robbed by 20 armed robbers. It's a little bit of a challenge. Let me say this. So, um, so yeah, but like I was mentioning, I just didn't feel, I just didn't, it, it takes a lot to come back from that and it takes a form of energy that was beyond what I felt so down, seeing the place shredded during these robberies, I didn't feel like I had the energy, it was going to take to bring the thing back.

So I turned it over to my friends who had a bigger company, um, who were partnered with my CFO for a long time. Who's been running the shop with me all these years and turn management over to them so we can stay small ownership, but we're in a bigger, um, we're in a bigger vertical with these guys who have more shops across California for economy of scale and stuff like that. Giving me an opportunity to step aside from my daily role, knowing that competent people are running the shop. So, so yeah, I left my daily role in Magnolia because I really want to fulfill my own vision, which is more mission, mission, and values based, which is helping small mom and pop companies survive in the cannabis industry, starting from when we used to be small growers and dealers up until now, when we can go and get legal, but we have to compete with all of these challenges in a market that's dominated by multi-state operators.

So my goal is, and continues be to be, uh, a small business management coach, mentor and consultant, helping smaller cannabis businesses, both get their permits and then survive in the marketplace. Um, doing everything from helping, uh, develop business plans, developing brand strategies, uh, being a brand coach, helping people figure out how to, uh, to build their brands and get them in shops. Um, and just doing every kind of small business management that I could do to help, uh, mommy Poppins, all businesses, both get licenses and stamp business and compete against these big giant companies, because there has been a trend over the last, especially since 2018 and an accelerated trend towards rolling up small businesses into bigger companies. And if we can maintain a foundation and footing for small businesses, maybe we can stay on the same track that I've been on since 1986, which has cannabis is a healing plant that spreads peace and kindness.

And it's not a commodity that's attached to a dollar bill and nothing else. So, so yeah, so I'm doing a lot of consulting right now and also just looking for small business projects to join, um, to help add that expertise to people's teams. And I've always done it by the way. I've only worked part-time for Magnolia all this time, even though I was a CEO running the show, a small shop can't afford a full-time CEO. So I've always been part-time with my own entrepreneurship and part-time helping other people. So, so right now, yeah. Um, I am for hire you're a cannabis expert.

DEAN BECKER: (16:22)
Well, tell folks how they can get in touch with you then.

Um, I'm on other social medias, Debby Goldsberry w with the Y um, you can find me, um, and then, uh, wow, good question. Email me D Goldsberry two And I'm always an ear for throwing some advice towards you. And if you're looking to hire you, you know, maybe we can find a good hit at fit and we can, uh, help your company build a foundation that you can grow from and stick around as long as you want to stick around.

DEAN BECKER: (16:55)
And I, I just got to give you a strong, uh, reference recommendation, and I've known Debbie for decades. Now I know that she's a straight shooter, she's intelligent, knowledgeable, uh, you wouldn't go wrong, hiring her to help your efforts. Thank you, Debbie. I, I, uh, I think about you, you talked about big marijuana and I think we talked about it a little bit last time. Uh, we, we spoke that, um, the big players in Canada were able to go to hit their stock market, so to speak, to present their companies and, and reaped in millions of hundreds of millions of dollars. And that money has been used to buy up, uh, many of the efforts in the United States and elsewhere. Um, it's, it's, I, I I'll say it a, a threat. Would you agree with that? Absolutely. It's sort

Of undermining the original vision that many of us got involved in, you know, 30 years ago, 10 years ago, um, have built using cannabis as a, uh, crop that is used for right. Livelihood and healing. So, yeah, it's, I think I find it's undermining and there, and there's really nothing we can do about it except build our own company stronger. Um, be the stronger brand, attract the clients, using our, our vision and values and, um, outperform the big companies.

DEAN BECKER: (18:18)
Yeah, no, I think I had told you last time, my, I don't know for decades, my goal was to open up a little strip center shop, uh, shopping center, uh, uh, location, you know, maybe 800 square feet Beckers buckets just to grow my own and, and, and sell that. But, uh, uh, that seems very unlikely given our current circumstance and the growth of these multinationals, am I right?

Well, it'd be very hard and you know why it's because, you know, they, they can have a purchase power level of purchase power that none of us mom and pops can have. If somebody has got 10, 15, 20, 60 dispensary's, and they're purchasing for all of them through centralized purchasing, they obviously have a bigger buy and a lower wholesale cost me. They have a lower retail cost and it just all spirals from there.

DEAN BECKER: (19:11)
Yeah. Yeah. It's um, it's hard to compete against that sort of thing. Oh, well, Debbie, what am I leaving out? What's happening in California? That, that folks should know what, what's a hot off the press,

Pandemic recovery, you know, that's, what's hot off the press. The dispensaries are coming back. We're all looking at what's going to happen in the future. Um, we are looking towards the end of the year 2021, just going to be about slow, incremental growth and just continue to foundation build. And then I think you're going to see just an explosion of creativity, um, incredible cannabis. Uh, you know, as you can imagine, the growers right now are, are doing nothing but thinking about the killer crop, they're going to create over the next six months with nothing else to do, but give love and attention to that crop. So I think that you can expect an incredible crop out of California come this fall and, uh, excellent prices, cannabis tourism coming back in a big way. Um, the onsite cannabis consumption, lounges coming back, and maybe some of the joy coming back to being a cannabis community. So that's what I'm preparing for. Anyway, getting back with the community, um, being together face to face, uh, consuming cannabis as a way to sort of uplift our minds, our ways of thinking in our creativity and our, just our passion for the things that we have passion for

DEAN BECKER: (20:32)
Sure. Well, all right. Uh, let's say what Debbie, I'm going to wrap it up for now. I want to thank you for, I don't know, for just hanging in there for, um, your commitment to this effort over the decades. And, and I want to, I don't know, get your thoughts, your pep talk, if you will. Um, there are people here in Texas that want to change the cannabis laws. They, they almost secretly want to change them. They, they very seldom contact their legislators or newspapers or broadcasters to try to, um, I don't know, influence or change the situation. And I guess what I'm trying to say is that in California, it was courage from day one. It seems to me that, that there were people that stood boldly. I think of Eddie left. I think of, uh, um, you know, Richard Lee and, and others who stood boldly sold marijuana, uh, against the state and federal law, even though it was embraced, if you will, in Oakland. Um, it's hard for me to imagine a city in Texas allowing that to start up, but it takes courage. Does it not?

Yeah. And it's good. It's always starts local. You know, that's what happens. It starts with a few local cities passing ordinances. They usually say something like we're going to do this once the state law changes. So a few cities start passing laws that say, we're going to do this when the state law changes suddenly the pressure or the interest perks up, you know, from the people at the state. Well, we've got this city in this city and this city with these ordinances on the book, maybe we should look at what's happening at the state level. So yeah, people who are passionate should actually just pick up the phone and call their local elected officials and their state officials, because they might find somebody more receptive on the other end of the phone that then they imagined because the legislators and elected officials, they don't do anything that the voters don't ask them to do. So they might just be sitting there waiting for the vulnerable voters to ask them to do this, having a secret passion for it, but nobody's put the political, giving them the political will. So call don't be afraid. Call your elected officials. They're probably going to be happier to hear from you than you think. And you might actually make movement that you never imagined you could make just by picking up the phone and getting something like that. Done.

DEAN BECKER: (22:59)
Alright. Then one last time, um, Debby Goldsberry, an expert, um, very knowledgeable person, uh, looking for some new, um, professional work. She is seriously knowledgeable. She wrote this book starting and running a marijuana business. And if you'd like to, um, gain her expertise, I'm sure she'd like to hear from you. Tell them one more time, how they can reach you. Debbie,

Just email me D Goldsberry two

DEAN BECKER: (23:33)
Thank you. All right. Good. Very good. That was rather painless. I'll come on up.

Totally painless.

DEAN BECKER: (23:40)
And, um, I thank you for your time, Debbie, and thanks so much.

DEAN BECKER: (23:47)
That is the sound of the hitting the fan from New York time, a launder Mexican profits of drug cartel.

DEAN BECKER: (24:04)
The fact is the stuff has been hitting the fan for so long that the residue now covers the globe in a stinky layer of corruption and evil. Here comes a story from Fox news out of Houston, Texas. My hometown, where at one time the da was locking up more people than any city on this planet. I used to open the show with a braise broadcasting from the Gulag filling station of planet earth. At that time. So many people were being thrown in jail. They were sleeping under the bunks in the hallways. They were hauling them to different cities every morning, uh, via buses to, uh, up till the time that the da had to quit because of his own drug abuse, the same city where the crime lab had several fiascos where the police now are showing their as well. Again, this is thanks to Fox news.

FOX NEWS: (25:05)
Tonight, six more Houston police officers now indicted for their involvement and the deadly no-knock raid on Harding street. It's been nearly two years ago, two years to the day. In fact, now that the botch narcotics bus will lead to the deaths of two Houstonians and then opened an investigation into what now appears to be a wider, organized corruption effort within the department, Fox 26 is Natalie joining us with what we learned today. Hi Natalie, either Kaitlin, Jonathan, good evening, while the indictment of those six officers today now brings the grand total up to 12 Houston police officers that have now been indicted or charged in connection to this case of those six officers today, one was indicted for murder and five others. Others indicted for organized criminal activity.

FOX NEWS: (25:57)
On Monday Harris County district attorney came off announced the names of six additional Houston police officers that have been indicted in connection to the deadly drug rate on Harding street in January of 2019, those six narcotics officers, former and current join another six from HBD squad, 15 who were previously indicted or charged with the various felonies, bringing the grand total up to 12 officers. What we consider a game changer in terms of how narcotics policing and prosecution maybe handled in the future, not just here but elsewhere. Philippe Gayegos will now face first degree felony murder becoming the second officer to be indicted for murder. On the case. Last year, Gerald Goins was indicted for two counts of felony murder. Da org says the developments now wrap up a two year investigation into the shooting that led to the deaths of Dennis Tuttle, Regina Nicholas, and their dog four Houston police officers were also shot and wounded.

FOX NEWS: (26:56)
One paralyzed to this day. The investigation determined first that going slide to judge to obtain a no-knock warrant. And that officers had been involved on that squad in a long-term scheme to steal overtime money from the city of Houston. And the statement on Twitter, Houston police, chief art Acevedo, is that in part, I have said many times that the other officers involved in the incident, including the officer in data today had no involvement in obtaining the warrant and responded appropriately to the deadly threat, posed to them during its service. The total family's attorney also released a statement saying in part, what is clear is that squad 15 was allowed to develop and thrive for years as a completely untethered, dangerous and lawless culture with no accountability whatsoever. Now the district attorney's office as their work to uncover corruption when the Houston police department will continue.

DEAN BECKER: (27:56)
I want to thank you for being with us on today's edition of cultural baggage. I want to thank Debby Goldsberry for her time. Want to wish her good luck in finding new professional work out there on the West coast. And I want to invite you to join us next week when our guest will be the former president of Switzerland, uh, Ruth Dreifuss, we're going to be talking about the global commission on drugs and the need to expose an end, the madness of this eternal prohibition. And again, I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. And I urge you to please be careful

DEAN BECKER: (28:33)
To the drug truth network listeners around the world. This is Dean Becker for cultural baggage and the unvarnished truth. Cultural baggage is of production of the civical radio network. Archives are permanently stored at the James A. Baker, the third Institute for public policy, and we are all still tapped on the edge of an abyss.

02/05/20 Beto O'Rourke

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Beto O'Rourke
Debby Goldsberry
Magnolia Wellness

Beto O'Rourke discusses Houston's Harding street bust/fiasco, Trump, guns, drug war, rights & more + Debby Goldsberry on growing cannabis industry

Audio file



FEBRUARY 5, 2020

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

Hi folks, I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High. Thank you for being with us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. A bit later we will hear from Debbie Goldsberry who is looking for a job in the cannabis industry, but first up…

MALE VOICE: Hey, Dean. It’s Beto. How are you?

DEAN BECKER: Oh, I am good. It is good to hear your voice, Sir. How are you?

BETO O’ROURKE: Likewise. I am good.

DEAN BECKER: Well friends it has been about nine or ten months since I have had the chance to speak with my friend, Beto O’Rourke, he is a retired congressman but I think there is more to come from this gentleman. He recently ran for U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Ted Cruz, and of course you know he was one of the major candidates running for President of these United States. From El Paso, Texas, my friend, Beto O’Rourke. How are you, Sir?

BETO O’ROURKE: I am doing great. I am back in El Paso and I am talking to you again which is a good thing. I always appreciate you and the work that you have been doing, as well as your ability to bring more people in to a really important conversation for the country. Thank you for having me on your show.

DEAN BECKER: Well, thank you, Beto. I know you have been here in Texas in and around the Houston area quite a bit over the last several weeks knocking on doors and motivating Texans to get out and vote, correct?

BETO O’ROURKE: That’s right. There are a bunch of really important State House seats that are being contested right now and as you probably know, Democrats are only nine seats down from commanding a majority in the State House for the first time since 2001. What that means is that not only did we stop the bad stuff such as the racist gerrymandering that is in effect in Texas, or the permissive gun laws that have led to Texas being one of the deadliest states when it comes to gun violence. It means that we can make progress on the things that we are excited about including when it comes to our laws about drug policy and incarceration as well as use of force in our communities. These elections are critically important and we have been out knocking on doors with a group called Powered by People, and essentially we bring volunteers together from all over the state to knock on doors in important State House races, including those in the Metro Houston area, Metro Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and all over the state. That is what I am focused on right now and I am really enjoying the work.

DEAN BECKER: Beto, in regards to your thought about guns, as a security policeman back in the day I was a marksman, 500 out of 500 with an M16 and I am a gun owner, but I agree with you, Sir in that we have to do something. In the past couple of days there have been these masked citizens roaming the Virginia State House in full military regalia with M16s and multiple clips, and body armor. It is running off the rails! There is something that needs fixing. Is there not?

BETO O’ROURKE: There really is and when you combine that with this strain of white nationalism that has emerged during the Trump presidency. White nationalism has always been a part of America for as long as there has been an America, but this new strain that has people in these outfits that you just described, and many of whom do not have any military service yet are dressed as though they are in the military including with these face masks, body armor as you mentioned and weapons of war. These AR15s, AK47s are variants of what service members have carried in to battle going all the way back to Viet Nam. I think this is something that we have to squarely confront or just accept and be consumed by it. My hometown of El Paso saw someone who drove 600 miles from Allen, Texas with an AK47 and walked in to a Walmart in this community and opened fire on people and killing 22. He told police afterwards that he came to kill Mexicans and he posted a manifesto before the massacre saying that he was going to stop this invasion of Hispanics who are coming to this country. In many ways he was parroting the style and the content of President Trump’s speeches and Tweets. So we are up against armed racism in America and not just with shotguns and hand guns but armed with weapons of war. You are right, we have got to do something about it.

DEAN BECKER: The gentleman that you speak of there, he was able to legally carry his weapon across the parking lot and in to that Walmart because of these new allowances for open carry and so forth, but the moment that he pulled the trigger he became a criminal. We have got to find a better means to prevent that situation from just instantly turning from harmless to deadly.

BETO O’ROURKE: That is right. I think on the remedies for this you really have a lot of concurrence between Democrats and Republicans, gun owners and non-gun owners. Most people think you should have a universal background check and there should not be exemptions or loopholes. Most people believe there should be some kind of extreme risk protection order. In fact, the killer that we are talking about that massacred 22 people in El Paso, Texas’ mother called the police in Allen, Texas wondering why her son needed this weapon of war and the police told her there was nothing they could do about it. If she felt that he was going to be a danger to himself or someone else there should have been some mechanism she could have employed to stop him. These extreme risk protection orders would do that. I think there is now a majority in this country, and maybe a majority in Texas that agrees that weapons of war should not be sold to civilians. Those should be kept on the battlefield because they are intended solely to kill people in devastatingly high numbers as quickly as possible. We may not agree on every point, no two people ever will but I think there is consensus on the big steps that we can take so we have to stay focused on that and not throw up our hands or just assume that this is our fate. There is some control that we have over our future.

DEAN BECKER: Beto, this is a bit of conjecture, but it is based on a lifetime of experience and analysis. In the 60s when I was a kid in high school kids would drive their daddy’s truck to school and park it out in the school parking lot with a shotgun and a rifle in the rack. I guess what I am saying is that it is not just the guns. It is a perspective. I want to submit this and then I will get your response, Sir. The drug war has driven a lot of violence and has created a situation where more people are in danger because of drugs where cops are carrying more deadly guns, SWAT teams are raiding, etc., etc. We have escalated the perspectives, the violence, the possibilities and a lot of it hinges on our thought that the drug war is necessary. What is your thought there, Beto O’Rourke?

BETO O’ROURKE: I think you are right on the money. You have roughly 327 million people living in this country and you have 390 million guns – you don’t see that anywhere else in the world. What you also don’t see in almost any other country in the world is the kind of extreme prohibition policies that we have employed since the 1930s in this country when it comes to a war on drugs. It was a war that was certainly accelerated by President Nixon who gave it that name. It was made even worse under President Reagan, but it was also a war that was supported by democrats and republicans alike. As we know, in a black market where you have no recourse to the court system, or law enforcement to adjudicate a difference, you have to do that on your own if you are involved in the black market of selling drugs so very often that is resolved at the end of a gun and with violence. When you add to that these evermore heavily armed police officers and the kind of no-knock raids that we are seeing throughout the United States – you have been sharing with your listeners information about the Harding Street raid last year that ended in the death of a couple and their dog with very light if nonexistent evidence that there was any crime being committed within the house – you begin to understand why in addition to having more guns than any other country per capita, we also have more gun deaths than any other country in the world. So you are right. There are a number of factors but the dominant one is this war on drugs and the prohibitionary policies that we employ and the need for those who are involved in the black market to arm themselves and resolve differences through violence and the police were enforcing these drug laws to use extreme violence and extreme, almost military like tactics in order to enforce the law.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you, Beto. It just goes on and on. In today’s Houston Chronicle there is another story that Kim Ogg who is our district attorney here in Houston is reversing the conviction of another person who was sent to prison by the lies of this Officer Goins who headed up that Harding Street raid. The full disclosure has not been brought forward yet. The house was shot up – who shot who – they were shooting through the walls. There are a of details that are missing and I often like to point out that every day of the drug war is training day because there is always this thought that drug users are less than sterling citizens and there are a lot of short circuits taken in their treatment. Your thought there, please.

BETO O’ROURKE: I agree with you. We put police officers in a really terrible, and many cases untenable position. I respect them as they have a really tough job. They are the ones who step up in order to keep us safe and who are willing to put their lives on the line for us and now we have asked them to do the impossible and to stop the consumption of illegal drugs, including marijuana which as you know, Dean, is legal in more than half the states in the country and yet in our state of Texas, you are still asking police officers to arrest people, raid homes, and put their lives on the line or potentially take the lives of others in the name of an unwinnable war that is doing nothing to reduce the availability of marijuana or its consumption in this state or the rest of the county. It is doing nothing to divert the profits that are going to those who are selling marijuana. The intended goals of the war on drugs have been completely unmet and who is paying the price? Every day Americans, primarily black and brown Americans who are disproportionately stopped, disproportionately frisked, disproportionately arrested and incarcerated and the police and the entire mechanism of our criminal justice system that facilitates this is immoral on so many different levels and hurts so many different people in our communities and throughout our country.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you for that, Beto. I noticed during your run for the Presidency that every Democratic candidate has come forward calling for the end of marijuana prohibition. Some have talked about ending the drug war, though I haven’t heard many details on stopping the funding to terrorists growing the flowers, or the cartels bringing the powders, or the gangs selling the contaminated crap to our kids on the street corner but the idea is growing. The possibility that someone will take that big leap is hopefully around the corner. Your thought, Beto.

BETO O’ROURKE: Yes, I think so. I think it will really matter when you have somebody in a position of public trust and in power such as the next President of the United States who can through their Department of Justice begin to implement a far more humane policy when it comes to the use of drugs in this country and the way that the criminal justice system is used to address some of these challenges. There are so many families that I have met whose sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers have succumbed to illegal drug use and that could be prescription drug use that they have abused, it can be opioids whether prescribed or whether it’s bought on the street like heroin. It can be other drugs and one of the things that has really hit home for me is that all of those are opportunities for compassion, opportunities to expand the way that our public health system meets that challenge. Almost none of them qualify for time spent behind bars or involvement in the criminal justice system and yet that is precisely what we do to them right now which almost compounds their misery and their suffering. I am confident that when we have a President who employs a far more humane, rational, logical policy when it comes to this that we will to your point, Dean, be able to focus limited resources on those who are helping to create some of the chaos and havoc and the harm that we are seeing in our communities such as those who would traffic in fentanyl or in heroin, or frankly let’s call it out for what it is – those pharmaceutical corporations that have been able to market the opioids to prescribers and doctors with complete impunity though they have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of our fellow Americans. Let’s train our law enforcement focus on them and make sure that there is true accountability and that they serve some time. That is what’s necessary to stop this kind of behavior. So you are right, I think we have an opportunity to completely rethink and reorient our drug policy in this country and the outcome could be many more lives saved, many fewer billions of dollars spent, and better outcomes in general for all concerned. That is what I would like to see and that is what I am going to continue to advocate for.

DEAN BECKER: Friends, I remind you once again that we are speaking with Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Beto, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the hot topic, if you will. What is going on in the United States Senate and how they are addressing this impeachment effort and what it means now and for the future?

BETO O’ROURKE: Well I am really concerned, Dean, that this is a complete abdication of the Senate’s responsibilities to this country and to their sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution; the rule of law in the United States. What we are seeing happen in real time is the transition from a republic to a monarchy or a dictatorship where you no longer have coequal branches of government that are able to check untrammeled power and you have a concentration of that power in the hands of a chief executive who is completely shameless in using it to further his own advantage and the advantage of his political party so this bodes ill for the future of this country. I think our last best hope is really the 2020 elections and that’s elections all up and down the ballot from the Presidential election, of course but also the U.S. Senate elections given the fact that the Senate so horribly failed in the task before it and the State House elections, including the State House here in Texas. We have a lot of work to do, but his work has never been more important or more critical and I have never been more grateful to be engaged. That is the challenge we have. We just have to see if this country is up to that challenge.

DEAN BECKER: It’s an oligarchy, if I have pronounced that correctly. It is trying to parallel Russia and Putin’s plan, isn’t it? It is just crazy!

BETO O’ROURKE: It is the worst that we have seen our government in our lifetimes. You would have to go back to Andrew Johnson or some of the really horrible Presidents before the Civil War to see this level of malfeasance and betrayal of the ideas and the ideals of America as well as the rule of law in our Constitution. It is bad and I hope that we are up to it.

DEAN BECKER: Beto, I know that we have just a little bit more time and I have two more points I would like to make. First off, I was proud to see you running for Senate and I am sad that Cruz had his day and in so far as the Presidency, you made a big splash. I know your time in the sun is nowhere near over. What is in the future for Congressman Beto O’Rourke?

BETO O’ROURKE: I am going to continue to focus on this group that we just started this year called Powered by People and try to help thoughtful, progressive Texans win office, especially in these State House races where so much that we care about will be decided whether it is on gun violence, drug policy, access to healthcare, or any number of issues. Being able to win these races is critical to our ability to make progress in this state. That is where my focus will be. I love the fact that I get to spend more time in El Paso, Texas, which is where I was born and raised and where Amy and I are raising our kids now.

I want to work with you and others to continue to speak out on and hope to add to the conversation about issues like drug policy and our criminal justice system and speak up for those who typically have not had a voice in our democracy such as those who have been impacted disproportionately by these policies.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you, Beto. Is there a website, or a Facebook page you might want to point folks toward?

BETO O’ROURKE: Yes. The website is:, and if you want to learn more about what we are doing or sign up to join us, you can do so at that website.

DEAN BECKER: Beto, one last favor, if you can. We have been on air over 18 years now and I currently have a pledge drive going on. I think my show is important. What do you think? What would you like to tell my listeners, Sir?

BETO O’ROURKE: I will tell you this, Dean, and I have said this on your show before – you have been consistently and forcefully advocating for a far more humane policy when it comes to drugs and especially marijuana in the United States. When I first became aware of this issue and Ciudad Juarez became the deadliest city on the planet in part due to our prohibitionary policies here in the U.S. to the point that kids are willing to kill or be killed for the privilege of trafficking marijuana in to a state like ours and in a country like ours. When I began to really understand the consequence of the war on drugs and started to look for voices and leaders on this issue is when I first found you so I have certainly benefited from our conversations and from getting to listen to your show. I know that thousands of other people have as well – so I hope that people will continue to support your work and your ability to reach listeners all over the country.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, friends that is Beto O’Rourke who is an ally to each and every one of us. Beto, thank you for being with us. I hope to see you soon.

BETO O’ROURKE: Likewise. Good talking with you, Dean. Thanks for having me on.

DEAN BECKER: Take care of yourself and let’s talk again soon, okay?

BETO O’ROURKE: Let’s do it! All right, man. Adios.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you and adios.

It’s time to play Name That Drug by its Side Effects. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, erotic lustfulness, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing karaoke and play all night rounds of strip poker, truth or dare, and naked Twister. Also may cause you to think you can sing and may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to telephone them at four in the morning. It may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster, and better looking than most people and it may lead you to think people are laughing with you. May cause pregnancy and may also be a major factor in getting your ass kicked. So what are you waiting for? Stop hiding and start living with tequila.

DEAN BECKER: You know folks, typically I don’t help folks look for a job as there are plenty of avenues and means whereby they can do it for themselves, but there is a fairly new industry without a lot means of approach or outreach. An old friend who has worked in the cannabis industry for over 25 years now and has a huge history of involvement with setting up businesses and organizations seeking the truth for the cannabis plant. She has also written a great idiot’s guide book called Starting and Running a Marijuana Business and has been a frequent guest on Cultural Baggage radio programs and with that I want to bring in my guest, Debby Goldsberry. Hey, Debby. How are you?

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: Really good. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

DEAN BECKER: If you would, give folks a quick summary of your history because it is a long history of involvement.

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: That is true. I got involved in the cannabis legalization effort back in 1986. I worked very hard and opened my first dispensary in 1999, so I have been doing dispensaries for 20 years now and working for cannabis law reform for 30.

DEAN BECKER: As I indicated, your book, Starting and Running a Marijuana Business is not exactly for idiots. There is some complexity to doing it, is there not?

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: It is definitely hard and it is competitive. I think it is probably one of the most competitive, difficult, with the most complicated regulations industry to get in to right now. Although we are right at the beginning of a brand new era so this is the time to get in. We are going to build businesses that last a hundred years right now and create intergenerational wealth by getting people in to entrepreneurial positions where they can own their own businesses. That is what it is all about, helping people get a leg up so that we can get our businesses and include small mom and pop regular people who want to get in to the cannabis industry, which has unfortunately become dominated by large, multistate and multinational operators scooping up the permits so that people like me who have been involved for 30 years, 20 years, 10 years it is so hard to get one of these permits for a cannabis business.

DEAN BECKER: Especially in California, as I understand it. It is perhaps the highest fee amount there as compared to Oklahoma. Right?

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: The thing that we got saddled with in our regulations is this super high tax rate so it is built in to the legislation. Several different levels of cultivators pay a huge tax, retailers pay a huge tax on top of sales tax, annual fees, and licensing costs so it is extremely burdensome.

DEAN BECKER: Of course the world’s largest multilevel marketing organization otherwise known as the black market just loves those taxes because it keeps them in business. If you could, please list a few job titles you might be looking for work under?

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: The best way that I can help people in the cannabis industry get a leg up is on their application. I help companies with their pre-application where they are putting together a marijuana application at the state or at the city level and create an application that is going to win because as I said, it is so competitive. The interesting thing is that municipal and state governments have already baked the taxes in to the regulations. When they are passing the laws they already know how much money they want to make from the operators within their state so helping small businesses create business plans and businesses that can actually meet the expectations of municipal and state governments as it is not an easy task. I bring to the tables standard operating procedures, a history of retail experience, a history of successful applications, and I really help small businesses figure out how to maximize their application in order to compete with these big companies and really stand out when the regulators are looking at them.

DEAN BECKER: Real good. Again folks we are speaking with Debby Goldsberry, she cofounded the Berkeley Patient’s Group back in the late 90s and she currently is the owner of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, California as well as one of the very first dab bars in existence and probably has her hands in a couple of other organizations as well. Any closing thoughts there, Debby?

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: Now is the time to get involved in the industry. People should look at local regulations, help create the local laws and regulations. This is dream building time so figure it out and create the cannabis business of your dreams.

DEAN BECKER: How would they get in touch with you, Debby?

DEBBY GOLDSBERRY: They can find me on any of the social media’s at Debby Goldsberry. I am on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and I am very active on all of the sites.

DEAN BECKER: We are wrapping it up. I want to thank Debby Goldsberry for her commitment to the marijuana industry. I wish her well. I want to thank Beto O’Rourke for getting back in touch with me. I was getting kind of aggravated with him and cussed him out a little bit in a text and he wrote back something to the effect of who knew that running for President would be such a bear!

Once again I want to remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what is 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.