09/11/19 John Baucum

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
John Baucum
Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition

Cannabis Conf in Austin, John Baucum Dir RAMP, Jay Hall Houston Police Lt. (Ret), Aubree Adams Parents Opposed to Pot, Ryan Poppy Moderator

Audio file



SEPTEMBER 11, 2019

DEAN BECKER: Hello my friends this is Cultural Baggage, I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High, and we’re gonna tune in to a recent conference in Austin, Texas regarding marijuana.

RYAN POPPY: I am Ryan Poppy, and I am a Senior Political Correspondent for Texas Public Radio. To my left here is John Baucum and he’s with the Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, and then we have Jay Hall, Retired Police Lieutenant with the Houston Police Department, also opinion columnist locally there in Houston, and Aubry Adams with Mom Strong, and today we are talking about should Texas move towards legalization, and I want to start off with ladies first, and I know that you have a presentation as well.

AUBREY ADAMS: My name is Aubrey Adams, and I am a former Colorado mom. I moved to Houston, Texas a year ago because marijuana has changed my home. I oppose any policies that promote, normalize, glorifies, or lies about marijuana and the only drug policies that I think we should pass are drug prevention and drug recovery policies. The legalization of marijuana is a drug promotional policy. It turns every home into a potential drug house. Allows a powerful, well-funded industry to increase drug addiction, mental illness; including psychosis and suicide. Legalization of marijuana is a social injustice. It targets disadvantaged communities like my old home town of Pueblo, Colorado, where currently the marijuana industry is poisoning its people including its children, but we don’t want to put people in jail for simple drug possession. We do not want to block a person’s opportunity to have a consequence in order to create growth and change, or block someone’s chances to get into drug court in order to get help. I cannot tell you how many times people have told me jail saved their lives and when I could get my son in a 23-hour juvenile hold it kept him off the streets and alive. These consequences were part of his recovery. Without some type of accountability, there is no opportunity for recovery. Please like and share, Parents Opposed to Pot and send donations so we can continue to educate on the true impacts of marijuana and help combat the huge pro-pot propaganda machine.

My son started using marijuana edibles in the eighth grade soon after legalization. He was self-harming and we did not know he was using marijuana because industry makes products in deceptive forms to disguise use. By February 2015, my son was irrational, paranoid. Repeating things that did not make sense and one night he was so violent towards his younger brother that his brother ran barefoot through the snow to get away from him. He attempted suicide and was hospitalized and then he was discharged – he was still suicidal. I took him back to the ER where I was told it’s just marijuana and we were sent home. Within a few days, my son was hospitalized again in a different town because there were no available beds in our town. He told me he was using dabs and he knew they were making him feel crazy and he was trying to quit. He described dabs as strong marijuana, he called them, “crack weed”. Dabs are mass produced, marketed and called medicine. I volunteered my family for Crisis Intervention with GSS because I couldn’t find treatment for marijuana abuse. My son had developed the pediatric disease of addiction and by the next year he was not only using marijuana, he was using meth and heroin. Marijuana kills. It is a gateway to more drugs and pharmaceutical drugs. My son allows me to tell his story because he wants the nation to know that marijuana is deadly, harmful and can change you forever with delusional thinking, hallucinations, increased risk for suicide, depression and addiction.

My husband also allows me to tell his story. He read that marijuana would help his panic attacks – but marijuana harmed him and he now suffers from severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. My old community of Pueblo has pot scholarships for every high school senior. It’s a brilliant marketing plan by the predatory marijuana industry to groom future users – the way to advertise to kids under the radar. 1 out of 3 Pueblo High School seniors is now using marijuana and they have a 27.6 chronic absenteeism rate. There is a marijuana head shop next door to an alternative high school where kids can see shiny, colorful bongs and pipes and clothing and advertisements glorifying and normalizing marijuana. They even have a person outside waiting – come get your free pipe. The number 1 cause of death ages 10 to 24 is suicide in Colorado, the main drugs the victims are testing positive for is marijuana, ages 10 to 19. 70% of the marijuana shops in Colorado recommend marijuana to pregnant women so now my mom and I hung baby bibs on the marijuana shops in Pueblo that said, “Don’t hurt our future, Colorado kids”, it’s a campaign by the Marijuana Accountability Coalition.

Drugs are winning the war on drugs, and the war is now in our homes and our neighborhoods. I am a witness to the fall of America and THC is the weapon of our destruction.

DEAN BECKER: Again, that was Aubrey Adams, her group, Parents Opposed to Pot, I would just say this; she needs to get control of her son and her husband needs to get control of his self. I hope you notice, I am carrying this prohibitionist mindset on this show and the fact that she’s having problems within her family should not be reason for a law against you or your family or to declare that marijuana is a threat to our nation. It’s the same old Reefer Madness, just being regurgitated once again.

RYAN POPPY: Okay, so next let’s talk to Jay.

JAY HALL: Most of the times when we make a claim, it’s a cause and affect type claim.


JAY HALL: It’s not based on, let’s say a regression and now this is where we would include the various factors that go in to that result that we are claiming. So without having any type of empirical information and even though – if we have empirical information it does change with each locality so if, let’s say, one particular state had a particular result we would have to look at what is going on in that particular area. What’s the context of that? So it’s very difficult to have a definitive answer for what you’re asking.

RYAN POPPY: This is something that other legal states have seen after Colorado legalized both its recreational program. You saw the cross border traffic heading in to states that had not legalized. It seems like as we’ve seen in other states, it creates a black market for those producers in those legal states.

JAY HALL: Yes, and that is possible because you’re talking about a supply and demand type situation and you’re talking about a substitution effect when it comes to different drugs – and the same thing when it comes to legalization. So basically we’re talking about supply and demand, so if you legalize drugs in the other states then yes, it is possible if it’s not legalized in Texas that you could have a black market affect, which would mean that you would have increased profits. You would have more law enforcement being alerted to those types of situations, you’d have more violent crimes as a result of that. So yeah, the black market is very real.

RYAN POPPY: You know often it seems like probable cause is used by officers to get into a person’s vehicle. Has that your been your experience? The scent of marijuana, anything like that? How is probable cause used in terms of marijuana arrests in your experience?

JAY HALL: Well it affected police practices.


JAY HALL: One of the things that I always like to point out is that ever since 1914, the Harrison Act, fear has driven the marijuana debate and so when you have fear driving the debate we had framed the marijuana issue into a zero sum game. Somebody has to win, someone has to lose. The winners in the marijuana debate have been the drug cartels, the prison systems, the politicians who have to get tough on crime, and the grant writers who provide financial incentives in getting grant monies for. But the losers have been patients like veterans, mass incarceration individuals, and tax payers. They have to pay these bills. In New York they had – for possession of marijuana in New York, they had a situation where they had like 400,000 arrests and that bill, well it took officers off the street. Number one. So when those officers are off the street what takes place is that other major crimes are not being investigated. The clearance rates are lower because we’re spending time addressing the marijuana possession issues. At the end of the day the taxpayers may be stuck with 500 million dollars or a billion dollar bill to address those – that overtime bill, or those bills that the officers have in order to pay them for processing possession of marijuana cases. If you have an economic incentive, if you have a quota system, if grant money is based on how many arrests you can make, then surely that can affect how police approach their job in terms of probable cause in making arrests.

DEAN BECKER: All right folks, you are listening to the Cultural Baggage Show on Pacifica Radio and the Drug Truth Network. We’re tuning in to a recent panel held in Austin, Texas, the topic of discussion; should Texas move towards legalization. We continue with the thoughts of Mr. John Baucum who heads up Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.

JOHN BAUCUM: Sure well I think there is definitely something to say for Texas being behind the times when it comes to our medical cannabis program or looking at the criminal justice aspect where folks in Texas who are caught possessing a small amount of cannabis are subject to six months in jail, hefty fines. If you’re possessing any kind of concentrate, which again are now coming in because of the demand from these legal states, you’re facing potential felony charges which carry much more serious consequences. One thing I wanted to circle back on your question to Jay regarding the legislative session. Yeah, we saw a strong appetite this session from a bipartisan coalition of members to reduce criminal penalties in Texas for possession of small amounts of cannabis. That started, of course, the summer previously at the Republican Party Convention. The delegates of the largest political gathering in the entire world voted nearly 90% to include a civil penalty plank in the platform which even went a step farther than what the legislature was proposing at least on the house floor when Moody’s bill was amended. So I think that’s great that we see tremendous amount of support in the house from Republicans, Democrats and others to push this issue forward. Unfortunately in the Senate, it was stopped by the Lieutenant Governor, who has objections to cannabis for a number of reasons. I think primarily is he doesn’t want to be seen as potentially being soft on crime or allowing this to happen on his watch. However, notwithstanding the fact that the legislature essentially punted or did nothing on the criminalization aspect. You’re seeing district attorneys all around the state who are implementing pre-charge diversion programs to look for alternative solutions. I think even Aubrey in her opening comments mentioned that even their organization doesn’t want people in jail for possession of small amounts of cannabis. So I think we’re gonna see continued movement with the district attorneys kind of operating within their realm to seek justice not just prosecutions and then as we come back to the legislature in 2021, I think we’ll have another opportunity to look at decreasing those penalties again and as far as us - I want to really – this is not to your question, but kind of a point that Aubrey mentioned and I think it’s something that is legitimate. When we talk about cannabis crossing borders, you mentioned being surrounded by legal– in this case, medical marijuana states and Texas but previous to Colorado and Washington legalizing cannabis, there was already marijuana crossing the border into Texas, except at that time it was primarily coming from Central and South America up through Mexico and then in to Texas and now we see, because of legalization in these states –we’re seeing California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado or course there’s a strong demand for cannabis and cannabis products in Texas, where it’s still prohibited and the individual can’t go to the store and buy a particular strain of cannabis, a particular type of topical, or gummies that may be beneficial to them. So yes, of course, that’s just supply and demand that still having illegal possession laws in Texas is helping to allow a strong demand and of course that product is coming over. So I think to Aubrey’s point, with your home town in Pueblo, I have a cousin who lives in Pueblo – you know there were plenty of people who used cannabis previous to legalization but I certainly understand that there are possibilities for people moving outside the law; having illegal grows, having the cartel industry move in to these legal states and start instead of growing their cannabis in Mexico and shipping it to Texas, now their growing cannabis in legal states and shipping that to Texas. But the impetus to that and the real bottom line is, it’s the prohibition of cannabis throughout the country and throughout the state of Texas that is supplying those cartel and other kind of criminal enterprise gangs with the funds and resources that they need to continue all sorts of illicit activity, including human trafficking and other things as well. So I think if you were to see Texas legalize cannabis and the rest of the federal law drop at least the Schedule 1 status of cannabis. You’re gonna see the price drop dramatically as more market is available – different competitors enter the market. You’re already seeing that with hemp. I was at a conference previously and they talked about hemp farming going for three thousand dollars an acre, or however many dollars it was and everybody just sees gold mines and flashing lights and I am gonna be a hemp farmer with my thousand acres…well I’ll tell you what, but when everybody in that room starts growing hemp – that price is gonna plummet and it’s not gonna be three thousand dollars an acre any more. You might be lucky if it’s three hundred or even 3 dollars an acre. So I think you’re gonna see the same thing with – I don’t like the term recreational cannabis – but adult use cannabis, people who are using it in different ways. The price will plummet once a legal playing field is leveled and then I think you’ll see the profits for these criminal enterprises sort of dry up and they’ll have to pivot to other things which are still illegal and in high demand and create big profits for them.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Loss of personal freedom, family and possessions, ineligible for government funding, education licensing, housing or employment. Loss of aggressive mindset in a dangerous world. This drugs peaceful easy feeling may be habit forming. Times Up! The answer: Doobie, Jimmy, Joint, Reefer, Spliff, Jibber, Jay, Biffa, Jazz, Blunt, Steege, Green, or Crack, or Hogger, Bone, Carrot, Mary Jane, Marijuana, Cannabis Sativa made by God. Prohibited by man.

DEAN BECKER: All right, you are listening to Cultural Baggage on Pacifica Radio and the Drug Truth Network. We’re tuning in to a recent conference in Austin on marijuana and now we get to hear the response from Aubrey Adams to Mr. John Baucum’s thoughts on marijuana.

RYAN POPPY: Aubrey, you had a comment?

AUBREY ADAMS: Yeah. I disagree with those comments. I think if Texas legalizes marijuana the black market here will explode just like it did in Colorado. People don’t want to pay taxes on their drugs. They don’t. Drug dealers – the industry is full of bad actors. I understand there’s a few that are not but the majority of the people in the industry are bad actors and they don’t want to pay taxes so their always gonna undercut - the drug dealers are always gonna undercut. The legal market and the illegal market are married. They support and they enhance each other. It’s a drug promotional policy. Texas will be hit even harder than Colorado. You have more private land here and you have more water and there will be a tsunami here. They are waiting – the drug cartels are waiting for you guys to legalize marijuana. They cannot wait for it to happen.

DEAN BECKER: Once again this is the Director of the Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Mr. John Baucum.

JOHN BAUCUM: If I may – and Jay, sorry, I’ll let you jump in. I just wanted to cover one point there. You know part of the duty of our republican form of government is the experiment of the states to try things differently so I think to assume that the problems that exist in Colorado, who was the first to experiment along with Washington – who had very different implementation programs for their legal adult use programs. To assume that Texas will go down that same road and maybe not learn from some of the mistakes that have happened in other places, you know you mentioned that taxes keeping the black market thriving – well obviously the taxes are too high. Some of the politicians see these dollar signs coming from a legal market, a new product to sell and they say look what all we can do with these tax resources. But when the taxes are too high, just like in any economic environment, that consumer is going to choose to go where they can get the same product for the lowest price and unfortunately, if I was an individual in one of those states – I would prefer to go in to a store and have this particular product, I can see its testing profile. But from a consumer voice – that’s consumer choice. If I choose not do that and instead the law does allow for people to grow their own cannabis – to gift that cannabis to other individuals. So if I’d rather have an agreement with my friend and he just gifts me cannabis that he has grown, yeah, that’s a consumer choice and I think to your point about – we’ll just use Pueblo as the example, because that’s the one that’s been referenced many times. The State of Colorado has laws on cannabis production, the city of Pueblo has city ordinances related to how individuals can grow cannabis. Homeowners associations had deed restriction bylaws of what can be done in those neighborhoods. So I think there were already elements within state law, city ordinances and even these homeowner association bylaws to restrict this illegal activity and that’s why you see raids and busts happening all of the time in Pueblo, and throughout Colorado on illegal grows.

AUBREY ADAMS: And there’s not enough law enforcement. There are thousands and thousands of these locations and the law enforcement – the DEA is doing the best they can, they are overloaded. The drug dealers will always undercut the price and then they’ll create even more powerful, more cheaper drugs. The root of the problem of our drug crisis in America is we have a cultural crisis. Part of these policies have normalized drugs. Addiction is a pediatric disease. 9 out of 10 people that suffer from addiction started using under the age of 18. We need to focus on drug prevention and drug recovery policies. There is not enough treatment organizations to treat our drug addiction problem now. Look on the streets of Austin right now, you are already inundated with drugs here and now you’re gonna come in and set up these pretty shops and promote it even more as a response. I am sorry, you’re poisoning the people of America and I don’t agree with it whatsoever.

DEAN BECKER: What we have is a moral crisis. Are her morals to be more respected than mine? Are her morals designed or allowed to lock people in jail because they have behaviors for which she disapproves? Screw that! Priorities. We’ve got to get our priorities straight. We continue now.

RYAN POPPY: Jay, keeping with law enforcement let’s go ahead and have you weigh in here.

JAY HALL: Well my concern is this was the same argument that we had with alcohol. We said the same thing, we had the same fears and if you have 10% of the population that may have a pathological relationship with a particular drug, you should not have to penalize the other 90% who are able to handle that arrested. (CLAPPING)

AUBREY ADAMS: I don’t think people’s right to use drugs is more important than the children of America.

DEAN BECKER: Okay. I gotta interrupt one more time to say this, that Aubrey Adams is a loon. She can email me:, she can come on the show any time she wants to try to refute what I have just stated. Aubrey Adams is a loon.

JAY HALL: We’re looking out for the children, all of the children as adults ourselves. The problem is that we have a situation where we had bad drug policies due to a lack of knowledge of what we know today and so as a result of us updating our knowledge, we have to include that in the formula now so that we can make better decisions. That’s what we are attempting to do. I had a brother who was killed as a result of the drug trafficking and if I had the knowledge, if my parents had the knowledge we may have been able to save my brother but we didn’t have the knowledge. So what we are doing today is we have new knowledge, we are trying to elevate awareness of everyone so that we can help make better decisions.

AUBREY ADAMS: I agree that we need more knowledge. We do not have the education in place and we do need to change policies – that those policies need to be for drug education prevention and recovery. These drug promotional policies are destroying America.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, I’ve got to interrupt to say that the horrors of drug war mainly caused by drug war. It’s obvious, open and glaring to those other than Aubrey Adams.

RYAN POPPY: With that in mind, more knowledge. So in 2019, there was a study conducted by the University of Montana, Colorado and San Diego State that showed an 8% drop and decrease in teen marijuana use in those legal states, a 9% drop and continued usage in those same states and JAMA backed those same findings up with an article that following month having the same kind of findings and the same type of statistics.

AUBREY ADAMS: Oregon and Washington were not included in this. That study is just a wash

RYAN POPPY: Okay. Keeping that in mind, you say that more education – more public education about teen use, that sort of thing may be the answer?

AUBREY ADAMS: Not education from the Drug Policy Alliance. They are teaching our children how to use drugs safely. That is not the answer. Drugs should not be a normal part of our communities. Our children should have more opportunities to grow up drug-free and they are being so peer pressured by this industry and their peers to use because their told its medicine. So the propaganda around this whole issue is not working. It’s not going well, it’s a failed experiment. I’m a living witness to it and I will do everything I can to stop it here in Texas. I don’t know if I can, you guys are much more well-funded than I am. Money usually wins at the end of the day, unfortunately. Politicians – money win. But I am here to stand up and tell you these policies promote drug use, addiction, and mental illness.

JOHN BAUCUM: Can I follow up on that? I think getting – the idea of getting drugs out of our communities, you know there are many drugs in our communities. You know there are many drugs that can be abused from caffeine that’s in coffee, alcohol – the idea that we’re gonna reinstate alcohol prohibition to keep our communities safe from people that drink alcohol and do stupid things. You know I agree with the point of educating the public, educating people the dangers of utilizing any drug, especially for children and pregnant women and things like that. But the idea that you can’t have a group of individuals who have the responsibility and personality to consume different drugs responsibly – you know we have prescriptions for certain medications, you can go over the counter and buy drugs that are very lethal and dangerous – much more so than cannabis, but we trust society to be able to use those respectfully and professionally and I think you’ll see that with cannabis. One of the things that they talk about is an increase in cannabis consumption and cannabis use after legalization and I am specifically speaking about adult use. Of course you are going to have that because you have people right now who are scared to death of getting busted with even a tiny amount of cannabis or God forbid, one gummy bear or a vape cartridge and now they are facing a felony charge in Texas. So yes, some of those people who maybe experimented with cannabis when they were in high school or college and haven’t used it for a decade or two, they might be interested in trying it and some of those individuals might stick with it and continue to use it, some of them won’t and I think you also have the individuals – as you see the federal law change, you’re gonna see some of the employment regulations around drug testing and some of those things will likely change as well. Looking for impairment – there’s always these studies of so and so had cannabis in their system when they did XYZ, well, cannabis stays in your system much longer than many other drugs so I think really finding a correlation between impairment – not just having THC in your blood or urine or anything like that. Truly knowing how and why these individuals and at what level their impairment goes with these drugs is gonna be a big concern as well.

AUBREY ADAMS: So here’s some truth, the legality of a drug does not take away the harm. The legality of a drug increases that harm.

DEAN BECKER: You would prefer that drugs were made in jungle labs using amazon river water, then shipped in submarines, brought north cut with all kinds of contaminates including levamisole, some sort of cancer causing agent that’s very shiny, looks good on the cocaine and then its sold at a 17,000 % markup in back rooms and alleyways to our children by armed gangsters. Entice them to lives of crimes or addiction – oh yeah, that’s so much safer. Aubrey Adams of Parent Opposed to Pot, my email is:, I would greatly appreciate you being a guest on my radio program. Even in this day and age, Reefer Madness lives.
Once again I remind you because of prohibition, you don’t know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

08/21/19 John Baucum

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
John Baucum

John Baucum President of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition re Labor day weekend cannabis conference in Texas, Maggie Volpo of re confining control by corporate cannabis + Okla Dispensary Kidnapping, UK opioid report via ITV & Philadelphia attempts to set up safe injection site

Audio file


AUGUST 21, 2019


DEAN BECKER: Hello, my friends, thank you for being with us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. I'm your host, Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High. Lots to get to, let's get to it.

All right. All around the country, there are folks that are trying to educate one another, trying to educate the politicians, to the truth about cannabis, marijuana, hemp, the green ganja stuff, and we're going to have one such event here in the state of Texas, Labor Day weekend I think it is.

One of the speakers is with me now. He can fill us in on some of the details, Mister John Baucum. How are you, sir?

JOHN BAUCUM: Hey, Dean, I'm doing great. Thanks for having me on.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you, John. You're going to be one of the speakers. What are you going to bring to this conference, your thoughts?

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, so I'll actually be speaking on a panel about should Texas legalize cannabis. So that should be an exciting panel, and there's a lot of opinions on that. Obviously I think most of us would agree that it should. How long and what it will take to get there I think is another question. It will be interesting to see what the panel has to discuss and, you know, maybe some unique perspectives from the audience as well.

DEAN BECKER: Now, where's this going to be?

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, so, Texas Marijuana Policy Conference is going to be in Austin over Labor Day weekend. That's August Thirtieth through September First at the Sheraton Capitol Hotel, downtown Austin, so a three-day policy conference covering everything from the decriminalization legalization aspect, medical cannabis and hemp, regulatory entrepreneurship sessions.

Yeah, and a lot of other insightful tips and topics and things that individuals on a multitude of panels will be discussing including faith and cannabis, individuals who are helping their families and children by being caregivers, other folks who are into looking getting into the blossoming industry of CBD and hemp products in Texas as well as moving down the road where we have full legalization and getting into the legal cannabis market as well.

DEAN BECKER: Well, one of the things I hope to be doing, perhaps this year, certainly early next year, is starting to sell Becker's Buds. I want to sell hemp cigarettes at a reasonable price, and with the idea that a portion of it will go to support the Drug Truth Network as well as my home base, the radio station I work for, KPFT, so that -- help us stay on air, help me keep rolling and getting additional interviews.

Now, John, tell us some of the folks that will be there, some of the other speakers that will attend.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, well, one here that's local, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg will be in town. She's going to be there at the conference discussing her diversion program in Harris County and the successfulness [sic] of that program and how we hope to see that modeled throughout the state.

So, until the legislature really acts to change the law, we put a lot of effort and weight into our county district attorneys to set certain policies within their regions, and then their jurisdiction, to potentially have better appropriation of their criminal justice resources and maybe not lock so many people up for simple marijuana possession.

And we've seen a resounding success of that program here in Texas.

DEAN BECKER: If I might interject this thought, I've worked very directly with Kim over the years.

She told me that I was instrumental, what did she say, the pioneer in making the misdemeanor marijuana diversion program possible, and, as I understand, she's now come out with a new attitude, perspective, oversight, whatever, for juveniles that are caught with marijuana, that she's going to give them a situation kind of like what she gives to the adults, where they won't have a record, they can kind of do away with that black mark.

Your thought there please, John Baucum.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, well, as we all know, you know, even a class B conviction can follow you around for the rest of your life, affect your employment, financial aid for school, housing, and all other kinds of opportunities.

So I think helping these children who, not necessarily condoning adolescent cannabis use, but helping them make sure that they're making wise decisions and also not criminalizing them, that may have detrimental effects that follow them around for the rest of their life.

DEAN BECKER: Well, now, in that I won't be able to attend this conference, I'm really thrilled that Kim Ogg will be there, because I think she'll carry a lot of weight and force and impetus to move more boldly towards progress. Who else will be attending?

JOHN BAUCUM: We also have Doctor Sue Sisley, so she's an expert in cannabis research, currently doing one of the, I think the only federally approved study of cannabis and PTSD in veterans.

So she's actually made some arguments to the US government that the cannabis that she's allowed to use for research purposes is not appropriate and not proper when there are so many other strains and variables and other components of the plant which, even as our scientific community doesn't fully understand, you know, she shouldn't -- really shouldn't be hamstrung from her research by having to use an inferior product that is federally approved.

DEAN BECKER: Thought I'd like to throw in on that one is, I have seen the government grown weed from the University of Mississippi, it is very inferior. It's got seeds, it was never cured right, it's -- it's not the quality that she needs to work with, I'll say that. Go ahead with the other speakers, John.

JOHN BAUCUM: Also check out all of our speakers and other information about the conference including a registration link at

Some of the other speakers, we're going to have a panel on the Texas Compassionate Use Program. We have Chase Bearden with the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, as well as Mister John Pitts with the Texas Star Alliance.

So, Chase was instrumental in being a patient advocate and getting many other disabled Texans to advocate to the legislature to make at least incremental reforms to the Texas Compassionate Use Program, which we did receive, as well as John Pitts, who has worked with some of the license holders and other interested parties to navigate the nuances of the regulatory program as well as the changes through the legislature.

So that should be exciting to see how the changes from TCUP will be rolled out, and where we might see TCUP expansion into the future.

One other person that I want to mention from a law enforcement perspective, we actually have Shannon Edmonds, who is with the Texas District Attorney and County Attorneys Association, and has typically been one that has stood in the way of reforms, although I think, you know, his association may be coming more open to better prioritization of law enforcement resources again, looking at where they can use their dollars most effectively.

And, also, you know, let's see what other kind of issues that we have with veterans' health, Second Amendment issues, we'll have Rachel Malone from Gun Owners of America as well as David Bass with Texas NORML talking about his veteran outreach and their activism at the capitol, which I think has been one of the most effective resources that we have.

I think the two groups that have really moved the ball the most are veterans and then also our mothers advocating for their children that are suffering from debilitating conditions, and they know that they can be helped with cannabis and I think that has definitely made the legislature more compassionate.

There are obviously still many more eyes that we need to open, we also need to understand and explain the science more articulately to these folks who maybe don't understand it as well, so they'll know what cannabis is, how it can be used in many different ways, in many different combinations of cannabinoids, as a true medicine to really improve the quality of life for Texans.

DEAN BECKER: I want to come back to our discussion about Kim Ogg, the district attorney of Houston, Harris County. You know, she's stood boldly for change. She has come on my show and basically declared the drug war to be, what was her word, illogical, to sum it up, that it makes no sense whatsoever.

She said we're cutting off our nose to spite our face through embracing this idea of eternal drug war. But, I want to talk about a couple of situations that are still unfolding, still being analyzed, determined, cogitated, whatever, by the district attorneys, which for the most part are being led by Kim Ogg.

That is the fact that this hemp that's now on the market, you can't tell hemp from marijuana, they look and smell identical in many ways, there is no way to do that onsite analysis, determination, whether it has more or less THC.

And, there's a lot of discussion about, they're just not going to arrest people for small amounts of marijuana and or hemp, that they're just going to take it, wait for a later magical date when perhaps they can analyze it.

Now, this brings to mind a couple of things. One, if it's marijuana, okeh, eventually maybe they can charge you with it, but if it's hemp, then they just stole your legal product and held it in abeyance, and, that's going to be hashed out, but I guess what I'm wanting to talk, or ask you to do, is bring that subject up at this conference, to, you know, keep that thought around. How are we going to handle that situation moving forward. Your response there, John.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, well, I think it is an interesting question. You know, we already had quite a gray area even with legal quote unquote legal hemp products or CBD products that were low in THC before this past legislative session, because technically the only legal CBD oil or any other kind of oil was through the Texas Compassionate Use Registry.

And now we're seeing where we do have a legal CBD market and exactly like you said because they didn't listen when other people like our organization, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, mentioned the ability to have patients allowed for a third party testing, where we could take a product to a third party lab, find out the cannabinoid profile, how much THC it has, how much CBD does it have.

Now there are literally no states -- no labs in the state that can perform this type of analysis or at least that will do it on behalf of law enforcement, and so it really has created, you know, I don't want to call it a de facto decriminalization because there are groups like the Texas Rangers who have said that they will, or, not the Texas Rangers, sorry, the Department of Public Safety, who has said that they will take possession.

They might not arrest that individual at that time, but they will file charges and they could prosecute them at a later date, when they are able to successfully test the product.

So, it's a huge problem. I also see a huge problem that we have in Texas, speaking of these types of oils or concentrates and edibles and candies and things, is the disproportionality of our laws that treat cannabis in its flower form versus cannabis in any other type of concentrated form, which is a felony, so you have potentially a small vial of oil, any type of tincture, gummie bears, other edibles, chocolates, which are all potentially facing now felony prosecution for Texans.

So this might curb that a little bit, in that they can't test those substances immediately to know if they are over this threshold of THC, but certainly we will be at that point sometime so we still need to change the law, and, you know, do that first, and then we can also still encourage for independent third party testing as well.

DEAN BECKER: There's an example, I've had a couple of attorneys tell me to look for these examples that would best illustrate the fallacy, the, I don't know, the wrongheadedness of this new approach, to take whatever and assume it's cannabis.

There's a gentleman in San Antonio, he's 26 years old, he just got busted with a CBD -- he got caught with a vaporizer cartridge. He was pulled over by a San Antonio cop, he said you got anything in there I should know about? And the gentleman handed him that and said this is CBD, nothing to worry about, officer.

The officer then proceeded to arrest him, and he's been charged now with felony possession. But it's also in abeyance until some magical day when they can analyze it, but it's a classic example of what you're talking about, these concentrates, the edibles, et cetera, that may have some portion of cannabis in it, but if nobody knows what particular portion or percentages and whatever, then it's just guessing. And that's not justice, is it?

JOHN BAUCUM: It's not, and previously, you know, all they had to do is prove the presence of cannabinoids, and they could try to do that with a strip of paper or other types of field tests, and -- and then successfully, you know, say yes, this is some form of cannabis, whether it's low THC hemp or, you know, higher THC cannabis as well, and either way they would arrest that person and take him to jail.

Now with the gray area, you know, you would think that the deference would be to the citizen, to not arrest them, and to allow them the presumption of innocence, but it seems like maybe we're seeing some of that turned on its head and from the opposite approach, where they're saying, well, this could be high THC cannabis. We're going to arrest them, seize their property.

You put a person in jail, now they have to face getting bonded out and all these other challenges that come along. And even if they do delay the prosecution, you still have the potential of felony charges hanging over your head all this time, and it can affect you in a number of ways, including psychologically, and then other aspects that they might have to do that could affect their employment and education and other things as well.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I'll tell you what, you know, John, there are so many aspects, so many areas of concern and focus that need to be dealt with in the coming years, here, and hopefully this conference will begin to bring some focus to bear, begin to, you know, align things more properly. Closing thoughts about this conference, Mister John Baucum.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, I think you're right, and I think that's a great point to end on, you know, the conference will also focus on leadership training and grassroots activism, so as you mentioned, there are so many facilities of this issue, whether you want to get into the business side, the regulatory side, as a patient or caregiver, as an individual who just wants to invest in cannabis, there are so many different areas of interest.

So I think this policy conference will do a great job of breaking all policies down into different groups, having many focused panels and breakout sessions on each of those different strategies, and then what I always like to tell other individuals and some of the other organizations that I've been a part of is, what's your passion? What brought you here to this meeting?

And then let's plug them in with like-minded individuals and build that coalition so that we're all moving the ball forward. We may not all be working on the exact same issue at the same time, but we're all in this together as one big team, and each of us pushing the ball forward in our incremental areas, you know, is going to help the overall coalition as well reach our goals, fully ending marijuana prohibition in Texas.

Again, the policy conference is Labor Day weekend in Austin, Texas, and you can find out more information at

DEAN BECKER: Once again that was John Baucum. He's president of the national group, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. They're out there on the web at

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Nausea, heartburn, development of bleeding ulcers, vomiting, swelling of the brain, extensive liver damage, difficulty with mental functioning, Reye's Syndrome, and death. Time's up! The answer: aspirin, another FDA approved product.

Recently, I became aware of an article on It was titled up Just Say No To Corporate Cannabis, and in reading through it I was astounded, impressed, actually, with the content and the perspective contained therein, and we have with us the author of this great piece, Maggie Volpo. Hello, Maggie.

MAGGIE VOLPO: Hi Dean, nice to talk to you.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, Maggie, the truth is, there's a lot of progress being made, states all around the country legalizing, Canada legalized, or nearly so from my perspective, but we have to be aware and, I don't know, kind of quash some of the efforts of the corporate cannabis players out there, do we not?

MAGGIE VOLPO: You know, it is a really slippery slope, in a way, because we want those big money backers when you're trying to pass legislation, but at the same time some of those people are only looking to line their own pockets and aren't really looking at the social impact that legalization could have if it's done properly.

DEAN BECKER: Right, and, you know, from my perspective, I always talk about incrementalism is a killer, that, you know, to stair step your progress, so to speak, still leaves all kinds of complications and horrors in its path. And the same can be said --

MAGGIE VOLPO: Absolutely.

DEAN BECKER: -- for corporate cannabis, that if you can't grow it yourself and you've got to depend on a state run store and the profit of these corporations, it's not exactly the legalization we're looking for. Right?

MAGGIE VOLPO: Well, right, exactly. Most people in the cannabis industry have had the corporate mainstream America turn their backs on them, especially people who depend on it for important medicine, for, like, seizures or cancer.

And so then to have those same corporations that were blocking legal access for so long come back, or having some of their shareholders come in through other cannabis companies, and now trying to profit off of cannabis after having profited off of prohibition. It's incredibly unethical.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and we have a situation where, I mentioned earlier, that Canada has legalized.


DEAN BECKER: In doing so, they're major players were able to put their companies on the stock market, and then inflate their wealth, their holdings, and their means to massage the situation. What I'm saying is, they took that money, that largesse, came to the United States and in many cases bought up permits and rights and dispensaries here in the US to make even more profits. Right?

MAGGIE VOLPO: Oh, absolutely. I live in Michigan, so we are absolutely seeing that sort of influence trickle down into our state.

We haven't even really rolled out medical dispensaries from our '08 medical law, and now they're already trying to, like, vet big companies for recreational dispensaries, and most of us are like, well, could we get the medical dispensaries and maybe some local businesses, not just these big corporate ones?

But unfortunately, the ones with the money are the ones that get to kind of set the tone of the dialogue at these things.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and in essence get to bribe the politicians and massage the situation to their benefit. And we have that, as I said, going on all around the country.

My state of Texas right now is going to have a major conference to talk about the, you know, the businesses, the permits, the, how the, oh, I don't know, how the mechanism of legalizing would work in the state, and I'm leery of the big cannabis coming in and just taking over things and taking away the rights of the users. Your thought there please, Maggie.

MAGGIE VOLPO: Well, I mean, usually the first step that the corporations that want to control the market go, the first step the take is going to be trying to get rid of home grows or putting really tight restrictions on your ability to cultivate your own cannabis.

So I would say the best thing to do is to try to, you're already kind of a grassroots organizer, you know, having people show up at town hall meetings and at state senate hearings, to testify about why having a home grow provision is incredibly important to the way that the law gets rolled out, I think is one of the easiest things for people to do.

Or just to call their senator or house of representatives, depending on who's hearing a bill, and let them know where you stand on that specific part of the issue.

DEAN BECKER: Folks, once again we're speaking with Maggie Volpo, she's with out there on the web. Yeah, I think, Maggie, the one thing that I would like to relay to the folks gathering to talk about marijuana's future in Texas is that they need to stand tall. They need to stand for their rights and not simply accept that these people that are trying to legalize are trying to legalize for their benefit.

It is for corporate profits in many cases, right?

MAGGIE VOLPO: If the law leaves people still vulnerable to prosecution for something as simple as growing one or two plants in their basement or their backyard, then it's not really a very good law, is it?

DEAN BECKER: No. And we had the situation, again, I point back to Canada because people were thrilled with the idea they would be legalizing but there are many people that are now less thrilled, because the product coming out from these big corporations is not of the quality that they have come to expect, that it often has, you know, mold and or other failings, that just shouldn't be allowed. Your thought there, please, Maggie.

MAGGIE VOLPO: Well, I have not had much experience with corporate cannabis except for when I spent a month in California, last June, and I will say that I didn't find molds or bugs in anything, but I did definitely notice that, like, the commercial products that are, like, with corporate labels, available at the dispensaries there were of infinitely lower quality than the stuff that was coming out of shops here in Michigan that were run by small businesses and growers.


MAGGIE VOLPO: And I think that's a trend that you'll see all across the country, that the people who have the big brands aren't as worried about consistency or potency because once you have a following, that's really all you need to kind of build your brand up.

And they become less focused on the dosage, or the reliability for their customers, and more focused on profit margins.

DEAN BECKER: Well, fairly astounding words, there. Folks, we've been speaking with Maggie Volpo, she's with They have, I don't know, hundreds, maybe thousands of articles on their website, mostly dealing with cannabis, and I would urge you to check it out, please, that's

We're going to change our focus from marijuana here in a second but it's important to realize that because of US government policy, marijuana dispensary owners cannot open a bank account, so stuff like this happens.

ERIN BEU: Abigail, a dispensary owner and his wife were followed here to their home where they were held at gunpoint, robbed, and even kidnapped. Now I spoke to them off camera, and they've been at the ER all morning.

OK POLICE SERGEANT GARY KNIGHT: Held them at gunpoint, actually pistolwhipped them, ziptied them.

ERIN BEU: That's how the couple who lives at this house were greeted when they got home last night.

GARY KNIGHT: There were two men that followed them into the residence, forced their way in ...

ERIN BEU: All of this happening at gunpoint.

GARY KNIGHT: Asked them where the -- or, demanded the drugs and money that were in the house.

ERIN BEU: But the dispensary owner kept all of that at his business, which is when this robbery turned into a kidnapping.

GARY KNIGHT: The male victim began to fight back ...

ERIN BEU: Police say he freed himself from the zipties and started fighting with one of the suspects.

GARY KNIGHT: One of the suspects actually tried to shoot the male victim, but during the struggle the magazine fell out of the gun and the gun did not discharge.

ERIN BEU: But the suspects still wanted the marijuana and money at the dispensary.

GARY KNIGHT: The other suspect loaded the female into the car, told her she was going to take them up there to the dispensary.

ERIN BEU: But according to police, that victim was able to jump out of the car and get away, ending up here at this McDonalds.

Both victims have minor injuries, but the suspects got away with guns and cash from their house. In Oklahoma City, Erin Beu, KOCO-Five News.

DEAN BECKER: The following segment comes to us out of the UK, from ITV News.

NEWSREADER: Hello, good evening. Wales has seen a staggering increase in drug deaths over the last ten years. The latest figures were released today and they show an 84 percent increase in people dying as a result of drugs.

REPORTER: Last year, there were more than four thousand deaths from drugs in Wales and England. In Carnarvon, two women are on a mission. Both want to persuade the public to change their attitudes towards drugs.

PAT: May I give you a flyer? I'm a drug-bereaved mother and we're --

REPORTER: Pat lost her son, Amanda lost her nephew. Both to heroin. Now they want drugs legalized.

AMANDA: He was -- he was just regarded as a good egg, really, and a nice person. He was generous, kind, and I think above all very funny. We miss his humor more than anything.

My contribution is that Kevin and many like him were killed as much by the policies, the drug policies at the political and medical and social level, than by the drugs themselves. It's like social cleansing at the moment because the view is that we can afford to lose people who are addicted, that they have nothing to give society.

REPORTER: For decades, this country has been fighting a war on drugs, but the number of people dying in that war is rising. Some say the fighting should be intensified, but others, like Amanda and Pat, say we need a completely new strategy.

These two families want the same things. They want personal use and possession to be decriminalized, and for there to be safe places for users to use their drugs.

If you're going to get the law changed, you're going to have to convince people here in Carnarvon and elsewhere. Do you think you can do that?

AMANDA: Well, I would have probably agreed with that before I lost my nephew, because there's so many stereotypes about people who use hard drugs. I never imagined that we would lose my nephew in that way.

So that is the one lesson I've taken away, that, as it says on my t-shirt, it could be any family. It could be any child.

DEAN BECKER: To close us out, we have this segment from NBC Philadelphia.

LAUREN MAYK: In Toronto, you can't just go one place to understand. Drugs and overdoses aren't concentrated in just on location.

JEREMIAH COOK: My girlfriend does it, all right, so it's like --

LAUREN MAYK: Do you worry about her?

JEREMIAH COOK: I do, I worry about her all the time.

LAUREN MAYK: We meet Jeremiah Cook outside an overdose prevention site at Sherbourne and Dundas. It's closed this evening, but he thinks it should be open 24 hours. Cook tells us, he's seen it save lives. He hangs out here every day.

JEREMIAH COOK: 'Cause they allow us to smoke our crack out in front here.

LAUREN MAYK: He's one side of the story. But just across the street.

JOSE ZAMORA: -- just open up this site, and then, people are coming there to have safe injections, and then that's bad.

LAUREN MAYK: Neighbors like Jose Zamora watching changes as people shift where they use drugs.

What's it been like?

JOSE ZAMORA: Well, I've noticed less disposed needles, like on the streets --

LAUREN MAYK: But also.

JOSE ZAMORA: -- neighbors I live close to the site, and they feel like there could be more, I don't know, community support, or police seen, perhaps, could help.

LAUREN MAYK: Toronto police tell us they to respond to calls near the site, but don't prevent safe use of them.

Our next stop is Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square, whose flashy screens tower over this city run supervised injection site. Doctor Eileen de Villa is Toronto's Medical Officer of Health.

EILEEN DE VILLA, MD: We've reversed around 800 overdoses. So that's 800 potential deaths that were averted.

LAUREN MAYK: Large mirrors line the wall inside here so workers can see if someone's having trouble, and grab Narcan to help.

But here, too, there's another story on the outside.

CONNOR REMUS: No one ever wants it in their backyard, right? So --

LAUREN MAYK: Connor Remus works at a restaurant close to that site near the square, which is also located near where Remus went to college.

What's the difference between what it was like then and what it's like now?

CONNOR REMUS: You just -- you have security. Like, the way you feel when you walk around there, you know, when you have a lot of people yelling, and you have, you just don't feel as safe.

LAUREN MAYK: On the blocks surrounding the sites, there are businesses, homes, schools.

WOMAN: I'm at a school right now picking up my daughter, and there's one about 500 meters from here.

LAUREN MAYK: Does that make you nervous at all?

WOMAN: It doesn't, actually.

LAUREN MAYK: Where to put them is a question Philadelphia could soon have to tackle, like Toronto did.

JOSE ZAMORA: It's a change for everybody.

LAUREN MAYK: Inside and out. In Toronto, I'm Lauren Mayk, NBC Ten News.

DEAN BECKER: It turns out US Attorney William McSwain opposes the plan, he's an appointee of president Donald Trump, who says it violates federal drug laws. The Safehouse supporters there in Philadelphia include three prominent Democrats in the city, Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krassner, and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

The Safehouse founders believe they can reduce overdose deaths by having people use drugs under medical supervision at a site where they can also be offered treatment.

Please visit our website, and again I remind you because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

01/30/19 Lui Larotta

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
John Baucum
Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition

 Lui LaRotta, Chairman. Harris County Republican Auxiliary Clubs , John Baucum, political director of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Jason Tarasek re Minnesota Legislature to Consider Ending Marijuana Prohibition & Emily Kaltenbach of DPA re N. Mexico move to make drug possession a misdemeanor

Audio file


JANUARY 30, 2019


DEAN BECKER: Hello, friends, welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High, and let's just get to it.

I want to welcome Lui Larotta. Hello, Lui.

LUI LAROTTA: Hi Dean, thanks for having me.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, Lui, tell us about yourself.

LUI LAROTTA: I can start probably with the Navy, that's usually a good starting block. I served in the Navy about six years as nuclear engineer on board the USS Nimitz.

And most recently, since 2011, when I was engaged with the presidential campaign of Ron Paul, I became a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, which is the Republican Party's version of the Libertarian's people.

So, one of the things that we advocate for strongly is the decriminalization and eventually the legalization of cannabis, because, as we all know, there's so many byproducts, there's so many potential benefits that we just don't know about because it's still a Schedule One narcotic.

So, we work closely with other groups around Houston, around the state, and particularly with the people who are in most need: children with epilepsy. My father was a cancer patient since June. He recently passed a few weeks ago, but I can tell you that we did treat him with cannabis, CBD oil and THC, and from what we could tell, and from what the medical results were, his tumors decreased.

So, there's a very strong indication that cannabis does work for a variety of symptoms, and we think it's time that Texas really takes a closer look at this. Texas is a state that observes and respects property rights, individual liberty, and this is a decision that, between healthcare provider and patient, should be discussed, we should leave the politicians out of this.

And eventually, you know, consenting adults, responsible adults, should have the right to do with their bodies as they see fit. Wouldn't you say, Dean?

DEAN BECKER: Oh, I agree with you, Lui, and that's what compels, kept me going for the last twenty years. I want to bring up this thought, that the science, the knowledge, the awareness of the potential, of the actuality, the usefulness of the cannabis plant, is becoming more widespread, more recognized, and embraced by more politicians.

Now, it's not near the tsunami we want or expect some day, but it is changing. It is shifting, is it not, Lui?

LUI LAROTTA: Absolutely. I mean, I think we noticed that with the outgoing House Speaker [John Boehner], who had for years, he had only come out against any kind of marijuana, cannabis legalization, and yet, you know, years after he's been out of the House, now he's advocating for it.

So I think that, maybe, for politicians, it's not politically expedient. There's still some backlash. But most of them understand that there -- that most of the country at this point has some form of legalization, and I think it's something that they can't hold back, but they're playing it very safe, so that's why it's up to us to keep the pressure mounting on them.

Because like you said, there's a lot of research already out there. Israel has done quite a bit of research, and also Spain, I've been following a few doctors out in Spain who've done quite a bit of research on the medical benefits of cannabis.

So, I think it's going in the right direction. I don't like some of the things I see with Big Pharma and, you know, trying to basically patent some of the chemical properties of a plant, because eventually, I think, why would we want the government in charge of controlling plants?

And you can grow something like this in your back yard, and medicate yourself, so that, to me, is a little bit concerning. I would like to see less of the government involved and just give way so that people can use this plant responsibly, and for the conditions that, you know, that impair them the most.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Now, you know, you mentioned the, I'm going to call it hypocrisy, the former Speaker now coming out in favor of marijuana, and it's indicative of, I think, what's going on, hell, around the world, that up in Canada, former prosecutors and police chiefs et cetera are now actively participating, are stockholders, in many of those legal marijuana companies that are up there in Canada, now.

The hypocrisy is just enormous. It's writ large, is it not?

LUI LAROTTA: Yeah, it's -- it was politically expedient to do it now, and they're -- they just set this up perfectly, so that when things cascade in the direction of cannabis, they're going to be the beneficiaries, so, you know, that's what politicians are going to do, unfortunately.

I wish there was a way to just get rid of them and start over, but that's going to have to be another discussion, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: Well, it is. It is. Now, we, by that I mean various groups, are going to be going to Austin on February Seventh.


DEAN BECKER: To reach out, to appeal to, to discuss, to hopefully change the mindset of more politicians. What do you anticipate, what do you think we might accomplish this spring in Austin?

LUI LAROTTA: Well, being hopeful, I would say that, you know, we have to look at states that have had an opioid crisis and that have had some form of legalization of marijuana, and statistics show that there's a sharp decrease in the opioid addiction statistics in that state, so we can look at it from that perspective, that this is an alternative to a very critical junction of our country where we're seeing a lot of people suffering from prescription medication.

So I think we have the logic behind us, we have a strong vocal group of women that have been advocating for expanding the compassionate users program in Texas, and I think that if, we'll have to see how the Speaker feels about the issue, because this is kind of relatively new territory now, but, if we can get it here, if we can get a vote, I think that would be the most critical thing that we could accomplish this legislative session.

What -- oftentimes what happens is that politicians will see an issue that they don't want to touch and they just won't present it to the floor. So, that would be very disappointing, so we have to keep the pressure up on them.

I'm very familiar with Ann Lee's organization, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, also Heather Fazio's organization, and we plan to be there as well on, I believe it's February Seventh.


LUI LAROTTA: This next coming week, and we'll be there as well.

DEAN BECKER: I don't know, compulsion, this need, this drive to stand up, to speak up, to protest, if you will, the ongoing misery created by these draconian laws.

LUI LAROTTA: I argue that, you know, the state of Colorado has lifted itself out of a terrible financial position. They've increased tourism into the state, which we all know already had a booming tourism industry, and I think that the statistics have shown that children actually have been using marijuana less, underage children, under 18, from surveys.

So, I think there's a lot of misconception out there. I think alcohol's a far more dangerous drug, and I think prescription drugs are far more dangerous than cannabis.


LUI LAROTTA: So, we have to combat the narrative of, you know, misconception, misinformation, there's still people out there advocating, saying marijuana's a gateway drug. So, you can see how far back people are reaching for a sensible argument.

So, it's up to responsible people like us to speak up, speak often, and speak clearly, and address these concerns. I think fear is what drives a lot of people into cornering themselves into positions where they don't feel like there's anything left to discuss.

So we have to point out what it is that is actually causing them that apprehension, address it, and then keep that conversation moving forward, because there's just too much evidence out there that marijuana, cannabis, has far more greater use as a substance that we can use, that we can treat people with, that we can treat ourselves, we can treat depression, several of the people in my organizations I participate in here in Houston, with the Lone Star Veterans Association, Wounded Warrior, I can tell you there's a lot of guys out there with PTSD, and there's even a handful more that would like to see the VA allow veterans to use cannabis as a substitute for some of the prescription medication that they've been given.

And I can say from personal experience, because I'm a patient of the VA's, I know the VA thinks it has a solution for you, it will send you tons and tons of pills a month, and they don't care if you take them or not.

So what does that -- what kind of message does that send to the people who've been released from active duty? You know, pill popping is a solution to your problems? I don't think so. I think that sets a terrible narrative, and I think we really need to explore holistic solutions.

And, it's just a plant. To be really honest, I don't see what the hang-ups are. But, you know, we know the arguments, we just have to get out there and we have to tell the people in Congress, we have to tell the state legislators, especially here in Texas.

And three dispensaries really isn't enough. It's a pilot program, and some people have also argued that it's still made it increasingly difficult for medical professionals to get engaged because it's a federal crime.

So we need, the states really need to nullify what the fed hasn't done yet, and if Donald Trump won't do it, I think that we have to prove, like in so many other states, that we have the courage to do the right thing.

DEAN BECKER: All right, folks. Well, we've been speaking with Mister Lui Larotta. He's very much involved with the Harris County Republican Party and with efforts here in the state of Texas to educate, embolden, and change the mindset of our politicians to allow for marijuana. I want to thank you, Lui.

LUI LAROTTA: Thank you, Dean, and I look forward to seeing you up in Austin.

DEAN BECKER: We just heard from Mister Lui Larotta, talking about the forthcoming event in Austin, Texas. Here to tell us more about it is the political director of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Mister John Baucum. Hey, John, how you doing?

JOHN BAUCUM: Doing great, Dean. Thanks for having me.

DEAN BECKER: John, tell us first off about RAMP, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, RAMP, we're a political caucus with the GOP, so we try to advocate from a conservative perspective why prohibition is a failed policy. It goes against Republican values such as limited government, individual responsibility, and fiscal responsibility as well.

So, we like to, you know, say there are the unicorns out there, Republicans who believe that marijuana should not be prohibited, and we try to explain to our peers within the Republican party why that's the case, and really make strong, factual based arguments from all those angles, from an individual liberty aspect as well as from a financial and limited government perspective as well.

DEAN BECKER: Well, there have always been those few Republicans, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, if you want to call them both Republicans. They certainly lean that direction. But there have been many others along the way.

And, I was talking to Lui about this, that as of late, more and more politicians on both sides of the equation are starting to recognize, embrace, and make use of the science that's been developed over the last ten, twenty, thirty years, that marijuana is not the devil's lettuce. It is not the, I don't know, to be seen as evil and wicked.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, I think you're right. And part of that has to do with just the, you know, unfortunately not as much research coming out of this country as should be, but just research coming from around the world, and then some of the states that have opened up their medical programs and seeing patients, whether it be anecdotal or clinical evidence based research, that there is an efficacy of cannabis for a multitude of medical types of conditions.

And I think also you're seeing a lot of people that are looking at it from the criminal justice perspective, too, realizing that it's not a fantastic use of our law enforcement resources to lock people in jail for possessing a plant, who are relatively non dangerous, nonviolent individuals.

If we think people are addicted to cannabis, then we should deal with that outside of our criminal justice system. And it's great to see that there is a lot of momentum and movement going forward, but it's happening very slowly, and we want to, you know, try to push that ball a little bit forward.

Specifically in Texas, Texas is really behind the curve when it comes to understanding cannabis, both as a medicine and then also understanding the very harsh criminal penalties that we have in Texas.

So, we really need to get on board with the rest of the country. You know, let's not be just tough on crime, but let's be smart on crime and right on crime, and really make sure we're prioritizing those law enforcement resources.

And then we also see around the country the economic boom both in tax revenue for the governments, and also in new job creation for individuals through the blossoming, you know, medical marijuana industry as well as the adult use marijuana industry.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And, you know, Texas is probably the most entrenched in the old propaganda belief system. It was El Paso, 1913, 1914, that first made marijuana illegal. Texas was among the first of the states, I think 1922, '24, to make it illegal on a state level.

And it's going to take a little bit more to undo the propaganda here, but I think that the links are breaking, that more politicians are standing forth, hell, even Beto O'Rourke was running for US Senate and he was talking about legalizing marijuana, openly. It's not the taboo it once was.

JOHN BAUCUM: Sure, and, you know, prohibition didn't start overnight, it's not going to be ended overnight, and I think we are making great progress. Unfortunately, especially within Texas and I think within much of the south, you still have a lot of that reefer madness propaganda, and you know we hear it all the time.

And, what I always tell activists is, go into these meetings with your legislators prepared with facts. Research this issue thoroughly, so when they throw out some BS propaganda piece, some talking point of theirs, you can refute that with fact based evidence and explain to them why they're wrong.

And, it's really interesting to see them sort of spin on their toes when one, they understand that you know this issue very well, you've done your research, you understand your facts. And when you present those to them, usually they'll just start kind of spinning away and maybe using other talking points, and you refute those.

And eventually they realize they have no business being in this conversation, because they have not researched it as meticulously, they're relying on falsehoods that they've been fed for decades and decades, and many of those for very negative reasons such as, you know, we all know that the racism and how that was borne out of the war on drugs, and specifically the war on cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Harry J. Anslinger, the first US drug czar, if you will. He was quoting as saying, reefer makes darkies think they're as good as a white man. And that's where it all came from, is that it was a way to dismiss and, a means to put down our fellow man as being less than through the use of a plant.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, and hopefully, you know, as negative as the connotation with cannabis has been over the past, hopefully it can totally flip that on its head and be, you know, really seen as an economic miracle, as a miracle for patients, you know, we're seeing research even here at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, with MD Anderson, Baylor College of Medicine, and other hospitals utilizing cannabinoids in treatment for things like epilepsy, cancer, and other types of conditions.

So, we really need to unleash this plant. It's going to be a boom to our medical community, it's going to be a boom economically, and really we just have to get the bureaucrats and the politicians out of the way, let the doctors and the patients make the right decisions, let responsible adults use cannabis just like they would, you know, other things such as alcohol or wine, beer, et cetera, in a responsible way.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. All right, friends, well, once again we've been speaking with Mister John Baucum, the political director for Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. Now, John, as I understand it, there's still some seats left on the bus, so to speak, the bus headed from Houston to Austin for the February Seventh day in Austin. Tell us a little bit more about that, how folks can get involved and get on the bus.

JOHN BAUCUM: Sure, yeah, we're really excited about the lobby day, you know, this will be the third year that RAMP has chartered a bus out of Houston to go to Austin. We'll meet about 7 AM at the Marq-E Center, at I-10 and Silber, and then we'll get on the bus, go to Austin, and spend the day at the capitol having some training, and some legislative meetings.

And then we'll all get on the bus and come home together, so, it's a really fantastic opportunity to, one, be a part of your government, go and participate in the process, sharing your beliefs and your opinions with our lawmakers, as well as meeting other people that are activists within the movement, whether those be from a patient perspective or criminal justice perspective.

It really does help build a bond when we get to share that long bus ride and share each others stories, and train new people that maybe have never done that before on the property way to go into these meetings, to prepare their arguments, and be ready to, you know, to answer any rebuttals that might come their way.

So, we're very excited about it. The easiest way to find it is on Facebook, we have an event page. If you google RAMP Lobby Day Bus, it will come up. You can also find us through eventbrite, if you search RAMP Lobby Day Bus on eventbrite. You can also email me at, and I'd be happy to connect with you as well.

And, it's a great time, very exciting. We're going to have hundreds of activists from all across the state rallying in Austin together. And typically we'll go in as a group to these different legislative offices and share our stories, share our testimony, and it creates a really powerful impression on the legislators and their staff when they hear these stories, they see the outpouring of support.

If we're not showing up to tell our government what we believe in and what we want, then potentially our opposition is, and we want our voices to be heard and our voices to be louder, but we also want to be respectful of the process and respectful of their time, and respectful of their opinions, too, because not everybody knows this issue so well.

So, it's frustrating sometimes when you hear a politician give you sort of a no answer, you know, oh, well that's interesting, I'll consider this. And we want to hear yes, I will support this wholeheartedly.

But we have to understand, they don't know it necessarily as well as we do, so we want to continue building that relationship, really be that trusted adviser to provide the information articulately, factually, and present the arguments both on the medical front and in the waste of resources on the criminal justice front, and we need to move in a different direction.

And, you know, we're hoping that we'll have some success. We'd love to have anyone that's listening, we'd love to have you join us. If you don't want to take the bus you can get in your car and drive to Austin February Seventh, and we'll be rallying in the capitol, in the extension. It will be very easy to find us, and we'd be happy to get you plugged in and help you all participate in this event.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Fever, headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, influenza like symptoms, fatigue, edema, diarrhea, depression, hypertension, plasmapheresis, thrombocytopenia, renal dysfunction, and death. Time's up! The answer, from Bristol-Myers Squibb: Plavix, to fight blood clots.

JASON TARASEK: My name is Jason Tarasek, I am the Minnesota political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. I am an attorney in Minneapolis. I have been working on adult use legislation for the last few months.

We now have four bills introduced in the Minnesota legislature. Well, we soon will have four bills introduced. So, things are moving quickly.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and I'm from Texas, and I think we're up to thirteen bills that are being introduced. We have a situation, every two years our legislature gets together so there's a lot of hope down here that we'll get some traction.

But, describe the bills you have up there. I don't think we have anything near legalization as yet.

JASON TARASEK: So, there's one bill that would put it to the voters, as a ballot initiative of sorts. There's another bill that just got introduced to legalize adult use through the legislature. And that would be in the model of the Colorado laws, and the Washington law. That's the one that MPP supports.

There are more aggressive bills coming down the pike soon, I think, from the activist community. I don't recall the exact number of plants for home grow, but it's something on the order of a couple;dozen, so it's pretty aggressive.

So, I don't know how likely it is that that will pass, but, at the same time, what I've told the activists is go for it. Maybe you guys will prove me wrong.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and I think that's kind of the unknown. We had, across the country, for decades, you know, a great reluctance on politicians to do anything to, you know, change the cannabis laws, but now, it seems like in every state, there are a few, if not several, rather bold politicians speaking more openly of a greater need for change.

So I guess we can always just keep our fingers crossed, right, Jason?

JASON TARASEK: Yeah, and I think it turns on politics, you know. It might not be surprising to you, but, we elected a governor in Minnesota who campaigned on legalization. Our house, state house, is now controlled by Democrats, and the senate in Minnesota is not controlled by Democrats, but the Republicans only control is by one vote.

So, we're taking sort of a long range approach here in Minnesota, you know, if we can't get it done in this session, after the 2020 election we're hoping that the Democrats can take control of the Minnesota senate and then really in a position to get a bill passed.

DEAN BECKER: The future does look bright, because there are fewer and fewer people who quote believe in this drug war as time goes by. Your closing thoughts there, Jason.

JASON TARASEK: Yeah, just think, you know the more states that legalize it, the harder it will be for the others to hold out, you know. Minnesota shares a border with Canada, and it, marijuana is legal in Canada now, and North Dakota, one of Minnesota's neighbors, had a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis.

So, you know, as it sort of gets closer and closer, it gets harder to sort of justify keeping it illegal, especially when it can result in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue every year. I mean, I don't know what politician would say no.

DEAN BECKER: Good point. All right, friends, we've been speaking with Jason Tarasek. If folks want to learn more about what's going on in Minnesota, please point them to the right website.

JASON TARASEK: Sure. So, you can go to I've also co-founded something called Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation. It's a multi-partisan group. That website is

DEAN BECKER: Real good. Jason, I wish you guys great success.


DEAN BECKER: All right, folks, today we're going to hear some news coming out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, courtesy of the Drug Policy Alliance and their representative, Emily Kaltenbach. Emily, tell us what went on in Santa Fe today, please.

EMILY KALTENBACH: Today was a real exciting day. A bill was introduced that we believe will be a real game changer for New Mexico families. It's Senate Bill 408, and what that bill will do is reduce penalties for simple possession, from felonies to misdemeanors.

Currently in New Mexico, any amount of a controlled substance other than marijuana is considered a felony, a fourth degree felony, and so what this would do is reduce it to a misdemeanor, following in the footsteps of many other states, nineteen states in fact that have done this.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and there are locales around the US, like my Harris County, Houston, they have decided to look at things differently at least. We used to, you know, indict people for a hundredth of a gram, but I think they tend to overlook at least the minor amounts these days.

It's just common sense, isn't it?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Absolutely. I mean, here's someone who could, you know, be caught shoplifting, and there's a syringe in their pocket with trace amounts of heroin. The shoplifting would have been a petty misdemeanor, but now that the syringe was found with residue, that person then could have a felony on their record for the rest of their lives, and we know what that does.

The collateral consequences are extreme, and the cost to the taxpayers is extreme.

DEAN BECKER: Well, one thing I note in the release you guys sent out, it will lead to a significant decrease in prison population, and millions in savings, and that's, that's just a no brainer, isn't it?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Oh, absolutely. I mean, not only in prison savings. A lot of people are spending time for their felonies in our county jails, and we know the county jails are just bleeding, you know, they can't afford to be housing people and we shouldn't be housing people that are -- we need to deal with this as a public health issue.

DEAN BECKER: Emily, do you guys not have a strong medical marijuana law?

EMILY KALTENBACH: So, we do. We have a great medical cannabis law that has been on the books since 2007. New Mexico was one of the first states to have a state license system, so the Department of Health licenses the producers and has a patient registry.

And it's regulated out of that department, and other states actually follow that model, after New Mexico passed our law in '07.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I feel kind of jealous. Here we are in Texas, we've got Oklahoma as I understand just came up with a boffo, just wonderful medical marijuana law, and we've got you guys on our west side. What would be your recommendation to those considering or wanting to help make these changes happen? How do you deal with your legislators?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Well, I mean, it's about compassion. Right? Our, New Mexico's law is called The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. We know now so much more than we did when New Mexico passed their law, that cannabis helps patients dealing with their chronic and acute illnesses.

It should be a compliment to other medications, and so, you know, I think it's important for legislators to hear from patients themselves. That really made the difference in New Mexico, when people stood up, the cancer patient saying, you know, this is about alleviating my pain and suffering. It has medicinal properties, I think that's really important for legislators to hear from their constituents.

I think it's also important for them to hear from researchers and clinicians, because we're starting slowly to be able to see some research.

DEAN BECKER: Right, and I would think that, you know, the headline of our interview today, that you guys are considering making drug possession a misdemeanor, what's your thought? How many legislators are on board, what does your governor think, what are your odds?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Well, it's the first time we've ever introduced this type of legislation in New Mexico. So, we're not quite sure what the path to success looks like, but, we, so far, the proposal has been met with a lot of positive responses.

I think people realize that the burden on our economy of all the individuals that have felonies on their records, who can't get jobs, the separation of families, the -- we know that felony convictions don't make our public more safe, doesn't make our public more safe.

So, I think people are starting to warm to the idea. And then I think also it helps to know that states like Oklahoma and Utah have done this. If they can do it, New Mexico can, and Texas can.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I've got my fingers crossed, and, is there a place where folks can learn more about your efforts, a website you might point them to?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Yeah, to You can go to our New Mexico page, and also, if people are in New Mexico listening, they can sign up as members and they'll get our action alerts. And we'll be posting our press releases there so they can follow our work.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Emily Kaltenbach, I thank you.

EMILY KALTENBACH: Oh, I thank you. Thanks for the time and the interest.

DEAN BECKER: Well, that's about all we can squeeze in, and again I remind you, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please, be careful.