09/26/23 Paul Stanford

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Paul Stanford
Drug Truth Network

Paul Stanford founded the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation in 1999[4] in Portland, Oregon. The group claimed to have helped over 250,000 patients obtain a legal permit to use medical marijuana in the states where it is legal and where THCF has clinics. Paul has trveled the world in support of cannabis and hemp endeavors.

Audio file

03/10/21 Paul Stanford

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Paul Stanford
Restore Hemp

Paul Stanford, internationally recognized drug reformer hosts Cannabis Common Sense a TV show in Portland. Last week he invited Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network host to be a guest. This audio is less than half the one hour TV program.

Audio file

Hi folks. I am Dean Becker, the Reverend most high. This is cultural baggage on Pacifica radio and the drug truth network. Last week, I was invited by Paul Stanford to be a guest on his, a television program up in Portland, Oregon. He's allowed me to take a portion of it and share it with you. Now,

Paul Stanford
I would like to introduce Dean Becker from Houston, Texas Dean is a long time activist and Dean, welcome to cannabis. Common sense.

Dean Becker
Oh, Paul, thank you for this opportunity. It's always great to, uh, I dunno, dissect the drug war and kick it in the teeth.

Paul Stanford
That's true. You have been doing broadcast on public radio out of Houston. I know it even plays here in Portland on K P O O. You have several shows. I don't want to miss anything or mess it up. Do you want to talk about your, your broadcast on public radio?

Dean Becker
Sure. Uh, we're based at KPF T here in Houston, one of the five Pacifica sisters, and I've been this October will make 20 years that I've been doing these broadcasts. Uh, we just went over 8,300 of my radio programs because we produce a program every day of the week called the four 20 drug war news, which is distributed. And then, uh, each week I do a half hour called cultural baggage. And for years I did another show called century of lives. But for the past, about five years, my good buddy, our good buddy, Doug McVey has been producing century of lies for us as well. Now we have interviewed well over 3000 individuals at this time I've traveled to the world. Basically I've gone to South America and Europe, uh, um, went to Canada, tried to, uh, learn from all the people, making progress, uh, the, uh, safe injection sites in Canada, the, uh, decriminalization that's going on in Portugal and the heroin injection, uh, program that's working quite well in Switzerland as well. And I got to talk to the leaders of each of these organizations and learn from them. And I, I feel, uh, I don't know, four to five to know I've learned from these thousands of people, the truth about this drug war.

Paul Stanford
Yeah. And you've recently produced a compilation of a number of these people. I think it's 19, uh, the moral high, how to win the moral high ground in the war on drugs. Did I get that right?

Dean Becker
Well, that's close. Yeah. And claiming the moral high ground and that it does feature 19 individuals, including the drugs are a Portugal. Who's. Uh, I now consider him to be a friend we've met, uh, uh, in Portugal several times. Uh, went to dinner a couple of times, interviewed him in those offices. And then we've done a couple of videos, uh, Dr. Joel, Google out. Uh, he is the, the designer and the, uh, uh, the current drugs are a Portugal. And while I was there and I should back up just a little bit, the reason I went to Lisbon Portugal was at the invitation of the European monitoring center on drugs and drug abuse. I was invited there by their top scientist to give a presentation to, uh, the administration and the top scientists of the European monitoring center. Um, while I was giving the presentation, the police chief and the police commissioner showed up during the presentation.

Dean Becker
And it was amazing, the Hm, the response, the embrace I got for the words I shared, the fact that the drug war makes no sense. It never has. It never will. Uh, the police chief and the police commissioner, and I stayed after my presentation and laughed and joked for about another hour, about how stupid and insane this drug war is. Um, I was privileged to then go to Switzerland where I met with, uh, uh, Dr. Kristoff Burkey, who was the designer of their heroin injection program. While there, I got to tour the heroin injection facilities, got to learn, uh, during there now more than 20 years, they have, uh, made it possible for a heroin users to inject pure heroin more than 20 million times with zero overdose deaths. Once again, proving the fallacy that the frailty, the futility of our drug policy, which ensures ever increasing numbers of overdose deaths and disease. Um, we have done it so wrong for so long. It's become a quasi religion, a belief system that so many people think is necessary and that it needs to last for eternity in order to protect our children. When the truth be told this drug war ensures that the drugs are evermore deadly, and, uh, the number of overdoses will continue to increase.

Paul Stanford
Yeah, it's clear. It was, it was misguided at best. And, uh, I've often said that the real reason behind drug prohibition is money and power and the centralization of those two. And that, uh, that seems to be the case to me. So you paint this from a different angle to the teller before you started producing media and became an activist. Tell us about your background D cause I know it's pretty, pretty unusual for many of us.

Dean Becker
Well, I don't know, I'm, I'm, I'm a baby boomer, you know, I've, I've been everything from, uh, you know, brick layer to a roofer, to, uh, uh, machine inspector to, um, you know, uh, lave, uh, running a late, but, but I guess what maybe you're pointing to is I was a cop. Is that what you're speaking of?

Paul Stanford
You're a cop.

Dean Becker
I was a cop, uh, I, I had the good fortune, uh, during one of my, um, junkets, if you will. I, I have been to, well over 120, uh, conferences and seminars and, you know, gatherings of drug reformers and, and, um, not so, uh, uh, drug prohibitionists, uh, over these decades. And, uh, when I was in, uh, let's see, it was New Jersey, but 2002, I was doing an interview with a gentleman named, uh, um, Jack Cole, who was the founder of law enforcement against prohibition. And in the middle of his interview, I learned that I was eligible to become a member of leap. And so I joined leap right in the middle of that interview. And th the, the, the fact is you have to have worn the badge sworn to uphold the constitution of these United States. And I'm still trying to uphold the constitution because I know this drug war, these laws are unconstitutional, irrational, and they empower terrorists.

Dean Becker
If they're brave enough to grow flowers on some distant mountain side, they enrich these Barbara's cartels South of our border that killed tens of thousands, butcher tens of thousands of people every year. Um, and it gives reason for these violent gangs that prowl our neighborhoods with high powered weapons, selling these evermore contaminated and deadly drugs to our children had a 17000% markup. There is nothing rational, logical about this drug war. And, and I spend my time chasing down, you know, the, the, the powers that be the, uh, the attorneys general, the, uh, other drugs are the head of the DEA. Those who proclaim the knowledge, certainly, uh, who claimed the intellect, who, who claimed the ability to declare this drug war necessary for eternity. And they run from me, they run from every member of leap. There is no one who can defend this policy, and we just need the opportunity to prove that in an open public venue, in a courtroom, uh, in a major newspaper or through a debate of some kind,

Paul Stanford
Yeah, we've obviously been winning those debates. And finally, we've got a strong percentage of public opinion behind marijuana legalization. So, but back to your years, when you were a cop where you, uh, in the Houston police department or

Dean Becker
Paul, I, I was a security policeman us air force. Uh, mostly I was guarding, uh, nuclear weapons was my main job back then. Um, but you know, gate duty and whatever I, the one thing I did learn is that drunks are the worst people to deal with people on drugs. They usually, uh, go along to get along, but drunks, they object and make your life miserable as best they can. And I guess what I'm, uh, I don't know. I, I, I don't feel I'm a complete hypocrite in saying this, but I, I feel that alcoholism is a much more deadly drug, uh, in its pure form than our heroin or cocaine in their pure form. Uh, we very seldom ever see that, in fact, the DEA says the best they ever find being smuggled into these United States is about 92 pure. Um, I often wonder what that other 8% is cause you know, that stuff's made in jungle labs and using using kerosene and gasoline and people stomp on it with their feet and squishy, squishy in the leaves to get the juice out of it.

Dean Becker
Um, who knows what bug feces fell in that product while it was out there in the jungle, you know, uh, 8% of it is not pure. And, um, I don't know, probably not very good for you, but it's just another example of the current circumstance is used to justify doing more of the same thing. They, the overdose deaths are used to prosecute people. Uh, they're now talking about, you know, people who, uh, buy a bag and then sell half of it to their friend can be prosecuted for murder. If that bag turns out to be a fentinol and their, and their friend dies, it's a, well, there's just no justification for this drug war. There's just not. And, and we, by that, I mean, activists are beginning to develop the courage, the backbone, the stamina, to speak more boldly, to challenge the logic of these people in those public venues, in the, the, um, the sessions at the, at the house of, um, meetings and so forth, where, um, there is that opportunity, you know, and I, and don't get me wrong.

Dean Becker
I, I smoked pot nearly every day. I love edibles. I, uh, I think marijuana is, should be forced on always, but it's not the only thing. And more and more marijuana activists need to get a little more bold leaked, need to educate themselves a little more need to, uh, use the fact that prohibition has never done anything it's, uh, uh, was, you know, set out to do. And we need to, I don't know, just challenge the logic of the drug war in general. Uh, just North of you guys. There's something going on. It really has me interested. The Washington Supreme court is now saying they no longer, uh, want people to be arrested for drug possession. Now how that's going to be nuanced and, and handled. They even told the legislature don't build another law. It's not necessary. So

Paul Stanford
Seattle department just came out and said they stopped off drug arrests. They won't be arresting people for drugs anymore in the city. Seattle. Usually it takes a little longer to get out to the, the more rural, uh, law enforcement sees.

Dean Becker
Oh, I'm sure it does. That's the same, certainly the same in Texas. And I think it, it kind of shows the unraveling of the logic, what we've been talking about, that who, who can justify what we've been doing. They can say it's, you know, it's the law, but the laws, as they say sometimes is an and, and it has proven itself to be a complete. I think over these decades, has it not?

Paul Stanford
What led you to start your media, uh, there with, uh, public radio? What, when did you, okay.

Dean Becker
Okay. Um, well the year, let me think what it was 1998, I guess. Um, I ran into, um, a website, um, drug, I think, uh, is that, um, um, cliff Schaefer's site revising this. It is a drug

Dean Becker
Well, okay. But he has a website, it's a big storage site of all the archives he has. Um, and, and I ran into it. I was working at Chevron. I was working like a second shift where nobody's around. I started printing out all those documents late at night. I started reading them and, uh, you know, it had the early histories, it had the congressional hearings, the early newspaper accounts, all of this stuff that led us to this quote belief system. And I finally determined, well, it's a bunch of bull. There is no legitimacy to this. And I ran into a website, the New York times drug policy forum. It was an online forum where you would post something, someone else could respond to it. You could have kind of an ongoing dialogue, might take a day or a week. And while there, I, uh, I was the first person to use my name.

Dean Becker
Uh, there were other people that were, you know, Jimmy, Joe, and whatever that, uh, uh, you know, posted there. But I put my name down Dean Becker, and, uh, started speaking the truth that I had learned there from cliff Schaefer's website. And I was invited by the New York times to become the liaison for their online forum. And while there, I, uh, I use that, uh, those credentials, if you will, I contacted Milton Friedman, who was the, you know, um, prize winning economist, a well-known well-respected of got him to come on, uh, then governor Gary Johnson, uh, Ethan Nadelmann, a whole list of drug reformers. I invited them to come on. They would respond to questions and, and, you know, from, uh, other, uh, participants. And, um, I built a, uh, uh, a massive booklet of those, uh, interactions. Uh, and I took it to Pacifica. When I think it was, uh, early 2001, they were having, uh, a regime change, I guess, if you want to call it that, where they were changing out the hierarchy and reinstituting new programs.

Dean Becker
And I brought in that stuff, I said, Hey, I'd like to start a radio program about this it's time. Well, they, uh, I, gentlemen, you may have heard of Ray Hill, a big gay rights guy down here in Houston who heard me talking to the administration, said, Hey, I'll put you on here. He had a show. Uh, it was on every Friday night, still on Friday nights. So it's called the prison show where for the first half hour, they, uh, they do news. And, uh, I don't know, just discussions with people in studio. And then the last half hour, they open the phones for people to call in and speak to their, their relatives and friends that are in prison, they hundred. And I think at that time, 120, uh, prisons in the state of Texas. And, uh, Ray said, I'll give you a spot right in the middle of my show.

Dean Becker
So I started doing a little three or four minutes segment in the middle of the prison show. It went well. They gave me a an hour show at two o'clock in the morning, uh, because I was so radical, you know, that I used to open the show with this phrase, broadcasting from the Gulag filling station of planet earth. This is cultural baggage because back then Houston was indeed the world's largest jailer. We, we had people being arrested by the hundreds every day on drug charges. Uh, every morning they would have buses pull up to the jail and ship them off to other jails and, uh, other Texas cities, even into Louisiana. Um, but, uh, they were sleeping under the bunks in the hallways. Uh, eventually it changed, uh, uh,

Paul Stanford
Yeah, I just want to throw in, you know, I think it's, uh, George Floyd moved to Minneapolis to get away from the law enforcement of Houston. Isn't that correct?

Dean Becker
It is correct. And it was, um, uh, well, it served him for 20 years, I guess. Uh, it look, Paul is like this back then. Uh, Chuck Rosenthal was the district attorney and about 2000, 2003, I got a chance to interview him. Uh, he didn't know who I was. He had no clue. I showed up at his office downtown started interviewing him. Uh, he was obviously toothless, hopeless, had no idea how to answer my questions. Um, Mr. District attorney, do you think we made any difference in the drug war in the last five years? Well, whom, uh, I don't know. Do you think will make any difference in the next five or no, he quit, uh, about six months later due to his own drug, uh, addiction problem. Now this, this leads to now, it was a long time year. It was 20 December, 2014.

Dean Becker
I'm interviewing then, uh, police chief, uh, Charles McClelland. And I, I have this way of doing interviews where if a is true, then B certainly has to be true. And if B is true and C and I got to about, if L is true, then M it has got to be true. And he says, you know, this is just a conjecture, but he said, you know, you're absolutely right, Dean, the drug war is a miserable failure that night, the six o'clock news in and around Houston carried that segment. The only time they've ever done it from my radio show, the newspaper carried it six different times. Op-eds editorials, et cetera, talking about what the police chief had said to the police. Chief was named head of the nations, uh, police chiefs. He was quoted internationally on that one, quote, that drug war is a miserable failure.

Dean Becker
And every district attorney, every police chief, every sheriff since has come on my show and has embraced that very idea. And it was now two years ago, three years ago, then now current district attorney when she took office. So I'm not no longer going to arrest anybody for a marijuana under four ounces. She says, I'm not going to arrest anybody for these minor. The minuscule portions of cocaine or heroin had left in a bag. We're going to do away with that. And she's saved the city tens of millions of dollars in doing so. Um, she's been respected other DA's around Houston. Um, excuse me, around Texas are doing the same thing now. And, um, you know, it's, uh, it feels good to know that as of now, last time I've talked to a Kellogg or da, she said there's been 14,000 of these people that did not get arrested for those, uh, four ounces or less that were found in her car. And I only wish that the, the 14,000 of them would join forces with me and help move this even further down the road because they ought to be thankful. Uh, I know I would have been if I had avoided my 13 arrests that I got busted for when I was a kid,

Paul Stanford
Let's go back to your show, claiming the moral high ground in the war on drugs. We talked about some of the people that were interviewed, and I know we wanted to focus on a couple and show a couple of excerpts from that. And the person that came to my mind was Kevin Zeese.

Dean Becker
Kevin actually is the first one in the video. Um, he it's odd. I talked to him about me being older and near to death than him and yet, uh, it was him that not that long after our interview, that he did die. Paul Stanford inserted this discussion with Kevin [inaudible] into our video.

Kevin Zeese
Well, you went from town to town in Texas from prison town, prison town, towns that were based on prison populations for their income. And we had the jail sale behind the trailer. We also had medical marijuana users in the trailer in, in the, in the van people using marijuana medically in 2000 in Texas, pretty amazing. So we had many conflicts with the police during the, during that tour. And I'd get out and talk to the police, of course, keeping them out of our RV because we didn't really want them coming into the marijuana smoke. Uh, and, uh, no one was arrested. And in fact, we've discovered along the route, there was one moment where we had, I was taking a break and our crew went out to tour a town and they got pulled over and someone was, I got a call that someone was in a police car. So I went out to the event, talk to the police, said, look, we're just doing first amendment stuff. This is our right to protest or right to organize, you know, to raise these issues. And then over the microphone of the cop was, um, uh, someone says is that those people with marijuana leaves on their car, if it is leave alone, let them go. And we realized, we realized in the midst of the presidential race that George W. Bush did not want a focus.

Dean Becker
I I'm going to back up to the beginning when I first got into being an activist, not just online activists when I started being on the, in the marches on the, you know, in the streets, so to speak was because of Kevin. Um, uh, again, I guess the years, maybe 2000, there was a situation in Tulia, Texas, where a, uh, a rogue cop, uh, Tom Coleman was his name. He busted about 40 black individuals for cocaine. Uh, he set each one of them up. He, he planted the drugs. He made the whole thing up basically is what it turned out and Kevin and a group of, uh, Momo, I think mostly Floridians, Jodi James, others, uh, Michael crowds, a lot of other folks showed up in Texas and they had a couple of vehicles. One was an RV with a, on the side, a big banner of people smoking weed.

Dean Becker
And, um, uh, they pulled behind that a quasi jail cell, kind of a cage looking thing that people would be in and, uh, Stripe suits and, you know, protesting. And they made a tour of, I think it was eight different of, uh, Texas prisons, um, protesting outside the prisons with bull horns on top of their RVs. And when they went to Austin to do the parade, uh, I, I met up with him again there that I saw them first in Houston, marched with them here. But in Austin, I drove that, you know, three hour drive. I, uh, I committed to becoming an activist and that they, uh, it wasn't that big 150 200 people in the March, but I felt it, I knew it. I had to do it. And from that day forward, I have been an activist. I, uh, I thank Kevin. I thank him in that video. I thank him for being so brave because that's what it took back then. It Texas, my God,

Paul Stanford
Kevin Z S a also got me kind of involved in activism. I first went to a, uh, marijuana event of the Washington smoke in, in Washington, DC in 1978. But then, uh, that linked me up with the Yippies. I became the Washington state normal coordinator in, uh, like 1981. And then I wrote a letter to normal. And Kevin was the executive director of normal at the time in Washington DC. And he pointed me the Washington state director of normal as a student at evergreen state college and normal sent me a big 16 millimeter reel of reefer madness. And I went to campus to campus showing that, talking about how we should do an initiative petition to legalize marijuana. And then it did eventually. That's what happened there in Washington and in Oregon.

Dean Becker
No, this is we, we mentioned earlier, uh, Washington state's Supreme court, but what, uh, we didn't delve into much, and I'm not sure if it's going to be necessary or how it's gonna interact with this, but I've been speaking with Roger Goodman. He's a representative up there in the house of the state of Washington heads up their, uh, public safety committee or criminal justice committee, basically who they are. And they've been talking about, uh, decriminalizing all drugs to put forward a new law to do so. And, uh, the Supreme court may have beat them to the ticket, but the, the point, I guess, I'm trying to get to is that, you know, Roger's been on my show a couple of times in this past month, we even last week, was it, uh, in the last two weeks anyway, had one of his sessions within the house there in the state of Washington, uh, about this effort to decrim all drugs.

Dean Becker
And it's, uh, you know, we don't have that, that option here in Texas. We, we have the most ignorant and bass ackwards set of politicians. Not all of them. There are, there are at least a half dozen, maybe a dozen that are putting forward bills, this session to legalize marijuana, to diminish the punk penalties, to nuance things that you know, in, in the right direction. And, uh, chances are pretty slim. Uh, earlier today I called, uh, the, uh, uh, uh, state house and tried to see if it's there now, allowing people in. Cause the governor just took away the, uh, open up all buildings and take away the mask, which is the craziest fricking thing you ever heard. But if they're doing that, then I can get in the Capitol. Uh, last time I was there, I'd knocked on 72 doors, you know, and one day, and I gave him, I was wearing my shirt, legalized heroin to save lives. Um, you know, it was a marijuana day, but that's, that's me. I there's enough people working on marijuana. I'm sorry. But, uh, I, I want to legalize heroin. I don't like heroin. I tried it a couple of times. I don't want anybody else to do it, but if it's going to be around, let's make it be heroin instead of fentinol or some mixture of who knows God only knows. And, uh, and

Paul Stanford
For that these days, it's really tragic. I know we all have been touched by this fentanyl, uh, opiate, uh, crisis where you know, this, this deadly drug is laced into Xanax or heroin or anything else.

Dean Becker
Now it's, it's in cocaine. It's my summation of the drug war prohibition. All right. Prohibition is racist. It's stupid. And it at its heart, it's just evil. It's just a pretense. It's a hope for a better day. That's just never going to come.

Paul Stanford
So we're about running out of time here. Let's what would you like to say in closing Dean?

Dean Becker
Well, okay. Um, given the opportunity to speak to everybody in America, I guess here's what I'd say. You own the moral high ground, you know, the truth of this matter, you have the, uh, the facts and the ammunition, so to speak, to contact your legislators, to, uh, any cop on the beat, to any, and everyone in a position of authority to let them know that, you know, the truth that the drug war has not worked is never going to work is a failure, is a fiasco and it needs to be ended forthwith. And, um, you know, the, the information is there, you know, go to my, my website, drug, as I said, more than 8,300 shows that are available, um, over the years, um, go to Becker's buds on YouTube. You can access many of my videos there as well. And, um, just in general, you know, stand tall, speak from the heart, speak with the knowledge that you gained and realize that there is nobody going to, uh, quash or counter your position, because there is no legitimacy to this drug war. None never has been, never will be. And, uh, we own the moral high ground that's out there at Becker's bugs as well.

Paul Stanford
All right, well, thank you, Dean. It's great to have you on the show. After all these years, we're going to have to have your back more often. I urge people to go check out that video that we've had clips of claiming the moral high ground and check out Dean Becker's website. Thank you, Dean. And thank you viewers, and help us restore him.

Dean Becker
You can access my video on Paul's program and all of his programs by going on Facebook slash restore him. And again, I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

03/18/20 Katharine Neill Harris

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Katherine Neill Harris
Paul Stanford
Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy

Katharine Neill Harris Alfred C. Glassell, III, Fellow in Drug Policy re "Vaping: Clearing the Air" + Paul Stanford, cannabis activist returns from speaking gig in Mexico

Audio file



MARCH 18, 2020

DEAN BECKER: I am the Reverend Dean Becker, keeper of the moral high ground in the drug war for the world and this is Cultural Baggage.

Alright folks, this is the Reverend Dean Becker and here in a little while we are going to here from Mr. Paul Stanford who is just now returning from an excursion to Mexico to educate them about marijuana but first up, more locally we are going to hear from the Baker Institute. As has been true for decades on end, a recent report tells us that an estimated 480,000 deaths occur in the U.S. that are linked to smoking tobacco. That means that about 16 million people live with smoking related disease. I am taking that from a report issued a couple of weeks ago by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. This report was put together by the Director, William Martin as well as our guest for today, Katharine Neill Harris, she is the Alfred C. Glassell Fellow in Drug Policy. Welcome, Katie.

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: Thank you for having me, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: Katie, this is a fairly substantial report. Please tell us what is contained therein?

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: Our report looks at vaping as well as the trends in vaping and compare those to the trends in cigarette use. We also look at some of the research that is trying to determine whether vaping functions as a smoking cessation tool or as something that initiates young users to nicotine addiction. We also take a look at the role of Juul and the vaping industry encouraging vaping use among teens and young adults and then we propose several possible avenues for policy responses to the increase in vaping among young people.

DEAN BECKER: Among your key findings you list that vaping among teens and young adults has increased significantly in the last few years while the rates of smoking have continued to decline for all age groups. Is that a good thing?

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: The decline in smoking is a good thing and it is part of a longer term trend. The latest numbers we have for 2019 is an estimated less than 6% of high school students reported smoking cigarettes in the past month, so that is an all-time low in terms of cigarette smoking. On the other hand, the rate of vaping in 2019 showed that 27½% of high school students said that they had used an e-cigarette in the past month so that is more than a quarter of high school students, which is more than double the rate that it was in 2017. When looking at the teen population it is unlikely that all of that increase in vaping are just people who would have been smoking otherwise. What that means is that there are a lot of young people who are initiating an introduction to nicotine who probably would not have smoked cigarettes absent the vaping option. The news is mixed as the decline in smoking is good but the rise in vaping is not so good; then again, vaping is still preferable to cigarettes.

DEAN BECKER: I think that is the key point that those who vape may switch over to cigarettes because they develop a “nicotine addiction”, which is a horrible result, right?

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: Yes, that is one of the concerns and there have been some studies cited that show that kids and teens who vape are more likely to smoke cigarettes later in life. One of the challenges with those studies is that they are not very good at ruling out confounding variables. In other words, they are not really good at ruling out the possibility that the same risk factors that make someone susceptible to vaping are also likely to make them susceptible to smoking cigarettes. In the same way, when we talk about cannabis use and we look at people who smoke cannabis and then go on to use heroin. There is usually underlying risk factors for both behaviors that are independent of the cannabis use which is the same with vaping and cigarettes, but not always. Again, we are still trying to figure out how all of these pieces fit together.

DEAN BECKER: Sure. You did bring up cannabis, and there is the cannabis or THC vaping, which is similar to the nicotine vaping. It is my understanding that many of these illnesses and deaths that have been created by vaping are more the result of black market THC vaping cartridges rather than Juul, or the more legitimate concerns. Am I right?

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: Correct. One of our reasons for putting this report together was that there was all of this heavy attention and panic in a sense over vaping since last summer when there was an outbreak of what was called EVALI (E-cigarette and Vaping Associated Lung Illnesses). We still see new cases but the rate has declined significantly. Officials from the CDC are fairly confident that most of those cases are due the presence of Vitamin E Acetate, which is the solution that is a Vitamin E pill that can be ingested safely but that you should not inhale. The presence of that chemical in particular black market THC cartridges because it is used as a cutting agent in those THC cartridges. That has been the primary source it seems of that lung illness. However, that illness really shined a spotlight on this increase in vaping that has been occurring over several years now and it spurred action on the topic.

DEAN BECKER: Okay. Now as a guy who quit smoking ten years ago, I have something like 50-pack years of Marlboro’s under my belt and now as a result I have COPD. It is a horrible habit and I am glad we having vaping to perhaps distract the children from that horrible habit. The fact of the matter is that we have this situation where there is a dual use that sometimes goes on where people start with the vaping and/or they start with cigarettes and then they may switch to chewing tobacco as well. There is a dual usage that sometimes becomes an even bigger problem. Right?

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: Yes. The dual use is a big concern from a public health perspective. Right now it is kind of difficult to know for sure the nature of that Juul use. I am fairly confident that most of that Juul use are people who were smoking cigarettes and then they took up vaping perhaps to quit or cut back on smoking or as a supplement that they can use in public when they are in nonsmoking areas. I think it is more like that behavior than the other way around in that large numbers of people who take up vaping don’t eventually transition to cigarettes. I am not saying it doesn’t happen, I just don’t think that is the majority of that group. The dual use is still concerning from a public health perspective, even if you are reducing your cigarette use with vaping. There have been studies that show even a reduction in cigarette use from a pack a day to a half a pack a day or even one or two cigarettes a day, you are still exposing yourself to those cancer causing chemicals within cigarettes and you are not really getting the health benefits you would be getting if you quit smoking cigarettes completely. Meanwhile, the dual use can increase your nicotine exposure which can enhance the addiction to nicotine making it more difficult to quit both substances.

DEAN BECKER: When I was a kid they had Joe Camel trying to sell kids on the idea of smoking cigarettes. We also had the Marlboro Man, John Wayne in the movies, and we had all of these people enticing us. Even doctors were saying they were outstanding and mild. All of these enticements and lures to bring our kids forward. We have had somewhat similar circumstances trying to attract our kids to these vaping products. Have we not?

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: Yes. If you Google any of these things and you come up with the types of ads that Juul and others have used. Juul has been more of the focus because they cornered such a large share of the market in such a short amount of time. Most of the vaping devices try to appeal to a younger audience and it is really obvious from the marketing and from the appearance of the models in the ads they use who are young and attractive who look like they are having fun. They throw parties around vaping and they try to get celebrities and other people to use their products, they use social media sites very clearly geared toward a younger audience so the claim that the only intent of the vaping industry has been to offer a safer alternative to cigarettes rings false when you take in to consideration the type of advertising that has been occurring around vaping products.

DEAN BECKER: All right friends once again we have been speaking with Katharine Neill Harris, she is the Alfred C. Glassell III Fellow in Drug Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Now as we are wrapping it up here, Katharine, I want to focus on the thought that I think most of us in the Baker Institute agree that prohibition just doesn’t work. It has many horrible consequences and I think that is holding true for this vaping product as well and banning it is not going to do us much good, is it?

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: No. Banning these products won’t work, for example, my point about the EVALI lung illness being associated with black market vaping products. I think that if there was some kind of blanket ban or prohibition on vaping products you would just see people transition to a black market for it where the products would be much more poorly regulated and you would also have to worry about additives and other things in the vaping products that people were using; so certainly bans do not work for that reason. The other point that I think is important is that it certainly makes sense that we don’t want people under 21 to use these products and it makes sense to enforce laws against selling them in businesses that might be selling to minors. It is important to not have any legal sanctions for people who might be using vapes because those punishments are much more likely to be harmful than the vape use itself. There was a recent report that shows in Texas schools there is a significant increase in disciplinary action against students for vape products, some had THC but the vast majority was nicotine. I understand that schools are concerned about vaping on their premises but on the other hand, tacking on suspensions and expulsions on kids is likely to have long term damage on their lives with regard to employment and school prospects. I think it is really important to weigh those other consequences when we consider what policies we want to use to respond to vaping.

DEAN BECKER: All right. The hope has always been that through the use of these vaping products people could taper and then quit their use of the deadly cigarettes. Right?

KATHARINE NEILL HARRIS: The evidence is somewhat mixed. There is some reason to be cautiously optimistic that vaping might be a more effective smoking cessation tool than other nicotine replacement therapies that are already on the market such as the nicotine patches and the gum. Part of the reason is that vaping is a more satisfying nicotine delivery system than cigarettes and so more people might be attracted to them. On the other hand, the vast majority of people that try to quit smoking whether it is with a vaping product or any of the FDA Approved nicotine replacement therapy, they continue to smoke cigarettes. This is just a testament to the addictive properties of cigarettes. I do think that there is potential for vaping to reduce cigarette use among people who are motivated to quit and we have seen research to indicate that. Again, it is really that the health benefit hinges to a certain extent on people quitting cigarettes completely. Most people don’t actually do that. The other thing to consider is that when we talk about prohibitions or bans on certain vaping products, a lot of that is concerned with prevention of teens and young adults from initiating nicotine use with these products. I think it is important to consider the harm reduction potential of vaping in the context of helping people quit cigarettes, especially when you look at the populations that are most likely to smoke cigarettes. We know that there has been a decade’s long decline in smoking for the general population but certain groups are much more at risk for smoking today than others. Specifically, it is people that are low income and that have lower levels of education including blacks, Native Americans, people who identify as LGBTQ, veterans, people with mental illness, and people who use other drugs. These are all groups that are much more likely to smoke cigarettes and therefore much more likely to suffer the harms related to smoking. There is a potential for vaping to possibly be a significant harm reduction tool in that group of people as well. I think that we need to consider that when we are talking about crafting policy to respond to this and wanting to prevent young people from starting this, we also want to give a healthier alternative to groups who are most at risk of smoking cigarettes.

DEAN BECKER: All right. Once again, I have been speaking with Katharine Neill Harris with the Baker Institute. Katharine, is there a website where folks could study your report?


It’s time to play Name That Drug by its Side Effects. Headache; nasal ulceration; back pain; pyrexia; cough; reduction in children velocity; glaucoma; cataracts; fungal, bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections; Ocular herpes simplex; and adrenal suppression. Time’s up! The answer: from Glaxo-Smith Kline, Veramyst nasal spray for allergies.

DEAN BECKER: All right friends. Today we are going to hear from a man who has decades of experience as an activist, a grower of the cannabis plant, and a man who does many things to try to educate his fellow man and citizen to the fact that there has been a lot of lies put forth about the cannabis plant. He is also a man who has travelled the world in support of those ideas, and he is a man who was selected, elected, chosen and paid to speak around the world about the benefits of cannabis. I would like to welcome activist and entrepreneur, Mr. Paul Stanford. How are you, Sir?

PAUL STANFORD: Very well. Thank you, Dean. How are you doing?

DEAN BECKER: I am good. You are just now returning from Guadalajara, Mexico and you are at the Houston airport, right?

PAUL STANFORD: It is kind of like I am entering in to the Age of the Pandemic here at the Houston airport as it is pretty empty. I am going on to Portland and all of my flights are pretty empty, but the sole advantage is that I get free upgrades to first class because it is empty.

DEAN BECKER: Yes. Let’s talk first about the pandemic. It was a few weeks back when you were in Colombia and more recently you have been in Mexico for the second time this year, if I am not mistaken. How do you see things being handled down there in regards to this pandemic?

PAUL STANFORD: They have universal healthcare in Mexico so like Cuba, they have low cost healthcare even for the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) so they can access care. They haven’t had a large outbreak, it is just a small number of people who have contracted it there. I can’t tell you what that number is but it is much smaller than in the U.S., and Mexico is the largest Spanish speaking country in the world with about 175 million people.

DEAN BECKER: Are they in a state of panic as we are here in the U.S.?

PAUL STANFORD: They are a little bit worried about it but they haven’t closed down events in Mexico. In fact the event that I was at the people did not seem to be overly concerned. I think that perhaps it is overblown, I would hate to be proved wrong, though. The economic impact can’t be overblown, however and neither can the social impact.

DEAN BECKER: Sure. One of the ways that you promote the idea that cannabis is good is that you do a television show there in Portland. Do you not?

PAUL STANFORD: That is right. I have been doing a cable television show since 1996 on the Portland Cable Access Unit. They have upgraded it to a studio that is paid for by people who subscribe to cable access in the Portland, Oregon area. They have really nice state of the art facilities that they have continually upgraded over the years from analog to digital. They also changed the name several times but we have been producing an hour-long show on marijuana called, “Cannabis Common Sense” since September of 1996. It has had quite an impact over the years and we have had many, many guests that are mutual friends of ours from Doug McVay to Jack Herer and many others that will go nameless for the moment.

DEAN BECKER: That is 25 years that you have been doing that show!

PAUL STANFORD: Yes. We just did show 1,000 in the past year and we are up to about 1,025 shows now I believe.

DEAN BECKER: Well more power to you, Paul. Let’s talk about why you get these invitations to Colombia and Mexico cannabis seminars.

PAUL STANFORD: There are various events such as the Texas Hemp Convention which was all about industrial hemp in Dallas back in January. I was one of the pioneers in industrial hemp and then I have experience with medical marijuana both as a medical marijuana grower and the owner of what is the largest medical marijuana clinics in the country. We are across ten states and 60 cities with 80 contracted doctors, at its peak there were about 90 other employees. We helped 270,000 Americans from Detroit, Michigan to Honolulu, Hawaii get their medical marijuana permits. The first clinics opened in Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Colorado.

DEAN BECKER: I know you are in Mexico and Colombia but it was Mexico and Colombia that was providing the marijuana we had in the 60s, 70s, and in to the 80s. Right?

PAUL STANFORD: That is exactly what I tell various audiences. Since 2016 I have gone to Mexico City eight times and this is my third time in Guadalajara in the past year. I have another booking in Puerto Vallarta for the first time in April and another one in Colombia in July. I will give a few lectures to different members who are there. This one that I just came from in Guadalajara was for two different organizations. The MediCannabis Summit and Expo was held on the main campus at the University of Guadalajara and it was a pretty spectacular to chill in. Then there was a Cannabis Cultivation seminar that I gave with a few other experts in a more relaxed setting over the weekend. They are very nice. They flew my wife and I down here and treat us like rock stars so it is kind of fun.

DEAN BECKER: I bet so.

PAUL STANFORD: I am very supportive of all of their efforts and have had various presentations at the MediCannabis Summit. They asked me to make a presentation about business entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging legal cannabis industry because Mexico is on the cusp of fully legalizing and regulating cannabis and so there are a lot of debates on the potential restrictive regulations. We have seen that in every jurisdiction in the United States and Canada so there is some concern about that. I was able to talk about everything from hemp plastic to building materials and hempcrete to hemp paper and seed oil and biodiesel and of course a variety of dispensaries and retail opportunities. I talked about how the bulldog pioneered the coffee shops in Amsterdam that are just now being closed, apparently. Marc Emery pioneered some of the cannabis (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and social consumption in Vancouver but now there are stores all over the place. My town of Portland, Oregon has more marijuana stores than Starbucks. They are everywhere and they have one about every quarter mile. There is some centralization and some of them are buying out others but there is a lot of mom and pop operations as well.

DEAN BECKER: As you can tell, Paul Stanford is speaking to us from the airport and they have an announcement going on in the background there. We are about to run out of time but Paul, I want to bring this back to cannabis expertise. Each year you grow umpteen pounds of outdoor and indoor cannabis and you give away a lot of that as medicine for the folks in your city. Right?

PAUL STANFORD: That is true. I have taken care of a lot of medical patients over the years. The rules are becoming a lot more restrictive around that and my state of Oregon is requiring every grower to get certification from the owner of the property that they have permission to use the property for growing marijuana and that has potential implications on the banks mortgages and that has a lot of people worried. It seems to be implemented by more monopoly creating lobbyists.

DEAN BECKER: Okay. I have one last area of concern and that is I know that a little over a year ago the Canadian big boys in the marijuana industry took their companies to the stock market and made hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. Their stocks have gone way down as of this point but they use those dollars they garnered from the original stock sales and they have attempted and in many cases are in fact taking over U.S. marijuana industry with those dollars. Am I right?

PAUL STANFORD: Yes. I have been a personal target of that and it is really pretty amazing. I don’t want to harp on the individual points, but I have had a group that is now Board of the Directors at the Chrono’s group attack me. They spent two million dollars to crush my work and take away – another thing I have done is put legalization of marijuana on the ballot in Oregon. We lost in 2012, which was the same time that Washington and Colorado won we came back and won in 2014. It is a long, complicated story and I will just leave it at that but it’s not just happening to me. The same people who attacked me are in every jurisdiction in the United States, Mexico, Latin America, and Canada. They have the big money behind them and in fact the Chrono’s group and their Board of Directors; Allen Fretman, Ryan Roebuck, and several others just brought in a huge investment of 1.8 billion dollars from the Altria group who are the owners of Marlboro tobacco. So I am in a battle with big tobacco and billionaires; it is pretty amazing but (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

DEAN BECKER: Well, yes. Paul, I want to thank you for your acumen, expertise, and willingness to educate folks around the world to the benefits and potentials. If you want to hook up with Paul, I urge you to go to his Facebook page at: Are there other ways folks might reach you, Paul?

PAUL STANFORD: They can also go to our website at: Our television show is streamed on Friday night’s at 8 pm Pacific time at:

DEAN BECKER: In closing, I want to thank Katharine Neill Harris from the Baker Institute, I want to thank Paul Stanford, and I want to thank you for listening to today’s program. Once again, I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful!

Drug Truth Network transcripts are stored at the James A. Baker, III Institute for Public Policy and more than 7,000 radio programs are at …and we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.

08/14/19 Phil Smith

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Phil Smith
Paul Stanford
Stop the Drug War

Phil Smith of Stop the Drug War re hemp law hoopla, Paul Stanford re release of new movie Green Goddess, pep talk from Trump, Volcano benefits COPD patient, DTN Editorial

Audio file



AUGUST 14, 2019

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 that empowers 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.

I tell you what friends welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I am feeling a bit lazy today so I am going to let our first guest introduce himself and lead us in our discussion. Mr. Phil Smith, how are you, sir?

PHIL SMITH: I am fine and dandy, Dean. I should let your listeners know that I am the editor of both the Drug War Chronicle and the Independent Media Institute’s Drug Reporter and I have been writing about drugs and drug policy for an awful long time now, at least a couple of decades.

DEAN BECKER: Yes you have. What is the hot button? What is going on?

PHIL SMITH: I want to talk about hemp.

DEAN BECKER: Let’s talk.

PHIL SMITH: There are a couple of things going on with hemp that are pretty exciting with unintended consequences of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized the industrial production of hemp; which is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC. First off, it has taken off like crazy. I moved to southern Oregon which is the traditional pot growing area of Oregon and the countryside is covered in hemp plants by the thousands of acres. I just did an article about Oregon hemp production and it has increased from a hundred acres in 2015, to 22,000 acres this year.


PHIL SMITH: So from 13 hemp farmers to 700 hemp farmers, and it is not just Oregon. We are seeing a dramatic increase in hemp production all over the country. It is up 25% over last year and it is on an exponential curve at this point. I don’t know how long that can be sustained. This may be a one or two year boom driven largely by CBD, because the Farm Bill defined hemp and products derived from it as not being subject to the Controlled Substances Act so I don’t know about Texas but around here and in many states you find CBD products everywhere; in drug stores, corner stores—

DEAN BECKER: Gas stations.

PHIL SMITH: Yes, you name it.

DEAN BECKER: We have it here and I want to add one quick thought and then you can continue on this subject because it is a hot item here as well. I just recently learned of a 75 year old lady who isn’t a drug reformer that happened to try some CBD because she heard about it on NBC and gave it a shot. It is helping her hips and she is walking properly again. Please continue Mr. Phil Smith.

PHIL SMITH: That is part of what I wanted to say about industrial hemp. It is really booming and I should add that in my part of the country farmers that are growing industrial hemp are getting about $500 a pound for the buds. That is damn near as much as these outdoor growers can get for their marijuana so what has happened here in southern Oregon at least and I suspect in other places as well is some pot growers have switched over to hemp.

DEAN BECKER: Well the knowledge has got to transfer over wouldn’t you think?

PHIL SMITH: Absolutely. It is the same species of plant. The other thing I wanted to talk about with hemp is really fascinating because it is no longer considered marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, it is really screwing up marijuana possession prosecutions in all of these states that legalized hemp.

DEAN BECKER: You got it.

PHIL SMITH: They didn’t mean to do that but that is what has happened. Prosecutors in Florida counties including Miami Dade say that they are going to quit prosecuting pot cases because they can’t prove that it is pot as opposed to hemp with their current drug tests. It is also messing up drug dogs. Drug dogs can’t tell the difference between hemp and pot.

DEAN BECKER: They are unemployed now.

PHIL SMITH: Or they need to be shortly. We have had 46 states legalize hemp production since the Farm Bill passed in 2018. I would wager that every one of these states has the same problem with pot possession prosecutions now. They are just not worth the effort now. You have to go to a fancy lab to differentiate between low THC hemp and high THC marijuana. So I think this hemp legalization has effectively really screwed up marijuana prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: I am with you. I have been posting about that the last couple of days myself. In fact, just before this show is airing I was supposed to be in downtown Houston doing a hemp smoke in. I haven’t been feeling well with the heat so I decided not to do it this week; but the whole point being that if it is legal and every gas station and convenience store is selling it then why not? I was just going to sit down on the smoker’s bench outside of the courthouse and light up a cigarette that happened to contain hemp.


DEAN BECKER: I just wanted to see what would happen. I was going to tell all of the media, the district attorney, and the police chief so that I don’t frighten anybody. I was just going to smoke a cigarette. What is your thought on that?

PHIL SMITH: (LAUGHTER) Bring it on! I have to say that I went to the corner store here in southern Oregon a couple of nights ago and they now have hemp cigarettes.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. They have them here in Houston as well. They are selling eighths of an ounce for fifty bucks. It is crazy. The point I would like to say here is that the D.A. and I had a great discussion about this about six weeks ago and she agrees with pretty much what you and I have been saying but it all has got to be hashed out over the coming months. They say that they are not going to prosecute for small amounts, we are going to confiscate it and possibly test it at some point down the road if we can afford a machine or find one. To me that says that if I have hemp in my car that is low-THC at .02, and you just stole my product. I am going to sue your butt. What is your thought there?

PHIL SMITH: That sounds like a very effective civil recourse. I highly recommend anyone who has their hemp (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to do that.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Because maybe eventually they will just give up on trying to persecute this plant that has never killed anybody.

PHIL SMITH: At this stage it is a waste of resources to come up with more advanced testing. How much do you want to pay to figure out if this joint is hemp or recreational marijuana?


PHIL SMITH: It is a question of the effective use of public resources. That is our tax money that those law enforcement people are spending to throw us in jail for pot.

DEAN BECKER: The same holds true with these vaporizer cartridges with CBD.


DEAN BECKER: People are making CBD edibles now and it just goes across the board to incorporate all the things that they have been prosecuting people for in the past. They are guessing now in essence. They are paranoid and guessing is my summation. What is your thought on that, Phil Smith?

PHIL SMITH: Hemp has thrown a real wrench in the works. No one thought about this but here it is and now all of these prosecutors and state attorneys general are having to deal with it. My advice to them is at this late stage to just give it up.


PHIL SMITH: Let’s not waste any more resources on this.

DEAN BECKER: Wasn’t it La Guardia airport in New York? He never really got on board in the first place for the alcohol prohibition back then and he finally said if they wanted to bust people for alcohol in New York they would have to send in the Feds because they were not going to help. What they have got to realize is that this prohibition has no real merit to it and certainly not for marijuana and it does empower certain gangster types here and there. It doesn’t really do much to contribute to society other than give people a black mark on their record. Wrap it up for us here would you, Phil?

PHIL SMITH: Marijuana prohibition continues despite everything for a number of reasons one of which is that there are vested interests behind maintaining the status quo and one doesn’t have to go to conspiracy theory here. I am talking about people such as law enforcement agencies, prison guard unions –

DEAN BECKER: Treatment centers.

PHIL SMITH: Yes. All of them.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly. These legislators don’t have to do that and it doesn’t have to be their side job. They could have a cousin that has a urine testing outfit, or their uncle has stock in private prisons. You just never know. There are all of these financial influences that keep it tied together. What do you think?

PHIL SMITH: I think we are going to overcome them.

DEAN BECKER: I think so. The truth –

PHIL SMITH: We just have to be conscious of them, identify them, and work to neutralize them; and we will win.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you, sir. Do you have a website you would like to share or any closing thoughts?

PHIL SMITH: Come check out my work at, or you can also check out my work at the Independent Media Institute. You can find most of my stuff on most of the time.

It’s time to play Name That Drug By its Side Effects. Clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, shallow or absent breathing, dizziness, sedation, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, weak or absent pulse, heart failure, thousands of deaths. Times Up! Designed to sedate adult elephants, this drug is 100 times more deadly than Fentanyl, 10,000 times deadlier than morphine, a portion smaller than a grain of salt can be fatal. The drug lord’s dream fulfilled: Carfentanyl.


DEAN BECKER: Ladies and gentlemen please put your ears closer to the speaker. It is time for our daily pep talk with the profound and patriotic pronouncements of the President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Of course I hate these people. Let’s all hate these people because maybe hate is what we need if we are going to get something done.

DEAN BECKER: I smoked Marlboro’s for approximately 48 years and the best I can estimate I smoked 70 pack years of tobacco with my best estimate of total cigarettes smoked being one half million cigarettes. I now have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or what folks used to call emphysema and it is kicking my ass. I quit tobacco a few years back and I still had the ability to lift boxes, crawl under cars, and do most of the chores and tasks that I had always done but in the last year or two the ease of doing these tasks has become rather difficult. I have enjoyed smoking marijuana for more than 55 years but now because of the COPD, I can barely take a hit from a marijuana or hemp cigarette without coughing my head off, my face turning red as a beat, and without giving those around me a degree of concern. As a drug reporter I visit lots of drug conferences a year and most are in cannabis legal states where quite often vendors are selling cannabis and many others are offering samples of pipes, papers, portable vaporizers, and various smoking accoutrement. As soon as the COPD started kicking my butt I have tried switching over from joints which have always been my preferred method of smoking to the little pipes, one-hitters, personal vape pens, and larger apparatus to find that they all irritate and lead to red-faced bouts of coughing. Just last week after inquiring about their new release, I received a brand-new product from Storz & Bickel which is an in-home vaporizing device called The Hybrid. It resembles The Volcano, but besides the means to capture vapors in a refillable bag for ease of use it also features a hose mechanism that works much like a hookah. The end result; I can get high again if I am not too greedy, I keep the precise and easily adjustable temperature settings within reason, and I don’t keep increasing the heat to the plant matter it works marvelously.

Storz –Bickel started years ago with The Volcano and now with their new hybrid they have achieved what is for me a new means of enjoying the beautiful buds of today.

There is a strong chance these products might be available at your local head shop or other such store in your community. If not, you can learn more by going to

DEAN BECKER: Folks today is a lazy day for me so I want my guest to just introduce himself. Would you please, Sir?

MALE VOICE: My name is Paul Stanford. I have been a cannabis activist for the past 40 or so years now. I was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Dallas, Texas. My mom still lives there but I now live in Oregon. I am also the Associate Producer and a minor actor in a movie that was just released this weekend named, The Green Goddess.

DEAN BECKER: I have had a chance to see the trailer and I want to say that I found it beautiful and astounding. It is interesting because it brings forward the heart of the cannabis movement, awareness, and the plant itself.

PAUL STANFORD: Yes, that was the point. We made it in to a comedy/adventure and it talks about cannabis being something to save the planet and it makes up a good story around that. It has over 500 special effects sequences, most of them pretty psychedelic. I am told that that is more than any other independent film. We had a lot of people that worked on Avatar and Titanic who basically donated their time to work on some of these scenes.

DEAN BECKER: That brings to mind something, Paul. A lot of people realize this, but maybe many of the listeners do not and that is the cannabis community is far and wide. It is well connected and it stands in support of one another and in progress toward recognizing the benefit and the futilities of the laws. Am I right?

PAUL STANFORD: That is true. Cannabis is the oldest and the most productive crop for fuel, fiber, food, medicine, and for fun as well. It has been grown for at least the last 25,000 years and it is integral in most societies going back. I could itemize those but…

DEAN BECKER: There is not enough time my friend!

PAUL STANFORD: No there is not but I do it in a lecture some times in various countries.

DEAN BECKER: We just have a few more minutes here. You mentioned food, fiber, and fuel. I shop at HEB grocery store and I love the store but they want to put my stuff in those white plastic bags. I always ask if they have paper because I don’t want to see those bags waving in the trees. I don’t want to see them floating in the river.

PAUL STANFORD: Here in Portland, Oregon they require that you use paper bags.


PAUL STANFORD: They charge ten cents per plastic bag in California so it is like a disposable fee.

DEAN BECKER: What people also don’t recognize is that we could use hemp bags instead of the paper bags.

PAUL STANFORD: Hemp can replace all of the world’s plastic. In fact, I am going to be a speaker at the Texas Hemp Convention in Dallas on January 28, 29, and 30th talking about bringing hemp fuel, food, and fiber production to the state of Texas now that it is legal.

DEAN BECKER: Coincidentally, just today I heard from a relative of mine who just returned from Oregon and they talked about driving down the highway seeing nothing but thousands of hemp and marijuana plants growing. The number of dispensaries available, the reasonable prices, and no problems to speak of. Am I right?

PAUL STANFORD: Yes. There are more people growing low-THC CBD flowers and biomass for CBD production in southern Oregon than there are pear and grape growers combined. There is more acreage and more farmers doing it. Pears and grapes are major crops in southern Oregon and hemp is now bigger than both of those. Like your friend said and I have seen with my own eyes it is beginning. You can drive up both sides of the freeway and it is on both sides of the valley. Now we are growing sensemillia flower; what Texas needs to grow is hempseed oil to compete with the petrochemical industry because a lot of petroleum and plastics can be replaced with hempseed oil and that produces food and fiber to feed people and animals. Paper, rope, lace, linen, and building materials can be replaced with hemp.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly. Put the farmers back to work on a nice, productive crop.

PAUL STANFORD: Instead of the money going to the petrochemical giants it would go to our farmers and decentralize wealth and that is what we really need to see happen in this day and age, in my opinion.

DEAN BECKER: You got it.

PAUL STANFORD: Hopefully they will become supporters of public radio.

DEAN BECKER: Paul, I want to come back to your movie. I have had a chance to look at it and I want to say that I feel sympathy and empathy from it. I think it was Jack Herer who said that marijuana may not solve everything but it is the only thing that might or something to that effect.

PAUL STANFORD: Yes. People often talk about there being some time left for these changes to be made. The time is long past. Now it is just a matter of saving what is left. Hemp can help save what is left. This movie focuses on that in a fun, comedic way with some incredible special effects and we are hoping that people will go out there and take a look at the trailer. We are selling the movie online for $4.20, and we are going to use some of the first proceeds to try to pitch it to Netflix as what they call a content aggregator which Netflix requires.

DEAN BECKER: More power to them I guess.


PAUL STANFORD: You can see the trailer and buy the movie if you can at:

DEAN BECKER: I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the pictures of those sensemillia plants you guys grow and I was –

PAUL STANFORD: I have grown for Willy Nelson for a number of years.

DEAN BECKER: Oh, man. I have smoked some of that then on the bus with Willy before.

PAUL STANFORD: I was actually in Austin the day that Willie was busted for taxes in December 1990. He was meeting with me which they say was one of the reasons they were after him.


PAUL STANFORD: I can’t speak to that.

DEAN BECKER: I was a guerilla gardener. I would go out and plant in the winter and hope that something came up. I would go back about every month or so and cut back the weeds. I planted on old farms back then. There were farms and ranches all over Harris County, and I would just look for the most remote area. There were a lot of them back 20 years ago. There would usually be a patch where the ragweed was 15 feet tall and the dirt was so loose. You could just dig two feet deep with your hands in about a minute.

PAUL STANFORD: Cannabis will grow well throughout Texas. Texas red dirt marijuana was pretty famous back in the 50s and 60s with aficionados like Louie Armstrong. Even the U.S. Speaker of the House back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s Sam Rayburn grew hemp on his farm. He didn’t realize when he introduced the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 that he was criminalizing something that he grew on his farm in Bonham, Texas.

DEAN BECKER: Ainslinger fooled them all, didn’t he?

PAUL STANFORD: Yes he did. Those petrochemical, pharmaceutical, military, industrial, transnational, corporately fascist crony capitalist ruling class and a lot of them were Texas oilmen. They wanted that money and did not want the farmers to have it.

DEAN BECKER: But the best place I found to grow weed near Houston was in a little town called Hempstead.

PAUL STANFORD: Imagine. I wonder why they gave it that name.

DEAN BECKER: It grows real well there and probably will again.

PAUL STANFORD: I think it will.

DEAN BECKER: I have to wrap it up here with my good friend, Mr. Paul Stanford up there in Oregon.

PAUL STANFORD: Thank you, Dean. I appreciate the opportunity to pitch our movie and let people know about it. We just released it after almost 20 years in the making. Thanks. You should come and visit at the very least, especially in October. Early October during harvest time.

DEAN BECKER: Okay. Mr. Paul Stanford, thank you, sir.

PAUL STANFORD: Thank you and you have a good one.

MALE VOICE: Legend has it that deep within the THC crystal of the marijuana plant there lives a goddess. A goddess so incredible that meeting her will transform your life forever. She is magnificent, glorious, beautiful, and delicious. If you start with a strain like this nurture her and worship her. When your mind is open she will come.

FEMALE VOICE: I have so many gifts to give the world yet I am made an outlaw. I am food, shelter, clothing, medicine, fuel, and so much more. Help me, connect to me, connect others to me and make them understand. Allow me through you to heal the planet. Only then will my true purpose have been fulfilled.

MALE VOICE: We’ll travel halfway across the world to plant 25,000 marijuana plants and harvest more organic ganja than you and all of your friends could smoke in three lifetimes. Woah! That’s a lot of pot!

DEAN BECKER: Paul didn’t say it, but the movie is pretty trippy. You can find it at:


DEAN BECKER: This is a Drug Truth Network Editorial. Two decades ago I stumbled upon official government documents including newspaper and other written accounts which fully described how these drug laws came to be. These documents show that without any actual data, studies, or rationale these laws were instituted. I saw that it was outrageous, an abomination, a series of hysterical accounts based solely on propaganda and racial screeds that were used to frighten the populous and motivate the politicians to continually ratchet up the number of drug laws and penalties for possession or sales. It worked to alienate drug users in much the same way gays or witches have been persecuted in the past. I felt an obligation to alert others, meaning you, to what I had learned. I first wrote a screenplay which was never given a green light called, Century of Lies. Next I joined forces with the New York Times to become their liaison for their drug policy forum. It was my duty to bring notables to that forum to include the likes of Milton Freedman and Gary Johnson. In 2001 I managed to wrangle a weekly broadcast program which is this program, Cultural Baggage on KPFT, Houston’s Pacifica radio station. We now have more than 60 broadcast affiliates in the U.S. and Canada. More than 7,000 programs are now available at I have interviewed well over a thousand notables to include government officials, scientists, ministers, cops, wardens, prosecutors, and well over 100 authors. To fortify my understanding I have traveled to more than 100 conferences to learn directly from these doctors, scientists, and other experts. I have challenged these high echelon officials for more than 20 years including the drug czars, attorneys general, CIA, FBI to come on this show to clarify the need for an eternal drug war to absolutely no avail. There is no benefit to this drug war and we must bring it to an end.

As was discussed with Paul Stanford and Phil Smith, hemp is changing the equation and thankfully many district attorneys around Texas are stating that they will no longer arrest folks for small amounts of marijuana. They have this perspective that they still want to take your bag of any green, leafy material. They think it might potentially be contraband and they are going to hold it for the day that it can be tested. This near universal perspective of major city district attorneys really has no basis in law or American justice. Last week a Gallup poll indicated that 1 in 7 Americans are already using hemp so now because there can be no verification of evidence on-scene, there is no probable cause and no legitimate law in the books to justify the thoughts of confiscating every bag of green plant matter. Every confiscation involving hemp would obviously be a case of theft. So let us once again judge people by their actions, not by making baseless presumptions about the fresh or dried flowers in their possession. Smell or sight of hemp or cannabis no longer justifies a search or confiscation because paranoia is not a law and guessing is not a tool of justice. Once again I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what is in that bag. Please be careful!

Cultural Baggage is a production of the Pacifica Radio Network, archives are currently stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, and we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.

06/03/18 Paul Stanford

Century of Lies
Paul Stanford
Deborah Small
Patients Out Of Time

This week we hear from Paul Stanford and Teressa Raiford at the Global Marijuana March in Portland, Oregon, and from Deborah Small at the Patients Out of Time conference in Jersey City.

Audio file



JUNE 3, 2018

DEAN BECKER: The failure of drug war is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors, and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century Of Lies.

DOUG MCVAY: Welcome to Century Of Lies. I'm your host Doug McVay, editor of

A lot of stuff this week, so let's get to it. First the Global Marijuana March was May Fifth. Got some good audio from that, and we're going to hear some of that now.

I'm speaking with my good friend Paul Stanford. He is the founder and director of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp. He has been an activist for peace and social justice and marijuana reform for as long or longer than me and that's honestly saying quite a lot. Paul, how the heck are you doing, man?

PAUL STANFORD: I'm doing really well, you know, I remember back in 1984 when we both came here to Oregon, with Jack Herer, and to follow John Sajo, to work on the second marijuana petition in the history of the United States. And we've been at it ever since. I'm doing well. thank you.

DOUG MCVAY: I'm glad, I tell you, we've made a lot of progress.

PAUL STANFORD: That's true. That's true. There's more to be made, we're not there a hundred percent yet. There's a lot of places you can be thrown in jail, and there are people in prison here in the United States for life without the possibility of parole, some being executed, so, there's farther to go.

DOUG MCVAY: We're here at the Global Marijuana March, some may ask, as they do every year, when it's Hempstalk, or whether it's Hempfest, or any of the other reasons, they always ask, well, you've got partial legalization, you've got, you know, medical for people who can afford their own homes or who have a caregiver. So why are you still out here? Why are we still out here, Paul?

PAUL STANFORD: Because we need to educate people that hemp should be used for fuel, should be used for fiber, should be used instead of alcohol in most cases, in our opinion. So -- and to educate people about, you know, the oldest and most productive crop. Hemp's been cultivated over 25,000 years.

We could replace almost all petroleum and almost all plastic with hemp derived seed oil. Protein, fiber, and until we can make those ecological changes, the, you know, hemp is good medicine for people, but it's also medicine for the earth. And so, we have to educate people about that. We're not there yet.

DOUG MCVAY: Now, behind me, behind us on the stage right now is our good friend Elvy Musikka, talking about legalization, reform, and all the good work she's doing. She and I were guests on your local show here. You do a show here in Portland. How long have you been doing that?

PAUL STANFORD: Twenty-two years. We started in 1996. I was on other people's shows in the late '80s and early '90s here in Portland, and somebody asked me, a guy named Lanny Swerdlow, who's very active in California still today, he lived here in Portland and did the first 120 shows, and that was back in 1996, so we've done almost a thousand shows over twenty-two years.

DOUG MCVAY: And it's Cannabis Common Sense, right? Now, it's -- I used to have cable when I was, you know, living up here in southeast Portland, and I'd see your show on quite a lot, actually. I don't have cable anymore, but, I can still catch it online, right? It streams, Cannabis Common Sense streams. All right, where do you find it?

PAUL STANFORD: It streams live on our Facebook page, at, and it's also on Youtube. It doesn't stream live on Youtube, but it is posted generally within 24 or 48 hours, and just look up Cannabis Common Sense and you can see hundreds of them. Literally, we have an archive with 800 hours or more of video.

DOUG MCVAY: You had me, you had Elvy, obviously you have some great guests. Who are some of the other folks we'll end up finding?

PAUL STANFORD: You know, Jack Herer was on many times, Keith Stroup, the founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Lots of different people. Lawrence Cherniak back in the day, for those old enough to know who that guy is. The list goes on and on. Anthony Taylor, Anthony Johnson, Sarah Duff. Like I said, I could just keep naming people.

DOUG MCVAY: And you're naming people in the crowd, too, as I think about it, it's like, these are good.

So, I missed your -- didn't get a chance to tape you when you were speaking. What were you talking about, what do you hope the takeaways are that people get from what you had to say?

PAUL STANFORD: That hemp and cannabis still need further reform, further deregulation, and that it's the oldest and most productive crop, you know, it's been cultivated at least 25,000 years, maybe twice that, you know.

So, agriculture, civilization itself, sprang from hemp and cannabis, and we need to return to using hemp and cannabis for fuel, for plastics, biodegradable plastics, nontoxic alternatives.

DOUG MCVAY: So, any closing thoughts for the listeners, and, oh heavens, let's see, let's get the -- let me get your website here, too.

PAUL STANFORD: It's, that's, or you can go to

TERESSA RAIFORD: I'm Teressa Raiford, and I'm a candidate for mayor for 2020, and I'm also the founder of a social justice organization called Don't Shoot Portland, which seeks police accountability and community engagement.

DOUG MCVAY: Teressa, this is of course the Global Marijuana March. You were just up there speaking a moment ago. Lord knows whether my recording came off, so could you tell folks the gist of what you're trying -- what you hope people take away?

TERESSA RAIFORD: Well, one of the biggest things is the health access for people that are living in marginalized communities to marijuana, not only medical marijuana, but also recreational use, and not only just the marijuana form but also access to RSO oils and having access to them through our health departments and our programming that is supposed to help us legitimize the health resources that are found in the plants.

We all know the science behind it, but we haven't found any legislators or any political leaders in regards to building that health infrastructure and outreach and accessibility, and so that's something that I'm very serious about, because in the time that we were pushing for the legalization, in the forefront of my mind was the medical access and how we would integrate that into society.

Another thing that I'm standing here and I was speaking about from that platform was public consumption, public use and consumption, which goes again hand in hand with the medical necessity and also the recreational use of it.

We already know that a lot of times that police are saying that weed is a gateway drug, and they tend to criminalize certain communities for access and use of it, and so to take away that criminalization and the violence of being humiliated and prosecuted through our courts for something that we all know is legal, we've all spent our time and energy fighting for the legalization.

We need to start a social justice framework for use, and I think partnering with organizations like mine and activists that have been fighting for accessibility and the decriminalization of our bodies, that that makes sense. I said some things like we don't need people doing it for us, we need people to do it with us, and I also gave a call to action for the industry to use their funding to create the infrastructure and the outreach that needs to be done.

We used to have to depend on elected officials, we used to have to depend on people that had influence and access to power, but now we have growers, now we have budtenders, now we have people that are in the industry in several different capacities that actually have the financial power that it takes to build campaigns and build movements that are necessary and make change.

And I'm just hoping that that's something that happens. We need to build our own political leaders, and we need to start depending on what we know, and what we trust, because we've been right. We've been making it, but we don't have to move that slow as we have been.

DOUG MCVAY: Teressa, you -- you're a candidate here in Portland, you're -- the organization you work with, Don't Shoot PDX, is doing tremendous work. Drug policy reform movement, I know this is rooted in social justice, but a lot of people have come into it because they've heard of marijuana, the marijuana business. But, once they start doing it, I think they understand, this is about social justice.

What can people in drug policy reform, people like me, be doing to be better allies and to help support the work you're doing with Don't Shoot PDX, and some of the other work that you're doing generally?

TERESSA RAIFORD: Being a better ally 101 is hiring people from those marginalized communities to be a part of the outreach and the research that's going on, in order to develop systems that are not system of oppression and are not centered in white supremacy, you have to bring people that have been effected by those issues.

A lot of people that are well meaning, and now are seeing their whiteness and are seeing how the constructs have created the oppression of others, they still haven't seen fit the opportunity to put other people in a position to dismantle those systems.

And I think the only way to remove a noose from your neck is not to count on the same system that helped apply it, but to give power to those people that had it, and see what you can do to strengthen that up.

We have to do that. It takes courage and integrity, but like I said, right now, there's an overwhelming support system in place for this industry, and that gives you an opportunity to be more courageous than what legislative action would usually give us access to.

Legislators tell us it takes five years to get a bill passed, and that once that bill is passed that they'll have the funding to do the research to apply what needs to be applied in order to create structural change. We're already a part of the change, we're already in the structures, and now we have our own funding, so now we need to use that to mandate our own financing, build the leadership models that need to be done, and then duplicate them in different parts of the country.

DOUG MCVAY: Any closing thoughts for my listeners, and where can people find out more about the work that you do? Like, your website and also your twitter.

TERESSA RAIFORD: Awesome. My twitter is @Teressa_Raiford, and my website for my campaign is Teressa for Mayor PDX,, you could google, and you can go there and you can donate, you can volunteer, you can see our events.

These events are all on there. I'll be at the capitol in August, making sure that I back that up, all the stuff that we've been talking about. And also for Don't Shoot PDX, we do a lot of social justice work, education, and community outreach, and you can find more information about our work on

DOUG MCVAY: Teressa Raiford, thank you so much for all you do. Thank you.


DOUG MCVAY: Those are interviews with Paul Stanford and also Teressa Raiford.

And for me, this, this is our May Day. This is our day to reach out in solidarity with others and say, we are your neighbors, we're your friends, we're your family members. We smoke weed. We like weed. We think that pot should be legal.

And we ask you people to join with us in calling for that. It's not so we can have a party. I could have a party anytime. If it weren't for legalization and drug policy reform work, I'd have a lot more time for partying. All right? I'm doing this because it's important, because it's about freedom, because it's about justice, and it's because it's what's right.

Social justice is where it's at. There's a thing called harm reduction, where you try to reduce the harms that people do to themselves, and you manage the risks that people expose themselves to.

Drinking, drinking alcohol, maybe just one drink an hour so that your body metabolizes. That's called harm reduction. Not taking a shot of whiskey to wash down your opiates, that's harm reduction, because you could kill yourself doing that. Smoking marijuana to relieve your minor pains rather than taking an opioid, that's harm reduction. Okeh?

Simple concept. When we give out clean syringes to people who insist on injecting drugs, people who inject drugs are people too, they're our friends, they're our family members, they're our sisters and our brothers, they're our parents. They're our spouses. They're our partners. They're our friends. They're people. So we can either leave them to get sick and to die, or we can do something about it. Right?

Now, Portland, there are handful of people who've been working for a little while, and it's getting a little bigger, trying to put something together called a supervised injection facility. I know, a little off topic, this is a weed thing, but you know, we got here because of drug policy reform, and we got here, because people were willing to break the law to do what they think is right.

Now, we have a syringe exchange that's run by the county in this area, Multnomah County, a wonderful thing, but we need more because of the overdose crisis and because really resources are just being outstripped. So a lot of folks are working to get this area to consider a supervised consumption facility, a safe consumption space. A safe injection facility.

The city of New York is running close. King County Seattle is trying. They're trying to get this done in San Francisco, they hope to have it in fact by sometime this summer, down in San Francisco. Portland, it's our turn. We've been a leader in all this stuff. We've been a leader in marijuana legalization and medical marijuana, and in harm reduction, for a very long time.

It's because people like you come out to events like this and let elected leaders and officials and just these -- I'll be nice -- people in places like Studio On The Square, we let them know that we really are serious. That we want this stuff to change and we're not going to go away until it's happened. And frankly, we're still going to be here because it's still not going to be perfect, and there's still a lot of work to be done.

Sure we have medical, but god help you if you live in an apartment or federally subsidized housing. Sure, we have legalization, of course, do be careful if you try and consume out here, because it's illegal to consume in public, and there are very likely people who would have you arrested. And so, you know -- we ready? --

RAFAEL MARTINEZ, JR.: Whenever you're ready.

DOUG MCVAY: Okeh. I'm going to get through and wrap this up in a second. So here's the thing. Marijuana legalization is a great thing. Drug decriminalization is absolutely vital. Harm reduction is important.

All this stuff is why I do what I do. Again, my name is Doug McVay,, you can find a lot more information on all this stuff I've been talking about. I want to thank you all for being here. You are beautiful! Happy May Day!

Yes, that was me, I also spoke at the Global Marijuana March. I do go out in public every once in a while. That audio comes to us courtesy of Russ Belville, a journalist, radio talk host, host of The Marijuana Agenda, and of course from My good friend, Russ, I do thank him very much for that audio. You can also catch the video on Facebook, if you want to check it out.

You're listening to Century of Lies. We're a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation Radio Network, on the web at I'm your host Doug McVay, editor of

Now, the Patients Out of Time conference did take place a week or so after that. One of the smartest people I've ever met, one of the best advocates I've ever met, Deborah Small, was one of the speakers. Let's hear from Deb.

DEBORAH SMALL: There are three main points that I want to leave you with in the conversation around children and families. The first has to do with this assertion I want to make, that I believe is true, that a marijuana arrest is more harmful to any person, particularly a young person, than the use of marijuana.

I want to just say that again: that when you're talking about harms, that the harm of an arrest for marijuana possession is more long lasting, to almost any individual, regardless of their age but particularly for a young person, than the use of marijuana. I don't know too many people who have engaged in violent or negative behavior under the influence of marijuana, but I know a lot of that has happened inside of our jails and prisons.

And in many ways, an arrest for marijuana acts as a form of "Head Start" to prison, and the thing I want to say around that, which I really think is important because when we were doing this work in New York, people would constantly say to us, but most of the people who are arrested for possession, they don't end up in prison. So it's really not that bad. They might get arrested, you know, they might spend a night in jail, but most of them are not going to prison so like what's the harm?

And I said to them, how would you feel about having to be strip searched, fingerprinted, have your personal information entered into a criminal justice database, because that's what happens for every person who's arrested, regardless of whether or not they end up going to jail or in prison. So I think it's important, when we talk about harms related to marijuana, that we actually distinguish between the issues related to mass incarceration and mass criminalization.

We have a conversation in the country right now that acknowledges that mass incarceration is a major problem and a waste of resources, but we don't have that same conversation around criminalization, which is why you get so little pushback to the idea of having drug tests as a requirement for all kinds of things, not just for public benefits, but in many school districts, young people have to be willing to submit to drug tests as a condition for being able to participate in school based activities, in athletic activities and extracurricular activities.

They have to prove that they're drug free. I wish they had the same rules for sugar, but, that's another conversation.

The second point I wanted to make is that there is a distinction between using drugs and having drugs use you. And for this I want to like draw on my experience as a parent. I raised my son in New York City, and because he knew me, he knew a lot of people who use drugs. Mostly marijuana, but not exclusively.

And so, he didn't grow up in a household that had a zero tolerance policy around drugs, or even a belief that drugs were bad. At the same token, as a parent, I didn't want my son using marijuana at 13 and 14. So I had a conversation with him around drugs, very similar to the conversation I had with him about sex, and the conversation was that both of those things were healthy, but, how good they would or would not be for you depended on who you were and how old you were when you initiated those activities.

So I didn't want him to think that sex was a bad thing. I'm like, sex is a great thing, but it will be better for you if you wait until you're old enough to be able to use it responsibly, than if you start having sex at 11, 12, 13, even though your hormones might be telling you to. I'm like delay.

That was the same conversation I had with him about drugs. People use drugs because they're good, because they make them feel good. I think we have this crazy conversation that somehow if you make kids believe that drugs are horrible things, that they won't use them, but that's not true. That's not why anybody ever used them. And personally I've always thought of addiction as being a good relationship gone bad.

So in the same way that I wanted my son to have healthy love relationships, I wanted him to have healthy relationships with drugs. So we discussed all the different drugs that were out there, and the ways in which people use them, and don't use them, and one of the things I did with him is I would walk around the neighborhood with him, and I would point out people, and I'm like, this is a person whose drugs are using them. They're not using the drugs, the drugs are using them.

I really want you to get the distinction. Now, on the other hand, you know, he had friends, I had friends, that were responsible, working adults who also used drugs responsibly. I'm like, this is the difference between using a drug and having the drug use you. The older you are when you initiate use, the more likely it is that you'll be able to use the drug as opposed to having it use you, because your brain will be developed enough for you to be able to figure out what moderation looks like for you.

Now, many of my son's friends had an issue with the fact that I engaged in drug education that way, and that I allowed my son to smoke in our home. My feeling was that as a harm reductionist, I much preferred to have him use marijuana in our house, where I could observe him and his friends, than have him out on the street, and be potentially subject to arrest, that I could make sure that he wasn't using marijuana and alcohol, and other drugs, and that he knew that -- and that I knew and he knew that the source of his marijuana was a place that wasn't going to taint it with things like PCP and other drugs.

I mean, I believe it's important to provide young people with the tools that they need to be able to engage in their lives as safely as possible. All parents want to shield their children from all harm, but unless we're going to wrap them up in a bubble and carry them around, we're not going to be able to do that.

So for me, I think it's really important to interact with young people in an age-appropriate way, and to give them the kinds of tools that will enable them to negotiate all the different experiences that they'll have in their lives as productively and safely as possible.

And then the third point that I wanted to make is that a pregnant woman is a person, not a baby delivery vehicle. And I know it should go without saying, but it seems like in this country we -- women lose their personhoods when they become pregnant, because the whole conversation becomes about what kind of vessel is she for the health of her baby?

Her own health becomes almost secondary, and all the other things that factor into her being healthy are considered unimportant except for her own individual behavior. And so, in that -- and it doesn't matter what kind of drug we're talking about. I mean, it's really interesting to me. People who have reasonable attitudes about alcohol become unreasonable when they're talking about women, and pregnancy.

Now, I'm not standing here as a person who's advocating for people to use drugs, alcohol and other substances, while pregnant, but what I am advocating for is for us to treat pregnant women as the full human beings that they are, and to support them into being healthy and happy, and not just focus on the life that they're bringing into being.

And the example that I want to give to illustrate this point is this, and if I seem a little angry in the moment, it's because I am around this particular issue, in that, in the work that I've been doing with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, I have seen pregnant and parenting women be literally verbally assaulted by judges in court for the fact that they maybe took a drink, or that they tested positive for marijuana, like that was ipso facto proof that they were not worthy mothers, that they couldn't be good mothers, because they had this drug in their body.

And for some of those women, they were threatened with loss of custody, some were threatened with being locked up, based on these drug tests. In many parts of the country, unfortunately, in rural areas where doctors and other people know a lot about people's health backgrounds, they literally wait for these women to show up in the hospital so that they can lock them up and take their children away, on the basis of their drug use, totally separate from whether or not there's actual proof of harm.

You know, back in the '80s, we had this whole hysteria around crack babies. People still talk about that like it's a thing. But there's no such thing as a crack baby, and there's no such thing as an addicted baby. We're hearing that now, inside the whole opiate crisis, where there's newspaper articles about how are we going to save these addicted babies?

Addiction is a set of behaviors that babies are not capable of expressing. A baby can be drug dependent, or chemically exposed, but what they cannot be is addicted. So when you call a baby addicted, what you're really saying is that that child has a bad mother, that the mother is addicted, and that somehow she infected her baby with her addiction.

And again, that's simply not true. So I raise this to say that we really need to think differently about it, and that example for me that made it so clear, like how hypocritical we are about this, is what happened in Flint, Michigan, where you had women who were forced to drink lead polluted water. There is no question about the harms associated with lead poisoning, to children, to adults, to people. It's been scientifically proven for over a hundred years, the kind of damage that is done to the physical body and to the physical brain as a result of lead poisoning.

The quote unquote "harms" of drug use have yet to be specifically proven, particularly with respect to marijuana. And yet, we will lock a woman up who fails a drug test, but we take no action against the water polluters who've made that woman ingest lead, which is going to hurt both her and her baby. Tell me who from Michigan has been held accountable for all the children that were poisoned? From drinking lead polluted water for over a year.

There were women who were in jails and treatment programs in Flint, Michigan, who had no choice and no option to get bottled water, who were pregnant, and who then had to live with the guilt of having a child that they knew was going to be impaired because of that poisoning, but there is no legal accountability for that. And no one has called the people who poisoned the water criminals.

So, I ask you again: like, what's the real crime? And what's, where is the punishment?

DOUG MCVAY: That was Deborah Small, speaking at the Patients Out of Time conference in Jersey City, New Jersey. That conference took place May 10 through 12. Again, full disclosure, I do work with Patients Out of Time doing website and social media.

And well, that's it for this week. I want to thank you for joining us. You have been listening to Century of Lies. We're a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation Radio Network, on the web at I’m your host Doug McVay, editor of

The executive producer of the Drug Truth Network is Dean Becker. Drug Truth Network programs are available via podcast, the URLs to subscribe are on the network home page at

The Drug Truth Network is on Facebook, please give its page a like. Drug War Facts is on Facebook too, give its page a like and share it with friends. Remember: Knowledge is power. Follow me on Twitter, I'm @DougMcVay and of course also @DrugPolicyFacts.

We'll be back next week with thirty more minutes of news and information about drug policy reform and the drug war. For now, for the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay saying so long. So long!

DOUG MCVAY: For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition: the century of lies. Drug Truth Network programs archived at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.