07/11/23 Roger Goodman

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Roger Goodman

For most of his professional career Roger Goodman has worked in government and politics. Roger serves a a Washington State Representative. Washinton state recently reinstallled new drug laws that are already failing.  Roger has served for many years as Chair of the House Public Safety Committee, with jurisdiction over the state’s criminal justice system.

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01/03/23 Roger Goodman

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Roger Goodman
Washington State Representative

Roger Goodman is a Washington State Representative, who chairs the criminal justice committee with a particular focus on drug policy. Topics range from legal cannabis to legal Heroin, from overdose deaths to international madness. Roger is an American lawyer and politician serving as a Democratic member of the Washington House of Representatives, representing the 45th district since 2007.

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09/04/22 Roger Goodman

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Roger Goodman
Washinton State Representative

Roger Goodman is a state Representative based in Seattle Washington. Roger is a strong proponent of harm reduction and even legalization of all drugs. Roger ranks as one of the most effective and prolific legislators in the United States. Roger is the main guest on Cultural Baggage

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DEAN BECKER: (00:00)
Well, for instance, it's been too long since we, uh, spoke with our next guest. He's been with us, uh, at least since 2009 and probably before, I couldn't find other indications, but he's a, a representative from the state of Washington, uh, a man who understands the drug war and who is trying to, uh, I don't know, nuance to, uh, diminish the harms of, of this drug war through some of the committees where he serves as, uh, either the head or the, uh, one of the representatives trying to change these laws. Um, I wanna welcome my good friend, Mr. Roger Goodman.

Hi Dean. It's good to see you again.

DEAN BECKER: (00:39)
Uh, thank you, Roger. Yeah, I, uh, I, I've been looking a lot at, uh, your neighbor there, uh, through the south that has changed their laws to decrem. And as I understand it, you are contemplating or aiming in that direction. Uh, somewhat, are you not?

Yes, indeed. Uh, as you may know, you probably do Washington and Colorado ended, uh, cannabis prohibition 10 years ago now, which is hard to believe. And, um, those experiments are going very well. Um, and we can talk further about that, but, uh, now is the time to look at all the other prohibited substances and, uh, change policy in that regard, Oregon, by citizen initiative, um, they voted to decriminalize the possession of what they call personal amounts. So there's, there's actually a measurement about what's a personal amount and, um, uh, in Oregon, if police interact with you, they simply give you a referral, uh, to go to a treatment assessment. If you don't go to that, you pay a fine, so it's a civil penalty. If you do, it's up to you, you can follow up after the assessment and seek, uh, treatment if you wish or not.

And so that was a model that we were looking at in Washington. It was thrust upon us in Washington, uh, last year, 2021 during the legislative session because our state Supreme court invalidated our drug possession statute. It was a case brought where a woman had methamphetamine in her gene in the pocket of her genes. She had loaned those genes to a friend, and when the meth was found, she said, Well's not mine. I, I had no idea that was, and it was true. She was not a, a user of, of meth. And, and so somehow the ended up in her genes and the, the, the court looked at the statute and found that you can't be committed of a crime. If you don't know you're committing it, there has to be an intent element. And so the lack of the, uh, the word knowingly or intentional, uh, in that statute meant that everyone back to 1970, uh, who had been convicted of, of drug possession, simple drug possession and any, uh, substance, uh, all of those convictions were invalid.

Uh, and so over the last year and a half, we have now been re resentencing, uh, thousands of people we have been vacating from their criminal records, all of those prior, uh, convictions of drug possession, which means a lot of people have actually gotten out of prison because they had that in their past. And that w because that was their criminal record, that increased the length of their sentence. So, uh, the Supreme court basically dropped a bomb in the middle of the legislative session by invalidating the drug possession statute, and we had to do something. And so I introduced a bill in the house to decriminalize, uh, all prohibited substances modeled after the Oregon, uh, uh, statute. Uh, and we couldn't get it passed because we didn't have votes in the Senate. Uh, we were a couple of votes short. Uh, so what we ended up doing was downgrading, uh, possession, uh, from a felony to a simple misdemeanor, which is really the police don't pay attention to civil misdemeanors.

They don't have time for that. And frankly, what the police told us during our debate was that they don't have time for drug possession anyway, takes up a lot of their time. These are people who are not contributing to, uh, you know, pub, uh, uh, community safety problems. Uh, and so in fact, it was ratifying what's going on out there. Um, we put a, we put a deadline, a a, um, uh, an end point on this, uh, for next year. So it's a two year experiment. So in 2021, we enacted a, uh, this downgrading of, um, uh, drug possession penalties to a misdemeanor until 2023. So next year, so this upcoming legislative session is coming, so we're gonna have to do something. And if we don't, it'll go back to what the state's Supreme court ruled, which is that it's, it's invalid and, and there would be no consequences whatsoever, uh, for drug possession.

There are a lot of people who support that. Uh, but I, as a lawmaker, I believe we should put something in place, some responsible law in place, uh, and we're going after the decrim, the full decrim option, uh, again, uh, but it'll, it'll be a challenge. We did, um, insert in this, uh, law. That's only lasting for two years, uh, the, uh, inability for police to arrest on the first two times. So when there's a point of, uh, encounter between police and someone who's possessing a prohibited substance, um, they can't be arrested. They have to be given this referral again, and we're building up the behavioral health infrastructure for people who really do need help. So that's the option for them. Uh, and on the third time, then police can arrest. Uh, but the problem is that police don't know how many times this person's been arrested or stopped before.

And so nobody's counting. Uh, so in fact, it's sort of de facto decriminalization. Um, but I am concerned that people who need help, aren't getting, getting it. Uh, there's basically two GA, two categories of people who possess and use drugs, uh, people who, who need help, who have a, a, a habitual or dependent, uh, uh, relationship with the drug, and then most others who just need to be left alone. Uh, and so as far as the people who needed to be left alone, that's what's happening. But as far as the people who need help, I actually think they need a little bit more intervention, and we're gonna have to build that in as we reenact to this in the next legislative session.

DEAN BECKER: (06:31)
Okay. Uh, I, I, I like 99% of what I heard there. It's just the, um, the, the fact that certain people may need to be addressed still, um, still frightens me a bit because when given the opportunity, many within law enforcement tend to just run off the rails to take every advantage of that, uh, possibility. And, and again, Roger, I'm in Texas and down here with every stop, what's that smell in the car, you know, on down the line, there is still this mentality that the cops think they're, they're doing God's will, uh, by arresting people, no matter how minor the charge. And, and, and you mentioned something there that, uh, you know, some people buy the number of arrests, uh, you know, third time loser tends to compound your sentence, that sort of thing. And, and quite often, uh, that's abused, uh, certainly around the nation. It is here in Texas. I'll tell you that, uh, uh, third time, uh, spinning on a cop, we'll get you 20 years here in Texas. You know, it's a let let's address this disparity. It's almost like two different nations. Uh, your thought there,

Sir, it is well, so, uh, last year 2021 was also a, uh, landmark year in Washington state and the nation on policing reform, uh, in the wake of George Floyd's murder, uh, we and Brianna Taylor, and so many others, uh, UN you know, unarmed, young black people killed by police. We enacted a very broad package of police reforms, um, here in Washington, and the police are not happy about it. Um, but we've had a 60% reduction in deaths, uh, at the hands of police in just one year. Uh, and, uh, but one of the, uh, items we had looked at, cuz we looked around the country, what other, uh, states were doing was, uh, pretextual stops where, where the police will stop somebody and they might smell marijuana. And that they'll use that as an excuse to search or whatever. And then, uh, and many stay a number of states, uh, uh, prohibited that, that you can't just because there's a smell of marijuana arrest somebody or search them .

But here in Washington state, marijuana's been legal for 10 years already. So please can't do that anyway, you know, so, um, but yeah, in, in Texas I have to acknowledge it is quite different, uh, from up here in the, in the Northwest. Um, although it's been getting a little bit better, you know, we have to acknowledge that the war on drugs is winding down, even though there are these terrible excesses still. Um, I was elected, gosh, uh, in 2006, I can't believe how long ago it was. I was elected when the war on drugs was still raging and my platform was partly to, uh, to end the war on drugs. No one thought I could get elected. And once the people found out that I was trying to legalize drugs, uh, and a certain regulatory control rather than seed all control to the cartels, the, uh, public got on my side, on my popularity skyrocketed. So I don't think any politicians going to crank up the war on drugs again. Uh, but we do have a long way to go. But up here in Washington state, we're further along than you are down in Texas.

DEAN BECKER: (09:51)
Oh, that's yeah. Uh, hands down true. Uh, my biggest concern these days, um, you know, the guardian newspaper and the observer and all kinds of, uh, first class media is starting to talk very boldly about this need for change, to recognize the futility and the horrors. We inflict on ourselves through this belief in drug war, but one I, I cannot find. And once again, I've tried to contact our newest drugs, our head of the O N DCP, Dr. Uh, Gupta and got no response. Of course, I, I didn't expect one. I've been making that appeal for more than 20 years. Yeah. To, to those at the top, the head of the DEA, uh, attorneys, general, all of those who pontificate, who, who preach the gospel, that drug wars so very necessary to existence for life on this planet. And they will not come on this show. They cannot defend this policy and then address that thought for me, sir, how can I force these people to face that? Well,

Couple things occur to me. Uh, first of all, the, uh, drugs ares office, uh, under this president, um, has actually embraced harm reduction, which was heresy before you don't, you don't practice harm reduction. That's, that's not a license to use drugs. You know, uh, you have to be clean and sober and, and, and, you know, none of this, uh, substitutes or handing out needles or safe consumption sites, you know, that's, it's too radical, but, but, but this administration has actually embraced harm reduction. So they have moved pretty significantly, um, on that and on the PRI you know, the, the, uh, the primacy of, uh, treatment of behavioral healthcare for those who have a problem, but they haven't quite acknowledged that the, the libertarian sentiment behind those who should be left alone need to be left alone. They're not bothering anybody else. They're, they're putting something into their body.

You know, I eat too much chocolate cake. You're gonna arrest me for that. You know, so this, this libertarian concept has yet to, to get into the, the, uh, government policy, but, but they have, uh, a progressed somewhat. The other thing I'll comment is that as an elected official myself, we just calculated this the other day. I received one email per minute. And so it is really hard for me to respond meaningfully to that many just I'm constantly swimming against the tide. Now, I'm not saying that that's a reason why the drugs are, doesn't answer you and your request to, um, you know, to appear on, on the show. But, uh, it, maybe they can use that as an excuse, you know? Yeah. Um, but yeah, for sure. Why, why would a, an administration want to come on the media and defend a policy that is indefensible, that you have said is the most corrosive policy, the worst policy in the United States since slavery, right? No, no one wants to defend that. Um, and so I can understand why they don't come on, but they probably have some excuse.

DEAN BECKER: (12:55)
Well, yeah. That they'll lose in a heartbeat. That's the, the main reason, uh, I would gut them like a fish. Um, well, uh, I wanted to come back to, um, a couple of things that, you know, you mentioned that, uh, kind of triggered in me, this thought that here in Texas, if you get caught, uh, going down the road, there's four people in the car and there's a, a bag of some drug found in the car by a cop and nobody FSEs up to it. Then all four people get prosecuted for that. And that, to me just seems unconstitutional and crazy as a loon. Your thought to that, sir?

Uh, well, I guess there's a conspiracy, uh, theory there, a conspiracy approach, uh, to prosecution that if all four people were, uh, within arm's reach, then they all were quote unquote possessing of the substance. Um, that's a stretch, um, again, here in Washington state, that doesn't happen anymore. If police encounter someone with a bag of anything, they can confiscate it. That is something that we do allow, if it's a prohibited substances, they can confiscate it. But, uh, as to the person in possession, they hand a, a sheet of paper and say, uh, go, uh, go, go get a referral. And that's it. So again, uh, up here, we're, we're a few steps ahead of you.

DEAN BECKER: (14:21)
Okay. Now the last week, I think it was, I spoke with, uh, Howard Woodridge, uh, one of those, uh, founders of the law enforcement against prohibition group. And, um, he was talking about, you had a bill that was in the works that would allow people to have possession of a small amount of drugs being found by the cops and then allowed to keep that same amount, uh, without being arrested or the drugs being taken. Is that true?

No, we actually have always included, uh, the ability for the police to confiscate. And that's not because it's a good idea or because you know, that person should be, have his, his substances taken away. It's just politically, uh, and as far as the public is concerned, that's just kind of something we've gotta give, uh, that when there is a point of encounter with police, the, the soccer moms, let's say, you know, those folks who are kind of in the middle of the political spectrum, they'd kinda like to, and it's, we're buying into the drug war ideology here, but they would like to have the substances confiscated. And so that's, that's kind of a give for us. Um, but, uh, the proposal, uh, again, I had introduced this bill to decriminalized possession of what we call personal amounts model after the Oregon statute. I don't like that idea.

I don't like a cutoff, an arbitrary cutoff of two grams or three grams or four grams or whatever it happens to be. We heard from a number of people who use methamphetamine, that if they're, uh, that two grams is not enough that when they obtain their substances, they don't just get two grams, they'll get 10 grams because they don't know when they're gonna see their dealer again. Uh, and they want a reliable supply. And so they might have six, seven grams on them. In which case, uh, you know, then they're gonna be arrest, then it's a felony. Yes. So I don't, I don't like those arbitrary cutoffs in Oregon. They put those cutoffs of two grams or three grams, depending on the substance, again, to, to kind of give the public, the voting public, some sense of relief that we're not gonna be allowing possession of huge amounts by individuals.

But the reality is if someone possesses a large amount is on them, on their person. And there's probably other indicia of, of dealing, you know, they might have a lot of baggies or they might have scale or, or something like that. Prosecutors are gonna bring a different charge, not possession, but intent to distribute or a deal, you know, drug dealing. And that's separate. That's another matter. Uh, and as you, and I know we, we have to change our drug policies fundamentally, so that there is a market, a, a, a regulated market for all these substances. So there's still this so-called illicit market that we are dealing with. But, um, I don't like this cutoff of what's a personal amount of, what's not because, uh, in reality, whenever there is, uh, uh, interaction with the police, they know whether it's personal amount or whether they're actually dealing.

So in the future, I wouldn't introduce legislation with that personal amount. I, I don't, I was actually regretting, uh, that I did that. Um, but that might leave the public a little bit, uh, wary or uncomfortable if you could possess sort of any amount and imagine, and this is what I wanted to, to, to point out the media loves to, to whip up fear. Oh yeah. And cuz that's good for their bottom line. And so they're gonna talk about kids shooting up in the park and, you know, 12 year olds, uh, you know, taking meth and, and, and all this. And so to try to scare people. And so getting rid of that personal amount threshold might open us up to accusations that we're gonna allow people to have as many drugs as they want on their person. Uh, and that might scare people. So that's, that's a consideration we have to take, take into account.

DEAN BECKER: (18:18)
Okay. Um, to, uh, kind of address your thought on the amount of drugs a person might be holding, whether that might indicate, uh, uh, sales or use or whatever. And, and I, I'd just like to say this, that back when I used to travel to see streets of Houston to buy drugs, I preferred to buy a bigger batch so I could bring it home so that I wouldn't be on the street four times instead of once buying a quarter pound or whatever. And, uh, I might carry a scale with me to make sure I didn't get burned when I was buying the purchase. Yeah. So these factors that district attorneys use to indicate that he's a, he's a seller, um, really don't hold any water from my perspective, my, uh, actual life on this planet. Your thoughts. Yeah,

Yeah, yeah. I get that. I just, sometimes in the political realm, we've gotta make some, you know, compromises and, uh, I would, uh, you know, in the, in the big picture, if we stop arresting and incarcerating people for possession of, uh, personal amounts, um, most of those people are gonna be people of color. We are going to make great progress in reducing racial disparities in the harshness, the adverse effects of our justice system. Uh, and so I wanna, I certainly wanna move in that direction. Um, you know, I guess we can't go, it has to be incremental and I know that's frustrating, but, uh, I think we can, we can continue to move in the right direction.

DEAN BECKER: (19:47)
No, uh, what Oregon has done and maybe, uh, emulating them and or Portugal, uh, the, the Portuguese have had this scenario in place for, I think more than 20 years now, if I, if I'm not mistaken. That's right. Uh, I, I did a, um, uh, interview with Dr. J GAU. The drugs are, and I'm trying to remember the exact totals, but it was something like, uh, they had 27 overdose deaths in the year 2016 and we had 60,000.


DEAN BECKER: (20:18)
And, and what that, um, per, per capita, it wound up that they had, we had 73 times as many overdose deaths as the Portugal, under their policy. It, it speaks, um, loudly of the, the need to go in that direction. Does it,

It does. It, it's a reflection of the difference between obviously American and Portuguese drug policy, but it's also a reflection of the difference in, in culture, uh, of those two countries, uh, in Portugal. Um, and we have looked at Portugal and actually I'm thinking about taking my committee to Portugal to see. And we, we had the drugs are, uh, the Portuguese drugs are Dr. testify, uh, by zoom on my, in my committee, uh, as, as well as the former president of Switzerland, uh, she testified in my committee, uh, as, uh, to support our decriminalization effort. And it was very compelling, but in Portugal, uh, they have a little bit more of an aggressive response. So they have these dissuasion committees of, uh, experts in the community who kind of put a little bit of a heavy hand on the individual who's been stopped, uh, no criminal consequences, but they're not just gonna give 'em a piece of paper and you all go do what you wanna do.

It, it, there actually is some sense of obligation and maybe even limitation of travel, uh, rights and that sort of thing. So, um, the response is more therapeutic, but more, as I said, kind of heavy handed, not criminal. Uh, but the, the issue in, in the United to try to compare the United States with Portugal is that Portuguese society is very, um, uh, I don't wanna say traditional, but very conservative. Uh, the Catholic church has had, you know, uh, uh, centuries of strong influence there, uh, families are, uh, are much tighter and more extended. Uh, and so there's more of a social network, a more of a ability for the social sanction to take place, to discourage someone from, uh, problematic drug use. Whereas in our country, we don't ha have that, that safety net. We don't have that those strong families and that, you know, everyone's kind of out for themselves and they're, you know, they're all, you know, they gotta fend for themselves.

Um, and so there might be a challenge there to introduce the Portuguese model in our country, just because of the social structure. Sure. Um, in Oregon, uh, and this is a, this is an issue, a huge issue because it's gonna affect whether what we can get done in, in the next legislative session in 2023 in Washington, the Oregon experiment, which has been, I think it's two years in now, more than that, the pandemic has changed my perception of time here. But, but, uh, again in Oregon, if there's a point of encounter between police and an individual with substances, the substances are confiscated and the person is given a referral. If they don't attend that referral, they pay a fine if they do that's, that's the end of their obligation. And so what we have seen is of those who do again, a referral for treatment, 1% actually pursue treatment.

And that doesn't look like a very good number. There're probably more than 1% of individuals who are in public places, you know, on the streets with substances who probably need some help, uh, behavioral health, uh, treatment and other supports. Um, but they're not voluntarily seeking it and that's all that's required. So that, that is an issue that's gonna make it difficult for us to do the same model in Washington, because they're gonna say, oh, well, look at Oregon, it's a failure. Nobody's getting treatment. And everybody's still, you know, out there in public with drugs. The other big impediment for us is the current political environment out of the pandemic came, uh, significant increases in substance misuse, including overdoses, uh, increases in certain crimes, uh, you know, shoplifting, uh, auto theft murder actually related to domestic violence and gangs is up. Uh, and so again, the media is whipping up, oh, crime outta control drugs, outta control, our kids aren't safe.

Uh, and so in this environment, it's gonna be hard. Uh, I don't know if we'll be able to get it done, but with the other side saying, you're just gonna make drugs even more available to kids, and there's gonna be needles in the parks and police can't do anything about it. And, and so forth. It it's gonna be a hard narrative to, uh, to counter. Uh, but if you take a look at the polls, very reliable polling in our state, uh, shows more than 60% of the public supports full decriminalization, this model of giving someone a referral, and that's the end of your obligation. So the public is there, but when you get down into the arena in the capital, you know, the dynamics are different. And so, uh, we'll, we'll see what happens, but I'm gonna continue to push, I shouldn't say the word push that drug pusher, but I'm gonna continue to, uh, uh, to, to foster, uh, decriminalization policy.

DEAN BECKER: (25:32)
Well, it, it is quite often, most often the police influencing the politicians that somehow they're, they need these laws to, I don't know, wages their war, but that's, that's, that's beside the point, I guess now I, I wanted to talk about the, uh, the situation with the injection site, just north of your city there in Vancouver. I think they've been at it for 20 years, Ken, uh, with a safe injection site, never had one overdose death, uh, happen within their facility. They've got them at all across Canada. Now, New York has the, a, the very first here in these United States, um, governor Newsom in California, just vetoed a bill, which would allow it, I think, in San Francisco or perhaps even in California. What's your thought on these safe injection sites and, uh, what is the future hold there?

Yeah. Again, well, well, uh, so first of all, is the language right? Safe injection sounds super scary to your soccer mom. So we, yeah. Yeah. So you have to, you have to kind of reuse the right words, unfortunately. So we talk about, uh, even safe consumption sites is scaring people. So we talk about overdose prevention sites. These are overdose, which is what they are, they're overdose prevention sites. Yeah. They're also, they're a gateway to treatment for people who otherwise wouldn't have sought it. It's all good. Right? The data is all the research is solid. Um, reduction of use reduction of overdose, reduction of dependence on substances, uh, gateway to treatment children use less because they see it as a medical matter. Uh, the streets are cleaned up. I mean, it's all good. Um, but, um, uh, governor Newsom vetoed the bill, cuz he's running for president and this, if he, they would, the other side would use this every single day, right.

That he's like pedaling drugs to kids in the schoolyard. So he knew that he couldn't sign that bill. And he came up with an excuse for, uh, as it was too broad or whatever the excuse was. So that's a purely political matter why governor knew some, a vetoed, the bill, uh, in Seattle, we do have the authority now. Uh, we went through a, a long task force process to create a safe consumption site in Seattle. Uh, and one other site in king county, king county is not just Seattle, but the suburbs. And I actually represent those suburbs. And that's a different matter when you're talking about a safe consumption site in the suburbs, then people get all upset again. Uh, so we're still engaged in this debate, uh, but it's, it's definitely a flashpoint for the opposition, uh, because they can, again, P appeal to people's fears and paint these pictures of these. It's almost like, uh, uh, reefer madness, you know, these demons running around the streets, uh, you know, with needles and, and committing crimes and so forth. So, uh, it's we have headwinds, but we're not gonna rele in our efforts. Uh, we were actually competing in a friendly way with New York city to have the first opened in Seattle ahead of New York. But I guess New York beat us. But again, up here in the, in the left corner of the country, we are making progress, but we haven't quite gotten there yet.

DEAN BECKER: (28:47)
No, I was privileged. Uh, and again, you know, you talk about COVID putting a hole in your timeframe reference. Uh, I think it was three years ago. I was in, uh, uh, Switzerland. I, uh, went to burn. I met with the, uh, gentleman who designed their, their, uh, heroin injection program. Um, I learned that they have, um, provided free heroin for Swiss citizens who signed up for their program, that they have injected this pure heroin, 20 more than 20 million times now with zero overdose death. Yeah. And, and it is the true success of things like that, that I, I wonder why, um, politicians over here cannot accept or embrace this, this obvious, uh, improvement in things by allowing for pure heroin rather than this contaminated fentanyl bull stuff.

Yeah. Well, so, uh, years ago everyone had to be clean and sober. No, no drugs at all. Uh, and, and then came this idea of medication assisted treatment, right. Have you heard about medication assisted treatment where you use another type of substance as a substitute to ease someone out of their, uh, addiction? So for instance, um, uh, buprenorphine or some of these other agonists or antagonists for those who are dependent on, uh, short acting opiates, like a heroin. Um, and so what's interesting is that the medication assisted treatment has, uh, has taken hold, but that's because they are pharmaceuticals. They are products that companies profit from, right. And so it's not like they're substituting diamorphine, which is heroin for heroin, they're substituting something they can make money on, uh, for heroin. And so there's a, there's sort of this, uh, economic, uh, imperative there. Um, but there are so many effective ways.

So in, in, uh, what I support actually is substituting, um, um, I'm trying to think of the, the name of the drug diamorphine is heroin. Um, I'm trying to think of it. It's a, it's a in a pill form and, uh, you put it under your tongue and it says a sublingual tablet instead of injecting a needle, but it does provide that, that high feeling, but much less harmful, uh, and provides stability to people. So I, I support that idea as to, uh, substitute, uh, the less harmful substance. Uh, but again, uh, we, we get this rhetoric on the other side, you know, how could we be handing out drugs to people? Uh, it just, uh, it's so easy to come up with these soundbites to play to people's fears.

DEAN BECKER: (31:43)
Sure. No, I, I would just say in response, given that, you know, uh, inquiry from the other side that, well, the people that get this heroin, they don't go out hoing, they don't go out shoplifting. Um, they go to school, they go to work, they tend to their children, they have normal lives, cuz they're no, they don't spend the day looking for their next fix or trying to score the money to acquire that fix.

Right. There's actually an interesting study out of Scotland. Uh, it was about 20 years ago. Uh, they, they followed about 120, uh, daily heroin users, uh, and O over a long period of time. And they all worked, uh, eight properly lived with their families. Uh, I think out of the 120 individuals, there was one divorce that was like the worst that happened, uh, where, and so you, you never know you're, you're going to the local Starbucks and, you know, your, your barista might be a heroin user. You, you never know, right? Yeah. Because they're, they're able to live their lives, just like people are able to live their lives, popping pills all day. Right. I mean, it's, it's, uh, it's not just these prohibited substances that are altering people's consciousness and people are dependent on there's a lot of legals, more legal substances that people are dependent on. So, uh, we're just a country, uh, pumped up with drugs.

DEAN BECKER: (33:05)
That's certainly true. Uh, well friends, we're gonna have to wrap it up here. We've been speaking with my friend, uh, representative Roger Goodman based there in the state of Washington, uh, Roger, uh, close and thought,

Well, it's always good to see you again. Uh, Dean and I, uh, maybe next time I come down to Houston, I can meet with some of the public officials and sway them our way. I'd be happy to do that actually. Um, but, uh, this is a, a long fight. Uh, it began, uh, actually in the late 18 hundreds, right? Uh, the opium, uh, opium laws against the Chinese, and then the cocaine laws against the, the crazed Negro, as they said. And then marijuana was about the Mexicans and, uh, uh, and methamphetamine was about the poor whites, uh, rural whites, not necessarily skin color. We're talking about class warfare here. Yeah. Uh, but you know, we really are, the public is awakening and we really are making great progress. I've known you for almost 25 years and you must acknowledge that we've made a lot of progress, uh, since the, the turn of last century that the drug war is winding down, still causing so much harm.

Um, but I think we I'm very, uh, uh, well, I don't know, well, whether we'll end the drug war because there's so much money involved. Right. Um, but, uh, the public is certainly they're way past the tipping point where the public wants to see this end and they want a more responsible, um, you know, medically, uh, uh, proven approach to people who have problematic, uh, drug use and to leave everybody else alone. And, uh, we'll, I'm gonna continue to push for it in my, uh, state. And, um, I hope that we continue to make progress.

DEAN BECKER: (34:49)
Roger Goodman. Thank you, sir.

Thanks very much, Dean.

02/17/21 Roger Goodman

Century of Lies
Roger Goodman
Washington State Representative

The Washington Legislature is considering House Bill 1499 - Providing behavioral health system responses to individuals with substance use disorder. Their House Public Safety Committee held a hearing on the bill on Feb. 12. On this edition of Century we hear from some of the witnesses who testified, including: Meg Martin, executive director of Interfaith Works in Olympia, Washington; Meta Hogan, program administrator at Gather Church in Centralia, Washington; Adam Cornell, the elected Prosecuting Attorney for Snohomish County, Washington; Dan Satterberg, the elected Prosecuting Attorney for King County, Washington; Ruth Driefuss, former president of Switzerland; Doctor João Goulão, Portuguese Drugs and Alcohol National Coordinator and Director General of the Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies General Directorate (SICAD); and Doctor Caitlin Hughes, associate professor of criminology and drug policy at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.

Audio file

02/17/21 Roger Goodman

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Roger Goodman
Washington State Representative

Roger Goodman, Chair of the Washington State Public Safety Committee holds a hearing on HB 1499 to decriminalize all drugs. Features sponsor Rep Lauren Davis, Michelle Horn Richberg, Mica Watsman Chesman, Dr. Mark Stern, Dr. Lucinda Grande, Linda Robertson, Monte Levine & Steve Isler. CONTINUES on this weeks Century of Lies with Doug McvVay reporting.

Audio file

02/10/21 Roger Goodman

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Roger Goodman

Roger Goodman is a Washington State Representative, Chair of their House Public Safety Committee who seeks to decriminalize all drugs in Washington State.

Audio file

DEAN BECKER: (00:04)
Broadcasting on the drug truth network. This is cultural baggage. [inaudible]. My name is Dean Becker. I don't condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical banking to prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.

DEAN BECKER: (00:38)
I am Dean Becker, the Reverend most high. This is cultural baggage on Pacifica radio and the drug truth network. I thank you for being with us for this very important show. Things are changing in America, especially on the left coast. About six months ago, we released our claiming the moral high ground video, which featured, uh, 19, uh, uh, people speaking about the need to change our drug laws. And one of the stars of that was a representative from the state of Washington. He heads up there. Uh, he's the chair actually of their, uh, the house is a public safety committee. Um, the criminal justice group, if you will. And with that, I want to welcome back my good friend, Roger Goodman. Hello, Roger.

It's good to be back with you, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: (01:22)
Uh, Roger, um, you know, Oregon has, um, I put forward this idea that, uh, drug reformers should organize, you know, to, uh, uh, have a parallel. The course said that, uh, um, you know, Portugal has set and you guys are going to follow on that same path, uh, here soon. Are you not?

We may be the very first state to enact a full-scale decriminalization of drug possession, uh, through the legislature. Yes, sir. And, uh, a bill has been introduced and, uh, in my capacity as chair of the committee, I'm holding a hearing on the bill, uh, uh, very soon. And we are gonna get testimony from literally around the world. Uh, the Portuguese drugs are, and the chair of the global commission experts from the Netherlands and Australia and the United Kingdom and Canada drug policy, uh, foundational Canada, as well as our own, uh, local and national experts with clinical experience, uh, lived experience with substance use disorder, um, uh, describing the trauma of criminal justice involvement and how counterproductive it is when people are suffering from a behavioral health disorder. And also, uh, the fact that the state, the police, the criminal justice system should basically leave people alone. Uh, if they're introducing certain substances into their body and not harming anybody else, uh, and the egregious racial disproportionality in the enforcement of our drug laws by decriminalizing possession, uh, we will go a long way to bringing justice back to the justice system.

DEAN BECKER: (03:11)
Well, Roger, I, uh, you know, we had this mantra that was being shared around the country, uh, defund the police. I don't much like the term defund the police, but they are finding in cities like New York where they have, uh, allowed, um, citizens, or I should say doctors, uh, knowledgeable medical people do go out and contact certain, uh, situations that previously folk might have been arrested or had a fight or whatever, but they have been able to mitigate and to diminish the repercussions of those situations. Uh, America is starting to take a new look at criminal justice in many ways. Am I right?

Absolutely. It seems to be a partisan matter. And I can tell you on my committee, uh, not just the Democrats, but the Republicans too are very receptive to this notion that the war on drugs has been a tragic failure, uh, corrosive policy, terrible waste of resources. Uh, it's just been all bad and that there are people who need help and there are people who need to be left alone. Uh, and so it's both a public health matter and a libertarian interest, uh, in, you know, protecting our liberties. Uh, I like chocolate cake, uh, and I probably eat too much of it, but you're going to arrest me and punish me for that. Uh, it's probably not too good for me, but, you know, instead of that notion, but I think the key is that if we, and I don't like the defund, the police, uh, uh, uh, meme either, uh, I think that we need to invest in our communities.

Uh, there is a role for the police, particularly in, in our urban society, uh, where a lot of people just can't cope and there's a lot of social, social dislocation and, uh, and disorder, but, uh, we need to invest in housing, in education, in healthcare, in job opportunities, uh, financial opportunities, particularly in communities of color, uh, you know, structural racism has basically caused crime. Uh, and so that's the key, you know, we can and should stop arresting and charging and prosecuting and incarcerating people, uh, for a drug-related activity, but we can't leave people languishing in the streets. Uh, if people need help, we need to invest particularly in healthcare and behavioral healthcare in particular. Uh, and that's what the proposal that we're considering would do that would decriminalize the possession of, uh, amounts for personal use, but also make tens of millions of dollars of investments in our public health system, particularly again, behavioral health, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment.

Uh, and that's what we have to do in Seattle, uh, where I'm from, uh, the prosecutors decided not to charge, uh, drug possession cases or even, uh, dealing in small amounts, uh, because it's just a revolving door. It's not a useful way of using our limited resources. However, in Seattle, we have not made the investment in, uh, the therapeutic care that's necessary for a lot of people who are really suffering on the streets. And so the public doesn't necessarily have a lot of confidence where they S they see basically de facto decriminalization, but a lot of disorder of the streets and people are afraid, you know, to go into the city. Um, and I'm worried about Oregon too. Uh, I, I hope that they make the necessary investments, uh, and we are committed here in Washington state, uh, to make those investments. So that we're, again, not just decriminalizing for the sake of some principle, but taking care of some serious chronic social problems that we have.

DEAN BECKER: (06:53)
Now, this is going to involve a reallocation of, um, taxpayer dollars, uh, in many cases, um, that is going to require convincing. Um, well, you say as many of the Republicans are already going along with this, but there may be a few re recalcitrant folks, uh, that, that might want to stand in a way of this change, because they want to keep those dollars in their side of the aisle, so to speak.

Yeah. I mean, you're always going to have the traditional tough on crime law and order, uh, folks they're in the minority though. There's going to be no votes, of course, but there's going to be more, yes. Votes, uh, in the end. Uh, and we just have to make sure that we refine the proposal so that it's, you know, politically, uh, tenable, uh, in the end, we're going to save money, any policy, any policy, whether it's housing or education or healthcare or justice system, uh, that regards the dignity of human beings that is humane saves money, you know, uh, it doesn't, I always say for people who don't care about the homeless or who don't care about all them criminals, I say, well, look, you don't have to care about human dignity, but don't, you want a better return on your tax dollar. Uh, and the fact is that if we are more humane, uh, and dignified in the way we treat people, it saves money. So here, instead of wasting criminal justice resources, we'll take those resources and invest it, uh, in healthcare and supports, uh, which yields a better return. And it actually makes people functional, uh, and reduces disorder in our society. So all in all this will save me

DEAN BECKER: (08:32)
Well, and that's, I think, proven itself, um, with, with the, um, the many harm reduction philosophies that are playing out around America, around the world, in fact that, uh, it saves money, saves lives and saves futures. So to speak, to, uh, to reassess this process of drug war waging, an eternal war. Um, you mentioned earlier that, uh, you, you had heard from, uh, the drugs are a Portugal and the, uh, head of the global commission on drugs. I like to think I had a little bit to do with that. I,

He did. And he did absolutely well.

DEAN BECKER: (09:10)
Uh, I, and it brings me around to something I mentioned when we spoke a couple of days ago, and that is claiming the moral high ground, that, that video that I produced a six months ago, there were people lining up wanting to be a part of it, including the executive secretary of the global commission on drugs. The drugs are a Portugal. And, um, uh, just, uh, last week I interviewed the head or the pioneer, the founder of the global commission on drugs, a former president of Switzerland, Ruth Dreyfus. And she called me a hero at the end of our interview. And I guess what I'm saying is we own the moral high ground. We own the, the economic outlook. We, we own all the tools to get this done.

We do. And we're way past the tipping point now, in terms of public support for winding down the war on drugs. Now, when I ran for, uh, uh, for public office, 15 years ago, everyone thought this guy can't possibly get elected. He wants to legalize drugs, but you know what, when the public found out about my work, because I've been at drug policy reform or longer than I've been an elected official, my popularity skyrocketed and I won, and I'm not one, I'm just one of my eighth term. I'm a senior member here in the legislature, chairing the committee that used to have jurisdiction over cannabis, because it was illegal. I don't have jurisdiction over anymore. It's in the commerce committee because it's a regulated substance. We need, we need to take a look at the other substances as well. So there were the drug war by no means, uh, is over.

Uh, but it, it it's, it's glory days are way past us. Uh, fortunately, uh, but we still have a lot of work to do Ruth drive us. The former president of Switzerland is going to be testifying before my committee, uh, uh, when, when we hold this hearing, uh, it's a house bill 1499. Uh, so any of you who might be interested to go to the Washington state legislature website, check out house bill 1499, and anyone can tune in, uh, to the hearing, uh, everything's remote these days, we're having our legislative businesses, all remote, kind of like this interview. Um, and so we're going to have testimony from literally the world's experts, not just people with opinions and beliefs, uh, but people who have clinical experience, uh, people who could cite the research, uh, that by treating people with health problems, uh, through public health measures and not criminalizing the use or the, or the possession, uh, it's, uh, it makes fiscal sense. Uh, and again, it's, uh, in to the dignity of human beings, the way we should.

DEAN BECKER: (11:56)
Yes. And that's, what's been lacking. And so many cases I have used and still use the phrase that drug users are well in the past have been considered to be unconditionally experimental, uh, better off dead. And that was the law enforcement mantra for decades. If I dare say, um, legislators, uh, belt, the same way that druggies are just unworthy of life and, uh, those days are over. Thanks.

Well, no, there, there still is a stigma. I mean, we we've, we've made a lot, we've made it a long way for instance, on mental illness. Uh, it's now fairly much a consensus that people suffering from mental health disorders, uh, are suffering from a health disorder. It's, uh, it's perhaps an organic or a chemical problem in the brain or the body. Uh, there's still a stigma, however, with, uh, use of prohibited substances. Uh, and I say, prohibited substances, uh, I'm not talking about alcohol, right? That's a regulated substance. That's been accepted in our culture for hundreds of years. And so there still is a stigma and a belief that it's a moral failing people making a choice, uh, and, uh, very much sort of a cultural bias against the use of certain substances. And, you know, very well as do I, that the drug war hasn't been about the substances, it's been about the vulnerable and unpopular groups in our society that we've targeted to try to control whether it's the Mexicans with marijuana or the Chinese with opium or the cocaine craze Negro a century ago, uh, or the, uh, you know, the redneck, uh, uh, using meth out in the countryside and all of these vulnerable groups, that's been the purpose of the drug war.

And that's why it's been so immoral. Uh, and so I'm happy to be helping to take the lead as a lawmaker, uh, to say goodbye to all that and, and wind it down and treat people with respect and dignity, uh, no matter their station in life.

DEAN BECKER: (13:52)
Well, yeah. To tie in with what you were talking about the, well, I don't know, just the, the bigotry that has been a part of it for a century or more who knows the sign above my head here. Black lives matter is kind of paralleling what has happened with, uh, uh, you know, George Floyd and Brianna, and all of the others that have whose lives whose deaths have been shown to us have been seen and felt by so many millions. And, and is that helping to make this progress that, that you're seeking at this time, or people beginning to realize it's just not working in any fashion?

Well, it's not just not working. People are getting killed. I mean, look, look at what happened to Brianna Taylor. That was a no-knock warrant where they, they, they just knocked the door down. There's a rule, a general rule it's called the knock and announce rule where law enforcement are required to announce themselves before they come into private, private residence, private property. Uh, but, uh, in many jurisdictions, most jurisdictions, uh, police are permitted to ask a judge for a no-knock warrant, just suspend that knock and announce rule, uh, and judges are permitted to issue them well, here in Washington state, we have legislation that we're also moving through my committee to prohibit no-knock warrants, because I know not warrant is a legacy of vestige of the war on drugs. It's about knocking the door down so that we can get that math before you flush it down the toilet.

And then they knock the door down. It's the wrong door, or there's a shootout and everybody dies. And it's a disaster. Plus of course it's a violation of the fourth amendment, uh, unreasonable search and seizure. And so we are going to prohibit that, you know, if there are exigent circumstances and there's someone who is really in danger in that house, the police can knock the door down because the law, the law protects them under those circumstances. They don't have to get a special warrant for that, but that no-knock warrant just as an example, uh, is one of the awful, uh, legacies of the war on drugs. And we need to get rid of it all.

DEAN BECKER: (15:59)
Well, I don't know if you'd had a chance to hear the situation down here in Houston. We had, uh, uh, another story break, uh, now a week or two ago where the district attorney indicted six more police officers for the Harding street bus. And I don't know if you've heard about it. The cops had a no-knock warrant. They, they shot the man and the woman and the dog. They shot each other through the walls. They, they had a no-knock warrant. They did for a cocaine, um, Oh, for heroin. They were looking for heroin. They found a bag, a little bag of weed. Um, and, uh, to this day, it's been over a year. They still haven't released the ballistics who shot, who, what bullets went, where, um, it's just another example of the sticky wicket that this drug war is. It creates complications and roadblocks everywhere.

I mean, those are what you're talking about are the extremes, but on a day to day basis, all across our country, people who are coping with a tough life in urban areas, that'd be smoking crack behind the dumpster just to get a job because they've got nothing else in their lives. Just the residue on that crack pipe is a felony that's possession of a controlled substance, and they're being arrested and jailed and prosecuted just for trying to cope with life. And I think people are really waking up to this, that we need to treat these people with dignity and again, in a much more cost-effective way, give them the help they need and not just punish them for, you know, just basically trying to survive. So I think we're making a lot of progress, uh, and I'm looking forward to hearing this legislation and moving it through, uh, so that we're just, we need to, uh, substance use disorder. We need to decriminalize, uh, mental illness. Uh, and this is an important part of, of getting that done.

DEAN BECKER: (17:58)
Well, Roger, we have seen over the past couple of decades, Washington state, Oregon, California, Colorado, and now I think another 10 or 12 other States have legalized marijuana in one fashion or another. Um, Oregon has made steps towards decrim. You guys are giving us a serious consideration and effort here at this point. Do you think that's the next wave, uh, that, uh, can sweep across these United States?

I do. Uh, it depends where you are. So here out in Washington state, you know, we're on the left coast. Well, right next to Washington state is Idaho. Idaho is now moving to amend its constitution to prevent any change in cannabis laws. So the cannabis will always be an illegal substance. And what's so interesting is that cannabis marijuana. I like to call it cannabis cause that's the Latin term. Cannabis is the second largest cash crop in Idaho behind potatoes. It happens, it happens to be an illegal market, but boy, you know, if Idaho were to create a regulated market, they make a whole lot of money and reduce criminal justice expenditures. And the sky's not going to fall because in Washington state, we have a reduced use by young people by eighth graders and 10th graders who cannabis is not a forbidden fruit anymore. It's a, if grandma's using it for cancer, it's not cool.

So why, why waste your time? You know, and frankly, people over the age of 65, uh, skyrocketing use of cannabis because it helps them age gracefully. We're bringing in $600 million in revenue every year to pay for healthcare for the poor, who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it. Uh, deaths are down on the roadways because people aren't drinking so much bad beer anymore. They're smoking pot instead just stay at home. So, uh, the, the regulation rather than prohibition of cannabis, uh, has been all good news, uh, for our state. Uh, and so we have to do the same thing with the other substances, a certain regulatory control undercut the black market. Uh, but the first step really is this possession question. You know, those who possess small amounts, why shouldn't we be punishing them? We need to be compassionate. We need to be helping them or leaving them alone. Uh, and so that's the legislation that we're now considering is decriminalizing the possession of substances for personal use, uh, and offering referrals to healthcare if they need it. And I think that's the right policy move.

DEAN BECKER: (20:29)
Well, I, I would agree with that now, Roger, I, I look at the, uh, you know, you mentioned Ida, um, yeah. Idaho is trying to prevent change to their cannabis laws. Texas did that decades ago. We, we no longer have the ability to have a, uh, uh, you know, the public referendum, whatever you want to it, we can't vote on it. It's all up to the legislature. And that's a whole other story, but I guess the, the point is the, um, I don't know, the, the, the way that is sweeping across America for marijuana, I think is a big positive for all of drug reform. Because when we make progress there, it proves a point that we were way off base that we never had it right in the first place. Am I correct?

You have to look at it each substance at a time. Uh, cannabis has been very widely used by probably one of three Americans. Uh, so culturally, politically, it was easier to create regulated markets there. Uh, I believe in local control. Uh, so Texas has 254 counties. The Texas has dry counties, Texas has wet counties. Uh, they could do the same thing with cannabis. Uh, and so, uh, every state can do whatever they wish it's just prohibition really doesn't work. Uh, and so some counties are going to be stupid and, uh, you know, and, and folks from those counties are going to go across the line and pick out whatever they want and then probably bring it back in a paper bag, just like they do today at Texas. You know, if you're in, if you're in Smith County, where Tyler is, is it's a dry County, you go across the line to pick up your, your alcohol and then come back and sit in the town square in the back of your pickup.

Uh, you know, I mean, it's just, I I've, I've lived in, worked in Texas myself. So, um, but some of the other substances are a little more challenging because they're not as widely used. Um, uh, psychedelics might not be widely used, but there's a lot of medical evidence of their usefulness for depression and for PTSD and for end of life care, uh, palliative care. Uh, so we could make some progress there. The opiate heroin, as you know, was synthesized by bare pharmaceutical company. Uh, it should be brought back into the, the medical Pharmacopia for pain relief and for cough suppression, uh, the stimulants have the tough one. How do you regulate, uh, the stimulants, uh, where we live in a stimulant society, you go in any seven 11 and we got rockstar and, and, uh, uh, what are the, what are some of these drinks that are totally unregulated?

Uh, you know, and so, but the basic notion is that a law is not going to protect people from themselves. The purpose of the law is to protect people from others who intend harm. So if it's consensual activity, whether you're using stimulants or depressants or opiates or, uh, cannabis, uh, the law is not going to prevent you from doing it. And we have unfortunately, a century of evidence of how futile that effort has been. Uh, and so we just need to regulate substances in a different way for each substance, uh, but not prohibit them, that prohibition hasn't worked. And, um, and I'm hoping that we'll close the chapter fairly soon.

DEAN BECKER: (23:46)
Well, one of our associates, um, Oh, Peter, Chris of one of the original leap speakers used to talk about the original prohibition that involved God, Adam and Eve, and it didn't work out even back then. And, um, you know, prohibition just does not work well. Friends we've been speaking with Roger Goodman, he's chair of the house, public safety committee up there in Washington state. He heads up, uh, an effort to, uh, de creme drugs. That's a bill of 1499. Did I get that right?

Is house bill 1499, uh, sponsored by representative Lauren Davis? Uh, if, if at some point you could have representative Davis and myself on your program, we can talk about this issue. Uh, representative Davis, uh, is a person who is in recovery from, uh, both the mental health and substance use disorder. She really cares about providing the needed therapeutic support, uh, and sees that decriminalization of drug possession is the first step, uh, because that opens the door to people who have been suffering and quietly crying out for help, but afraid of the criminal consequences. And you take away that traumatic criminal system, and then that the therapeutic help becomes available to them. And that's what we hope will happen in our state.

DEAN BECKER: (25:10)
Roger Goodman for taking time out of his very busy day to visit with us. Uh, he tells me that, uh, this coming Friday of February 12, at 10:00 AM, West coast time, you can tune in to those speakers, including the former president of Switzerland, uh, uh, Ruth Dreifuss, by going to T V

DEAN BECKER: (25:36)
This is a drug truth network editorial two decades ago. I stumbled upon official government documents, newspaper and other written accounts, which fully described how these drug laws came to be. These documents showed that without any actual data studies or rationale, these laws were instituted. I saw that it was outrageous on abomination, a series of hysterical, uh, 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 the penalties for possession or sales. It worked to alienate drug users in much the same way gays or even 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.

DEAN BECKER: (26:44)
It was my duty to bring notables to that forum, to include the likes of Milton Friedman, and then governor Gary Johnson. In 2001, I managed to wrangle a weekly broadcast program. This program, cultural baggage on KPMT Houston specific a radio station. We now have more than 60 broadcast affiliates in the U S and Canada. I've interviewed well over a thousand notables to include government officials, scientists, doctors, 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 for more than 20 years challenged these high echelon officials, the drugs are as the attorneys general, a 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. We must bring it to an end. Well, it turns out we do have just enough time to name that drug.

DEAN BECKER: (27:51)
It's time to play name that drug by its side effects, unexpected swelling, joint pain, headaches, dizziness, weakness, unusual bruising, coughing up blood that looks like coffee grounds being red stools look like tar severe uncontrollable bleeding.

DEAN BECKER: (28:05)
Time's up the answer from Boehringer Ingelheim by drunk set

DEAN BECKER: (28:10)
For irregular heartbeat. Again, I want to thank, uh, Roger Goodman. Then if you want to watch that video, T V, uh, you know, folks that drug Wars ending slow, ugly, and bloody, we could sure use your help to bring it to an end. And once again, I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful

DEAN BECKER: (28:34)
To the drug truth network listeners around the world. This is Dean Becker for cultural baggage and the unvarnished truth. Cultural baggage is a production of the Pacifica radio network. Archives are permanently stored at the James A. Baker, the third Institute for public policy, and we are all tapped on the edge of an abyss.

06/24/20 Roger Goodman

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Roger Goodman
Houston Harm Reduction Alliance

Roger Goodman Washington state Representative on US racism, Covid 19 and call for actual control of controlled substances + Josh Richards Houston activist calls for harm reduction

Audio file

DEAN BECKER: (00:00)
I am Dean Becker, the Reverend most high, and I want to welcome you to this edition of cultural baggage, lots of information to share. Let's just get started. Folks. I feel proud to once again, be speaking to a gentleman, I greatly respect and admire. I think we've known each other for at least, I don't know, 15, 16 years. Uh, he is a, uh, representative, uh, of the state of Washington. And, uh, he's with us for, I don't know, perhaps the eight or 10th time. I want to welcome Roger Goodman. How are you, sir?

I'm doing great to hear well, all things considered, of course, uh, you know, we got a global pandemic and, uh, economic downturn and, uh, civil unrest all happening at the same time, but, but you're okay. We're doing okay. We're surviving up here, uh, up in Seattle.

DEAN BECKER: (00:52)
Well, and, and Roger again, thank you for taking the time to, uh, you know, jump into this discussion. There is a lot going on a lot that, uh, needs addressed and, uh, needs our respect and attention. Now you are, uh, gonna run for the, uh, what is it, the 45th district, uh, up there in, uh, Washington state again, right?

Yeah. I represent the district, uh, with the suburbs of Seattle. Um, it's a very affluent, um, area people with a strong social conscience. So it allows me to fight for the voiceless. Uh, it's where Microsoft is headquartered. Uh, and, uh, so a lot of actually a lot of foreign born, um, uh, high tech workers here, but yeah, I'm running for my eights terms. I've been around for awhile.

DEAN BECKER: (01:43)
Well, and that, uh, that even surprises me. I knew you'd been at it a while, but your eighth term. And so, uh, that, that is kind of amazing too, to hear Roger. Now I wanna, I wanna, um, well, I don't know which one to start with. I want to talk about first, I guess the, uh, the Capitol Hill autonomous zone has now turned to the Capitol Hill occupy protest. Jazz has turned to chop, uh, and, and, um, I don't know if you watch Fox and I do occasionally just for a reference point, but, uh, they, they talk about, uh, that chop, I guess now as, as if it were a real war zone and Antifa is taking over any truth to that,

None whatsoever. It is a complete misinformation as usual from, uh, the Fox, uh, folks, the, uh, uh, the area I've been there. Uh, I know a lot of those folks, they are, um, they have a stage, uh, with, uh, presentations, uh, they're providing food and medical care for anyone who needs it. Uh, they have, uh, performances, artistic performances, um, uh, no violence whatsoever. Uh, they are doing their best to, uh, to rule themselves to demonstrate that, uh, you know, policing certainly over policing, uh, is unnecessary. Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: (03:08)
And, and this, this brings to mind, I mean, I realized there was a shooting lately. Uh, um, one guy killed, I think, one guy wounded, but that's, uh, it's not a result or that, uh, involved with the, the movement itself. It just so happened. It was on the edge of that, uh, area, if I heard. Right.

Yeah, that's right. It's not a there's no, there's not. Uh, these are not, uh, terrorists, uh, or, uh, you know, gun wielding folks. These are, uh, frankly they're, uh, a lot of them are enjoying the, uh, cannabis that we have up here in, uh, uh, in Washington state. And we have for eight years now, we've had a legal, legally regulated market, which has worked very well. So, uh, it's actually fairly mellow.

DEAN BECKER: (03:53)
Yeah. And that folks need to understand that, uh, Seattle and, uh, uh, you're, I don't know if it's a sister city, but Portland, Oregon are known for, um, people standing for rights, people, um, protesting people involved, I guess, is maybe the best way to put it. And even in your city of Seattle before, I don't know how many years you've had the Seattle, uh, uh, hemp Fest, where were folks gathered and, uh, protested and, and claim their right to smoke that cannabis you're talking about. Right?

Yeah. We call it a protestable, it's 150,000 people, every summer course this summer, we're going to have to take a break, uh, on this, but, um, you know, hemp Fest is become, uh, famous around the world. And I think actually has been part of the, uh, propelling, the movement to end, uh, cannabis prohibition. Uh, so yeah, here in Seattle, we are well known for protests. We had the world trade organization, WTO protests 20 years ago, uh, and, you know, protesting against a rapacious global capitalism and, um, and even a hundred years ago, uh, uh, famous protests against, uh, corporate power and so forth. So, uh, quite a legacy here.

DEAN BECKER: (05:11)
Well, a couple of weeks back, we had, uh, norm stamper who was, uh, the police chief back when that, uh, uh, that, uh, protest went on against, uh, banking and the corporate, I don't know what all was involved, but, uh, um, you know, he kind of had a Mia culpa that he could have done things differently that, that he should have done things differently. And I think we're, um, encountering are exposing around the country where, um, my God, we have these, these protests against police brutality. And during these protests, we reap more police brutality. Your thought in that regard, Roger.

Yeah. The irony that in, uh, in an attempt to, uh, control protests against police brutality, police use brutality, it's just, it's certainly not good for their cause. I don't want to paint such a broad, uh, with such a broad brush, however, because, uh, you know, our, uh, and I don't call them law enforcement officers because that sounds very aggressive, which of course it has been particularly because of the war on drugs, put law enforcement in the position of chasing down the bad guys and, you know, kind of the warrior mentality, but, uh, our statute, our law and the state calls them peace officers, they're peace officers. And I think we should frame it that way. Uh, the most of those who go into the profession are well, meaning and decent, particularly the new recruits they're millennials, they have a different sense of justice. They don't look upon themselves as warriors.

Uh, they're being trained to be guardians guardians of the community, guardians of democracy. Uh, and so we have a not insignificant number of, uh, police who misbehave, uh, and somehow they are allowed to continue their misconduct either in the same department or moving from one to another. Uh, but I, I do think we need to make clear distinctions between the, those bad actors, uh, and there are too many of them, uh, and the peace officers in general, who do play an important role to, um, you know, to preserve order and, and to be of assistance. Um, and so it's, it's a complex, complex picture.

DEAN BECKER: (07:27)
Well, it is that, and, and I agree that, uh, a huge portion of, of police officers are, you know, mindful of, uh, human rights and citizens have rights, et cetera. Um, but we, we do come to that a little conundrum. I'm going to say where those who witnessed that behavior by other cops who refuse to step forward. Um, and, and I, you know, I, again, I don't want to paint with that broad brush, like you you've mentioned, but I do want to say this, like, even with, uh, George Floyd, when the three were sitting on him, one on his neck, and there was one guy kind of standing watch while they did it, um,

That's, that's accessory to murder. I mean, that's accessory to murder and so they should be charged as such and then, and I hope they, I hope that's what happens. Uh, uh, so yeah, you're, you're right. We need to hold accountable, not only those, uh, police who misbehave, uh, and harm others, but also those who don't report it. And I'm now I'm the chair of the public safety committee in the house of representatives. So I have jurisdiction my committee over our criminal justice system in this state. And needless to say, I've been pretty busy in the last three, four weeks, uh, responding to the current national uprising. And we are going to be preparing legislation, uh, in this state to those accountable officers accountable for not reporting others. There's all sorts of things. I mean, I think about police reports, you fill out a police report when, when you sign that police report as an officer, you sign it under penalty of perjury, and we've seen way too many police reports that either have misinformation missing information or just outright laws, and that is misconduct and a violation of the law, uh, and, uh, uh, other officers should be holding their, their officers accountable if they see just an example like that.

Uh, and then of course, you know, if they're witnessing an officer doing harm to others, uh, unreasonably, they should report that as well. And so we're, that's one of the many reforms, uh, that we're contemplating here.

DEAN BECKER: (09:40)
Well, and let's do talk about some of those, uh, uh, changes that you might be willing to make or to get past, I think might be the better way to phrase it. And, and I guess what I am aware of is that you were mentioning Seattle, been smoking marijuana illegally now for eight years. Uh, the sky has not fallen at all. Uh, secondarily, I understand that you and or your associates are, uh, um, bringing forward. And, uh, and there are already some parameters of this involved, but, uh, the idea that we'll, nobody needs to go to jail for minor amounts of drugs anymore, that, uh, that we have, uh, too many people in jail, too many, uh, people on probation, parole, et cetera, too many people that are tied up in the criminal justice system. Let's talk about what has happened in regards to that, uh, the minor amounts of drugs idea and what you hope will happen.

Sure. So, um, yes, we just to begin with, we did and, uh, marijuana prohibition, um, in 2012, along with Colorado, I wouldn't talks about Colorado, but Washington state. We did it at the same time. Uh, we also legalized the same sex marriage at the very same time. Um, so, uh, the results have been very positive. Uh, we actually see a reduced use of, uh, cannabis, uh, by eighth and 10th graders, uh, no increase by 12th graders. So youth use has actually gone down, uh, instead of, it's not a fair Britain fruit anymore, you know, if grandma's using it for cancer or whatever, it's just, I guess it's not as cool. Um, and, uh, uh, we've seen a reduction in deaths on the roadways because people have been switching away from alcohol and using cannabis instead and not driving as much. Uh, she call it couch lock.

DEAN BECKER: (11:26)
Yeah. Yeah.

Uh, but, uh, we've seen, uh, you know, our roads become safer because of less alcohol related deaths. Um, we've seen, um, uh, people much more freely using cannabis instead of toxic pharmaceuticals for the health benefits. Uh, and, uh, we've brought in more than half a billion dollars a year in revenue from the taxes on cannabis, uh, to pay for healthcare for the poor healthcare for those who otherwise wouldn't afford it. So I think that's pretty good news. And we've also seen, um, uh, law enforcement and, uh, jails be able to divert resources away from needless, uh, law enforcement related to cannabis to, uh, you know, to preserve public order in real cases, you know, where people are doing harm to others. So I do have to say this, not only as the sky fall, not falling, uh, but we are thriving in this atmosphere of having ended cannabis prohibition.

We needed to overregulate for while we have a regulatory system, you have to get a license, you have to comply with regulations. Uh, and we, we needed to show that the sky hasn't fallen, uh, cause, uh, you know, the soccer moms are kind of concerned about their kids and so forth. Uh, well now the soccer moms are the ones going into the shops. Uh, so it really has been normalized here, uh, and has helped the economy has not hurt children and has improved public safety. Just wanted to talk about that briefly because our cannabis, uh, experiment, uh, has, has been successful. Um, so the war on drugs in general is still kind of, you know, I hope it's winding down, but it's still, uh, doing so much damage, uh, in our country and worldwide. Uh, and it has turned the police against the community. Uh, the police are part of the community.

They they're serving the communities in which they live and it's put them in a very difficult position. Um, and, uh, so we've, you know, we have to reform this. So some of the things we're looking at in terms of policing, uh, police tactics, uh, police, accountability, police, community relations, um, some other easy, we need the band choke holes or sleeper holes. There's no reason for that. Uh, I think we need to ban tear gas, tear gas is prohibited by the conventions of war. How could it be used on the streets, uh, against peaceful protest? Um, we need to take a look at the no knock warrant, the no knock warrant actually, uh, as you may know, uh, resulted in the deaths of Brianna Taylor Louisville, uh, was, uh, upheld by the Supreme court in the 1960s. Uh, so it is, uh, it is considered a, not a, uh, a violation of the fourth amendment, unreasonable search and seizure, but, uh, geez, they're breaking down the door and shooting people.

So, um, we have to put serious, uh, restrictions on the no knock warrants. Um, I'm not sure why law enforcement needs to be wearing body armor and driving military vehicles around, uh, the militarization of the police is a huge issue. So we're going to be looking at that. Um, so there's all sorts of tactics and training issues, uh, that we really want to address training is pretty good here actually in Washington state, uh, we are training in bias, implicit bias. You know, people are looking at their own biases, we're training in, uh, what we call less than lethal use of force, you know, like tasers and other forms, if you do need to deescalate a situation. Um, but I think we to be, uh, implementing what's called procedural justice training, which is sort of the case by case way, you treat people, uh, treat them in an equitable way.

And so, uh, we do have a lot of, uh, progress yet to be made in, uh, training. The two other areas really are well there's three actually there's investigations, accountability and funding, investigations of incidents where people are injured or are killed by the police need to be entirely independent of the police. And so we're contemplating creating a statewide agency. That's not a police agency like an inspector general or a special prosecutor or something like that. That's going to be a big effort, it'll cost money. Uh, but we do want investigations to be entirely independent of the police. Accountability is the most important. We have a union contracts that have arbitration clauses where an officer will be fired by the chief, but then challenge the firing. It'll go to an arbitrator. And the arbitrator says, no, you got to rehire him, uh, or no he's while the other situation is, uh, an officer engages in misconduct and the chief says, well, look, we'll just let you resign.

And we won't do the investigation. And then the officer gets to move on to another department. Uh, we need to prevent that we need to have these investigations completed so that there's a record showing the misconduct, which then would, uh, have the officer be de-certified and would not be able to be a police officer again. So these accountability measures where we're, we really want to prevent, uh, police from moving from one department to another or being hired. And then all of a sudden re fired all of a sudden rehired. Um, that's really, really important. And then as we talked about before requiring officers to report misconduct of their fellow officers, so that everyone is accountable. And then finally, sorry to go on for this long speech here, but is, uh, is, uh, funding we've heard about defunding the police, uh, somewhat of a provocative phrase.

Um, but, uh, I, I like to think of it as, um, uh, re-imagining public safety. We want to think about, uh, investing in, uh, in education, in housing, uh, and behavioral healthcare in particular, uh, mental health, substance use treatment, uh, investing in our youth, investing in community organizations, uh, instead of investing in some of the police oriented equipment and activities that seem to be either wasteful or hurtful, uh, this is not defunding the police. That's an extreme view. Uh, it really is taking a look at where our resources should go. I've heard from sheriffs and police chiefs for years saying, you want us to solve juvenile delinquency. You want us to solve racism. You want us to solve homelessness. You want us to solve mental illness and they just send them all to us. And so our response may be now, well, okay, we're not going to ask you to solve it anymore. We're going to make investments in those. Uh, and then you do your work to truly protect public safety when someone is threatening public safety, but otherwise we're going to redistribute resources. So there's a, it's a revolutionary time here. This isn't just reform. We've been reforming for years, and it doesn't seem like we've made a difference. Uh, we need something much more radical and fundamental in our changes.

DEAN BECKER: (18:17)
Thank you for all that. And, uh, no, I, I appreciate the, the full discussion you, you brought forward there, here in Houston, we used to throw people in jail for having an empty bag laying in the floorboard that had a tiny crumb of some white powder, maybe in the corner. And, uh, they have stopped doing that best. I understand it, uh, you know, at least for the tiny portions I'm speaking of, but, uh, you guys have, um, changed your perspective or are changing your perspective in that regard for minor amounts of drugs in the state of Washington, are you not?

Well, first of all years ago stopped, uh, prosecuting what we call the residue cases. A crack pipe was just a tiny amount where you just have to scrape it off, and that would be a felony for possession of any amount, just to even residue is still a felony in this case, in this state. So we do have to reform, uh, the, the drug laws further. And the idea now is called treatment first. Uh, if you, uh, that there's two categories of people who use substances, those who need to be left alone, who aren't in trouble and are causing trouble or anybody else, uh, that's the libertarian point of view, which I subscribed to, uh, and those who need help, those who need the healthcare, behavioral healthcare, who really are dependent on substances and is harming them and maybe even their families and we don't have access to treatment.

And so the idea is as they have done in Portugal to, uh, if there's an intervention, even by law enforcement, there is not an arrest. Uh, the idea of currently being floated around is that the officer would, uh, uh, provide a citation, kinda like a civil penalty, but not a monetary penalty. It would be a referral to treatment or referral, but basically an assessment and a referral to treatment. Uh, and if the person, uh, failed to do that, then there might be a monetary penalty. So there is kind of a punitive element to it. And yet we are, that would be a complete decriminalization of the possession of amounts for personal use. Uh, and so we are looking at that and it might very well be a legislative proposal, or it could be an initiative. You know, we have a citizen ballot initiatives here, uh, on the ballot in the next couple of years.

So yeah, we're looking at complete decriminalization and a major in treatment for those who need it. And then leaving people alone who really should be left alone and should have been left alone for generations. Now, just to use whatever they want to use, eat as much. They want to eat as much chocolate cake as they want, as they want. They want to do whatever they want. You know, if you're not harming anybody else, the law is not going to protect you from yourself. The laws intended to protect people from one another. If they're going to harm one another, and this is a, you know, this is a basic concept here.

DEAN BECKER: (21:14)
Oh, just today. I sent in an op ed to, uh, the, uh, uh, Chicago Tribune. It presents the whole truth that the drug war started with racism. It has escalated through racism and it continues to, uh, wield its ugliness, um, mostly through racist policies, mostly a racist implementation, racist perspectives. Am I right, sir?

Absolutely. Racism is what is the glue that holds the war on drugs together? Uh, the war on drugs is also motivated by greed and by fear. Uh, but, uh, racism is what holds it all together. And what got it started back in the late 18 hundreds, the opium laws were punishing the Chinese, the, uh, cocaine laws were about the so-called cocaine craze, Negroes who were impervious to two bullets. Uh, the, uh, course marijuana was the war against Mexicans, uh, even, um, methamphetamine, uh, more recently as a war against, uh, poor rural white folks. So it's not just race, it's actually class as well. Uh, but racism is at the root, always has been at the root of the war on drugs. And as we look about reforming policing and ways to, uh, to reduce racism in our society, I think we need to accelerate ending the war on drugs.

DEAN BECKER: (22:41)
Well, and it was, um, I don't know, the, the, the fear that was just proffered, the, the, the idea that as you mentioned, the drug craze Negro, that they, I think it caused police to move from 38 to 45 calibers to, to get bigger guns, et cetera. And it has given reason for the, uh, the no knock warrants you spoke of it. It has given justification to that idea, you know, to the stop and frisk. They had a New York, uh, uh, the list is pretty well, uh, in one, not endless, but it's extensive. And it, it, it has, uh, given us a lot of unneeded misery and death in our country.

Yeah, well, you know, the deaths and misery has certainly resulted from the war on drugs, but today, if you take a look at the maps of where the coronavirus pandemic is spreading, if you take a look at where HIV is still, uh, prevalent, uh, if you take a look at where poverty is endemic, and if you take a look at where people of color live, it's all the same map. And so racism is at the root of all of this, not just the war on drugs, uh, but the deprivation of economic opportunity in healthcare. Uh, and also there's ravages of this virus across the country, uh, is affecting those communities disproportionately as well. So, uh, we do have to look at this critically, and I think this, again, national uprising that will not be put down our dear president is making it better for us by, by being so reactionary and, and, and helping to bind us all together. Uh, and so I really think this is a moment in history where we can make a difference

DEAN BECKER: (24:32)
Starting soon, I'm going to start using zoom. I'm going to start doing video interviews, you know, start posting them in various locales. Uh, it's going to be called Becker's buds, conscientious objectors to drug war. And, um, you know, I'm hoping that you will join me or, you know, maybe later this year and, uh, do, do one of those video interviews with me, I'd be happy.

That'd be happy to, to zoom with you so people can see us.

DEAN BECKER: (25:02)
My goal is that vice learns what I'm doing or CNN, or somebody says, this guy knows what he's doing. Let's put him on the air.

You do, I do have to say to your listeners is you, Dean Becker is, is a legendary figure in the struggle to end the war on drugs. And so, Dean, I, I really applaud you for your leadership and your persistence and your, uh, your articulate, uh, depiction of this national tragedy, this, this policy that really should have gone away a long time ago. Uh, so anyway, I want to thank you for all the work you've done.

DEAN BECKER: (25:37)
It's time to play name that drug by its side effects, swelling of hands and feet, rash, hives, blisters, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and neck trouble breathing changes in eyesight, muscle pain, fever, skin, sores, business, sleepiness, weight gain, high times up the answer.

DEAN BECKER: (25:52)
Pfizer Lyrica for fibromyalgia.

DEAN BECKER : Like many of us trained by our mentor, mr. Ray Hill then gone over a year. Now, Mr. Josh Richards has a purpose, has a plan.

I started getting in touch with people who I thought might be interested in doing something to help the, uh, the using population of Houston and as a vendor and recovering addict myself, I happened to have a strong, uh, inclination to want to help people who are in those communities. Uh, not only for selfish reasons, but, uh, I just, I care a lot about them. And so what we are doing is we're getting in touch with folks at the Baker Institute, people at local clinics, uh, people through these heroes program. And, uh, there are a few others who were reaching out such time, but there are some great groups out there who are willing to give us their time and resources. And what we are trying to do is we have a couple of things, a couple of goals we want to reach for me, what I would love to see Houston too is first and foremost, uh, change, uh, how we approach drug users.

Uh, and Houston, I would like to see the way that we jail them, uh, not be radically reformed. I would like to see a, instead of an emphasis on punishment, I'd like to see an emphasis on rehabilitation and helping people, uh, resources being put to good use instead of just, uh, you know, locking people up for, uh, such long periods that they get out just angry and more willing to use, uh, uh, as well as wanting to help people get access to, uh, supplies like drug tests. And I don't mean like urine samples. I mean like fentanyl tests, fentanyl finds its way, not into just hair, not only heroin, but, uh, Xanax, cocaine, meth, uh, any illegal drug out there, uh, can be tainted with this stuff because it will make it that much more addictive and desirable, uh, to the consumers. I want to see Narcan made more available than it already is. There's a lot of great folks out there who get this out there, but I don't think there's enough of it. Uh, and I would like to see ultimately a place where people can exchange their syringes. And I would love to see a safe space where people are allowed to inject their drugs without fear of being arrested. They have access to supplies and help if they need, uh, assistance.

DEAN BECKER: (28:29)
Well, once again, that was Joshua Richards community organizer. Besides the folks from the hope clinic, the Baker Institute, there's growing numbers of individual doctors, nurses, ministers, and citizens joining in this effort. Why don't you join us please? Houston harm reduction,, please visit our website, drug And again, I remind you because of prohibition. You do not know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

08/28/19 Roger Goodman

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Roger Goodman
Washington State Legislature

Washington State Representative Roger Goodman re no arrests for possession, Houston DA KIm OGG with Indictiment of narcs for Felony Murder, Attorneys sing: Hemp Or Weed

Audio file



AUGUST 28, 2019

DEAN BECKER: Hello friends, I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High, and this is Cultural Baggage. Great show for you – let’s get going.

DEAN BECKER: Folks, it’s been too long since we had our guest on the program. He’s an old friend, a man that I respect and admire and I have tried to listen to over the years – hell, the decades now. I met him when he was a citizen, a good attorney. I think he got in to politics because he wanted to do more than just keep people out of the jail. He wanted to keep all of us out of jail I think, in the long run. With that I want to welcome a member of the Washington House of Representatives, my friend, Roger Goodman. Hello, sir.

ROGER GOODMAN: Hi Dean, it’s good to be back with you.

DEAN BECKER: Roger, good things are happening. Would you agree with that thought, sir?

ROGER GOODMAN: We are definitely moving forward you know, there’s a cultural shift and we’re certainly beyond the tipping point nationally on the need to end marijuana prohibition but we got a lot more work to do just to end prohibition in general. A lot more policies that literally improve public safety and regard people’s personal liberties better, so we do have a lot more work to do but we’ve made a lot of progress.

DEAN BECKER: Now when I first called you to set up this interview I talked about let’s talk about a tale of two cities and that I think there is much to be learned in doing a comparison between your city of Seattle, and mine of Houston, here in Texas. You guys have been awake. You guys have been making change and have your feet to the ground gaining traction and I think down here folks are beginning to recognize that there is a better way. Just today, the New York Times came out with a major story talking about what you guys are doing there in Washington State and Seattle. They said from the Times, in effect, Seattle is decriminalizing the use of hard drugs. It is relying less on the criminal justice toolbox to deal with hard drugs and more on the public health toolbox. Is that a good summation there, Roger?

ROGER GOODMAN: It is – so two angles on that, the first is that just from my libertarian point of view – I call myself a Libertarian Democrat – that we need to leave people alone if they are doing nothing other than introducing something into their own bodies, if they are potentially harming somebody else or contributing to public disorder well that’s different, then we might need to intervene. I am the Chair of the Public Safety Committee in the House of Representatives, and I am going to be entertaining legislation that will decriminalize the possession of personal amounts of all substances so that if law enforcement intervenes, it will not be a criminal matter – it would be civil matter and they would refer to health officials or therapists or whatever. I am not sure if folks know about the Portugal model, but this has been going on for almost two decades and the health intervention has worked in Portugal, with addiction rates going down and crime going down, it just seems to make sense. So if people need help, we’ll get them help. If people need to be left alone, we’ll leave them alone. That is the first thought.


ROGER GOODMAN: The second is that – again, as I have said before, prohibition doesn’t work. We really need to look at the legal structure overall of all of the substances. Marijuana is the most commonly used and yet, take a look at the violent crime that results from the markets – the illegal markets that result from prohibiting the other substances, so we have to work on that as well.

DEAN BECKER: Roger, I need to clarify this situation. Every Wednesday I do my show broadcast these days here in Houston and before that I go to the court houses downtown and I hand out these little post cards that – one side says, ‘Conscientious Objections to the Drug War’, and the other side facetiously says, ‘Join the cartels and make your fortune’. I get a great reception – I am talking to judges and jurors, prosecutors and defense attorneys, people on probation, people that are indicted. Just the population coming in and out of these courthouses, and I get a lot of responses of “you know, you are absolutely right”. My shirt says, “Legalize Heroin to Save Lives”, or “Prohibition is Evil”, those kinds of things.


DEAN BECKER: The response I get – even occasionally a cop will stop and tell me that because he’s retiring in six months – “you know, you are right on the money”. The end it by saying you know it will never change.


DEAN BECKER: That’s what I want to talk about. By God, it can change, can’t it?

ROGER GOODMAN: Well it can, and the first thing is that we have to be willing to talk about it. Before we change policy we have to sit down, open minds, respectful, deliberate, inclusive conversations and just listen to people but be willing to talk about it and in Seattle over two decades ago now we began to convene groups – professional groups and civic groups and religious groups, sitting down together to talk about the war on drugs was just corroding our legal system, impeding medical practice, violating civil rights. I mean it’s just all bad. As you have said for years, there’s no policy worse than the War on Drugs, other than slavery.


ROGER GOODMAN: So the first willingness we need is the willingness to sit down and talk about it and once we do then people realize, we’re all human beings as long as we’re respectful of one another and we have that deliberate conversation then we can really make progress. We are not going to change things right away but in Seattle, we ended up really reforming our public health and drug policies so we’re saving money, we’re saving lives, we’re reducing crime, we’re improving public order and the sky has not fallen by any means. As a matter of fact, just looking at marijuana – youth use of marijuana is significantly down since we legalized. Deaths on the roadways are significantly down because people are not drinking as much bad beer, they’re switching over to smoking pot instead, so they’re just not driving.


ROGER GOODMAN: We are bringing in a half a billion dollars of revenue – tax revenue, from the sale of the legally regulated product to fund healthcare for the poor. So is that all bad? I think we’re doing pretty well up here.

DEAN BECKER: And that’s why I called on you, my friend. I was lucky last year, I was invited to go to Lisbon to speak to the administrators of the European Monitoring Center on Drug’s and Drug Abuse – that has been kind of the highlight of my quote career as of this point. Well received – the women gave me hugs and kisses, I sat for an hour afterwards with the police commissioner and the police chief of Lisbon, and we laughed and laughed at US drug policy. I don’t know how else to say this, we are clinging to superstition, propaganda, needless hysteria are we not?

ROGER GOODMAN: Yes we are but unfortunately I have to bring up the link to racism and otherism.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir.

ROGER GOODMAN: The War on Drugs has its roots and are discriminating against the Chinese immigrants to help build our railroads out west and once they finished doing that well then we didn’t want them anymore, so we passed the opium laws as a way to target them and get them either incarcerated or kicked out and then it was the so-called cocaine crazed negro in the early 1900’s and then it was the Mexicans bringing marijuana across the border and they were raping our women and stealing our jobs. Unfortunately this sounds all too familiar today.


ROGER GOODMAN: What is interesting is that the opioid crisis nationally has affected middle class white folks and we don’t want to be locking them up in prison, right? So the shift in our view of drug problems has happened because middle class white people have been affected by it and so now all of the sudden, it’s a public health problem in everyone’s minds as it should have been a long time ago but that really indicated the racist aspect of the War on Drugs and we have to get beyond that.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Rears its ugly head everywhere you look, it certainly does. Let me kind of shift here for a second, I want to talk about politicians. They had a big marijuana day at Austin Statehouse earlier this year. I went there, I wore my “Legalize Heroin to Save Lives” shirt because it’s not about marijuana – it’s about prohibition, it’s about respect and dignity and I don’t know, reality itself. Every office I went to – 73 offices, I knocked on the door went in and mostly talked to staffers – every one of them knew exactly what I was talking about. There is no hidden information. It is out there, it is known. These politicians – the few I have got to speak with over the years – about six of them, behind closed doors they don’t argue with me. They know the truth of this matter but they’re chicken.


DEAN BECKER: I don’t know how else to say it.


DEAN BECKER: Go ahead.

ROGER GOODMAN: I have to say – okay, so I am a politician and I have been in office for 14 years now. 14 years ago the idea of ending marijuana prohibition was let’s say a pipe dream. I hate to use that pun –


ROGER GOODMAN: -By the way if you say will prohibition ever end and people say oh never! But then you say what about 2020? And they’re like, well, yeah – maybe by then. So sort of establish a set date then it becomes more concrete to people. Anyway, long ago when I ran, I ran on issues that people care about – our public schools, traffic problems and health care. You know, the normal issues that politicians deal with but I also was very outspoken about the need to end prohibition. The other side thought, well this guy couldn’t possibly win. He wants to legalize drugs but when the voters and the people found out my popularity increased and I won by a significant margin. The people are ahead of the politicians, so the politicians are reactive they’re not going to take a step forward unless they hear from the people and the people are – they certainly did vocalize and it’s happened. There’s support for ending marijuana prohibition, but alright, now you talk about heroin – there’s not a huge population out there that enjoys recreational heroin. There is a population out there but it’s very small and so you don’t have that public outcry, that grassroots movement and so the politicians are reactive. They’re not gonna step up. Yeah, they’ll agree with you in their offices but they’re not going to step out and take a political risk. They have – they respond to the people. That’s just the way our democratic system works. It in fact ought to work that way. We should respond to what the people want. People like you and others around the country who have brought about grass roots movements, that’s the source of the cultural change and the political change.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we are speaking with Mr. Roger Goodman, he has 14 years of experience as a Representative for the State of Washington.

Now you mentioned heroin and I had the privilege last year of going to Berne to meet Dr. Christoph Buerki, the designer of their heroin injection program. I got to tour their facilities, I got to meet with some of the staff and walked me through the process – how it worked there. Every morning the users come to the place, they get their injection then they go to work, they go to school, they tend to their children. Then they come back in the evening they get another injection and it costs basically nothing. It costs the government very little to maintain this – that as I understand it, over the decades they’ve been doing this 27 million Swiss citizens have injected pure heroin with zero overdose deaths.


DEAN BECKER: So it is the paranoia – it is the fear of these drugs that is more deadly than the drugs themselves, am I right there, Roger Goodman?

ROGER GOODMAN: Absolutely. We have research clearly showing that these public health interventions are effective and yet, the rhetoric – and I have to say, up here in Washington State, we’re pretty liberal or progressive – but we have those voices as well, that so oh, this is just going to encourage drug use and the streets are gonna be unsafe again, and how dare we provide a place for people to do this awful activity. So even though there is clear research we hear that fear arising again. You and I know – but maybe some of your listeners don’t know that heroin didn’t come out of nowhere. It was synthesized by the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company more than 100 years ago.


ROGER GOODMAN: They synthesize aspirin from the willow tree and opium from the opium poppy. It was the wonder drug. What I believe we need to do is bring heroin back into the pharmacopeia, it’s the best cough suppressant there is and its actually already done in a number of countries; in Turkey, Iran, and India, the opium farmers are licensed. They grow it and they sell the opium – the opiates into the medical market. In Afghanistan, well they’re not licensed. It’s a complete illegal market and that’s where the worlds heroin comes from so all we have to do is assert regulatory control just like we have over marijuana in many states, get rid of the illegal markets – it just a very rational process and then we can end this terrible drug war. But again, the voices of fear continue to rise so it’s an ongoing struggle.

DEAN BECKER: Roger, I am lucky – privileged in my city/county that I have made friends, allies if you will of the police chief, the sheriff and the district attorney that they have come on my show. Most recently Kim Ogg the DA came on my show and talked about the drug wars’ off-track. That we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face that it’s illogical, that it’s just not working out. Sounding a whole lot like a Law Enforcement Against Prohibition speaker--


DEAN BECKER: --Unafraid to say so in this city that I used to open with the phrase, “Broadcasting from the Gulag Filling Station of Planet Earth”, and we now are trying to do away with the bail system, following a lot of the things you guys have done over the years and I guess what I am trying to get to is that the majority of people, even these politicians know this change is so necessary. They know the failure of what we’ve been doing for so long and I try to be the kick in the butt. I try to be the awakening somehow that it’s okay. I don’t know where I am going with this other than its just okay to speak out isn’t it?

ROGER GOODMAN: Absolutely. It’s essential to speak out and if you don’t keep banging the drum and others like you and me, frankly, I mean you’re in the grassroots – I am the grass tops then we’re not going to continue to make progress. I recently appeared publicly with my good friend, Rodney Ellis, who is our Harris County Commission, and he and I agree that we need folks like you to continue to talk about this. We have to continue to make progress. Harris County in Houston has made tremendous progress in the last – I mean really a 180 degree turn. Look what has happened, right? The work you’ve done and politicians finally summoning the courage to talk about this and take action. So we are making a lot of progress as I began I said we’re making a lot of progress but we’ve got a lot more work to be done.

DEAN BECKER: When I visited – actually interviewed Kim Ogg in her office downtown. Right before the interview she took me into the office next door to speak to former Police Chief Bradford and he and I, we’ve made progress in years before as well. First thing he said to Kim was, “this sonofabitch bugged us 20 years ago, told us how we were doing it wrong. Turns out he was right all along”.


DEAN BECKER: To me that’s the praise. That’s the million dollars I made right there because to know that I have been – Kim told me the day she started the misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program that I was the pioneer. The one who made that day possible.

ROGER GOODMAN: Yeah. Doesn’t that feel good that your life’s work is worth it, right?

DEAN BECKER: Right. After retiring from the oil and gas industry that this second one – it doesn’t pay worth a damn, Roger.

ROGER GOODMAN: That’s okay. The more money you make the more evil you perpetrate on the world, right?

DEAN BECKER: There you go. Well I guess it’s about time to wrap this up, but once again friends we’ve been speaking with my good friend, Mr. Roger Goodman, he’s got 14 years in office, is that right, Man?

ROGER GOODMAN: Yep and starting on my 14th year and I can’t believe it! I look in the mirror like, oh, what happened there!

DEAN BECKER: Well, October will make 18 years on the air but we’ve been friends longer than that I think.

ROGER GOODMAN: Oh, yeah. Well I mean I got elected 14 years ago, but I was a drug policy reformer before that.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Well, Roger, you guys keep it up. Show us how it’s done right. I want to just touch on one more thing. You said if you have an encounter with a drug user and you have your dissuasion committee I think is what Dr. Gulow calls it there in Portugal and if they choose to continue, well so be it, you give them good advice.

ROGER GOODMAN: Yeah. People need to hear – and very often maybe hear the message over and over again. If they are doing harm to themselves and perhaps affecting their families we don’t want to be punishing them. We want to be helping them.


ROGER GOODMAN: So the point is, as I said, if people need help then let’s give them help. It may take a number of times but if people need to be left alone then just leave them alone because they’re not harming anybody else, they’re not costing us and they have the freedom to do what they -- you know if I want to eat too much chocolate cake, are you going to punish me? It’s the same type of thing. Maybe I shouldn’t be eating that much chocolate cake and I love chocolate cake but I am not committing a crime and that’s the perspective we need.

DEAN BECKER: It is indeed. Again, Roger, I miss seeing you. I hope to see you at a conference somewhere soon.


DEAN BECKER: We’re traveling in slightly different circles these days.

ROGER GOODMAN: That’s okay.

DEAN BECKER: I appreciate your thoughts and I hope the folks listening in whether it’s Houston or around the country, it applies everywhere in this nation. Is there a website you might want to share?

ROGER GOODMAN: I’ve got a whole bunch of them, I can’t hide. I am a state legislator in Washington State, so you can find Roger Goodman, but I just want to congratulate you, and Harris County and Houston for making the progress that you have and keep watching Seattle and Washington State. We’re on the cutting edge and we’re showcase for a lot of the progressive policy that really works. Let’s keep moving forward.

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DEAN BECKER: And so speaking of Houston, there was the Harding Street bust earlier this year where there was a bad warrant, a bad buy, a bad cop, a bad shootout and bullets going from the outside to the inside of the house to kill the occupants and their dog. This is the District Attorney of Harris County, Kim Ogg at a press conference last week in Houston.

KIM OGG: The day that Goins claimed a confidential informant had successfully purchased heroin from an unknown 55 year old white male. That eventually being Mr. Tuttle. Goins claims were false. He further fabricated the two days after the raid on the Harding Street residence that he “recovered” a plastic bag that contained a white napkin and two small packets of a brown powdery substance that he knew based on his skill and expertise contained heroin. Bryant claimed he recognized the drugs as the same drugs allegedly purchased by Goins C.I the day before, January 27th. That was false. In an interview subsequent to the HPD investigation, Goins later admitted, 1) There was no confidential informant who purchased drugs at 7815 Harding Street, 2) He claimed instead that he personally made the drug buy, 3) He affirmed that Steve Bryant never made any identification of the substance alleged to have been purchased at 7815 Harding, 4) Finally Goins admitted that he could not determine whether Mr. Tuttle was the same person from who he had allegedly purchased narcotics.

Officer Goins was injured, the interview as taped. He answered in writing. Because false information was provided to a magistrate in order to secure a search warrant, Goins actions violated Texas Penal Code 37.10, Tampering with a Government Record, a 2nd Degree Felony. Because the execution of the warrant resulted in forced entry into the home at 7815 Harding by armed police officers members of Goins own squad shot and killed Regina Nicholas, Dennis Tuttle and their dog. Under Texas Law, if during the commission of one felony, in this case, Tampering with a Government Record, a person commits an act clearly dangerous to human life. Execution of a no-knock warrant by an armed squad of police officers in to a private residence that causes the death of another – in this case two deaths, its 1st Degree Murder. We call that Felony Murder. Today we charged Gerald Goins with two counts of felony murder. We’ve also charged former HPD Officer Steven Bryant with one count of 2nd Degree Tampering with A Government Document. These charges are based on the fact that then HPD Officer Bryant’s false representations on his offense report, which the evidence will show intended to support Goins actions were false but because Bryant’s actions occurred after the raid and the killings, he is charged with one count of 2nd Degree Tampering. The intent of the false entry was to defraud HPD investigators, supervisors, prosecutors, and the public. This morning a judge signed arrest warrants for both defendants. Instead of executing those warrants we contacted Goins and Bryant’s attorneys and we’ve agreed with then that they have until 3 PM today to turn their clients. Both surrenders I believe are in progress. A Harris Grand Jury will shortly begin to review all of the evidence that’s been gathered in the case to determine if further charges are warranted against either Goins or Bryant, if they’re authorized against any other officers and to review extraneous claims against Goins, which have come in to our office directly from the street. Their job will be along with ours, to determine if a greater pre-existing problem existed within HPD Narcotics Squad 15. The Houston Police Department handed over their complete investigation on May 22nd, and I anticipate that our investigation will continue through the remainder of this year. Prosecutors have been and are currently going through 14,000 different cases related to these officers and I can tell you that after having talked with our leadership amongst ourselves we have not seen a case like this in Houston. I’ve not seen a case like this in my 30-plus years of practicing law.

We recognize that our community has been violated and I want to assure my fellow Houstonians and other residents of Harris County that we are getting to the truth. You’ve heard Chapter One. Each day we uncover more and with each fact we work towards doing justice.

DEAN BECKER: Sacred fornicating bovine. Lordy. Let’s end with something a little more positive. Here’s some sound advice in song form from attorneys, Hutson & Harris.

Singing: Remember, don’t say that it’s weed. Is it hemp or is it weed, is the THC over .3, you don’t know you’re not a testing facility, could be hemp unless you call it weed. Nobody knows if its pot or if its hemp. They’ve got to show the THC content. Is it pot or is it not, it the THC a little or a lot, nobody knows. You don’t have to lie when a cop says, “What’s this”? After all you’re not a freaking scientist. It might be hemp if you don’t’ call it weed. They’ve got to test it unless you concede.

DEAN BECKER: I’ll close us out with some thoughts from my youngest son, Bryan, “All drugs should be legal. Think about it. Most overdose deaths are due to no quality control. That money enriches cartels, not the state. After 100 years the same percentage of people use hard drugs – about 2%. It has stopped nothing”.

And again, I remind you because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.