06/13/10 - Tony Newman

Tony Newman of Drug Policy Alliance vs Bill O'Reily, Alison Holcomb of ACLU of Wa state, Cliff Schaffer on progrss of reform, DTN Host Dean Becker: "Prohibition is Evil" speech

Century of Lies
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Tony Newman
Drug Policy Alliance
Download: Audio icon COL_061310.mp3



Century of Lies June 13, 2010

The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.

Alright, we’ve got a great show for you today. Quick update. My friend, Pam has had bypass surgery. The prognosis is very good. I appreciate all the calls and emails in that regard. Thank you, very much. We’ve got a great show for you. Let’s get after it.

Long time listeners to the Drug Truth Network have heard a speech in the past, with Mr. Cliff Schaffer. He’s the creator of the online drug library that has educated many reformers over the year and a man who has a good understanding of progress, in regards to these drug laws.

Cliff, I know you’ve been busy of late, but there are many cities and states and even on the national scale, people are beginning to take a look at the drug war and it’s results. What is your take, sir? Have you seen progress? You think we’re going to make more progress? Where are we at?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: I think the time to legalization of marijuana is better measured in months than in years, at this point. That in by 2012, there will be an initiative on the ballot somewhere that will basically legalize marijuana, that will be passed.

There’s an initiative on the ballot in California right now and honestly, it looks iffy. It could go either way. Overall, the avalanche is coming. It is clear that the marijuana laws will change. I give it two years. Five years tops and something will be legal, here in the U S.

Dean Becker: Cliff, we also have the situation where, people are becoming more aware of the squandering of our tax dollars on a process that’s just never panned out. I think you can even extrapolate that to include the hard drugs, the empowering of the cartels and the terrorists and the gangs. That more and more folks are aware of how it’s just not panning out, right?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Yes. You’re under a budget crunch and an interesting thing happened in Fresno. That is, there was a dispensary owner here in Fresno. A medical marijuana dispensary and he was selling medical marijuana over the counter. A local judge ruled that that was illegal and ordered him to cease and desist. Well, he refused to cease and desist and kept selling marijuana. So the judge ordered him to jail.

He got to jail and the Sheriff released him within eight hours because of jail overcrowding. So the judge got mad and said, “By God, this guy’s going to jail and the sheriff cannot release him.’ So he put the guy back in jail. The sheriff said that the judge was mistaken and that the judge didn’t make the rules on who stayed in jail. That the jail was under another court order ‘not to overcrowd’ and they released the guy again.

So now the sheriff and the judge are in a standoff as to who really controls things and this guys still walking the streets, selling marijuana. {chuckling} So even when they have somebody who is openly flouting their laws, they really can’t do anything about it. Because the Criminal Justice System is just so overloaded.

Dean Becker: When you’re out of money, what the hell are you going to do, right?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Exactly. In the State of California right now, is under federal court order to release one third of all their prison inmates without respect to anything else, simply because of overcrowding. The day of reckoning has come. Where are you going to put these people? Assuming it was a good idea to arrest them.

Dean Becker: We’ve been speaking with Mr. Cliff Schaffer of druglibrary.org.

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: It’s apparent to me from marijuanabusinessnews.com that there is quite a shift coming and there’s an entirely new class of people that has recognized that marijuana legalization is on the way.

I give people advice on how to get into the marijuana business. I tell them what they need to open an marijuana store and open a marijuana delivery service and do various other things, with relationship to marijuana. They all fit a particular profile and that is that they are males age fifty or over. Well established in some other business. Who do not use marijuana or have not used it for a long time.

But they are basic legitimate business people who now see the handwriting on the wall and they want to be in the marijuana business. They think the time is right, when the rewards are worth the risk. These are good business people with good heads on their shoulders. Who plan things out and do things right and realize that they have to be an asset to the community to stay in business.

(musical introduction to the song, It‘s the End of the World and We Know It.)

It's the end of Drug War as we know it.
It's the end of Drug War as we know it.
It's the end of Drug War as we know it.

And I feel fine.

My name is Allison Holcomb and I’m the Drug Policy Director for the ACLU of Washington.

Dean Becker: Across America, there are substantial changes being made to the drug laws and Washington state is no exception. You recently had a ’Good Samaritan’ bill pass. Why don’t you tell us about that bill.

Ms. Allison Holcomb: Sure. The Good Samaritan law, which goes into effect June 10th, provides immunity from drug possession charges to individuals who seek medical assistance for somebody that they think is experiencing a drug overdose. It also provides that immunity to the person who is experiencing the overdose.

Dean Becker: Over the years, we have seen an increasing number of deaths associated with overdoses. This is bound to make a huge difference for the State of Washington.

Ms. Allison Holcomb: That’s right. Here in Washington, drug overdose is now the number one cause of accidental death. Ahead of firearms, falls and motor vehicle accidents. In 2008, we had seven hundred ninety-four drug overdose related deaths. That’s more that an average of two per day.

We can look to the War on Drugs as actually being a contributing factor to this increase of overdose deaths. Studies consistently show that the number one reason why people don’t call 911 when they think they’re witnessing a drug overdose, is fear of police involvement.

So by focusing on criminal punishment as a strategy for dealing with drug abuse, we’ve actually driven a wedge between these vulnerable people who are at risk of dying and the first responders who could save their lives, and also connect them with the services - like treatment, that can support their recovery.

Dean Becker: Another portion of this good Samaritan law, also allows for a type of medication that can help undo overdose deaths as well, right?

Ms. Allison Holcomb: That’s right. The Good Samaritan law also includes a provision that will improve access to a prescription drug called Naloxone. Naloxone is an opium antagonist, that when administered to somebody who’s experiencing an overdose from an opiate, like heroin or a lot of the strong pain medications that are on the market now, like OxyContin.

This drug, Naloxone, can actually reverse that opiate overdose within seconds, to a few minutes. It can save the person’s live and also buy some crucial time, to get that person professional emergency medical care.

Dean Becker: There are many states across the country that will be voting on marijuana law revisions, this coming fall. Washington state has an effort underway to “tax and regulate”, if they can gather the necessary number of signatures. How is that effort going?

Ms. Allison Holcomb: Initiative 1068, which is the initiative that is gathering signatures right now, is indicating that they might have a bit of trouble. They have been pursuing their efforts solely through volunteer efforts. There have been lots of dedicated volunteers out gathering signatures. But unfortunately, they’ve been finding that they need some funds to help bring home the signatures and also to support a campaign, if it were to get on the ballot.

I do want to make one clarification though. Unlike Oregon’s initiative and California’s initiative, that would provide the opportunity for cities and counties to adopt tax and regulations schemes, the Washington initiative doesn’t contain any provisions that address taxing and regulating. It simply removes all criminal and civil penalties that are associated with possessing, growing, selling or transporting marijuana within the State of Washington.

Dean Becker: So basically, just to legalize it.

Ms. Allison Holcomb: That’s right. To take it out of Washington’s Controlled Substances Act, altogether.

Dean Becker: Alright. Once again, we’ve been speaking with Allison Holcomb of the ACLU of Washington state. Allison, why don’t you provide your website, where folks can learn more about the efforts up there.

Ms. Allison Holcomb: Sure. The website for the ACLU of Washington is www.aclu-wa.org.

A few weeks back, the Drug Policy Alliance released a public service announcement, featuring the words of George Soros, Montel Williams and Tony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance, along with the words of fabled musician Sting. Seemed to put a bee under the bonnet of Mr. Bill O’Reilly. So a couple of days ago, he went on air to protest with attorney Megyn Kelly.

The following comes to us courtesy of FOX News, the Bill O’Reilly show. He had in-studio with him, Attorney Megyn Kelly. They’re talking about a recent Drug Policy Alliance public service announcement, featuring the words of Sting, George Soros and Montel Williams.

Bill O'Reilly: In the "Kelly File" segment tonight: A new commercial by the far-left group Drug Policy Alliance. Funded by our buddy, George Soros. Pretty much says, ‘The USA should give up the war on drugs.’

(Drug Policy Alliance’s public service announcement)

George Soros: I support the Drug Policy Alliance because it fosters debate on drug policy.

Sting: Because the war on drugs represents an extraordinary violation of human rights.

Montel Williams: Because whether you use drugs or not, you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness and dignity.

Sting: I support the Drug Policy Alliance because I believe in the right to sovereignty, over one's own mind and body.

Montel Williams: Because I believe in personal freedom and personal choice.

Bill O'Reilly: Love to get that Sting guy on here. Here now to analyze, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. You can see her on "America Live" at 1:00 p.m. each weekday.

You know what galls me about this? Sting. OK? {mimicking Sting}, ‘We have sovereignty of our own bodies.’ Seventy percent of child abuse and neglect in this country is substance-abuse driven. Most of it, narcotics.

Megyn Kelly: Exactly right. They actually say, it could be even higher than that. It could be as much as eighty percent.

Bill O'Reilly: You know, what do you have to say about that, Sssssting? All right, how about the rain forest? Putting that aside and looking at a child abuse, once in a while.

Megyn Kelly: Well, there he sits in his little ivory tower. He's not even an American, first of all. So…

Bill O'Reilly: That's all right. I don't mind that he's…

Megyn Kelly: …save your opinions on our domestic policy, for your own domestic policy. When he's not working on a tantric sex, apparently he's thinking about America drug policy. He doesn’t even…

Bill O'Reilly: But that clears your mind…

Megyn Kelly: So he doesn’t…

Bill O’Reilly: …doesn’t it?

Megyn Kelly: Well, you know…

Bill O’Reilly: The tantric thing, clear your mind?

Megyn Kelly: I’ll defer to Sting on that. So he sits over there in his ivory tower. (This guy’s got more money than God!) He's not going to be affected by it, if the streets are full of drug addicts.

Bill O'Reilly: No, he wants to get stoned, he's going to get stoned.

Megyn Kelly: No, but listen. This organization that he's joined in with, the Soros organization. This is what they say they stand for, Bill. They believe in social and economic justice. They consume drugs responsibly. They're sick and tired of people who have suffered indignities and injustices of the War on Drugs.

They talk about how they are sick and tired of being stigmatized for their drug use. When you speak to the issue of how people go to jail for drug use. They say that, ‘The war on drugs is racist.‘ Then they talk about how, ‘The children of inmates really struggle. You know it’s amazing that society…

Bill O'Reilly: The children of inmates struggle…

Megyn Kelly: …and that's the fault of the police, for prosecuting the druggies.

Bill O'Reilly: …eventually getting the hell beat out of them, by intoxicated parents.

Look, I fervently believe this. The reason we have a war on drugs is to protect people, from people who get intoxicated and do terrible, terrible things. Now, we have alcohol. That's legal. You don't compound the problem. But anyway, this debate goes on forever.

Megyn Kelly: Now, cocaine is not the same thing as alcohol. Seventy-five percent addiction rate, of people who try cocaine…

Bill O'Reilly: Heroin is even worse…

Megyn Kelly: Ten percent on alcohol.

Bill O'Reilly: …and methamphetamine…

Megyn Kelly: These people want it all legal.

Bill O'Reilly: Right.

Megyn Kelly: All of it. Crack, meth… no problem.

Bill O'Reilly: That meth stuff? I mean…

Megyn Kelly: Snort in on a subway.

Bill O’Reilly: …kids are getting the hell kicked out of them. Alright, now…

Alright. Now here to talk about it is, Mr. Tony Newman. From the Drug Policy Alliance. Hello, Tony.

Mr. Tony Newman: Hello, Dean. Thanks for having me on.

Dean Becker: Tony, I find it rather absurd, to be honest with you. That Mr. O’Reilly would protest about something which apparently he knows nothing. You’re thoughts on his response, to the Drug Policy release.

Mr. Tony Newman: The Drug Policy Alliance put out this public service announcement a couple of weeks ago called, ’We are the Drug Policy Alliance’. You see Sting, you see Montel Williams, you see Tony Papa, George Soros. All these people talking about why they support the Drug Policy Alliance and why they believe the War on Drugs has failed.

It has now gotten the attention of Bill O’Reilly at FOX and Megyn Kelly of FOX, and they are just infuriated. You could just feel their seething. They’re like, ’How dare Sting talk about this issue. He’s not even American!’ They talk about, as if Drug Policy Alliance, ‘What about the kids? They don’t care about the kids.’ ‘They want drug dealers to be running around the streets going crazy.’

While they’re going off about the Drug Policy Alliance, there’s actually a very interesting debate among their viewers, in response to this show. Bill O’Reilly was only the first person to take this on. They continue to show our commercial. Which we do appreciate - reaching their millions of viewers and then they start going so crazy.

The interesting thing is when you watch the video, Montel Williams talks about having, ‘Compassion and respect for people. Whether they happen to use drugs or not‘. Sting talks about, ‘The importance of people’s sovereignty over mind and body’ and ‘How the war on drug’s is locking up too many people.’ You see Anthony Papa saying, ‘I know, I spent twelve years behind bars on a non-violent drug offense’. The video looks so calm and rational and compassionate and these guys look like they’re just totally losing it.

Sure enough! On FOX the following day, after O’Reilly’s news piece and they had John Stossel, one of their fellow FOX correspondent on, debating Megyn Kelly of FOX. Stossel looked incredibly impressive. He was talking about the ‘failures of prohibition’ and the ‘violence that comes, not from marijuana use or not from a certain plant, but because it’s illegal‘. He pointed out about alcohol prohibition. You know, this isn’t even a right or left. They try to make it the elitist and Sting and this and that and John Stossel’s like, ’I’m with them. This is not working.’

So we actually think it’s good. It’s causing a debate. We want FOX to show our video. We want them to see what, Montel Williams is a medical marijuana patient or someone who had to spend twelve years in a cage for a non-violent drug offence. We want Sting to talk about why he thinks the War on Drugs isn’t working. Then we’ll have the debate. We’ll have the debate with Bill O’Reilly. We’ll have the debate on any show at any time.

Dean Becker: Tony, I would welcome that challenge here. As you probably know, I’ve requested that the drug czar and many other high ranking officials that support this drug war, come on the Drug Truth Network and spend fifteen minutes and clarify for us, this need for an eternal war against plant products. Of course, over the eight and a half - almost nine years that we’ve made that offer, they have absolutely refused to do so.

I’d like to take this opportunity to invite Mr. O’Reilly to come on my show and further clarify why he’s so upset and for what reason, he continues to believe it possible to suspend the law of ‘supply and demand’, of a hundred years of failure.

Mr. Tony Newman: I hope listeners will go and see for themselves; go see why this wide-cross spectrum of people does believe the War on Drugs is not working and the need for a positive alternative. I think the debate is important. I think that O’Reilly and those… that really are on the losing side of this. I think more and more people realize that prohibition does not…

If you are against prohibition, you are not saying your pro-drug. You’re stating that prohibition does not work. Alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana… whatever these drugs are. If you make them illegal, people still end up using them. But now you have a black market.

You have violence. You have killing. You have cops kicking down doors, trying to stop. That you have people locked up in a cage for using it. Prohibition does not work. We need to learn how to live with these drugs, so they cause the least amount of harm.

Anytime they want to call us. Ethan Nadelmann, Anthony Papa, we’re ready to talk about the failed war on drugs and we would love to. It’s one of the most important issue in our country right now. Not only are we locking up; two million people are behind bars in this country. Five hundred thousand of them are for non-violence drug offenses.

The States are broke. Any state in the country, your lookin at are cuts to education and healthcare and all of these things, but we’re spending fifty thousand dollars to lock someone up in a cage. There’s all this violence in Mexico. Everyday you read about another dozen people who are being killed. We’ve had twenty-three thousand people who’ve have died in Mexico over the last couple years, from prohibition.

This is not working. We need to find a new approach to this. It is one of the most important topics of our time. We want the debate to happen. We hope people go look at the youtube, ‘We Are the Drug Policy Alliance’ and Mr. O’Reilly, whenever you want to have a debate, we’re ready.

Dean Becker: Alright. Once again, that was Mr. Tony Newman with the Drug Policy Alliance. Folks, you know the truth. You need to educate yourself a little better. You need to embolden yourself and you need to do your part. One way you can do that is by visiting the website of the Drug Policy Alliance. That’s drugpolicy.org

The following segment is yours truly, at the Seattle Hempfest.

Dean Becker: I am a former law enforcement official, as well. I worked for the U S Government, guarding nuclear weapons mostly. I’ve strapped on the gun, worn the badge, swore to uphold the Constitution. I’m still trying to uphold the Constitution. {applause}

If I may reiterate a bit about LEAP. I think we’re now approaching nine thousand members, worldwide. We’re current and former police officers, police chiefs, wardens, prosecutors, judges, a few senators, members of the European Parliament, the former Attorney General of Columbia.

I also produce nine radio programs each week, about the harms of the drug war. {applause} Seven, three-minute pieces I call the 4:20 Drug War News. Two half hour shows: Cultural Baggage, Century of Lies. I interview these same judges, wardens, authors, scientists, doctors. Any and everybody willing to talk about this subject. We’re currently on more than fifty radio stations in the U S and Canada. I think Bellingham is the closest one to here (Seattle), that carries our shows.

What is the objective of LEAP? We want to curtail death, disease, crime and addiction. Complications, spin-off, blow-back that are higher. Not because drugs exist, but because the drug prohibition exists. It creates all these problems that these people in authority; the DA that wants to build a bigger jail, the congressman that wants to build more prisons. They use this blow-back as saying, ’Oh, my God! People are making this methamphetamine. They’re using Drain-O and batteries and ammonia, to make this crap‘… and they’re selling it to our kids!

Well, why are people making it? Because of prohibition. Why are they selling it to their kids? Because of prohibition. Why are people dying and getting the diseases? Because of prohibition. There is no justification for this drug war. Aspirin and Tylenol kill more people than all hard drugs combined. We’ve been duped! We’ve been fed a bag of lies. We have eaten this quasi-religious bull-crap, for nigh unto ninety-three years.

Who do we go to for an opinion, if there’s a drug bust or little Johnny dies on the street corner? Who do they go to? The district attorney, for his opinion. Who do they go to? The Police Chief. They go to these people who want to perpetuate this forever. Because it’s how they make their mortgage payments.

Now much of what I say, I think most LEAP members would agree with me. But I am saying this, as my opinion. Because I think the drug lords run both sides of this equation. {applause} Over the lifetime of this drug war, we’ve given one trillion dollars. A trillion Dollars! I’ll tell you how much money that is, here in a minute. It’s hard to envision. But a trillion dollars… to law enforcement.

Stop that flow! Protect little Johnny! Keep our neighborhoods safe and of course, it’s gotten worse and worse and worse. But over that same ninety-two year time frame, we’ve given ten trillion dollars to the terrorists. To the dangerous cartels and we’ve created the reason for which most of these violent street gangs exist. Through this drug war.

It’s the reason children have access. It’s the problem itself. But they use it as justification to ask for more money. Whether they succeed or whether they fail, they always need more money. A lot of damn money… wasted! It could be built on our infrastructure. It could be going to school. Toward health services for the people of this nation.

We’ve flushed a trillion dollars down the toilet. Now you take the trillion we’ve given to Law Enforcement, you take the ten trillion we’ve given to the criminals and you start loading it onto trains. Freight cars: sixty-two feet long, eight feet wide, ten feet high. You can get about nine billion dollars in a freight car. Hundred dollar bills. But if you take the money we’ve wasted on this drug war and you fill that train, it’s nine miles long. Full of hundred dollar bills that we have wasted, in this effort.

Now I am all for medical marijuana. I am a medical marijuana patient. I am a religious Sacramental Cannabis Minister. I’m a former cop. I do the radio. I stand before the people-of-power in my hometown. Houston, the gulag filling station of planet Earth. We send more people to prison, than most of the other states in this nation. Our jails are overflowing. People sleeping on the floors. Our prisons are overcrowded. They’re shipping them to other states.

Why? Because they might be black or Hispanic. They might have an empty bag or an empty pipe. But there the moral leaders think they’re doing God’s work? By robbing our community of these dollars and the focus of the police efforts are ‘Our violent crime rate is rising‘? Why? Because they’re chasing down high-school-Harry for a bag of some plant product.

We have to stand up for truth. For reality; what is before our eyes. We have to become full citizens of this nation. We have to participate! We have to demand a change! We have to no longer believe in their quasi religion of drug war.

I want to claim the moral high ground. I want to stop funding Osama Bin Laden. I want to destroy the cartels. {applause} I want to eliminate the violent gangs that plague our neighborhood and entice our children, to lives of crime and addiction. Why do these people exist? Why do they have their power? Because of the U S policy of drug prohibition!

You are the answer! The day we stand in mass and we write those letters to the editor. They can’t print all of them. But they can damn sure read them! They can understand your concern, your knowledge, your awareness of this problem and that you’re no longer going to take this madness.

What we have to realize is that the mechanism of the drug war through it’s longevity, was certified as appropriate to use in the war of terror. But why is it certified? What makes it legitimate? (pause) Our silence? (pause)

When we don’t speak up against what we see as absolute bull-crap… When we allow this to devour generations of our children, and we all do the duty pledge. ’Well, it must be the right and moral thing to do. Sorry Johnny’s got to spend ten years behind bars. But he’ll come out a better person, I think.’

Of course, it’s all a lie. Just like with the drug war, they used an untrustworthy snitch. Mr. Chalabi, to justify this invasion. Right?

Audience member: Yeah.

Dean Becker: Long term sentences are justified. Take peoples’ children. Take their house. Take their car, their cash, their worldly goods. Their right. Their future! Take it! They’re unconditionally exterminable. They’re drug users and yet George Bush, if it be said, is a walking billboard for success, after drug use.

It is all a lie. Stand for your rights. Do something! Make the change happen.

Well, that’s about all we’ve got time for. I want to thank you once again, those who wrote and emailed and texted about Pam and her heart attack. The hope is, she’s going to be doing just fine.

Alright. Once again I want to remind you that, there’s no truth, justice, logic, scientific fact, medical data. No reason for this Drug War to exist. We have been duped. The drug lords run both sides of this equation. Please do your part to end the madness. Visit our website. endprohibition.org

Prohibido istac evilesco.

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker. Asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

Drug Truth Network programs, archived at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies.

Transcript provided by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org