02/20/11 Ethan Nadelmann

Ethan Nadelmann, Exec Dir of Drug Policy Alliance re 40 anniversary of drug war + clips from NY Times & KIRO TV & Drug War Facts with Mary Jane Borden & cannabis recipe from Sandy Moriarty

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Guest: 
Ethan Nadelmann
Organization: 
Drug Policy Alliance
Download: Audio icon COL_022011.mp3
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Century of Lies / February 20, 2011

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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.

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Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. Here in just a few minutes, we’ll be conducting an interview with Mister Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance. I just want to alert you that during this show you’ll get a report from Mary Jane Borden of Drug War Facts. We’re going to hear from KIRO TV.

We’ve got a segment from the New York Times, dealing with addition and we’re going to get a recipe on how to make butter from cannabis from Sandy Moriarty, the Cannabis Chef at Oaksterdam University. But first up:

Dean Becker: You know, it seems with each passing day the knowledge that this Drug War is a failure is growing ever larger and as we approach the 40th anniversary of the declaration of war by President Nixon, a couple of fine articles have appeared in the Huffington Post and AlterNet by the Head of the Drug Policy Alliance, Mister Ethan Nadelmann. Welcome Ethan.

Ethan Nadelmann: Hey Dean, thanks for having me on.

Dean Becker: Ethan, these are some powerful points that you’ve made on these articles could you give us a summary of what you wrote?

Ethan Nadelmann: Well, I think the first thing is that we need to take advantage of this 40th anniversary. It really is – as I said in the piece, it provides a moment to reflect and also to launch into some real action. Our hope is to really try and mobilize the growing drug policy reform movement around making both June 2011, which will actually be the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s statement and more generally this year, a year where we try to push things forward as much as possible and try to get to that proverbial tipping point.

So what I did in the Huffington Post, what I said was like here is the way to phase this thing and then I laid out essentially key five themes.

One, marijuana legalization. The second one that over-incarceration has to be defined in the public eye as the problem, not the solution. The third is the war on drugs is the new Jim Crow to be seen as a civil rights issue. The forth is a need to elevate science over politics and especially in the localities of cities and states we need to be pushing for public health oriented people to be taking the lead to be taking the time from the criminal justice folks.

Lastly, I think that is what we really need to push about putting the legislation on the table, you know, not just for marijuana but more broadly. Not because it is necessarily the only solution or the right, right answer but because it forces a way of thinking critically about prohibition and because it merits a lot more thoughtful examination than it’s received to date.

Dean Becker: Ethan, you know here in Texas, we hear probably more stories about what’s going on in Mexico. It seems just yesterday that two federal agents were shot in Mexico. How do you that feel will complicate the situation?

Ethan Nadelmann: Well I think actually, what it does is that it advances the dialog. I think what you see is that Mexico is dealing with the sort of problems that Chicago dealt with during alcohol prohibition times fifty.

I mean, the levels of corruption, violence and power of organized crime, fear, you name it and so much of that being fueled by a failed prohibitionist policy. I think that’s why if you look and see the last three Mexican presidents, you see Ernesto Zedillo joining, firstly, the Latin American Commission and now in this new Global Commission that is pushing for a brake the taboo on discussing all drug policy options, including legalization.

Its why we you see the former President Vicente Fox has evolved for saying, “Let’s put this on the table” to becoming a fairly strong advocate of legalization and you see even Calderón the current President who seems to have his own personal moral reservations about the issue of drugs, nonetheless acknowledging that this needs to be part of the dialog, as well. Then of course, you have the Nobel Prize winners like Carlos Fuentes and you have other leading intellectuals. So what you have is the elite in Mexico, a willingness and even a desire to put this really on the table.

Then you look over at Columbia and you see President Santos who, you know, right now is maybe the most popular leader in his own country of any president in the world. He has 80-90% approval ratings and he’s very openly saying, “You know, if legalization is the best way to reduce the crime and violence then maybe that’s way to go and we need a debate about this. We need to open this up.”

So, I think that the continuing problems of prohibition related crime violence and corruption are actually providing additional momentum for opening up the debate more broadly in the US.

Dean Becker: You know a couple of week back YouTube held a contest to find the most compelling issues to ask the President questions and foremost among them where drug policy questions and the top one was selected by a LEAP member Matt McCally and the President said he is not for legalization but he did, in fact say, it was time to perhaps open discussion, right?

Ethan Nadelmann: Well, you know if you look carefully at that YouTube question by the LEAP officer, what you see is that his question was explicitly about legalization and Obama said, “I think it’s a legitimate topic for debate even though I’m against it.”

Now, you know, it was very interesting because a day or two later the Drug Czar and others try to downplay what Obama’s “open for debate” comment meant and whether it was really about legalization but if you look at the YouTube video, that’s what Obama is responding to, that’s what he’s taking about.

In that sense, I think it was very, very significant. I mean, that makes him the first president that I’m aware of ever to say that legalization is a legitimate topic of debate. It means that when his Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske and other members of the Administration are out there and are confronted with this question, rather than simply dismissing it, there’s going to be a little more pressure on them to say, “Well, our President said it is a legitimate topic for debate so, it is a legitimate topic for debate.”

I think when Santos said last week or a few days ago, actually, he just made that comment in Columbia, saying that we needed to have more debate and this might be the right way to go.

I would not be surprised if he was willing to go that extra a step further last week because of what Obama had said the week before. I think we should make a much of this as possible and – both the fact that on YouTube the marijuana and legalization issues and drug policy issues were not just the number one but the top fifty or whatever but also Obama’s response.

Dean Becker: Yeah Ethan, I counted the first 100 and it was 99 out of the first 100 and it seemed like about a 180 out of the top 200. So, it was a prevalent issue, right?

Ethan Nadelmann: What was remarkable too, Dean, is that happened not as the result of any organized effort by my organization, the Drug Policy Alliance or by any of the other drug reform organizations. I mean, here was some effort it was basically this was a spontaneous outpouring in a way.

I think that sense, it bears some relationship to the Family Feud episode going viral over the last week or two. I mean that funny little episode, two minute episode, where you know, “What do you pass around?” and it’s a joint or something. That’s got what? Almost five million views in the last week, since it went or something like that?

So, there’s something bubbling in the culture in a very powerful way that resulted in the Family Feud thing going viral that resulted in Obama getting inundated with questions on this issue. I think it’s something that not just people in the media but people in mainstream politics are increasingly paying attention to.

Dean Becker: I’ve noticed on lots of television programs that there is some reference to marijuana. Last night a couple of shows, The Good Wife in particular, the reference to medical marijuana is gaining respect and I think traction within the media, as well. People are beginning to open this discussion whether or not the politicians want to. You thought?

Ethan Nadelmann: Well I mean, look at the interview with Lady Gaga on 60 Minutes where she said she smoked marijuana in order to help. She found it helped her in writing her songs.

I think what you’re seeing is, you know, it’s so much the way that people are being more and more saying that pot is the new” gay.” By which they mean that gay rights movement took off in the last fifteen years and the way that it involved those people coming out of the closet both in their private lives, as well as more publically, as well as the issues around fairness and non-discrimination and also people’s sovereignty over their own bodies that marijuana is taking on that in many ways as well.

It’s a lot more risky obviously because you can get arrested for simply for being in possession of a joint. You don’t have to be caught in the act of smoking it in a way, with in the gay rights movement, the fears for gay people were less aroused being arrested for the simple act of being gay and more about the forms of prejudice and discrimination and intimidation that have been sort of attendant to the law rather than as part of the law.

But I think that what we’re seeing that more and more people are talking that risk. So, if they want to step out either about their own personal use and not just in the past tense but the present tense, which is very important but also about their views that marijuana would be legal at this point

Dean Becker: Once again, we are speaking with Mister Ethan Nadelmann. He’s Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Ethan, we got just a couple of minutes left. I want to focus on the fact that across this country there are efforts underway particularly in regards to marijuana, medical marijuana to change, to better the laws, if you will. But we still have some retrograde politicians like in Montana, where they are trying to overturn the will of the people in regards to their medical marijuana laws. It seems like two steps forward and one step back. What’s your thoughts in that regard?

Ethan Nadelmann: Well, I am worried about Montana. I mean, it would be tragedy if Montana became the first state to effectively repeal it’s medical marijuana law. I mean, that law sis win with approximately 60% of the vote.

There tends to be some resistance to having, I think, people – voters don’t like having their initiative overturned by state legislative actions. I think that the Republicans who are running things state legislature right now are fairly, not entirely, there are some Libertarian minded folks there but it is a fairly retrograde lot.

I have to say, it has also been problematic because as happened in some parts of California but especially what’s happened in Montana, there’s been a few people up there, in terms of providing the marijuana, in terms of writing the recommendations, who have, to my knowledge, really been reckless in the way they’ve gone about this.

They have really given fodder to the opposition. I think that they have mostly been driven either by the desire to make a lot of money or by some bizarre notion of self-righteousness but they played into the hands of the opponents in a really, really terrible way and so I’m worried about this law going though in Montana. I’m hopeful that the Governor will choose to veto it, if it does go through but we have to see how it plays out.

Dean Becker: One last question, Ethan, a week or so ago, Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, said “We can’t legalize drugs there too much money in it.” That seems to be totally avoiding the reality of this situation. Your thought, sir?

Ethan Nadelmann: Well, I certainly expect people at that level to have to speak a certain level of nonsense because if they spoke anything that was truly truthful or honest on these kinds of issues, it would be front page news and they don’t want to deal with the headache of stepping out in that kind of way.

I think that what was unfortunate was that she could have at least said what Obama said, which is that you know, “although the US government remains firmly opposed we do believe this is a legitimate topic for debate.” That would have been consistent with Obama’s statement and would have been the right thing to do.

I think it is also worth pointing out that she may have been the first Secretary of State or high level official who when the Mexicans said as they typically say, why don’t you crack down more in America? She responded by saying, “Look, we lock up more people in America then anybody else in the world and that’s not helping with it.” So, it was good that she said that and I think that people need to focus on that piece of their statement as well

Dean Becker: Absolutely right. Well folks, we have been speaking with Mister Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, perhaps the world’s foremost drug reform organization. Ethan, as always, I thank you for your work and the good folks you have working there at DPA. Any closing thought?

Ethan Nadelmann: Well, Dean, I just really wanted to thank you for your really crucial and important work too. You are both putting the word out there and creating a historical record and archive to this movement that’s going to be – is valuable not just right now as we speak but also for years to come. So, thank you for everything that you’re doing.

Dean Becker: Aright, Ethan Nadelmann at the Drug Policy Alliance. Their website: drugpolicy.org.

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Mary Jane Borden: Hello Drug Policy Aficionados, I’m Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts.

The question for this week asks: How many medical marijuana patients are there?

The Congressional Research Service [CRS] reported that “A July 2005 CRS telephone survey of the state [medical marijuana] programs revealed a total of 14,758 registered medical marijuana users in eight states.”

The report also noted that, “more recently an estimate published by Newsweek, early in 2010, found a total of 369,634 users in the thirteen states with established programs."

Medical cannabis programs are changing quickly. Applying data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health or the Monitoring the Future Survey to our census data can extrapolate national estimates. Using the legal state of Colorado as a basis the Census Bureau calculated Colorado’s 2009 population aged 18+ at 3.8 million.

The 2009 Survey on Drug Use and Health claims that 6.8% of Coloradoans are current cannabis consumers. Applying that percentage to the population results in an estimated 260,000 current users in Colorado.

According to the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry the “total number of pateints who currently possess a valid registry ID was 95,477” as of June 30, 2010. Thus these registered patients represented about 36% of the state’s current marijuana users.

Assuming 36% to be a standard patient percentage and applying it to the estimated 16.7 million currently known marijuana users nationwide, results in about 5 million US patients.

This count is supported by the Monitoring the Future Survey which lists daily marijuana percentage usage by age. Daily consumption implies medicinal use. Matching survey percentages to the middle series 2010 census population computes an approximate total of 5 million patients between the ages of 18 and 55.

These facts and others like them can be found in the Drug Usage and the Medical Marijuana chapters of Drug War Facts at www.drugwarfacts.org.

If you have a question for which you need facts, please email it to me at mjborden@drugwarfacts.org. I’ll try to answer your question in an upcoming show.

So, remember when you need facts about drugs and drug policy you can get the facts at Drug War Facts.

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Dean Becker: Once again from Oaksterdam University, Instructor of Cannabis Cooking. We have Ms. Sandy Moriarty, author of Aunt Sandy's Medical Marijuana Cookbook: Comfort Food for Body and Mind.

Sandy Moriarty: The butter, the infamous butter! This process is a new process that I developed and what it does is, what I try to do is reach the maximum potency to get the strongest possible medication that you can because I knew that in the recipes you could always cut it back. You can dilute it by using half cannabutter and half regular butter or a third or a quarter. Break it down to what is best for you.

The way you do this is to take a pot of water and think of a pot roast that you are cooking with the crock pots that the recipes have used in the past. The outcome there is very inferior because you’re carrying along with you the moisture and the condensation.

So, my process, it eliminates the condensation and the water and therefore you have a more solid product. So, by doing that using the pot roast as an example, put a quarter ounce green shakes in the pot and put a pound of butter and fill the pot full of water there’s no measurement for the water.

The water is as conductor that helps these two procedures and what’s going to happen is the trichomes are going to melt from the green leaf shakes and cling to the lipids in the butter. This is what makes the butter so, so superior over any other medium because there’s a greater amount of lipids in there.

We talked about how the trichomes cling to the lipids, when you get grade AAA butter. That has the most amount of lipids in it, therefore you’re going to get a more superior product.

So, when you cook it like a pot roast, you’re going to cook all the liquid down and get the all the water out of the pot and it’s going to take two to three hours to do this. You can do it at a high rapid boil because the boiling point is 212 degrees. In cannabis, the THC disintegrates, evaporates at 380 degrees. So, you want to stay away from 380 degrees but feel free to boil and boil because boiling point is only 212. So, you’re not coming anywhere near compromising your product.

So, when you do this you cook it all the way down where the water is eliminated. You have a beautiful concentrate like a bullion in the pot roast. This is where you are going to get your maximum potency and this is where your butter will be perfected. The liquid is gone and you have a beautiful concentrate at the bottom of the pot.

So, at this point you want to smash and strain using the pot and the strainer. Strain the liquid out of the spinach cannabis material and then in the bottom you’ll get this catch pot. With the catch pot you then want to put it in the refrigerator. That will start the separation process and the butter then will separate from the amber liquid that is in there.

The amber liquid is beautiful because the amber liquid proves everything I’ve told you. What happens is you’re getting the material out of the glands and out of the veins and you’re getting much more of an extreme potency. So, this is where ended up with the most potent butter that you can possibly make can and then, like I said, you can cut it down and dilute it with regular butter in your recipes.

One of the greatest recipes I have is the Dizzy Bird. Just use that butter in your stuffing. Stuff your thanksgiving or any-day turkey and you’ll have the greatest meal for your family and friends. They’ll be knocking on your door for doing that again but remind them to have small doses and pace yourself because there is a kick to it.

There is a potency in the stuffing but when you just heat the meat, the meat has a beautiful subtle taste so therefor that would be a more mild form, whereas the stuffing itself would really pack a punch but that’s a fun recipe that goes along with the butter but feel free to use the butter in any of your recipes.

The most important thing dealing with the butter and incorporating it is to melt it. So, once you turn it into liquid it will emulsify into any medium that you want to put it into or in any recipe. So, enjoy and have fun coking with cannabis!

Dean Becker: Were speaking with Sandy Moriarty, author of Aunt Sandy's Medical Marijuana Cookbook: Comfort Food for Body and Mind. Now that’s available on the web now, isn’t it?

Yes it is. It’s available at amazon.com and I’m having a lot of success with it. It really peaks the interest of everybody. Just being able to cook these savory recipes, they’re really fun. It’s a far cry from brownies in the old days.

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The following comes to us courtesy of Seattle’s KIRO TV:

KIRO Announcer: A plan to legalize marijuana and sell it at state liquor stores is finding some surprising allies tonight, among them Seattle’s former top cop, South Sound Bureau Chief Richard Thompson is live in a liquor store in Tumwater [Washington] with details. Richard?

Richard Thompson: Well, Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper wrote this letter to law makers. It basically says that out marijuana laws don’t work and it’s time for the state to start selling pot right inside state run liquor stores.

Pete Holmes, Seattle City Attorney: I'm here in support of the principal of legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana for adult recreational use.

Richard Thompson: The Seattle city attorney applauds law makers’ idea to legalize marijuana. He says it’s time to take the profits away from underground drug operations and give it to the state so pot can be sold in liquor stores and taxed.

Mark Fordham, King County Bar Association: Marijuana prosecutions place a large and unjustified burden on courts and law enforcement.

Richard Thompson: The King County Bar Association also supports legalization, saying supporting enforcing marijuana violations is costly and ruins people's lives, like Mark Jones who says, He can’t get a job after getting busted for growing pot.

Mark Jones: They just basically waved my application off and put it in the garbage can.

Richard Thompson: But legalizing marijuana has plenty of opponents as well. Police organizations and substance abuse groups are terrified about the message that legalizing the drug would send to kids.

Pat Slack, Snohomish County Regional Drug Task Force: I firmly believe that the legalization of this will cause and increase in our youth, in their usage of marijuana.

Richard Thompson: So, is this really all about cold hard cash? Right now we are working on a story for our next hour that will look deeper at this issue. Just how many millions could the state make from selling pot right here in the liquor store?

We’ll have that and details for you tonight at six. Now reporting live from Tumwater I’m South Sound Bureau Chief Richard Thompson with Eyewitness news.

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Dean Becker: An HIV Strategy Invites Addicts In, produced by Donald G. McNeil Jr. of The New York Times:

(Harp music)

Lawrence Brooks: You know, It all just happens, you know, and the years went faster than the days. I’ve been doing drugs since I was thirteen; pot, heroin, coke, mostly coke Who knows? I am also in the part of life to that I want to get my life back.

Donald G. McNeil Jr,: Lawrence Brooks is a drug addict. He lives in the downtown East side of Vancouver.

(Radio plays in the background)

Donald G. McNeil Jr,: His neighborhood a small corner of Vancouver that contains over five thousand intravenous drug users was once home to the fastest growing AIDS epidemic in North America.

Darwin Fisher, Manager of Insite: One reason that AIDS is so prevalent in this community is the fact that people who are entrenched and homeless and addicted in the alleys and on the streets are – they’re like in survivor mode. So, a lot of health concerns are from overdose deaths or contracting HIV AIDS. All of these grave health outcomes become abstract compared to the desperation to get unsick.

Donald G. McNeil Jr,: The sickness that comes from drug withdraw is so intense that many users fear detox. But Lawrence’s family won’t see him until he stops un-using drugs. They have already lost a son because of drug abuse.

Lawrence Brooks: I went home to the funeral and my dad wouldn’t let me go. He said, “That’s tough love.” Because he is scared that I am going to die of AIDS or drugs because of the fact that I am still doing them and he’s already lost a son and I guess that’s a way he gave me to realize I had to go to rehab.

Donald G. McNeil Jr,: Even though he hasn’t gone to treatment, he frequents a clinic called Insite. It’s the only health center in North America that facilitates clean drug injections.

Darwin Fisher: The reason is that this came about due to an alarming spike, if you will, in amount of overdose deaths in British Columbia. Now at the same time, researchers estimated that the rate of HIV infection amongst this population was between 20-30%. That is like a developing in Africa, you know, that’s way off the charts.

Donald G. McNeil Jr,: By offering clean needles and aggressive testing and treatment of those who may be infected with HIV, Insight is showing that widespread treatment can protect the whole community against the spread of AIDS.

The number if newer infecting in British Columbia has dropped 52% over the last thirteen years but the clinic is controversial because it provides a safe haven for drug users. It is also provoked fears of increase of crime and drug use in the community.

Sammy Mullaly, Registered Nurse: A lot of people think that is you give someone a needle that their automatically going to see more and we know that’s not true. People are going to use drugs whether they have clean equipment or they don’t.

Lawrence Brooks: My brother died of AIDS related kidney failure and he caught it from sharing needles and not having a place like Insite to go and do it cleanly because people get high and they don’t care right? And that’s what happened right?

Donald G. McNeil Jr,: Insite doesn’t only provide clean needles nursing service it also exposes users to healthcare and encourages people like Lawrence to detox.

Insite Employee: Just lately he started ask a little bit around about going into detox.

Lawrence Brooks: I want to go into rehab and Insite they try to get you clean and I hope that my family will want to see me then because that’s what I want more than anything in the world.

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Dean Becker: I want to thank The New York Times and all the publishers and broadcasters out there for finally pulling their heads from their posterior and beginning to look at the truth about this Drug War.

I want to thank Ethan Nadelmann and all the other good guests that have joined us here today. And as always, I remind you that there’s no truth, justice, logic, no reason for this Drug War to exist. We have indeed been duped.

Please, visit our website: endprohibition.org. Do it for the children.

Prohibido istac evilesco!

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

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

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

Transcript provided by: Ayn Morgan of www.eigengraupress.com