03/20/11 Russ Bellville

Russ Bellville of NORML re Denver Conf of 4/21, state marijuana efforts + Terry Nelson of LEAP and Mary Jane Borden with Drug War Facts

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Guest: 
Russ Bellville
Organization: 
NORML
Download: Audio icon COL_032011.mp3
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Century of Lies / March 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 my friends. Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. I am Dean Becker. Here in a little bit, we’re going to have our guest, Terry Nelson with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, as well as a segment from Mary Jane Borden with Drug War Facts.

But first, you know ten years ago when I began this Drug Truth Network, there wasn’t much other on-air broadcasts dealing with the subject of Drug War but over the past ten years more and more independents have begun to getting on the airwaves and so to has the mass media, so to speak, begun to delve into this concept but one of my main “competitors” and good friend, Russ Bellville, is here with us to talk about that progress. Hey, Russ.

Russ Bellville: Hi there, Dean, although I don’t think were competitors. I think we’re all on the same team aren’t we?

Dean Becker: Yeah, I was wanting to put quotes around that.

Russ Bellville: (Laughs) Understood.

Dean Becker: Yeah. tell us about the NORML Stash. Tell us what you’ve got going there at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Russ Bellville: Oh well thanks. Well, the NORML Daily Audio Stash is a podcast that was started in 2006 by Chris Goldstein who’s currently with Philly NORML and as a podcast it was a prerecord show with interviews and sometimes music and news that we would post up on the net. I took that job over in 2008. My background is in live talk radio. I came from XM Satellite Radio.

So, I what I did was I took the podcast and started recording it live and started putting it on the internet live and just recording the podcast and putting that on the net for everyone to download.

That has since expanded from a one hour show to a two hour daily show that we do at 1 o’ clock Pacific Time at live.norml.org and most recently and just this week as a matter of fact.

We’ve now launched the NORML Network and we are glad to have Drug Truth wanting to be a part of one of many cannabis related podcasts that we play and replays of all day long. So, it’s very exciting and I’m just happy to be able to have this position speaking for the cannabis community and trying to end this stupid prohibition.

Dean Becker: Exactly right, my friend. Yeah, we both had our time on I was on Sirius for a while and you know the point being that I guess, I indicated earlier, that the major broadcasters are beginning to delve fairly deeply into this subject of Drug War.

It’s getting a lot more exposure and truth brought forward but this idea of the 24/7 rrug reform radio – online radio station is a wonderful idea. I’m hoping that it will catch on across the country and heck, around the world. What’s your thought?

Russ Bellville: Oh, I hope so too and I for me its speaking about the satellite radio, when I finished up my last talk show which was a political show, I had pitched this idea to the my contacts there at the network. I said, “You know there’s huge interest in marijuana and marijuana law reform and we’ve got all of these medical marijuana states. By God you could have all of these on a channel and I know there’s channels that are not doing so well.”

They said, “No, no. There’s not enough room and not enough interest,” and they wouldn’t support it. Meanwhile we get the news that Charlie Sheen wants to have a show and BAM that on immediately. So, I guess it depends on what the public’s interest is but I think they’re interested in marijuana reform and I think this network is going to take off.

Dean Becker: Yeah and Russ, I look at it like this nearly every program on television, news programs and entertainment and music or whatever, there seems to be a reference and an inclusion of the subject of Drug War in one fashion or another the America people know these laws need to change but the impetus, the courage to step forward and call for that change is somewhat lacking, right?

Russ Bellville: Yeah and I think the internet has changed that dynamic for the better. You mentioned that when you started out, you were one of the only voices out there that was able to be heard but with the internet, anybody with a microphone and a laptop can be heard can be a broadcaster. They can get their message out there.

People seeking this information can get it. Back in the network TV and radio days it was a push technology you had to accept what was being pushed out to you. If the powers at be wanted to talk about reform or the Drug War, then you didn’t get that.

Now, with the internet it’s a “pull technology.” You’re going to get what you want and that’s why all of these podcasts are thriving and these blogs and all these organizations working for marijuana law reform and drug reform and that’s kind of my goal with putting the network together.
It’s not really, it’s NORML, we’re a non-profit so were not doing this for as some sort of money making venture. It’s more there’s so many great shows and podcasts out there but where do you find them all? There’s on a million different websites.

Well, we’re cutting – we’re going to kind of aggregate that and give you a place where you can get a sample of all these podcasts and when you find the ones that you like, you can go to their website and subscribe to it and get the download and everybody wins in the deal.

Dean Becker: Once again, we’re speaking with Mister Russ Bellville. He’s a Deputy Director of the National Organization for—

Russ Bellville: I’m the Outreach Coordinator.

Dean Becker: We’re speaking with Mister Russ Bellville, the Outreach Coordinator of for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Now Russ, there’s a big event taking place about a month from now, up in Denver. Why don’t you tell us about that?

Russ Bellville: Ah yes, the NORML National Conference takes place April 21st-23rd in Denver, Colorado at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The hotel blocks are just about sold out, so it’s going to just be packed with marijuana law reformers. We’ve got entire floors of the hotel reserved just for us and three days of panels and speakers and presentations.

You’ll learn more than you ever though you could learn about marijuana law reform and of course, at night we have our famous NORML social events that are not to be missed. So, everybody can check that out. It’s April 21st-23rd in Denver, Colorado and you can go to the web at norml.org/conference and then you can find all the stuff. norml.org/conference

Dean Becker: Thank you, Russ. Now, I intend to get there the day before, 4/20, if you will, and as I understand it there’s a major smokeout there in Denver and has been going on there for years if not decades but now it’s less of a protests and more of a celebration. Your thought?

Russ Bellville: Yeah, I’m going to be there, as well. I’m heading in at 4/19 actually and flying in on 4/19 so, I can have the whole 4/20 day there. Denver‘s got the huge Statehouse Capitol Rally the big Smokeout.

CU Boulder, Colorado University of Boulder has also a big huge Smokeout out on the quad and this is amazing to me that 420 has reached the cultural consciousness and even the mainstream now recognizes what 420 means and that it stands for the Cannabis Liberation Day or Celebration Day or whatever you want to call it. I think it’s the fact that’s it changed from a protest into a celebration is just especially, in Colorado, a recognition of how mainstream marijuana has become.

Dean Becker: Well, yeah and let’s begin. I want to talk about the various proponents and activities and push backs going on in the various states but let’s begin with Colorado, sum up what is going on there for us.

Russ Bellville: Well, Colorado recently had a bill, SB 1284, that cane up with regulations for their caregivers and their growers and their infused product manufacturers and it was contentious.

A lot of people who were in the movement kind of bristle at regulation and rules and there was a lot of controversy as to whether this was actually good for the movement but it’s passed and it’s happened and it’s shown that at least for Colorado, the legislators there are interested in engaging the movement and coming up with sensible regulation, unlike, say, Los Angeles that keeps passing the buck and doesn’t want to deal with the issue.

What’s on the table in Colorado is a bill and I forget the number off the top of my head but a bill to better define limits within the blood for THC that would define driving under the influence of drugs. That’s been very confusing and there been so many amendments and changes and internal contradictions in the bill and people really aren’t quite sure what it means or what it says but that’s what’s been happening in Colorado lately.

Dean Becker: Let me just interrupt you here for a moment, Russ, I kind of want to talk about the fact that when I get to Denver, the first day I’m going to go to the that Smokout and I’ve scheduled some times in a cannabis dispensaries. They’re open enough to allow some time for me to come in a do some interviews and look at the place.

Then I’m going to go to an edibles factory where they make all kinds of cookies and tinctures and hash and other extracts, if you will, other products that they then distribute to the dispensaries.

It’s a common sense idea to send it out for analysis to a technician and find out what’s in the product and make sure its good, healthy product before it goes into those edibles. Another case where the reformers have done what the government might ought to have regulated. Your thoughts?

Russ Bellville: Um hum. Yeah, I agree with you 100% there. In that there are many people within the movement especially in the cannabis business side who are proactive about this and they’re wanting to police themselves and they’re wanting to come up with stringent and reasonable regulations on their own before the government comes in, especially when you’re talking about councilmen and representatives who maybe the last time they saw pot was in the sixties in college if they ever saw it.

They don’t know what’s involved in growing or manufacturing or anything about the plant itself. It’s much better that the industry itself and the experts in the industry can come up with some sensible regulations proactively rather than allowing clueless legislatures to try to guess what’s going to work well. So, I think it’s a good thing these people that are trying to come up with legislations and get this moving forward in a legitimate way making it a legitimate product with regulations like any other product in the marketplace.

Dean Becker: Now Russ, let’s go from this great success in Colorado to the turmoil that’s going on in Montana. Your thoughts there?

Russ Bellville: Well, the Montana situation is pretty dynamic. What’s—we had a good news/bad news day on Tuesday in that the Senate Subcommittee was hearing House Bill 161. Now House Bill 161 passed the House in Montana to repeal the 2004 medical marijuana law, just completely repeal it. Turn 20,000— 30,000 Montanans back into criminals with the stroke of a pen.

This has passed the House and of course once it passed the House it goes to the Senate and it hits a committee for them to discuss whether it should move forward and this Committee deadlocked 6-to- 6, just basically putting a halt in that repeal effort.

On that exact same day, we get news at day long raids at, at least ten different locations in the state of Montana of caregivers and their storefronts, you know, smash and grab tactics that we’ve heard from California many times where go in the place break it all up, seize the cannabis, the computer and the cash and don’t charge people with anything, with sealed warrants and sealed indictments that we can’t know what people are being investigates or charged for. It’s just another example of state sponsored terrorism going on up there in Montana

Dean Becker: Yeah, I look at it this way. There is this – I don’t know, that vestigial fear, I don’t know if that’s a word, but this paranoia about the existence of marijuana on this planet that makes them break human rights and civil rights and other violations against their fellow man over a product that has killed or basically harmed nobody. Your thought?

Russ Bellville: Yeah. Well, there’s a human element to this that reminds me of my time in the military. When you are in basic training, you have to take a young man and you have to break them down to the point where he can look at another human and see him as an enemy and want to shoot him in the face, if need be.

In our police organizations, for so long they’ve been inculcated in this notion that these are dirty dopers, the lowest of the low. They deserve what they get and we’ve got to go in with overwhelming force or else they’re going to shoot back and kill us to the point now where many of our police see us as an enemy.

We’re dehumanized to the point where they can justify bursting into their homes in the middle of the night and shooting their pets or having their thirteen year old daughter standing in their underwear outside on a cold snowy day in New York, while they raid a house.

They can justify destroying business and destroying property and even the fact that it might be medical or helping sick people, it doesn’t matter because they’re so built into this notion of getting the bad guys and honestly there is an adrenaline rush to it as well.

I interviewed on the show the other say, an excellent speaker from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a woman by the name of Shelley Fox-Loken. She was talking about how she would watch the men, she said largely men but some women too, on these raids and on these seizures getting up for it getting juiced up for it, like players of a football game might pat each other on the back and smash their heads together to get all psyched up and how there’s a huge adrenaline rush and this notion of “big boys like to play with their toys” that goes into this domestic policing.

It’s something our founding fathers warned us about. It’s something that’s been we’ve learned throughout history is a bad idea but here we are, arming our police like the military and telling them their own citizens are the enemy for growing and using a houseplant. It’s just despicable.

Dean Becker: It is indeed. You know it wasn’t drug related but about six or eight weeks ago there was a situation in Houston where a fifteen year old kid was involved in a burglary running from the police. They knocked him down with a car and immediately about ten or twelve cops descended on this fifteen year old who was lying on the ground with his hands behind his head and they proceeded to kick him from every direction for about fifteen seconds.

Russ Bellville: Um hum.

Dean Becker: It looked like more of an on sides kick drill then it did, you know, police tactics.

Russ Bellville: Yeah.

Dean Becker: They tried to say that it was an aberration but the precision with which this was carried out shows me that is no aberration. Your thought?

Russ Bellville: That ties back to –it all ties back to the war on drugs, as well. Even those this particular suspect wasn’t involved in any sort of drug crime, what has led to police to see citizens as enemy.

When I talk to older cops, some of the older cops in LEAP, they remind me that back in the sixties and before there was a notion to “protect and serve.” They didn’t have Tasers and they didn’t shoot people generally. They were able to keep the peace through good police tactics and throughout the eighties, as we got into mandatory minimums and the crack scare, it became less of to “protect and serve” and more to “search and arrest” and that’s what we’ve got now is a search and arrest mentality that treats us as the enemy.

So, even in a situation where it is not drug related, if they have someone that they suspect of doing some other sort of crime, we’ve dehumanized our own citizens to the point where criminals deserve to be beat. They deserve what they got and were running from the cops and they’ve got to be shown who’s the boss. We’ve got to do the “shock and awe.” We’ve got to make them subservient and it’s really unnecessary and really counterproductive for public safety.

When you have tactics going on like this, the public loses their faith and their respect for law enforcement it makes you less likely to want to respect them in an encounter. It makes you more fearful on a daily basis and in these neighborhoods that overwhelmingly minority and poor, they are constantly targeted for these drug sweeps that we do.

It leads you see the police as our enemy and not want to engage them at all, which makes us all less safe, when our fellow citizens are not willing to call the police when it’s necessary because they are worried about the pot plant in their closet being found out.

How many crimes go unreported because someone with a pot plant in their closet can’t all 911 or someone with a joint in their pocket doesn’t want to give any testimony to cops at the scene? The drug war touches all of this.

Dean Becker: Once again, we’re speaking to Mister Russ Bellville of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Now Russ, we‘ve got a few minutes left here and I want to give you a change to touch upon the progress in some of the other medical marijuana states. What’s going on out there?

Russ Bellville: Up here in the Pacific Northwest, up in Washington State there is a bill going on now to regulate and to actually have dispensaries in Washington, even though there are some now operating on the fringes of the law but this would explicitly protect them and make it an explicit dispensary system. Also it would create a registry system.

Washington is one of the only medical marijuana states that doesn’t have a medical marijuana card that you can get, either a voluntary or a required but a card that you can get to show police that prevents you from being arrested.

At this time in Washington State, all you get is a letter from the doctor and while the police aren’t supposed to arrest you if you have that letter, it still happens. So, having a card system might be a better protection in that case.

Of course, Washington State is also debating full legalization. There’s a bill there that I believe Mary Lou Dickerson (D) has a bill for full legislation to tax and regulate system to sell cannabis through the Washington State liquor stores. Washington is one of the states out of 18 states or 19 states that have state run liquor stores in that capacity.

We see medical marijuana being bills being proposed in just about every state in the New England area, as well as many states in the Midwest. Even Oklahoma of all places, has a medical marijuana bill in the legislature whether it moves or not is another story but that it got introduced is just an amazing thing.

Reform is happening all over this country and if you want to get the down low on what’s happening in your state, just go to norml.org and go to the “Take Action” link. We’ve got alerts for all of the states, so you can get involved.

Dean Becker: You know Russ, I’ve heard it said that well over a hundred million Americans have smoked marijuana. They have that experience. They have that knowledge that it is not the refer madness product of old but they’re afraid to speak up.

You indicated that even Oklahoma has a medical marijuana bill somewhere within their legislative process but so to do backwoods states like Alabama and Texas has one that’s inching slowly and is certain to be vetoed by the Governor, if passed but it shows a willingness across this country to examine the facts, right?

Russ Bellville: Oh yeah. It’s – this is a slam dunk issue, just about everywhere you poll it. Just recently, Connecticut is one of those New England states that has both a decriminalization measure and a medical marijuana measure in the legislature and Quinnipiac University commissioned a poll where they and asked about the support for medical marijuana and this decrim bill.

Not only was there a majority, a large majority of support, certainly in the mid-sixties, I believe, support for decrim but you could not find a demographic that didn’t have majority support.

Usually in these polls, you 18-25 supported it but people 65 and older didn’t or Conservatives didn’t support it but Liberals did. In this poll, every demographic they broke it down by, whether it be by political leaning, age, political party, racial demographic, whatever – ALL showed support for medical marijuana in decrim and that is true progress.

Dean Becker: It is indeed. Now, you’re going to give me the wherewithal to post to this new network site, right?

Russ Bellville: Yeah, I was just building the – it was funny because I was just building the drop box for you when you called.

Dean Becker: (Laughs)

Russ Bellville: So, yeah. It will send you an email with the instructions of how to do the install.

Dean Becker: Okay, okay. Well, fair enough.

Russ Bellville: Yeah, I’ve also got to work out the schedule because I’ve got to get your shows now and I’ve got Chris Goldstein, up New England—in Philly, he’s got a show coming on. I’ve got two or three other shows I’ve got to add now so— (Laughs)—I’ve got to chalk up the line-up and figure out where everyone’s going to go.

Dean Becker: Alright. Well once again friends, we’ve been speaking with Mister Russ Bellville with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, who are making great strides in educating and emboldening, if you will, the people of this country to so something about these crazy marijuana laws.

Russ, I hope to see you up on Denver next month and I want the listeners to know that the Drug Truth Network shows are now out there on this new on-line NORML Network. Russ, tell them again how they can hear the NORML Stash and reach this network.

Russ Bellville: Alright, all you’ve got to do is go to the Stash Blog, which is at stash.norml.org and you’ll see the player and the show schedules right up there at the top or you can scroll down and read the blog stories, if you’d like and then as far as catching the live show, it’s at live.norml.org, every weekday at 3pm Central Time.

Dean Becker: Okay. Mister Russ Bellville, thank you so much.

Russ Bellville: Alright. Thank you, Dean. I’ll talk to you later.

Dean Becker: Okay, buddy.

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(Serene music)

Drug
Truth
Network

Teaching the choir to sing…

Solo.

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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: What is Naloxone?

A Drug Profile for Naloxone HCl from the Arizona Department of Health Services describes the drug as a “narcotic (opioid) agonist” marketed under the name Narcan®.

Its adult dosages come in IV, intra-nasal, and continuous IV infusion forms. As an antidote to opioid overdose, Naloxone “reverses respiratory depression secondary to narcotics.”

According to a Drexel University Law Review article, “The drug blocks the effects of opiates by binding to three types of opioid receptors in the central nervous system. It is a standard practice for first responders to inject Naloxone when summoned to the scene of a drug overdose.”

A study in the Canadian Journal for Emergency Medicine stated, “Respiratory depression, a primary cause in opioid overdose is due to a direct inhibition of the brain stem’s respiratory center and a decreased responsiveness to carbon dioxide.”

“Heroin and opioid is particularly toxic because of high lipid solubility which allows it to cross the blood-brain barrier in seconds and achieve high brain levels. Naloxone is also lipid soluble and enters the brain rapidly. Reversal of respiratory depression is evident three to four minutes after IV and five to six minutes after subcutaneous administration.”

According to a 2005 article in the Journal of Urban Health, “Naloxone precipitates an acute withdraw symptoms in opiate dependent persons but has no effect on non-opiate users. Serious adverse effect are rare and Naloxone had no abuse potential.”

The report goes on to say, “Renal heroin overdose has gone on to become leading cause of death among injection drug users. Several recent feasibly studies have concluded that Naloxone distribution programs for heroin injectors should be implemented to decrease heroin overdoses.”

These facts and others like them can be found in the Naloxone section of the Methadone Maintenance & Buprenorphine 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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Terry Nelson: This is Terry Nelson speaking on behalf of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. On March 13th the Government Security news reported that several arrests were made in Columbus, New Mexico.

These arrests are notable because the Columbus, New Mexico Mayor, Police Chief and other town officials were among those arrested for trafficking and smuggling into Mexico automatic weapons favored by Mexican drug cartels.

A federal grand jury indicted eleven members of the trafficking ring on firearms and smuggling charges. Ten of the defendants were arrested without incident on the morning of March 10th by a team of federal and state and local law enforcement officers.

Up until now, Columbus a very small town on the Mexican border across from Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico was notable as being the only place in the United States that had ever been invaded by a foreign army.

On march 9th 1916 Poncho Villa during the Mexican Revolution, Poncho Villa invaded and briefly occupied Columbus. It is now infamous for the fact that the town leaders felled to the allure of easy money caused by the US Drug War. I’m pretty sure that these officials are not the only ones that have been swayed by the siren call of easy money.

Many of our nation’s police officials have fallen victim to this as well and since this insane war has been going on for so long, the cartels had sufficient time to infiltrate their followers into US law enforcement agencies. So, we are very probably only seeing the tip of iceberg in this and other corruption events.

So, we must ask ourselves why we continue to wage this unwinnable war on drugs. LEAP believes that a winnable solution is to legalize these now prohibited drugs and remove these obscene profits that go to corrupting US and other country’s officials.

Our police have lost the respect of many of our citizens by being tasked with enforcing these insane laws and more of our police have been killed this year than in all of last year.

Eisenstein is reported to have said that to have continued doing the same thing and expecting different results is insane. This war on drugs definitely meets that definition.

The prohibition policy of our government is a failed public policy. Prohibited substances are more available, cheaper and of higher quality than they were at the beginning of the fourty-plus year Drug War. We will never arrest our way out of our nation’s drug problems.

This is Terry Nelson of www.leap.cc, signing off. Stay Safe.

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Dean Becker: Well, that’s about all we can squeeze in except for this one thought’ that that this Drug War is an abysmal failure. Please do your part to help bring it to an end.

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