05/22/11 Eric Sterling

Eric Sterling, Pres of Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Dr. Robert Melamede, MJ Borden of Drug War Facts, Terry Nelson of LEAP + report from Al Jazeera re Bolivias use of "oxi", deemed worse than crack

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Guest: 
Eric Sterling
Organization: 
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
Download: Audio icon COL_052211.mp3
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Transcript
Century of Lies, May 22, 2011

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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DEAN BECKER: Alright, Welcome to this edition of the Century of Lies. You know. I've gotta fess up, we do pledge drives at the mothership of the drug truth network, and we had an interview that ran long with Dr. Robert Melamede, the President of Cannabis Science, Incorporated.

You can hear the beginning of the interview by listening to the most recent Cultural Baggage show, and we’re gonna close out that discussion right now, with Dr. Robert Melamede.

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DEAN BECKER: There is this mindset that the blips we've been talking about, that they exist not just in the United States—though they seem to be, you know, centered here pretty well; but they’re in Canada, they're in England, they're in perhaps every country on the planet. These people who refuse to look at the science, at the modern information.

And and they don’t recognize the fact that you’re talking about the little kid Jeffry. You know, his life was changed. His—he was a threat to the—they were kicking him out of school because he was a threat to the other kids once he took that first—I think it was a brownie, and he turned to his mom about 45 minutes later and says, "Mommie, my head doesn't hurt anymore."

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Yeah, no he said the noises have stopped.

DEAN BECKER: The noises have stopped.

ROBERT MELAMIE: Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: And, and, this is—not a threat to his life, or his health or his, you know, his mental capacity--

ROBERT MELAMIE: You gotta understand, in order to reset that thermostat, to inhibit the age-related illnesses, we need to consume cannabis. The alternatives that's helpful to a certain degree is to use omega-3 fatty acids, like found in fish oil and things like that, and hemp oil as well. Because those become the precursors for your endocannabanoids.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, I--

ROBERT MELAMIE: We have a certain amount of tweaking you can do with the thermostat with just nutritional supplementation. But in general for most of us as we get older—and you wanna sleep better and replenish yourself more during that sleep and you know all the other benefits that come with cannabanoids—cannabis use, are you know, you gotta use it.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah.

ROBERT MELAMIE: We need it.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Well the good thing is you mentioned earlier sixteen states—I think it was Delaware, the sixteenth now. And the—there are still those snipers, if you will—I was just talking about that are trying to shut down the laws in Montana and elsewhere, who are trying to inhibit the potential or the possibilities. Trying to say that marijuana is such a threat that, you know, you can't keep it indoors, I don't know.

ROBERT MELAMIE: It is a threat to those people because those are the un-high people. Those are the people who are fundamentally cannabanoid-deficient. They have lived a much more fearful life. They wanna regulate everything so that they understand because they only have a little channel to go in.
You know, they’re afraid of nudists, they're afraid of change, because they’re not biochemically equipped for change. In order to change your mind about something, in order to be open-minded, you gotta be able to forget the dogma. You've gotta be able to step out of the boxes that you’re trapped in and you know be flexible neurologically and be open-minded—you're cannabanoid system is what makes that happen.

And it's inevitably true that there're gonna be people who are endowed and there are gonna be deficient. And and again my whole hypothesis with blips and slips is that the un-high people—because they're looking backwards at what's happened, and want that to become the future—they have much greater common thought and that’s what gives them power. Especially when coupled with their fears and their aggression that also come from being cannabanoid-deficient. We have the wrong people running the world.

DEAN BECKER: Dang right we do. Now I like that, though. I like what you were just saying there Robert, and that's—they have a commonality, in that—

ROBERT MELAMIE: You know, one of the things that I've been toying with, and I'm just speculating here, but because the fact that it's in mother's milk—there's gonna be a subset of people who are traumatized by childbirth, and will not receive the benefits like the PTSD benefits that you get from cannabis use. And these people suffer from post-birth traumatic stress disorder for the rest of their lives. I think that those are the people who become the blips.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah.

ROBERT MELAMIE: I don't know if this is true; it’s just speculation.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. I tell you what, Robert. We're gonna have to wrap it up here in just a minute. I wanna turn it over to you and give us kind of a summary of what Cannabis Science is up to these days, and where you're headed.

ROBERT MELAMIE: Well, Cannabis Science is trying to get cannabis-based extracts through the FDA; so that ultimately, they'll be available to everyone throughout the country by going to any pharmacy. They'll have the standardized product they'll know, you know, in general what it’s beneficial for and how much—approximately—to use. Because we're all different, we all need what we individually need. But by providing something standardized, they'll be able to learn what they need and move forward with that.

And what we want is for the insurance companies and for the government and Medicare and Medicaid to be paying for our cannabis. Ideally, we should be reversing prohibition. We should have the next 60 years where instead of arresting people for using it, and for having dirty piss, we should have people in government and law enforcement—it should be obligated to test positive for their piss for cannabis use. So that we can try the other half of the experiment. We know prohibition failed. We know that arresting our kids is stupid. We know that denying people proven medication is ridiculous. It's time to move on and change the insanity; and that's really what Cannabis Science is driving.

DEAN BECKER: Ah, yes. As always, wonderful talking with you, Robert. We're gonna do this again soon, because I really respect you for—well, for your commitment, for your knowledge you've gained and for your courage to share it with everybody. Thank you so much, please share your website before we go.

ROBERT MELAMEDE: Well, we have the cannabisscience.com website. There's a lot on there. And then I have another one at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. You can go to the biology department and find it through there. It’s basically UCCS/ and then the ~ sign and then rmelamed with no e on the end.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, well Robert, I gotta uh, uh, we gotta cut you loose for now, but thank you so much for taking time out of your—

ROBERT MELAMIE: Alright, take care and thank you for all your work because listen, it's all of us together. Remember that physics says the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. All of us out there who are working, we are the parts; and the whole is gonna be the change that saves the planet and saves the people by freeing the medicine.

DEAN BECKER: Alright. Dr. Robert Melamede, thank you.

ROBERT MELAMIE: Be good to your body—bye bye.

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DEAN BECKER: What looks like crack but's much cheaper; four times more lethal? It's a cocaine derivative like crack, but it contains kerosene or gasoline, acetone battery fluid, and other chemicals. Well, they certainly know in Brazil.

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GABRIEL ELIZANDO: He doesn't want his full name used and he asked us to protect his identity. Elias—as we will call him—once had a good job as a technician, a loving wife and two kids. He nearly lost it all when he started using the drug Oxi.

ELIAS: [Translated] I practically lived in the drug house. I spend weeks there at a time, I had a home to go to, but the desire to use Oxi was so strong that I didn't want to leave the drug house. I didn’t eat; I didn't feel hungry. You also lose the desire for sleep.

GABRIEL ELIZANDO: Elias is now in drug rehabilitation, and it's hard for him to think back to what his addiction did to his children.

ELIAS: [Translated] I used to leave my house to use Oxi, with all my family at home and my kids crying, saying, "Dad, dad." I don't like to remember this. One time, I even sold my kids’ new clothes just to be able to buy Oxi. My wife once told me, “Okay you have to choose between me and your kids, or Oxi.” And I chose Oxi. That shows you how powerful it is.

GABRIEL ELIZANDO: He only decided to turn his life around when he saw death approaching.

ELIAS: [Translated] One time when I was smoking, my heart was beating so fast I fell on the ground and passed out. And then I woke up and saw the drug laying there, and I immediately smoked it again. I was going to die.

GABRIEL ELIZANDO: But now he's hoping these days are forever behind him.

ELIAS: [Translated] Today, I can sit at the table with my family to have lunch. I can enjoy a birthday party with my kids. I've realized that I don’t want to go back to that life again with Oxi; there was too much suffering. But my desire for the drug is still occasionally there.

GABRIEL ELIZANDO: Gabriel Elizando, Al Jazeera. Rio Blanco, Brazil.

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DEAN BECKER: It's said that users take on a yellowish skin color, lose weight very quickly, and develop liver problems. They start to look like emaciated living corpses in just a few weeks time. The drug causes stomach aches, vomiting and constant diarrhea. But perhaps the most alarming fact is that most users die within a year. Mmm, sounds like fun doesn't it?

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DEAN BECKER: Yeah, um for the most part, drug abuse is not fun. Any drug out there—I don't know about this stuff they're talking about there on Al Jazeera. You know, the fact of the matter is, a lot of it's crap. Lot of it is, you know it's homemade, it's tainted, it's polluted, it's poisonous.

And yet there are certain factors in there that impact the brain. And if it's cheap enough, and people are poor enough, and if they're desperate enough or hopeless enough, well they'll probably use it and that's what happens. Up in Alaska, too many children sniff gasoline because they can’t afford the hydro-marijuana. They wanna get high—everybody wants to get high. Two-year-olds are out spinning in your front yard—wanting to get high. That's the human condition; it is what we do.

And yet we wanna punish others for—not drinking Jim Beam, like me, you know, or not taking the pharmaceuticals out of Walgreens, like your wife does. No no; those are decent, those are good. But if you're doing something that was deemed to be illegal a hundred years ago by some shaman who was not a doctor—who had no idea what he was talking about. But he gained the focus and the attention and the laws of the U.S. Congress. There's no legitimacy to this drug war.

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DEAN BECKER: [Singing to "Lullabye and Goodnight"] Nevermind that it’s a scam the, Drug Czar's in charge. He says drugs are sin, bow down to prohibition.

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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 are clinical trials?

Wikipedia defines clinical trials as, "A set of procedures in medical research conducted to allow safety and efficacy data to be collected for health intervention such as drugs, diagnostics devices and therapy protocols." Clinical trials in the United States begin with the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, that "Regulates the safety and effectiveness of prescription pharmaceuticals and certain medical devices."

The National Bureau of Economic Research overviews this process that, "begins when a firm files an investigational new drug IND application, which requests permission from the FDA to conduct clinical trials on humans. Once the FDA gives its approval, the firm may begin conducting clinical trials for the drug, which proceed in three phases. The goal of Phase I is to evaluate the drug’s safety and to obtain data on its pharmacologic properties. Typically, Phase I trials enroll small numbers of healthy volunteers.

Phase II trials then enroll slightly larger numbers of sick volunteers. The goal of these trials is to begin investigating a drug’s efficacy and optimal dosage, and to monitor the drug’s safety in diseased patients. Finally, Phase III testing typically involves larger numbers of sick patients and is the most costly stage of the approval process. Phase III testing begins to establish more definitively the efficacy of a drug, as well as to discover any rare side effects.

Upon completion of Phase III testing, the firm submits a new drug application to the FDA, which is accompanied by the results of the clinical trials. The FDA may then reject the application, or require further clinical testing, or approve the drug outright."

These facts and others like them can be found in the United States chapter of “Drug Wars Facts” at www.drugwarfacts.org. If you have a question for which you need facts, please email Timmy 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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ANNOUNCER: No more oppression! We as American adults with free will have the right to use marijuana if we choose to. Enough government profiteering under the guise of morality; enough with this phony war on drugs.

STEWIE GRIFFIN: You know, you're going about this all wrong. If you want to win people over, you can't just drone on and on like Ben Stine, you've got to have a little more showmanship. Here, watch.

[Music intro]

STEWIE GRIFIFN: [Singing] Now everybody gather round and listen if you would, when I tell you every person needs a way of feeling good. Every kitten needs a ball of string and every dog a stick, but all you need is a bag of weed to really get a kick!

CROWD: One two three four five six seven eight! A bag of weed, a bag of weed, everything's better with a bag of weed. It's the only help that you'll ever need, because everything is better with a bag of weed!

STEWIE GRIFFIN: There you go; you're all getting it now!

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TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson speaking on behalf of LEAP, Law Enforcmenet Against Prohibition. Police corruption in Tulsa, Oklahoma is finally coming to trial. Eleven names have surfaced during the investigation and six have been indicted.

According to justicedenied.org, the ongoing police corruption scandal in Tulsa, Oklahoma has resulted in the overturning of 21 state and federal convictions. The defendants were framed on drug and/or weapons charges by a variety of police tactics. The six current and former law enforcement officers have been indicted on federal charges that include allegations that police stole drug money, falsified reports, planted drugs, tampered with witnesses and committed perjury and civil rights violations.

Another sad thing about this situation is that some of the bad cops may be granted leniency for their testimony against others that were planting drugs, falsifying search warrants and perjuring themselves on the stand. Using an old cop guestimation that we know about 10% of what goes on, arrest about 10% of violators—and this is a very serious problem in America and we don't even know how many people were the victims of police shakedowns and payoffs.

The Department of Homeland Security has reported that 85 agents have been charged in the past five years for assisting the drug gangs and crossing with illegal contraband. The DHS cannot afford to subject all candidates to a lie-detector test, as there are not enough qualified examiners to handle the employment screening and all the other cases as well. So again, if DHS has discovered these 85 people, then there may be—under the 10% rule—another 800+ crooked officers out there working with the cartels or engaged in other illegal activities.

The cartels have had ample time to infiltrate these agencies by grooming and cultivating these plants, since this War on Drugs has been going on for four decades. This is just another unintended consequence of the War on Drugs and the effect it has had on our country and the world. The rampant violence, corruption, and damaged credibility of our foreign police officers and public officials may be damage that would take another four decades to overcome. Police are now feared more than respected and that is a harmful sign and must not be condoned any longer. We must work to change this failed public policy and restore the respect that our officers once had.

The Drug War's answer to everything is, "Make it illegal, and we can control it." But as anyone knows, to control anything, it must be first be legal. We will never arrest or prohibit our way out of our nation’s drug problem. Let’s change our policy to one of regulation and control of the substances, and education for the people on the possible harms of drug abuse. This is Terry Nelson of www.leap.cc signing off. Stay safe.

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DEAN BECKER: To close out Century of Lies, we have a speech given last month by Mr. Eric Sterling, the President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.

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ERIC STERLING: Drug users and the drug culture are a part of our culture. When we think about popular music, popular culture, motion pictures, this is all, all being influenced by drug use—by positive drug use, by drug use experience. It's no accident that musicians use drugs.

So that we have—we have pipes, posters, drug users engage in rituals now. It’s actually more the case with marijuana users, LSD users, MDMA users, ecstasy users—I'm not talking—we can talk about heroine injectors and their own rituals and they have their own sub culture. But this is about a persecution of a subculture, and it is a violation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees everybody to the right to freedom; to participate in the cultural rights of the community. So young people want to go to a rock show; let’s have the cops out there. Pat them down and arrest them for carrying drugs that they use at the rock show. Going to a festival? Let's set up the state police and set up checkpoints and harass them with bogus protection stops.

Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights published—of which the United States is a signatory—and ratified in 1988. We have—everyone has the right to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. If LSD is not a scientific advancement, what is? If MDMA is not a scientific advancement, what is? How do we say, "Oh, not THOSE scientific advances. Those are culturally—those are only used by deviants of culture." Like, we are uncompared to model millions such people who year after year in the [Unintelligible]. That’s a violation of human rights.

You have a right under Article 19 to the freedom of opinion and expression—despite who's freedom to hold opinions without interference—and to seek, receive and import information and ideas through any media and regardless of [Unintelligible].

LSD is a media; marijuana a media. When people use drugs, they are using a media to directly influence their mind; to directly influence their emotions and their thoughts processes. It's okay to pick up some newspaper, because that's what they had back in the age of James Madison. But if you want to stimulate your neurotransmitters directly, no-ho! Where does this come from?

This ends up being used as a persecution of a sub-culture. Article 18: everyone has the right to freedom of thought. Well, how can we have a right to freedom of thought if Congress and the DEA says, "Your own brain is off-limits to you because you've got particular neurotransmitters and particular receptors in your brain that get you high"?

We know that there are structures in your brain that are in fact directly triggered only by THC, by—your own body produces THC lipids and it’s called inandimide. You've been hard-wired by god to get stoned and the government says, "No you can't." That is a violation of your human rights. And this is a violation of our culture.

So those people—myself included—who use drugs beneficially, spiritually, socially, we have a right and—not only a right—we must be integrated in the society. Our system of drug control needs to be called, "integrated drug control" so that drug users are welcomed in doctor's offices, they are welcomed in the schools, they are welcomed in the universities, they are welcomed in the law courts, they are welcomed into professional society.

So what does integrated drug culture look like? Summers when I was in law school, I went to Illinois. I was not an associate down at Pepperham up in the sheets. I didn't work for some law form down in Philadelphia or here in Washington, I led wilderness canoe trips in Maine. I was a licensed wilderness canoe trip leader by the state. My camp was insured, and I took kids into the woods to do dirty dangerous activities. Like start fires, chop down trees, split wood with axes paddle canoes with rapids, and bring them out trained, happy, dirty, healthy.

We should have licensed LSD Trippers; one that explores the mind and explores the spiritual aspects of psychedelic drugs. It would be a fun licensed profession. In short, a member of the national association meets the professional requirements, professional ethics. Kid goes to summer camp, kid's gotta have a fishing pole. Wanna have an LSD trip, gotta undergo a psychological examination. At least you do with me. Wanna have an LSD trip, well we wanna make sure, how's your heart? How’s your health? No, what we've got now is insanity.

[Unintelligible] LSD, nobody knows exactly what it is. How can we not give it to people and not have disastrous reactions some of the time? We've set that so people will be hurt. We have to integrate drug use into this modern society. Bring the drug culture into a part of it so that it's safer.

Heroine users? We need talk about addiction management. People who are heroine users, who are getting it, [Unintelligible] they need to get it. They have a right to get it, and we have a duty to make sure that the heroine they get is not contaminated, that they can do it in a safe place, that they're not patronizing organized crime, and that they don't have to rob somebody to pay for it, or shoplift or prostitute themselves. So we can have addiction management agencies, staffed by addiction management specialists. There will be addiction management counselors, and then part of it is like, "Yes you can use heroine, but how can we help stabilize your life? How are you doing in your relationship with your wife or your kid's mother? How's that going? How’s your housing situation's going?"

If you’re a drug user, after you get kicked out of your house, you're living in an alley. This is insanity. It's insanity what we're doing, because we are prepared to stigmatize drug users.

We're all extremely aware of the nuclear power catastrophe that's taking place in Japan as we sit here this morning. Let me quote from last Wednesday's New York Times—last Wednesday's Washington Post—a terrific post on March—Wednesday, March 15th titled, "Radiation Threat Can Take Great Psychological Toll Experts Say." Rob Stein writes—and I'm gonna quote him at length and then conclude,

“Survivors of the bombings at Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, Chernobyl and other nuclear accidents in Japan and Brazil were stigmatized by their societies, which caused discrimination that intensified emotional distress.”

“’After almost every radiological emergency, anyone or anything seen as or perceived as associated with the emergency came to be seen by others as tainted or something to be feared and even the object of discrimination,’ said Steven Becker of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.”

“Such stigmatization can interfere with victims receiving care and recovering from the event, said Becker, who studied the psychological and social impact of a much less severe nuclear accident in 1999 in Tokaimura, Japan. In that case, people in other parts of Japan refused to buy products from that region, and travelers were turned away from hotels and asked not to use public baths and swimming pools. Similar discrimination occurred after a 1987 radiation exposure event in Goiania, Brazil.”

“In the long run, such incidents can negatively transform entire cultures. In the areas affected by the 1986 Chernobyl accident, a crippling sense of hopelessness set in and was passed down through generations.”

Is it possible that this stigmatization around drug use has become part of what we see in homelessness and what we call the ghetto? Quoting Becker again, "’What we know from experience is the psychological footprint from a nuclear disaster can not only be massive but in many ways greater than the effect of radiation,’ Becker said. ‘On an individual level, these range all the way from anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse to a kind of culture of fatalism and hopelessness that has gripped the population in many areas, and it continues today, decades later.’”

Radioactivity is the perfect way to thinking about drugs. If we use drugs, we become radioactive. The subject gets radioactive. Drug policy—drug reform politics, it's radioactive. Well, I think that this is an outstanding opportunity today for us to talk about getting transferred to a state of activity and recognizing that drugs are about as dangerous as kryptonite. That is, they belong to the common folks as a feeling as a gateway. And one has to get over our fears and bring drug users into our society with the kinds of controls on the market and expectations for responsible use and accountability that we expect of all citizens in this society. Thank you,

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DEAN BECKER: Once again, that was Eric Sterling, President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, CJPF.org. We must get over our fear of drugs. So in closing, I remind you that there is no truth, justice, logic, no reason for this drug war to exist. Please do your part to help end this 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.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.

[Music Outro]