01/29/12 Adam Assenberg

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Adam Assenberg's hearing set for Feb 3, Mary Jane Bornden re US prison population, Terry Nelson of LEAP re widespread impunity for rich in drug war, Jack Cole Dir of LEAP + Abolitionist Moment

Audio file


Cultural Baggage / January 29, 2012


Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”

“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”

DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.


DEAN BECKER: Thank you for joining us here on Cultural Baggage. We have a very diverse program for you today. We are going to begin with an interview with a gentleman up in Washington state.


ADAM ASSENBERG: My name is Michael Adam Assenberg and I’m a medical marijuana dispenser.

DEAN BECKER: And what state are you in?

ADAM ASSENBERG: I’m in the state of Washington.

DEAN BECKER: Now Washington has some ideas on better laws for marijuana as do many states across this country. Under the current circumstance you got yourself in, well, they put you in a bit of trouble. Tell us what happened.

ADAM ASSENBERG: What happens is I got business license to operate a business called Compassion for Patience. I was following all the state rules as they say - growing for just one other patient and then helping one patient at a time.

In May they raided me saying that I’m running an illegal dispensary and it’s been an uphill battle ever since.

One of the things they complained about was how many plants that I had. I’m a patient, my wife’s a patient and we could each grow for one other person. If you count that’s 60 plants but they counted 82 plants because I have a cloning machine and I had just recently taken cuttings so I could duplicate the same strains that I was getting ready to pull. In no way should those be considered plants yet since they didn’t have roots on them to sustain themselves.

DEAN BECKER: This represents kind of what goes on not just in Washington but around the country really where cops of a certain district will decide they know better than state law. They know better than doctors and patients and they set about destroying your crop, depriving you patients and what else do they accomplish?

ADAM ASSENBERG: Our constitution in Washington state says you cannot destroy property without due process of law and due process of law was clearly not being taken into account when they just walked over and ripped out my plants without having a jury tell them to.

DEAN BECKER: I always laugh when opponents of reform talk about “Oh, these people go in for a skateboard injury or a hang nail” and all this kind of stuff and I don’t care. If you have a skateboard injury or a hang nail and you go to a doctor and he’s going to give you something and the thought that medical patients should just tough it out – you know, rub some dirt on it, I guess … the fact of the matter is you represent those with more serious maladies. Tell the folks what compels you to use medical cannabis.

ADAM ASSENBERG: In my case I have nine broken vertebrae and each and every day that I don’t use cannabis I go through 30 to 70 pain seizures a day that look like a Gran Mal seizure. I lose total control of my body. It flops around on the floor like fish out of water and then blacks out from pain. It physically feels like to me is someone pouring gasoline on me and lighting me on fire up to 70 times a day.

If I do end up getting stuck in jail, one of the issues that is in both the state and federal constitution is no cruel and unusual punishment shall be inflicted to their prisoners. Without the use of cannabis that’s just what I’m going to have is cruel and unusual treatment.

Because of that, Dean, this may very well be one of the last times I am on your show because if I get arrested I will have 2 to 3 weeks and then my blood clots will kill me in jail.

DEAN BECKER: Do these people know your medical condition? Do they have any idea?

ADAM ASSENBERG: They know full well in scope as to what my conditions are and they have already said that they don’t care. I’m supposed to be going to a meeting at 9 in the morning at the Superior Courthouse here in town. It’s my pre-trial and Tyler Markwart is going to be in that same pre-trial.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us who that is.

ADAM ASSENBERG: Tyler Markwart is the same person who was running a dispensary like I was and not caring about the almighty dollar. He cared more about the patient and whether or not they had money he would make sure they had medicine as well. He was the only one doing it in the fashion that I was doing it.

DEAN BECKER: What do you anticipate at this hearing?

ADAM ASSENBERG: I anticipate at this hearing for several motions to be filed. One motion I expect to be filed is to subpoena the mayor of Seattle because they have 95 storefronts operating in Seattle without any kind of police harassment.

One of my issues is that under Article 12 – equal protections and immunity under the law. You cannot give them the right to open up storefront businesses and not be harassed by the police and not give us the same rights here.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, equal protection – I get it. OK, Adam, the fact of the matter is you’re going to have that hearing. What do you perceive unfolding beyond what we’ve already talked about?

ADAM ASSENBERG: I do see it possibly being acquitted of all charges because of the simple fact that I’m going to be one of the first patients that actually has a bunch of people come in and testify on my behalf. Tyler Markwart did not have a single person come in and testify.

I’ve sat in a couple other medical cannabis dispensary hearings and the prosecution and the defense never call anyone on the side of the defendants. I’m going to be having all kinds of people like the Chief of Police. He’s going to testify how I always had an open-door policy. I’m also going to have a person subpoenad in from the Telm Water Health Department stating that we’re allowed more than 15 plants if we are legally allowed to have it because of our medical conditions.

I’m also going to subpoena the Mayor of Seattle who will testify how many open storefronts they have in Seattle clearly showing that the rights of the people here are not being protected like they are there.

DEAN BECKER: And the fact of the matter is by following state law there was no reason for them to show up and knock on your door. There was no reason for them to take your ready for harvest plants and there was no reason for them to arrest you.

What compels them? Why are they continuing this effort, Adam?

ADAM ASSENBERG: It’s easy. It’s plain as the nose on your face, Dean. They get about 80% of the money shipped off immediately to the federal DEA. The DEA takes a very small portion of it and then shoves the money back onto the local law enforcement so they can become more storm troopers and get more toys to harass more people with.

DEAN BECKER: Adam, since they took your garden and you still have the same condition – what has this meant to your life?

ADAM ASSENBERG: I have not been able to get my garden back up enough to support me on a daily basis yet. I’m having to extremely limit how much I smoke. Since I’m not able to keep enough in my system now I’m going through anywhere from 6 to 8 seizures a day.

DEAN BECKER: (sighs) This really complicates the life, mobility and all that doesn’t it?

ADAM ASSENBERG: It makes to where I have no life. I have to pretty much hold down in my basement to get buy until the next seizure hits, hit the ground and blackout and then wake up and get by with the next bit of what I got to do until the next seizure hits.

DEAN BECKER: And all of this because the cops couldn’t count...didn’t want to support this state law.

ADAM ASSENBERG: Correctly. I was supposed to have my plants left alone. Carla was supposed to have her plants left alone. They took stuff that was two weeks out of being finished on the bud stage with no way to produce any clones or anything else. With what medicine they left us with I’m next to nothing. I’ll pretty much have nothing by the time I go to court except for little babies I’ve got growing again. But they’ll be ready in no time before I go to jail.

DEAN BECKER: Well it should be quite a site for the jurors.

ADAM ASSENBERG: It looks like somebody just totally losing muscle control like a Grand Mal seizure. Every single fiber of my body I cannot control to where I’m just like a molten mess down on the ground twitching the last little bits of life out of me.

DEAN BECKER: Alright friends we’ve been speaking with Mr. Adam Assenberg. Adam, do you want to share your website?

ADAM ASSENBERG: http://marijuanafactorfiction.net

DEAN BECKER: Adam’s hearing will be February 3rd. You know whatever happens the Drug Truth Network will provide you coverage.



SPEAKER: This pot’s so good that whenever I smoke it – the government freaks out!


Voice: Do you mean, you are going to let them get it? It is going to be legal? You are going to let them get it? At least right now we don’t let them get it. I don’t want to let them get it.


MARY JANE BORDEN: Hello drug policy aficionados! I’m Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts with a special report this week concerning the American gulag.

Good news was reported with the December 2011 release of the "Prisoners in 2010" report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. "The combined U.S. prison population decreased 0.6% in 2010, the first decline since 1972." While we can somewhat celebrate this downward blip, these numbers need to be put in context.

A year and a half earlier, the Pew Center on the States announced the decline, but went further in its analysis stating, "Between 1925 (the first year national prison statistics were officially collected) and 1972, the number of state prisoners increased from 85,239 to 174,379." Placing these numbers in context, in 2010, state prisons housed 1,395,356 inmates, an increase of +1537% over 1925 and +700% over 1972.

It wasn’t population growth or a corresponding increase in the number of "bad guys" that caused the massive prison expansion. From 1925 to 2010, the U.S. population grew by +167%; from 1972 to 2010, the percentage increase equaled +47%.

According the Pew Center, "This change was fueled by stiffer sentencing and release laws and decisions by courts and parole boards, which sent more offenders to prison and kept them there for longer terms."

Many of these laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s were a reaction to drug war induced hysteria,[4] which in turn fueled prison growth. To illustrate, 25% of federal inmates had "drugs" as their most serious offense in 1980 - a total of 4,900 prisoners. Just 10 years later in 1990, almost 57,000 (50%) federal inmates counted "drugs" as their most serious offense. Thirty years later in 2010, federal inmates with drug offenses numbered almost 100,000. There were almost 20 times more "drug" prisoners in 2010 than in 1980 for a population that had only increased by about one third.

The explosive growth in the prison population has strained the prison system. In 2010, “Nineteen state systems were operating above their highest capacity, with seven states at least 25% over their highest capacity at yearend 2010, led by Alabama at 196% and Illinois at 144%.”

Enter the private prison industry. The "Prisoners in 1994" report made scant reference to privately run prisons, with only North Carolina placing 1,000 inmates out of state because of overcrowding. By 2010, "About 16% of federal prisoners (33,830) and nearly 7% of state prisoners (94,365) were housed in private facilities."

According the American Civil Liberties Union, "As incarceration rates skyrocket, the private prison industry expands at exponential rates, holding ever more people in its prisons and jails, and generating massive profits."

Former Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey foretold the growing prison industrial complex and its relationship to drugs in a 1996 keynote address for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "I believe that we have created an American gulag. We have 1.6 million people behind bars, and probably two-thirds of those in the Federal system are there for drug-related crimes."

By today's standards, he was a little off on his numbers. The "American gulag" now holds well over 2 million prisoners with more than 300,000 there on drug convictions. In this context, the downward blip in prison growth is not much to celebrate.

The above facts can be found in the Prisons and Jails chapter at Drug War Facts at http://www.drugwarfacts.org


(Game show music)

DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.

Dehumanization, solitude, degradation, deprivation, dehydration, starvation, injury, humiliation, torture, suffocation, untimely teenage deaths…

{{{ gong }}}

Time’s up!

The answer: is not a drug…it is drug treatment. Tough love.


TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. A shipment containing 16 kilograms of cocaine was seized last week at the U.N.'s mail intake center, a New York Police Department spokesman said Thursday. Paul Browne, NYPD's chief spokesman, said the drug was in a white bag evidently masquerading as a diplomatic pouch that raised suspicions when it was being scanned because it was stamped with what looked like a poorly concocted version of the U.N. logo. Browne said there was no name or address on the shipment sent from Mexico City through Cincinnati.

From this report I’d say that someone in Cincinnati is trying to explain where 16 Kilos of cocaine is. This method is not new and has been used for a very long time. I know a guy that saw briefcases full of cocaine carried by Mexican officials being carried off a airplane in Canada. This event was over twenty years ago. And, the wife of a former Army Attaché to Colombia was arrested for shipping cocaine out through the Embassy mail which also is supposed to be free from suspicion.

There is so much money to be made by “taking a chance” that people are willing to face death, life in prison, alienating their friends and destroying their families to make the profits. Several years ago I reported on a Kuwaiti Prince that was arrested for smuggling and he received the death penalty. However, I never saw a report showing that the sentence had actually been carried out. No matter what a person’s station in life the profits are so immense that you will always find someone willing to do the deed.

Drug War news was dominated this week by the issue of human rights and the rule of law. Human Rights Watch reported that, in fighting the drug war, security forces in Mexico have committed numerous human rights violations and that soldiers enjoy impunity in these cases.

Plus many of those arrested are never prosecuted. Murder in Mexico is a state offence and not a federal one so even if the federal troops arrest someone it does not mean that he or she will ever be prosecuted. In the past five years 50% of those arrested have been released.

This drug war has produced one other thing though other than the millions of people arrested and their lives destroyed. It has divided Mexico by having two cartels in charge the Zeta’s in the East and the Sinaola in the West. Now perhaps the violence will wane somewhat but the money and corruption will not.

The only way to win is to legalize, regulate and control the manufacture and distribution and then adopt a policy of education and treatment vs. arrest and incarcerate and we will win. This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.copssaylegalizedrugs.com www.copssaylegalizedrugs.com signing off. Stay safe.


[dramatic music]

DEAN BECKER: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. These men and women have served in the trenches of the drug war as prosecutors, judges, cops, guards and wardens. They have seen first-hand the utter futility of our policy and now work together to end drug prohibition. Please visit http://leap.cc


ROGER HAMER: Jack Cole spent his entire career fighting the War on Drugs in New Jersey. For 14 of his 26 year career he was an undercover narcotics officer. After retiring he and other officers realized they were fighting a war that couldn’t be won.

JACK COLE: It is a constantly expanding policy disaster. When I started working undercover it was the beginning of the war. It was 1970. In that 38 years we spent well over a trillion dollars on the war and all we have to show for all that money we spent is that we’ve made more than 39 million arrests for non-violent drug offenses. We’ve put as many of those people in prison as we can.

ROGER HAMER: Today Cole is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition or LEAP. It’s an organization of 11,000 law enforcement personnel nationwide. LEAP has made an appearance in Omaha at this billboard at 56th and Maple.

We asked Cole about the billboard’s message by phone.

JACK COLE: We want to end drug prohibition just like we ended alcohol prohibition in this country in 1933. As law enforcers we realize that when we ended that nasty law the next morning Al Capone and all of his buddies were out of business. They were off our streets. They were no longer in control of that market. They were no longer killing us cops charged with fighting that useless war and they were no longer killing our children by crossfire and drive by shootings.

ROGER HAMER: Cole says America needs a new strategy.

JACK COLE: You cannot regulate and control anything that is illegal. If we end drug prohibition - which can only mean one thing regulate the legalization of drugs – if we do that today we can completely take the violence out of the equation.

ROGER HAMER: The message makes sense to Sharon Smith.

SHARON SMITH: We have a society that is full of legal prescription drugs which are given very readily and the War on Drugs obviously hasn’t worked. I think there should be more help for poor people on drugs and some compassion in our society.

ROGER HAMER: Smith says the messenger is a credible source.

SHARON SMITH: Who would know better, actually, and I’m glad to see that. Let’s hope that something happens but I seriously doubt it.

ROGER HAMER: Roger Hamer, channel 6 news.



DEAN BECKER: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Abolitionist’s Moment.

It’s so sad that Americans are clinging to the belief that anything is justified if we say it is necessary. Torture by Americans? That is what the US attorney general is concerned about. I submit that we have been practicing the philosophy for a hundred years of saving one child by destroying the lives of millions of adults who use drugs.

Lot’s of believers buy the idea to this day. Believers think it proper to kick in the door, throw in some flash bang grenades, maybe set the place on fire… Shoot the dog and maybe the kids, ransack the place to make it look like a tornado aftermath; arrest the parents for possession of plant products. Send the kids to foster care, forfeit the home to state coffers. Take all the worldly goods and cash for the same purpose. Convict and send to prison the parents for sentences longer than for violent crimes.

Then, turn away when the parents and children are raped and beaten by fellow inmates or guards and then once they are released, we send them forth and demand that they prosper while we deny them housing, education, professional licenses, credit or even a job. Is that torture or is it just the American way? Please do your part to end the madness of drug war. Visit our website, endprohibition.org. Do it for the children.


DEAN BECKER: The following segment comes to us from the recent Multidisiplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Conference. The speaker, Dale Gieringer, is president of California NORML. He’s talking about vaporizing cannabis. The means whereby you can inhale the vapors without actually lighting it on fire.


DALE GIERINGER: Entrepreneur David Wheeler who had a vaporizer that he was developing. This was called the M1. Looks like a pipe up there. The thing that looks like a bowl upside down is actually an electric heating element.

The heat would radiate down and then hopefully it wouldn’t get the pot to burn and you would just be inhaling vapors. This lab was able to look at three chemicals - benzene, toluene and naphthalene which are cold tars with carcinogenic-mutigenic properties and really associated with toxicity of smoke.

The lab was able to determine that at the temperature of about 185 degrees centigrade you got the optimal vaporization and when you did vaporize it at 185 degrees you found a complete elimination of benzene, toluene and naphthalene. They were all gone and you did get THC.

It also showed that if you moved the temperature up to 200 you started to get some toxins and that you could also vaporize at lower temperatures although you didn’t get as much of the THC.

We did not look at the major carcinogens in smoke which are known as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). The lab wasn’t able to test that but we knew that PAHs actually formed at higher temperatures so we were optimistic that these carcinogens would not be forming in the vaporizer smoke.

We found an unmeasurable but some reduction in carbon monoxide. We got the pot from this…we used good, street sensimilia but since we couldn’t send it to the lab we were using the forms 222’s (I guess they were called) so it was all kosher.

We were very happy with this study. The only problem was David Wheeler died all of the sudden and so did the Volatizer as a project but along came another vaporizer shortly thereafter – the famous Volcano manufactured in Germany by Storz & Bickel.

They were interested in continuing the work so we went back to the same lab and we used this device which I think most of you are familiar with. It puts the vapors in a balloon. It’s actually very handy for doing lab tests because all the vapor is in one place.

In this study we were able to look at a whole spectrum of both cannabinoids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and a bunch of other stuff as well by a GCMS. When we put pure smoke through the test equipment we detected over 111 different compounds in it. But when we vaporized the same material there were only 2 lines in addition to cannabis. One of those lines was a known turpine and we don’t know what the other line was.

Basically there was a 95% or more elimination of all of these junk compounds that you would find…many of them carcinogenic that you see in the smoke. This really made the Volcano and vaporization look like genuinely valuable technology.


DEAN BECKER: You can get lots of great information about marijuana and other drugs by visiting the website of Multidisiplinary Association for Psychedelic at http://MAPS.org

That’s about it for this week. Here’s to hoping you’ll join us next week when we’ll have lots of new information to share with you. Once again, I remind you that because of prohibition – you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.


DEAN BECKER: To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org
Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.