03/04/12 Irvin Rosenfeld

Irvin Rosenfeld receives 300 marijuana cigarettes from the US Govt every 25 days + Doug McVay of Common Sense for Drug Policy & Sanjay Gupta re marijuana & Terry Nelson of LEAP

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Irvin Rosenfeld
Federal Medical Marijuana Patient



Cultural Baggage / March 4, 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: Hello, my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. Let’s bring in our guest. He’s one of the few surviving federally-supplied marijuana patients here in these United States. He’s author of a great book, “My Medicine: How I convinced the U.S. government to provide my marijuana and help launch a national movement.”

With that I’d like to welcome Mr. Irvin Rosenfeld.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

DEAN BECKER: I mentioned there that you’re one of the few survivors of that plan whereby the federal government grows and supplies you marijuana, correct?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: It’s sad to say there are only 4 of us left. That’s it and I’m the longest surviving of the four.

DEAN BECKER: We’ve talked about it before but how many joints have they sent you?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: I’m up to about 130,000.

DEAN BECKER: Marijuana cigarettes provided by the federal government? And they send you…what is it 300 joints every 28 days, correct?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Every 25 days.

DEAN BECKER: 25 days. This is just such a discordant note compared to what the government says about marijuana – that it has no medical value and on down the line. The University of Mississippi grows this stuff, right?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: They do and they supply it for the four patients and they also supply pharmaceutical companies to be able to synthesize different chemicals out of it so they can make potential other new medicines.

DEAN BECKER: So they have begun to do that – to make use of it for that purpose.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Yes, which is sad because, again, the natural plant works great. Why synthesize it? Why bother?

DEAN BECKER: Exactly right. Now there’s also something that we wanted to alert the listeners to and that’s the 7th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. Tell us about it. When it’s going to be. Who’s going to be there?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: On April 26th through 28th in Tucson, Arizona. It’s going to be a conference for top physicians, scientists, doctors, patients from all around the world in Tucson. We’re doing it in connection with Dr. Andrew Weil.

So on the 26th through the 28th it’ll be a conference where if you want to learn about medical cannabis you’re going to be with the top researchers in the world.

DEAN BECKER: It’s my understanding that there is true educational accreditation. The University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine is going to be providing those credits. There’s also contact hours for the University of Arizona Medical Center Staff Development and Education.

This is a very legitimate gathering, is it not?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Completely. Again, you right as far as any doctors and nurses who show up there will get their continuing education credits. And, again, the important part – our website medicalcannabis.com has our last conference on there. We’ve been doing this now – this is our seventh one.

Again, if you want continuing education credits and you’re a doctor or nurse you can go to our website, download our previous conference and still get your continuing education credits if cannot join us in Tucson. But if you can it’s going to be a fantastic conference.

Not only is our organization but, again, Andrew Weil, the number one alternative doctor in the world. 45,000 people have studied under him everything else that we’re doing this conference for so you’re going to learn a lot.

DEAN BECKER: That helps to underscore the legitimacy of it with Andrew Weil getting on board. That’s really something.

I’m looking at the itinerary – we’ve got opening remarks by Al Byrne. He heads up the Patients Out of Time group that you’re a member of, right?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: He is what started the organization in 1995.

DEAN BECKER: Also at that same opening plenary is going to be Dr. Donald Abrams from the University of California in San Francisco.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: He’s one of the few physicians who’s been able to do a study with his AIDS patients to prove how beneficial it is for his AIDS patients.

DEAN BECKER: Al Byrne’s wife, Mary Lynn Mathre, is going to be in the next segment also featuring Jacki Rickert. I met Jacki. She was part of the Journey for Justice here in Texas. She is very much dependent on marijuana to help her get through the day. Am I right?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Absolutely. There were 13 patients getting marijuana when the federal government cut the program off. There had been another 28 patients who had been approved by all three government agencies – NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), FDA and DEA – but they never received a shipment. Jacki was one of them.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and Jacki is so deserving. I’ve seen the difference in her. The day of that Journey for Justice she just go so wore out she could hardly sit in her wheelchair. She had a couple of puffs of some cannabis and suddenly she was…you could understand her speech. She had some grace restored to her life through that use. It’s incredible.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: It is. It’s an amazing medicine and the sad part is the “choir” knows but we have to teach our physicians. That’s what we got to do. That’s why this show is so important.

DEAN BECKER: It’s so preposterous this notion that these drug warriors put forward these days that somehow if we just keep doing this for another 40 or 100 years that it’ll make a difference. And, of course, it’s done no such thing.

Again, we’re speaking with Mr. Irvin Rosenfeld, author of “My Medicine.”

Irv, I’ve got your book in front of me. We got the picture of you holding up that tin of pre-rolled joints from the federal government. It wasn’t always that way. You had some difficulty in getting into this situation where the government provides it, right?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: It took me ten years. I started in 1972. I won it in 1982. But, again, it was a 10 year struggle to try to convince the federal government that it worked for me and God was on my side. There were people put in place that things changed. I had the state of Virginia behind me. That state law changed. The University of Virginia Law School behind me. So, again, a lot of people - which you’ll read in my book – that somehow helped.

It was step 1, step 2…step 20, step 30, whatever but I finally won. Thank God I did because I’ve been able to help open up the entire nation and to help educate people to the benefits of medical cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: I’m looking through the agenda for this Seventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics and I don’t see Dr. Donald Tashkin. I guess it was 2 conferences ago that he showed up and gave a great talk. He did an interview with me and he was perfectly willing to say that they found no evidence that marijuana causes cancer through extensive study.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Right but that’s been done before. It’s already on a previous conference. That’s why I’m not on a panel because I’ve been on a panel in a previous conference. The point is to do something new every time.

That’s why I’m speaking at lunch time about my book. To be accredited, to be accepted by the AMA (American Medical Association), ANA (American Nurses Association) you need to put on a conference that’s not a repeat and bring in new material.

DEAN BECKER: The fact of the matter is that many people these days are moving from the regular smoked cannabis…that is to say they’re not always rolling a joint. They use the vaporizers which some find to be less invasive to the body that they can smoke it without the coughing fits that some people sometimes encounter. The point being is the government doesn’t want to look at vaporizing. They don’t want to look at any positive at all, do they?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: No, not at all. Again, I’m living proof. I’ve been getting…They’ve been sending me marijuana for 29 years. They’ve never ever studied me at all. So what does that tell you?

DEAN BECKER: They don’t want to know the truth, do they?!

IRVIN ROSENFELD: They do not and that’s the sad part. I’ve always tried to be the moderate. I want to educate people. I want to try to bring the people who aren’t on our side and educate them. But the people against us…if I’m at A and they’re at Z we can meet at M. That’s what I’m trying to do.

The feds have never wanted to research me. The point is I’m in great shape because of medical cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: Let’s tell the folks about your malady – why it is that you use medical cannabis.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: I have bone tumors. I have about 200 bone tumors in my body. They grow outwardly from the long bones of the body into the muscles and the veins stretching the muscles and the veins making it very tender and very painful. But, more importantly, if I were to tear those I could hemorrhage and a clot could break off from the veins and it would kill me.

So what the cannabis does is relaxes the muscles and the veins going over the tumors so I don’t have to worry. It also keeps the inflammation of what’s called a bursar over each tumor trying to protect the muscle and the vein less inflamed. It helps tremendously with the pain of my ankle.

The point is I’m able to do all this because I have the right medicine. Now they say the tumors should grow at any time and I’ve not had a tumor grow in 37 years…38 years. I’m getting older.

DEAN BECKER: We’re all getting older, my friend. The point is before the federal government supplied it to you you were having to obtain it clandestinely, correct?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Correct. I did it illegally for 11 years.

DEAN BECKER: Eventually you and your doctors and everyone involved were able to convince this INDC program to allow you to participate.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: I had a hearing before FDA and won those hearings in 1982.

DEAN BECKER: Going back to my thought…I realize the government supplies you with joints but have you ever had occasion to break up one of them and put it in a vaporizer?


DEAN BECKER: How did you perceive that?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: I enjoyed it. No problem but vaporizers are not portable. Plus I have to smoke so much that when I’m driving or working I have to be able to smoke.

DEAN BECKER: You and I had a talk about that the other day. When you are driving because you find that it does not impact your perceptions…

IRVIN ROSENFELD: None whatsoever.

DEAN BECKER: It does not prevent you from being normal.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: None whatsoever.

DEAN BECKER: And yet there have been a few times when a policeman has seen you smoking. What happens in that regard?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: They pull me over and I explain the federal program to them and then they go, “Well, you can’t drive with this.” I show my protocol which says I can as long as I’m not intoxicated and I go, “Am I?” And they go, “No, you’re not.”

So the point is that having it in your blood system is not a definition of intoxication. What I try to tell other states is when they try to compare marijuana in you system I say imagine having alcohol stay in your system the same way marijuana does…

DEAN BECKER: 30 days.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: “So it’s Sunday night and I had two drinks. Next Sunday night I get pulled over for whatever reason and they test me and the alcohol is still in my system and they accuse me of being drunk.

Wait a minute. I drank last Sunday. I had two drinks but none since then. What do you mean I’m drunk?!

That’s what they’re trying to say with marijuana and that’s wrong.

DEAN BECKER: There’s a big stink going on within the reform world with regards to how many nanograms of the potential legal weed in Washington or Oregon or Colorado might require. As if somehow there’s got to be some measurable level where it’s got to become a crime. And the truth be told there are light-weights like me who don’t smoke much and for whom a small level would probably be incapacitating and others who, perhaps like you, smoke quite a bit that those levels could be way up there and yet you’re not incapacitated.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Exactly. That’s the point.

DEAN BECKER: It really boils down to logic and common sense. They even talk about some of these muscle relaxers that it says right there on the label, “Do not use machinery until you are adjusted to it” or something to that effect. The same thing could be said for marijuana.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Same thing, yes.

DEAN BECKER: Once again we’re speaking with Mr. Irvin Rosenfeld. I urge you to get a copy of his book, “My Medicine.” It’s out there on the web, isn’t it?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: It is http://mymedicinethebook.com

It’s on Amazon but if you order on Amazon you do not get a signed copy. If you order on http://mymedicinethebook.com you get a signed copy.

DEAN BECKER: I urge you to do so folks. I hope Mr. Rosenfeld has many decades to go but there are so few of these medical patients left it’s bound to be a collector’s item someday.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: [chuckling] You know it’s funny. I was talking to John Gilmore a very philanthropic person who’s given millions and millions of dollars for medical marijuana. He says, “You know, Irvin, you’re probably not going to have a movie about you until you’re dead and you’re book’s going to be doing great after you’re dead.”

I said, “John, are you serious.” And he said, “Yeah, nothing’s successful until you die.”

I laughed and said, “I’m going to prove that wrong.”

DEAN BECKER: I hope so.


DEAN BECKER: I certainly do. The whole scenario around marijuana is so preposperous. Someday we’ll look back on it and laugh…I hope.

We got just about a minute left. I want to talk about the Seventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. Going to be held April 26t h through 28t h at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tuscon, Arizona. Do you have that website handy?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: http://medicalcannabis.com

DEAN BECKER: http://medicalcannabis.com I urge you to check it out and, again, doctors and nurses can get continuing education credits. It is my hope that I will be in attendance. I’m trying to make that happen as we speak. I want to encourage folks to come visit, come learn, come educate yourself and get ready to educate others so we can change this around.

About 10 seconds left. What would you like to say Mr. Irvin Rosenfeld?

IRVIN ROSENFELD: just thank you very much and keep doing your good work.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Irvin, I appreciate what you do and we’ll be back in touch soon, my friend.

IRVIN ROSENFELD: Definitely, take care.


[game show music]

It’s time to play, Name That Drug by its Side Effects.

According to the BBC this drug has no known side effects. The drug contains a molecule 10,000 times as active as glucose. It goes to the mid-brain and makes those cells fire as if you were full but you have not eaten.


Time’s up. The answer P57, Hoodia from a Kalahari desert cactus. Marketed by Pfizer. Look for the ads in your email.


DOUG McVAY : Throwing out the baby with the bath water. U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske testified before a House subcommittee on February 29th. The Czar appeared on a panel testifying beside Attorneys General from Florida and Kentucky all of them urging tougher action against prescription drug misuse and abuse.

The Czar declared that problems with prescription drug abuse had grown to a national crisis which until recently had not been, “on the radar screen.”

Oh really?! A federal crackdown on pain management specialist and pain patients has gone on since at least 2001 when hysteria over Oxycontin was making headlines across the country. Much of what was reported at the time was hype yet it resulted in a lot of pain, literally, for many people.

In December 2007 Drug Czar John Walters from the White House press room announced the release of new “Monitoring the Future” data showing that prescription drug misuse and abuse among young people was still on the increase.

In 2011 the DEA held its 20th annual conference on pharmaceutical and chemical diversion…two zero. This year will be the 21st.

Not on the radar screen?! Why does this matter? According to the CDC’s report, “Health United States Report 2010” 30% of adults in the U.S. over 18 surveyed reported suffering joint pain within the past 30 days. Most disturbingly, according to the CDC’s report, “Even for patients enrolled in a hospice care program that has the stated purpose of making the dying process more comfortable, one-third of decedents had pain at the time of death.”

While there is no question that diversion does occur and that opioids are powerful and potentially addictive there is also no question that many Americans suffer with pain. The chilling effect of the crackdown on pain relief means that many will continue to needlessly suffer.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. It’s time to flip the script.

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay, Common Sense for Drug Policy.


ANNOUNCER: Sanjay Gupta, M.D. CNN Saturday and Sunday morning 7:30 eastern.

SANJAY GUPTA: Like a lot of people I was pretty shocked to get the news about Whitney Houston dying just one night before the Grammys. The coroner says it’s going to be weeks before we know the cause of death. That’s important. But given her history of drug abuse people are asking a lot of tough questions.

Investigators did find prescription drugs in the hotel room where Houston died. But the coroner told us something very important. Listen to this, “Nothing out of the ordinary was found as long as Houston was taking the medication as prescribed.”

As prescribed. That’s a key point. As a doctor I want to dovetail on that by giving you the statistic: 1 in 20 people over the age of 12 take prescription medications in a way that’s not prescribed.

Another key point: Most of them are not addicts. They’re just careless or maybe they didn’t see the warnings they were told. They take too much. They take it in the wrong way or they combine medications with something else. If you do that it’s easy to make a catastrophic mistake.

Every 19 minutes, every 19 minutes a person dies from prescription drugs.

This goes far beyond what may or may not have happened to Whitney Houston. I want to be clear on that. But I also want to talk to you about the dangers that maybe everyone faces at one point or another. So joining from New York to talk about this is Dr. Petros Lavounis. He’s chief of addiction psychiatry at St. Lukes and Roosevelt hospitals in New York City.

Thanks for joining us. I imagine, doctor, you like everyone else have paid attention to the story of what happened with Whitney Houston but I did want to make a couple points here. I wanted to ask you about them.

Even legitimately prescribed medications can kill in combination with other drugs and sometimes alcohol but sometimes just small amounts of alcohol. I don’t think a lot of people understand that. They’re told, “Look, don’t drink with these medications.” But this idea that in combination is so much worse. Can you explain what happens? Why is it so much worse? What happens to the brain.

PETROS LAVOUNIS: What happens to the brain is something that can be quite scary actually. That is the synergistic effect. Synergy simply means that the total effect can be much, much bigger than the sum of the parts. So if you just drink alcohol you have some kind of effect or if you just take let’s say Valium or Xanax or one of those medications you have another effect. If you take pain killers, some opioid pain killers you have another effect. But if you combine these three then it’s not just additive – it’s not just 1+1+1=3. It’s more like 1+1+1=5 or 6 and that is what gets a lot of people in trouble.

SANJAY GUPTA: Can you put this in a little bit of context because even while I’ve been talking about this people have come up to me and said, “Look, I hear what you’re saying about synergy but I take sleeping pills. I might have something to drink that night before I go to bed.”

To be clear that’s a problem. I mean we’re not talking about that you need a large consumption of these medications to cause a potential catastrophe. Is that right?

PETROS LAVOUNIS: Right. So we do have the synergistic problem which is a very serious one and then we superimpose on that one tolerance problem. A lot of these medications can result in physiological dependence – meaning that after a while they do not have the same punch, the same kind of effect that they used to have.

So you start adding a little bit and you go up on the does a little bit. Sometimes within the recommendations of your physician but you go up and up and up and may reach a breaking point where the side effects meaning, in this case, respiratory depression or any other kind of physiological trouble they can give you gets out of control and you may end up dying.

SANJAY GUPTA: And one of the areas of the brain that is affected, I think, is the hypothalamus – that’s part of the brain that is responsible for a lot of things we don’t think about. You know, regulating our heart rate or heart beat but also our drive to breath. And when you say depressing that I think that’s what you are referring to.

Is there a particularly dangerous combination? Something that surprises you in terms of both the medications are and how little can cause a problem.

PETROS LAVOUNIS: Some of the opioids, some of the pain killers have been notoriously implicated in overdose deaths. Sometimes we think that pain pills cannot possibly be as dangerous as heroin and yet very, very similar drugs can very easily kill you. So that’s what we see.

We see some people taking Oxycontin or Vicodin and say, “Hey, the dentist gave me this. How can it possibly be all that dangerous?” And yet when taken in combination with alcohol or some other drugs or sometimes even by itself it can get you in trouble.

SANJAY GUPTA: I appreciate that point but look the status quo is not acceptable so the message if the message needs to be clearer and it needs to be louder and I don’t want to be an alarmist but I think it’s very, very important for doctors to communicate this to their patients. I appreciate that you do and I do as well.

We’ll come back and talk about this more. We’re going to stay on this. Dr. Lovonis, I appreciate your time.


This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition www.leap.cc. As this is a leap year and also the tenth anniversary of LEAP we have sent out a solicitation for new members to increase our numbers. Increasing our membership helps to make us a more powerful voice when we address members of congress, committees, universities or other organizations. We are winning the war against prohibition and you can be a part of that victory.

Prohibition must be stopped because it feeds violent drug gangs and criminal cartels and helps to corrupt public officials. The Dept. of Justice reports that the illegal drug market in the U.S. is dominated by 900,000 criminally active gang members affiliated with 20,000 street gangs in more than 2500 cities and that Mexican drug cartels now directly control illegal drug markets in at least one thousand American cities.

Al Qa’ida and nearly half of all U.S. State Department-listed Foreign Terrorist Organizations have ties to the illegal drug trade. For example, the Taliban and Afghan warlords collect nearly half a billion dollars a year tom illicit drug farming, production and trafficking while the FARC in Colombia finances its activities with 300 million a year in illegal drug sales.

National drug control spending on harsh enforcement strategies grew by 69.7 percent over the past nine years, while spending on treatment and prevention only grew by 13.9 percent. Money for enforcement strategies has been wasted as we have zero progress to report on that front.

While the President often talks about drug abuse as a health – and not just a crime – issue, his administration reports that federal resources devoted to supply-reduction efforts (arrests, punishment and eradication) are now nearly double those for demand-reduction programs (such as treatment and prevention).

Conservative estimates say that legalizing and regulating drugs could boost the U.S. economy by 88 Billions dollars a year in law enforcement savings and new tax revenue.
This failed public policy must be terminated and preferably to a policy of education and treatment instead of arrest and incarceration. Three out four American voters say the “war on drugs” is a failure. In a survey by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, 82% of police chiefs and sheriffs said that the “war on drugs” has not been successful in reducing drug use.

According to a recent poll over 50% of Americans now favor legalizing cannabis, the largest amount of support in the over forty years of asking the question. This year we will see cannabis legalization voted on in Colorado and Washington state and perhaps California.

So I ask that you please help us continue to fight against prohibition and it harms and help us reduce crime and incarceration of our citizens for the non-violent offense of simple possession. We can educate our way out of this problem but we will never arrest our way out. This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.copssaylegalizedrugs.com signing off. Stay safe.


DEAN BECKER: Alright, thank you, Terry. I want to thank Irvin Rosenfeld, a guy who gets 300 joints every 25 days from the federal government, for his involvement in today’s show.

Also wanted to point out there’s a forthcoming conference March 8t h at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. March 8th will feature Rick Steves, the Travel Writer, in the evening. Then all day long on March 9th it will feature the District Attorney, Pat Lycos, Russ Jones of LEAP, Bill Martin, a fellow there at the Baker Institute, former heads of the DEA and so forth – a lot of good folks and a lot of good stuff for you to learn. I urge you to please attend if you can. Go to bakerinstitute.org.

And, as always, 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.