07/15/12 Paul Armentano

Century of Lies

Paul Armentano of NORML, NJ Gov Christi, Joe Rogan & Tommy Chong, Terry Nelson of LEAP, Aaron Smith of the Cannabis Industry, Late Night MJ comedy & Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center

Audio file


Century of Lies / July 15, 2012


DEAN BECKER: 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.


DEAN BECKER: Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. You know I’m beginning to get the sense that it won’t last another century.

Today we’re focusing quite a bit on marijuana – medical marijuana. Here to fill us in more fully is the Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Paul Armentano.

Paul, the fact of the matter is more and more people, maybe more importantly, more and more politicians are beginning to recognize the need to change our marijuana policies. Are they not?

PAUL ARMENTANO: Yes, indeed. In fact in the last several months we have seen not only a significant shift in the general public’s opinion pertaining to marijuana law reform but we have seen a number of very high profile politicians coming out and making statements or taking actions that are very favorable to marijuana law reform.

I’m thinking of politicians like former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel or Andrew Cuomo in New York. In the recent weeks all of these politicians along with several others have taken prominent, very public stances in favor of changing America’s archaic marijuana laws.

DEAN BECKER: Now let’s don’t forget, some say take it with a grain of salt and he wasn’t speaking specifically about marijuana, but even New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie came out saying the drug war is a failure most recently.


CHRIS CHRISTIE: I put forward in the State of the State Address that the war on drugs, while well-intentioned, has been a failure. That we’re warehousing addicted people every day in say prisons in New Jersey, giving them no treatment, sending them back out on the street after their term of incarceration and wondering why recidivism rates go up and why they don’t get better, why they commit crimes again. They commit crimes to support their addiction.

You can certainly make the argument that no one should try drugs in the first place. I certainly am in that camp. But tens of millions of people in our society do every year. For some people they can try it and walk away from it but for others the first time they try it they become an addict. And they’re sick and they need treatment.
So I said what we need to do is for all first-time, nonviolent drug offenders we have to make drug treatment mandatory because if you’re pro-life, as I am, you can’t be pro-life just in the womb. Every life is precious and every one of God’s creatures can be redeemed but they won’t be if we ignore them.


PAUL ARMENTANO: I would be far more willing to judge Chris Christie by his actions then by his words. To date his actions have been such that they land squarely in opposition to substantive marijuana law reform.

DEAN BECKER: Now across the country we’re starting to see several western states potentially voting to outright legalize cannabis - let’s call it cannabis – this fall. What’s happening there?

PAUL ARMENTANO: You’re correct. There are a number of states where marijuana-related issues are going to appear on the November ballot. Massachusetts, just this week, the Secretary of State’s office for that state approved initiative language that will appear on the November ballot that will ask voters whether or not to allow for the state-sanctioned and production and distribution of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

As I’m sure many of your listeners already know 2 additional states, Washington State and Colorado, will also have initiatives on their ballots this November that will ask voters to decide on the issue of removing certain criminal penalties that are presently on the books regarding the possession of marijuana.

Colorado’s initiative goes actually further than that in that if Amendment 64 is passed by voters it will allow for the limited possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults and then, longer term, it sets out to enact a regulatory scheme that will allow for the production and retail sales of marijuana to anyone over age 21.

We’re also waiting, at the moment, to see if a handful of other marijuana ballot initiatives will, in fact, qualify for the ballot. In Oregon proponents have turned in their signatures and are awaiting approval from the Secretary of State’s office regarding a ballot initiative that seeks to amend marijuana penalties for the personal use of marijuana.

In Arkansas we’re also awaiting word from the Secretary of State’s office whether a medical marijuana initiative will, in fact, qualify for the November ballot.

DEAN BECKER: NORML has seniority in so far as trying to get these drug laws changed. You guys always manage to gather intellectual folks and people I’d knew in grassroots work at your annual convention. Tell us a little bit about that. It’s a little early but it’s not too early to plan.

PAUL ARMENTANO: Sure. If individuals are interested in attending our annual NORML conference it is going to take place the first weekend in October of this year and it will be taking place in downtown Los Angeles. Information regarding the agenda for the program and how to register are all available on the NORML website at http://www.norml.org

DEAN BECKER: You know, Paul, this brings to mind the fact that, as I stated earlier, more and more folks are beginning to understand how the hysteria has been interwoven, how the drug war survives through fear, basically. More and more people are beginning to speak out but I think…I guess what I’m wanting to say here is that more and more people need to speak out because knowing the truth doesn’t set you free unless you make use of it. Your response, Paul Armentano.

PAUL ARMENTANO: Well, I think you’re absolutely correct. Those individuals that are waiting for politicians to take the reins on this issue fail to realize that politicians rarely lead – they follow. It is up to the public to set the tone for which the politicians will eventually follow – not the other way around.

DEAN BECKER: Alright. Once again, friends, we’ve been speaking with Mr. Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. They are on your side – you should be on their side. Their website, http://www.norml.org


DAVID LETTERMAN: Let’s go back out there on Broadway. I want to just see what’s happening now. Turn on the thing. Let’s see.

Oh, there he is.

MAN ON THE STREET: Is this good pot?

DEALER: Absolutely. This is the pot that Mitt Romney will be on when he debates Obama.

DAVID LETTERMAN: He’s selling weed, ladies and gentlemen. Steve Martin Park – he’s selling weed. We’ll be right back with Brian Cranston.


DEAN BECKER: The following discussion takes place between Joe Rogan and Tommy Chong.


JOE ROGAN: So do you feel better now that you’ve altered your diet like this?

TOMMY CHONG: I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.

JOE ROGAN: That’s amazing.

TOMMY CHONG: And I got cancer. When you got cancer it’s just the nights are kind of long. You start telling, you know, scores and realizing I can see the end of the game…it’s the fourth quarter and we may not go into overtime. So you start….

Like last night I had a bad night. I’ve been doing most of my hemp oil or cannabis oil at night.

JOE ROGAN: Now explain to people the idea behind that because I’ve seen that Rick Simpson stuff online. Is he the guy that figured out…

TOMMY CHONG: He’s one of them.

JOE ROGAN: Is he a doctor?

TOMMY CHONG: No. He’s an old farmer from Nova Scotia. A right wing farmer, you know…

JOE ROGAN: Really?!

TOMMY CHONG: Well, Canadian, eh?! Yeah.

JOE ROGAN: A right wing farmer from…

TOMMY CHONG: Well, he used to be right wing. Everybody in Canada was right wing. You know, guns and militia and that.

What he did he had melanoma real bad and I don’t know who turned him onto it but they said “Try some hash oil. Put some hash oil on it.”

He was due into the doctor (who’s in the documentary) for an operation to get most of his jaw or cheek or something…no, it was in his eye, near his eye. The skin around his eye was going to be taken out.

So they put the hemp oil on it and it cured it - cured two other spots on his body, too. So he went into the doctor with his camera and the doctor threw him out.


TOMMY CHONG: Because they cured cancer. That’s a medical thing.

JOE ROGAN: But why would the doctor throw him out?

TOMMY CHONG: Because if word gets out…They’re charging…you know how much they charge. I just paid $280….

JOE ROGAN: But do you think the doctor himself wouldn’t want people to know about that if he came to the doctor and said…

TOMMY CHONG: The doctor wouldn’t talk to him.

JOE ROGAN: Really?!

TOMMY CHONG: He went over the test and said, “You don’t have cancer anymore. It’s gone.”

So you get the conversation going, “This is what cured me.” And the doctor would not hear it and the receptionist literally called for security.

JOE ROGAN: Where was this? What part of the world?

TOMMY CHONG: This was in ..up in Canada. So what he did he turned his friends on that had cancer because there’s a whole bunch of them up there – lung cancer, prostrate cancer…

JOE ROGAN: How do you…it’s applied topically…

TOMMY CHONG: If you’ve got skin you apply it topically.

JOE ROGAN: You eat it as well?

TOMMY CHONG: You eat it for everything else like prostrate.

JOE ROGAN: So for skin you don’t eat it as well as put it topically.

TOMMY CHONG: I imagine you could. You know, if you like…these guys …

JOE ROGAN: Because it doesn’t make you high, right?

TOMMY CHONG: Oh, it does.

JOE ROGAN: Oh, it does. So it’s essentially just hash oil.

TOMMY CHONG: I call it hemp oil and everybody says, “Oh, that’s good.” But you put hash in there…

JOE ROGAN: So it is the same thing. So if you take this it’s just like eating a strong edible.

TOMMY CHONG: Oh….strong…so you got to be very careful, very careful.

JOE ROGAN: I’ve had some of those liquid ones. They come in like a little vial of hemp oil.

TOMMY CHONG: The “lose a day” ones?

JOE ROGAN: Oh, “lose a day”…[laughing]

This is what it’s like as I described it. It’s like standing in front of a cosmic waterfall and you’re just able to poke your head through to the other side and look at the back behind the waterfall for a little bit.

TOMMY CHONG: [laughing] and then there’s another waterfall back there…

JOE ROGAN: That’s how high you get.

TOMMY CHONG: Ah man – I get the “staying in bed” high.

JOE ROGAN: So self examitory. It makes me want to apologize to everybody I’ve ever met. Everybody I’ve ever met, “I’m so sorry. Whatever I’ve done. I’m not a bad guy. I swear to God.”

TOMMY CHONG: I get out of bed…I take the medicine so on the video it showed him taking a little dollop on his fingertip so I did the same thing. He sent me a whole kit of the oil and these big plastic syringes that you decorate cakes with.

JOE ROGAN: It’s super hard to make, though, right?

TOMMY CHONG: Apparently.

CO-HOST: They make it next door at the school. They just…

JOE ROGAN: Cheese it, son.


JOE ROGAN: You want people to know where you are? Feds they’re out there, kid.

CO-HOST: No, they’re legally allowed to do it.

JOE ROGAN: There’s no such thing. There’s no such thing. For real. If somebody in Washington, D.C. is listening to this and they decide, “Let’s go and fuck those guys up.” There’s no law against that. Do you know that? The federal law supercedes the state law as far as their concerned.

TOMMY CHONG: That’s my whole point of my life now is to get this legal so I don’t have to sneak around to get my cancer medication.


TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. As the drug war, even though the ONDCP no longer calls it a war, drags on there is one thing that is apparent. With a large majority of our citizens now favoring medical cannabis and a majority favoring legalization of cannabis, our elected officials are not voting the will of the people when they vote to keep funding this failed policy. They are, however, probably voting the will of their contributors that favor keeping thing illegal so that they may continue to reap huge profits.

Today we have a branch of the federal government, the Dept. of Justice, that is conducting a policy of prohibition. This policy has eroded more of our rights than any other. We are searched without probably cause, our homes are invaded under the pretext of saving us from ourselves, our property is seized under laws meant to combat organized crime, and our police departments are permitting some of their officers to step all over the constitution when it comes to search warrants for drugs.

The reliance of drug sniffing dogs to get warrants has been proved to be questionable at best. Test have proven that dogs are wrong a majority of the time and are often “trick ponies” for their handlers and alerting to areas the handler wants them to alert to so that they can illegally search the person or vehicle. In one study the dogs were wrong 85% of the time.

Finally to Nevada State Troopers (K-9) officers have brought this into public view and have filed a lawsuit against the Las Vegas Police department. These illegal searches, if proven in court to have happened , will have a very significant affect on police searches and probably cost taxpayers millions of dollars in penalties for illegally arresting people and seizing property through these means.

I will gladly allow them the benefit of the doubt when searching for bombs or other wmd’s to protect our citizens from harm. I am opposed to searching one’s home or abode to look prohibitied products that cause no harm to others.
Also, The DOJ, through an over exuberant U.S. Attorney, has decided to move against medical cannabis dispensaries in California using these RICO statues designed to combat organized crime. These establishments are legal under state law and are operating as they are licensed to operate. The problem arises that the federal government seeks to control personal behavior through prohibition when there is no harm being caused to other citizens.

This is what the prohibition laws have brought us. Our police behaving badly, our courts corrupted with false testimony, frustration by the police on not being able to control something they are tasked to control, families broken up by illegal arrests and incarceration and a multitude of other issues.

Let’s try a new policy of abolishing prohibition and implementing a policy of credible education and treatment to deal with our drug problems. This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc signing off. Stay safe.


MALE 1: What’s the matter? Are you made at me or something?

MALE 2: Why do we have to start killing people, man? None of this shit would have ever happened if you hadn’t started killing people.

MALE 1: Well, drug dealers don’t qualify as people – never did, never will. Now what the hell is wrong with you?


AARON SMITH: We are just totally outraged that the federal government would escalate its war on medical marijuana providers despite repeated comments and statements under oath by Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, that they are limiting their enforcement action to state legal operations.

If you looked at the series of raids and other threatening tactics in California and Colorado and other states there seems to be absolutely no correlation between state law violation and their enforcement actions so we’re calling on the Attorney General to specifically let us know what these allegations are and if there are state law violations why not allow these medical marijuana providers due process under their state laws.

DEAN BECKER: My friends, those are the words of Aaron Smith. He’s the Executive Director of the Cannabis Industry.

Now you guys have tried to awaken the public and you’re also trying to stir up these politicians to defend their actions, correct?

AARON SMITH: Yeah, that’s right. We’re the only national industry association that represents medical cannabis businesses in Washington, D.C. We’re telling elected officials that for every one of these actions they’re not only sending legitimate, seriously ill patients into the black market to obtain their medicine but they’re putting thousands of people out of work by conducting a series of tactics against the industry.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, and Aaron, the fact of the matter is, you know, we have politicians globally, a lot of politicians in the U.S. beginning to speak for this need for the investigation and for a change to these policies, to the enactment of these policies, correct?

AARON SMITH: Yeah, that’s right. The House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, just recently, once again, stated that congress should take up medical marijuana and kind of hinted that next year that would be on the agenda if we have a Democratic house.

The winds have definitely shifted and it’s baffling to me that somebody as politically astute as Barack Obama would allow his administration to conduct activities that’s counter to the public opinion upwards to 80% of Americans support this now. It’s about time the president who’s admitted to using marijuana quite a bit himself came around on this.

DEAN BECKER: Him and his Choom gang – you betcha.

Now the fact of the matter is, Aaron, we have a situation where Harborside Health Center…I’ve toured it a couple times. I’ve seen how they do business and I can’t, for the life of me, see where they are violating any state or local law so the feds are going to go after them purely on a federal level?

AARON SMITH: Well, that’s what it looks like. There’s no allegation of state law violation that I know of and the community is strongly supportive of Harborside in Oakland as well as the Oakland City Council which permits its operation. It’s organized as a legal collective under state law. There’s absolutely no justification for this and this isn’t the first time, by any means, that we’ve seen some of these operations that are beyond reproach attacked and shut down by the federal government.

In Oakland we saw Oaksterdam University had the paramilitary-style raid on the collective’s end of school just down the road at OU. There was no indication that they were violating state law and certainly no allegations made by the feds. It’s completely absurd that anyone would believe Eric Holder, and, again, his sworn testimony before congress when he says they are limiting their actions to state law violators.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Aaron, I see shades of similarity with what’s going on with comparing to what happened to Mr. Marc Emery up in Canada for his brazen spokesmanship for changing these laws and the Oaksterdam University you’re talking about. There’s no more forthright champion of changing these laws than Richard Lee and Harborside…Steve DeAngelo and associates have been bold in speaking of this need for change. Is this just a way to defund, to defang our movement?

AARON SMITH: Well, if it is I think it’s foolish. They could be going after the quite operators who are operating on the margins but, instead, they’re going after these very high profile, very well-respected medical cannabis providers. This certainly, I guess I can’t really speak for Steve, but I am pretty confident that Steve DeAngelo and his team are here to stay. This is only going to increase the level of respect that they have in the community and increase the volume on their voice. And, hopefully, this will galvanize not only the medical cannabis community but just the community at large that supports this issue to really push for federal law change and to put pressure onto not only the Obama administration but on the Obama campaign which, ironically, is hosting a fundraiser in Oakland in the heart of Oaksterdam at the Fox Theater on July 23rd.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we are speaking with Mr. Aaron Smith. He’s the Executive Director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

You know, Aaron, you mentioned the fact that the feds raided Oaksterdam and what’s not, I don’t know, sunk in for many people – it took a division of local law enforcement to protect the federal agents while they were “doing their job” and at that same time a person was murdered just a scant block or two away. Your thoughts there.

AARON SMITH: Yeah, it’s just despicable. In fact, just in the last couple days an open government activist in Oakland revealed that he had done a Freedom of Information quest with the city and obtained internal memos from the OPD which indicated that the DEA did not provide any kind of notice. I believe they found out that the raid was going to occur just five hours before. They indicated that it strained their resources and they were exposed to risks that was unnecessary.

So, again, if these guys are alleging a state law violation why is it not under the purvue and the jurisdiction of the state and local law enforcement? The DEA is not even telling the local law enforcement of their intent until the last minute so, you know, this unfortunately happen to occur on a date when we had a really horrible tragedy in Oakland and who knows how that could have gone if the OPD had all of its resources available to put toward capturing that shooter rather than crowd control as they kicked in the door of the one of the most popular and most well-respected businesses in that neighborhood.

DEAN BECKER: I’d like for you to share your website so they can learn more and get involved, please.

AARON SMITH: It’s http://www.thecannabisindustry.org We’re doing essentially what every other industry has done which is ban together to advance our interests and defend our interests at the national level.


DEAN BECKER: We have a few seconds left. The following is part of a press conference featuring Steve DeAngelo, the President of Harborside Health Center. This press conference was held following the announcement that the feds are trying to take away their property, take away their money, their cash, their weed, their potential all because Harborside is so big – it must be doing something wrong. At least, according to the U.S. Attorney.


STEVE DeANGELO: I think the reason that the government is doing this now is because Oakland and other jurisdictions that have regulated medical cannabis have created a real alternative to the failed policies of the drug war.

Instead of spending billions and billions of dollars to enrich criminal cartels what we have done is we have created a system of regulated cannabis distribution that has taken patients out of the hands of criminal market place, that has deprived street gangs and cartels of hundreds of millions of dollars, and has created hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, that has increased the safety of our neighborhoods and lowered our law enforcement costs.

These benefits stand in stark contrast to the failed policies still pursued by the U.S. Attorneys.


DEAN BECKER: We’ve been too damn serious. From their third album, The Hicks, “Marijuana Chronicles”, the song, “Roll a joint.”


[toking noise, exhale and coughing]


Roll a joint, take a toke, pass it down the line.

Take a puff of that sticky stuff it’s bound to blow your mind.

Phatties when I’m grooving, roaches when I’m dry.

Skinners when I’m hard up and sweet bud when I die.

Roll a joint, take a toke, pass it down the line.

Take a puff of that sticky stuff it’s bound to blow your mind.

Now the courts have called it trouble for a joint you go to jai.l

For a working man to pay double for a banker you’ll get bail.

Roll a joint, take a toke, pass it down the line.

Take a puff of that sticky stuff it’s bound to blow your mind.


DEAN BECKER: Ah, yes, The Hicks. That was a segment from their new song, “Roll a joint.”

You know the drug war is coming to an end. I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see that happen. It may take a year. It may take another hundred years but the fact of the matter is it’s really up to you. How soon you can develop the courage, the intellect, the motivation to do your part to bring this madness to an end.

There is no justification for this. Please visit our website, http://www.endprohibition.org Do it for the children. 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.

Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org