This week we hear from Paul Stanford and Teressa Raiford at the Global Marijuana March in Portland, Oregon, and from Deborah Small at the Patients Out of Time conference in Jersey City.
Century of Lies
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Patients Out Of Time
Sat, 06/09/2018 - 16:12
CENTURY OF LIES
JUNE 3, 2018
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.
DOUG MCVAY: Welcome to Century Of Lies. I'm your host Doug McVay, editor of DrugWarFacts.org.
A lot of stuff this week, so let's get to it. First the Global Marijuana March was May Fifth. Got some good audio from that, and we're going to hear some of that now.
I'm speaking with my good friend Paul Stanford. He is the founder and director of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp. He has been an activist for peace and social justice and marijuana reform for as long or longer than me and that's honestly saying quite a lot. Paul, how the heck are you doing, man?
PAUL STANFORD: I'm doing really well, you know, I remember back in 1984 when we both came here to Oregon, with Jack Herer, and to follow John Sajo, to work on the second marijuana petition in the history of the United States. And we've been at it ever since. I'm doing well. thank you.
DOUG MCVAY: I'm glad, I tell you, we've made a lot of progress.
PAUL STANFORD: That's true. That's true. There's more to be made, we're not there a hundred percent yet. There's a lot of places you can be thrown in jail, and there are people in prison here in the United States for life without the possibility of parole, some being executed, so, there's farther to go.
DOUG MCVAY: We're here at the Global Marijuana March, some may ask, as they do every year, when it's Hempstalk, or whether it's Hempfest, or any of the other reasons, they always ask, well, you've got partial legalization, you've got, you know, medical for people who can afford their own homes or who have a caregiver. So why are you still out here? Why are we still out here, Paul?
PAUL STANFORD: Because we need to educate people that hemp should be used for fuel, should be used for fiber, should be used instead of alcohol in most cases, in our opinion. So -- and to educate people about, you know, the oldest and most productive crop. Hemp's been cultivated over 25,000 years.
We could replace almost all petroleum and almost all plastic with hemp derived seed oil. Protein, fiber, and until we can make those ecological changes, the, you know, hemp is good medicine for people, but it's also medicine for the earth. And so, we have to educate people about that. We're not there yet.
DOUG MCVAY: Now, behind me, behind us on the stage right now is our good friend Elvy Musikka, talking about legalization, reform, and all the good work she's doing. She and I were guests on your local show here. You do a show here in Portland. How long have you been doing that?
PAUL STANFORD: Twenty-two years. We started in 1996. I was on other people's shows in the late '80s and early '90s here in Portland, and somebody asked me, a guy named Lanny Swerdlow, who's very active in California still today, he lived here in Portland and did the first 120 shows, and that was back in 1996, so we've done almost a thousand shows over twenty-two years.
DOUG MCVAY: And it's Cannabis Common Sense, right? Now, it's -- I used to have cable when I was, you know, living up here in southeast Portland, and I'd see your show on quite a lot, actually. I don't have cable anymore, but, I can still catch it online, right? It streams, Cannabis Common Sense streams. All right, where do you find it?
PAUL STANFORD: It streams live on our Facebook page, at facebook.com/restorehemp, and it's also on Youtube. It doesn't stream live on Youtube, but it is posted generally within 24 or 48 hours, and just look up Cannabis Common Sense and you can see hundreds of them. Literally, we have an archive with 800 hours or more of video.
DOUG MCVAY: You had me, you had Elvy, obviously you have some great guests. Who are some of the other folks we'll end up finding?
PAUL STANFORD: You know, Jack Herer was on many times, Keith Stroup, the founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Lots of different people. Lawrence Cherniak back in the day, for those old enough to know who that guy is. The list goes on and on. Anthony Taylor, Anthony Johnson, Sarah Duff. Like I said, I could just keep naming people.
DOUG MCVAY: And you're naming people in the crowd, too, as I think about it, it's like, these are good.
So, I missed your -- didn't get a chance to tape you when you were speaking. What were you talking about, what do you hope the takeaways are that people get from what you had to say?
PAUL STANFORD: That hemp and cannabis still need further reform, further deregulation, and that it's the oldest and most productive crop, you know, it's been cultivated at least 25,000 years, maybe twice that, you know.
So, agriculture, civilization itself, sprang from hemp and cannabis, and we need to return to using hemp and cannabis for fuel, for plastics, biodegradable plastics, nontoxic alternatives.
DOUG MCVAY: So, any closing thoughts for the listeners, and, oh heavens, let's see, let's get the -- let me get your website here, too.
PAUL STANFORD: It's CRRH.org, that's CRRH.org, or you can go to facebook.com/restorehemp.
TERESSA RAIFORD: I'm Teressa Raiford, and I'm a candidate for mayor for 2020, and I'm also the founder of a social justice organization called Don't Shoot Portland, which seeks police accountability and community engagement.
DOUG MCVAY: Teressa, this is of course the Global Marijuana March. You were just up there speaking a moment ago. Lord knows whether my recording came off, so could you tell folks the gist of what you're trying -- what you hope people take away?
TERESSA RAIFORD: Well, one of the biggest things is the health access for people that are living in marginalized communities to marijuana, not only medical marijuana, but also recreational use, and not only just the marijuana form but also access to RSO oils and having access to them through our health departments and our programming that is supposed to help us legitimize the health resources that are found in the plants.
We all know the science behind it, but we haven't found any legislators or any political leaders in regards to building that health infrastructure and outreach and accessibility, and so that's something that I'm very serious about, because in the time that we were pushing for the legalization, in the forefront of my mind was the medical access and how we would integrate that into society.
Another thing that I'm standing here and I was speaking about from that platform was public consumption, public use and consumption, which goes again hand in hand with the medical necessity and also the recreational use of it.
We already know that a lot of times that police are saying that weed is a gateway drug, and they tend to criminalize certain communities for access and use of it, and so to take away that criminalization and the violence of being humiliated and prosecuted through our courts for something that we all know is legal, we've all spent our time and energy fighting for the legalization.
We need to start a social justice framework for use, and I think partnering with organizations like mine and activists that have been fighting for accessibility and the decriminalization of our bodies, that that makes sense. I said some things like we don't need people doing it for us, we need people to do it with us, and I also gave a call to action for the industry to use their funding to create the infrastructure and the outreach that needs to be done.
We used to have to depend on elected officials, we used to have to depend on people that had influence and access to power, but now we have growers, now we have budtenders, now we have people that are in the industry in several different capacities that actually have the financial power that it takes to build campaigns and build movements that are necessary and make change.
And I'm just hoping that that's something that happens. We need to build our own political leaders, and we need to start depending on what we know, and what we trust, because we've been right. We've been making it, but we don't have to move that slow as we have been.
DOUG MCVAY: Teressa, you -- you're a candidate here in Portland, you're -- the organization you work with, Don't Shoot PDX, is doing tremendous work. Drug policy reform movement, I know this is rooted in social justice, but a lot of people have come into it because they've heard of marijuana, the marijuana business. But, once they start doing it, I think they understand, this is about social justice.
What can people in drug policy reform, people like me, be doing to be better allies and to help support the work you're doing with Don't Shoot PDX, and some of the other work that you're doing generally?
TERESSA RAIFORD: Being a better ally 101 is hiring people from those marginalized communities to be a part of the outreach and the research that's going on, in order to develop systems that are not system of oppression and are not centered in white supremacy, you have to bring people that have been effected by those issues.
A lot of people that are well meaning, and now are seeing their whiteness and are seeing how the constructs have created the oppression of others, they still haven't seen fit the opportunity to put other people in a position to dismantle those systems.
And I think the only way to remove a noose from your neck is not to count on the same system that helped apply it, but to give power to those people that had it, and see what you can do to strengthen that up.
We have to do that. It takes courage and integrity, but like I said, right now, there's an overwhelming support system in place for this industry, and that gives you an opportunity to be more courageous than what legislative action would usually give us access to.
Legislators tell us it takes five years to get a bill passed, and that once that bill is passed that they'll have the funding to do the research to apply what needs to be applied in order to create structural change. We're already a part of the change, we're already in the structures, and now we have our own funding, so now we need to use that to mandate our own financing, build the leadership models that need to be done, and then duplicate them in different parts of the country.
DOUG MCVAY: Any closing thoughts for my listeners, and where can people find out more about the work that you do? Like, your website and also your twitter.
TERESSA RAIFORD: Awesome. My twitter is @Teressa_Raiford, and my website for my campaign is Teressa for Mayor PDX, teressaraifordformayor.com, you could google, and you can go there and you can donate, you can volunteer, you can see our events.
These events are all on there. I'll be at the capitol in August, making sure that I back that up, all the stuff that we've been talking about. And also for Don't Shoot PDX, we do a lot of social justice work, education, and community outreach, and you can find more information about our work on dontshootpdx.org.
DOUG MCVAY: Teressa Raiford, thank you so much for all you do. Thank you.
TERESSA RAIFORD: Thank you.
DOUG MCVAY: Those are interviews with Paul Stanford and also Teressa Raiford.
And for me, this, this is our May Day. This is our day to reach out in solidarity with others and say, we are your neighbors, we're your friends, we're your family members. We smoke weed. We like weed. We think that pot should be legal.
And we ask you people to join with us in calling for that. It's not so we can have a party. I could have a party anytime. If it weren't for legalization and drug policy reform work, I'd have a lot more time for partying. All right? I'm doing this because it's important, because it's about freedom, because it's about justice, and it's because it's what's right.
Social justice is where it's at. There's a thing called harm reduction, where you try to reduce the harms that people do to themselves, and you manage the risks that people expose themselves to.
Drinking, drinking alcohol, maybe just one drink an hour so that your body metabolizes. That's called harm reduction. Not taking a shot of whiskey to wash down your opiates, that's harm reduction, because you could kill yourself doing that. Smoking marijuana to relieve your minor pains rather than taking an opioid, that's harm reduction. Okeh?
Simple concept. When we give out clean syringes to people who insist on injecting drugs, people who inject drugs are people too, they're our friends, they're our family members, they're our sisters and our brothers, they're our parents. They're our spouses. They're our partners. They're our friends. They're people. So we can either leave them to get sick and to die, or we can do something about it. Right?
Now, Portland, there are handful of people who've been working for a little while, and it's getting a little bigger, trying to put something together called a supervised injection facility. I know, a little off topic, this is a weed thing, but you know, we got here because of drug policy reform, and we got here, because people were willing to break the law to do what they think is right.
Now, we have a syringe exchange that's run by the county in this area, Multnomah County, a wonderful thing, but we need more because of the overdose crisis and because really resources are just being outstripped. So a lot of folks are working to get this area to consider a supervised consumption facility, a safe consumption space. A safe injection facility.
The city of New York is running close. King County Seattle is trying. They're trying to get this done in San Francisco, they hope to have it in fact by sometime this summer, down in San Francisco. Portland, it's our turn. We've been a leader in all this stuff. We've been a leader in marijuana legalization and medical marijuana, and in harm reduction, for a very long time.
It's because people like you come out to events like this and let elected leaders and officials and just these -- I'll be nice -- people in places like Studio On The Square, we let them know that we really are serious. That we want this stuff to change and we're not going to go away until it's happened. And frankly, we're still going to be here because it's still not going to be perfect, and there's still a lot of work to be done.
Sure we have medical, but god help you if you live in an apartment or federally subsidized housing. Sure, we have legalization, of course, do be careful if you try and consume out here, because it's illegal to consume in public, and there are very likely people who would have you arrested. And so, you know -- we ready? --
RAFAEL MARTINEZ, JR.: Whenever you're ready.
DOUG MCVAY: Okeh. I'm going to get through and wrap this up in a second. So here's the thing. Marijuana legalization is a great thing. Drug decriminalization is absolutely vital. Harm reduction is important.
All this stuff is why I do what I do. Again, my name is Doug McVay, DrugWarFacts.org, you can find a lot more information on all this stuff I've been talking about. I want to thank you all for being here. You are beautiful! Happy May Day!
Yes, that was me, I also spoke at the Global Marijuana March. I do go out in public every once in a while. That audio comes to us courtesy of Russ Belville, a journalist, radio talk host, host of The Marijuana Agenda, and of course from 420Radio.org. My good friend, Russ, I do thank him very much for that audio. You can also catch the video on Facebook, if you want to check it out.
You're listening to Century of Lies. We're a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation Radio Network, on the web at DrugTruth.net. I'm your host Doug McVay, editor of DrugWarFacts.org.
Now, the Patients Out of Time conference did take place a week or so after that. One of the smartest people I've ever met, one of the best advocates I've ever met, Deborah Small, was one of the speakers. Let's hear from Deb.
DEBORAH SMALL: There are three main points that I want to leave you with in the conversation around children and families. The first has to do with this assertion I want to make, that I believe is true, that a marijuana arrest is more harmful to any person, particularly a young person, than the use of marijuana.
I want to just say that again: that when you're talking about harms, that the harm of an arrest for marijuana possession is more long lasting, to almost any individual, regardless of their age but particularly for a young person, than the use of marijuana. I don't know too many people who have engaged in violent or negative behavior under the influence of marijuana, but I know a lot of that has happened inside of our jails and prisons.
And in many ways, an arrest for marijuana acts as a form of "Head Start" to prison, and the thing I want to say around that, which I really think is important because when we were doing this work in New York, people would constantly say to us, but most of the people who are arrested for possession, they don't end up in prison. So it's really not that bad. They might get arrested, you know, they might spend a night in jail, but most of them are not going to prison so like what's the harm?
And I said to them, how would you feel about having to be strip searched, fingerprinted, have your personal information entered into a criminal justice database, because that's what happens for every person who's arrested, regardless of whether or not they end up going to jail or in prison. So I think it's important, when we talk about harms related to marijuana, that we actually distinguish between the issues related to mass incarceration and mass criminalization.
We have a conversation in the country right now that acknowledges that mass incarceration is a major problem and a waste of resources, but we don't have that same conversation around criminalization, which is why you get so little pushback to the idea of having drug tests as a requirement for all kinds of things, not just for public benefits, but in many school districts, young people have to be willing to submit to drug tests as a condition for being able to participate in school based activities, in athletic activities and extracurricular activities.
They have to prove that they're drug free. I wish they had the same rules for sugar, but, that's another conversation.
The second point I wanted to make is that there is a distinction between using drugs and having drugs use you. And for this I want to like draw on my experience as a parent. I raised my son in New York City, and because he knew me, he knew a lot of people who use drugs. Mostly marijuana, but not exclusively.
And so, he didn't grow up in a household that had a zero tolerance policy around drugs, or even a belief that drugs were bad. At the same token, as a parent, I didn't want my son using marijuana at 13 and 14. So I had a conversation with him around drugs, very similar to the conversation I had with him about sex, and the conversation was that both of those things were healthy, but, how good they would or would not be for you depended on who you were and how old you were when you initiated those activities.
So I didn't want him to think that sex was a bad thing. I'm like, sex is a great thing, but it will be better for you if you wait until you're old enough to be able to use it responsibly, than if you start having sex at 11, 12, 13, even though your hormones might be telling you to. I'm like delay.
That was the same conversation I had with him about drugs. People use drugs because they're good, because they make them feel good. I think we have this crazy conversation that somehow if you make kids believe that drugs are horrible things, that they won't use them, but that's not true. That's not why anybody ever used them. And personally I've always thought of addiction as being a good relationship gone bad.
So in the same way that I wanted my son to have healthy love relationships, I wanted him to have healthy relationships with drugs. So we discussed all the different drugs that were out there, and the ways in which people use them, and don't use them, and one of the things I did with him is I would walk around the neighborhood with him, and I would point out people, and I'm like, this is a person whose drugs are using them. They're not using the drugs, the drugs are using them.
I really want you to get the distinction. Now, on the other hand, you know, he had friends, I had friends, that were responsible, working adults who also used drugs responsibly. I'm like, this is the difference between using a drug and having the drug use you. The older you are when you initiate use, the more likely it is that you'll be able to use the drug as opposed to having it use you, because your brain will be developed enough for you to be able to figure out what moderation looks like for you.
Now, many of my son's friends had an issue with the fact that I engaged in drug education that way, and that I allowed my son to smoke in our home. My feeling was that as a harm reductionist, I much preferred to have him use marijuana in our house, where I could observe him and his friends, than have him out on the street, and be potentially subject to arrest, that I could make sure that he wasn't using marijuana and alcohol, and other drugs, and that he knew that -- and that I knew and he knew that the source of his marijuana was a place that wasn't going to taint it with things like PCP and other drugs.
I mean, I believe it's important to provide young people with the tools that they need to be able to engage in their lives as safely as possible. All parents want to shield their children from all harm, but unless we're going to wrap them up in a bubble and carry them around, we're not going to be able to do that.
So for me, I think it's really important to interact with young people in an age-appropriate way, and to give them the kinds of tools that will enable them to negotiate all the different experiences that they'll have in their lives as productively and safely as possible.
And then the third point that I wanted to make is that a pregnant woman is a person, not a baby delivery vehicle. And I know it should go without saying, but it seems like in this country we -- women lose their personhoods when they become pregnant, because the whole conversation becomes about what kind of vessel is she for the health of her baby?
Her own health becomes almost secondary, and all the other things that factor into her being healthy are considered unimportant except for her own individual behavior. And so, in that -- and it doesn't matter what kind of drug we're talking about. I mean, it's really interesting to me. People who have reasonable attitudes about alcohol become unreasonable when they're talking about women, and pregnancy.
Now, I'm not standing here as a person who's advocating for people to use drugs, alcohol and other substances, while pregnant, but what I am advocating for is for us to treat pregnant women as the full human beings that they are, and to support them into being healthy and happy, and not just focus on the life that they're bringing into being.
And the example that I want to give to illustrate this point is this, and if I seem a little angry in the moment, it's because I am around this particular issue, in that, in the work that I've been doing with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, I have seen pregnant and parenting women be literally verbally assaulted by judges in court for the fact that they maybe took a drink, or that they tested positive for marijuana, like that was ipso facto proof that they were not worthy mothers, that they couldn't be good mothers, because they had this drug in their body.
And for some of those women, they were threatened with loss of custody, some were threatened with being locked up, based on these drug tests. In many parts of the country, unfortunately, in rural areas where doctors and other people know a lot about people's health backgrounds, they literally wait for these women to show up in the hospital so that they can lock them up and take their children away, on the basis of their drug use, totally separate from whether or not there's actual proof of harm.
You know, back in the '80s, we had this whole hysteria around crack babies. People still talk about that like it's a thing. But there's no such thing as a crack baby, and there's no such thing as an addicted baby. We're hearing that now, inside the whole opiate crisis, where there's newspaper articles about how are we going to save these addicted babies?
Addiction is a set of behaviors that babies are not capable of expressing. A baby can be drug dependent, or chemically exposed, but what they cannot be is addicted. So when you call a baby addicted, what you're really saying is that that child has a bad mother, that the mother is addicted, and that somehow she infected her baby with her addiction.
And again, that's simply not true. So I raise this to say that we really need to think differently about it, and that example for me that made it so clear, like how hypocritical we are about this, is what happened in Flint, Michigan, where you had women who were forced to drink lead polluted water. There is no question about the harms associated with lead poisoning, to children, to adults, to people. It's been scientifically proven for over a hundred years, the kind of damage that is done to the physical body and to the physical brain as a result of lead poisoning.
The quote unquote "harms" of drug use have yet to be specifically proven, particularly with respect to marijuana. And yet, we will lock a woman up who fails a drug test, but we take no action against the water polluters who've made that woman ingest lead, which is going to hurt both her and her baby. Tell me who from Michigan has been held accountable for all the children that were poisoned? From drinking lead polluted water for over a year.
There were women who were in jails and treatment programs in Flint, Michigan, who had no choice and no option to get bottled water, who were pregnant, and who then had to live with the guilt of having a child that they knew was going to be impaired because of that poisoning, but there is no legal accountability for that. And no one has called the people who poisoned the water criminals.
So, I ask you again: like, what's the real crime? And what's, where is the punishment?
DOUG MCVAY: That was Deborah Small, speaking at the Patients Out of Time conference in Jersey City, New Jersey. That conference took place May 10 through 12. Again, full disclosure, I do work with Patients Out of Time doing website and social media.
And well, that's it for this week. I want to thank you for joining us. You have been listening to Century of Lies. We're a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation Radio Network, on the web at DrugTruth.net. I’m your host Doug McVay, editor of DrugWarFacts.org.
The executive producer of the Drug Truth Network is Dean Becker. Drug Truth Network programs are available via podcast, the URLs to subscribe are on the network home page at DrugTruth.net.
The Drug Truth Network is on Facebook, please give its page a like. Drug War Facts is on Facebook too, give its page a like and share it with friends. Remember: Knowledge is power. Follow me on Twitter, I'm @DougMcVay and of course also @DrugPolicyFacts.
We'll be back next week with thirty more minutes of news and information about drug policy reform and the drug war. For now, for the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay saying so long. So long!
DOUG MCVAY: For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition: the century of lies. Drug Truth Network programs archived at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.