Phil Smith of Stop the Drug War re hemp law hoopla, Paul Stanford re release of new movie Green Goddess, pep talk from Trump, Volcano benefits COPD patient, DTN Editorial
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Stop the Drug War
Sat, 11/23/2019 - 15:27
AUGUST 14, 2019
DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker, your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection, and the liars who support the drug war that empowers terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent U.S. gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.
I tell you what friends welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I am feeling a bit lazy today so I am going to let our first guest introduce himself and lead us in our discussion. Mr. Phil Smith, how are you, sir?
PHIL SMITH: I am fine and dandy, Dean. I should let your listeners know that I am the editor of both the Drug War Chronicle and the Independent Media Institute’s Drug Reporter and I have been writing about drugs and drug policy for an awful long time now, at least a couple of decades.
DEAN BECKER: Yes you have. What is the hot button? What is going on?
PHIL SMITH: I want to talk about hemp.
DEAN BECKER: Let’s talk.
PHIL SMITH: There are a couple of things going on with hemp that are pretty exciting with unintended consequences of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized the industrial production of hemp; which is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC. First off, it has taken off like crazy. I moved to southern Oregon which is the traditional pot growing area of Oregon and the countryside is covered in hemp plants by the thousands of acres. I just did an article about Oregon hemp production and it has increased from a hundred acres in 2015, to 22,000 acres this year.
DEAN BECKER: Wow.
PHIL SMITH: So from 13 hemp farmers to 700 hemp farmers, and it is not just Oregon. We are seeing a dramatic increase in hemp production all over the country. It is up 25% over last year and it is on an exponential curve at this point. I don’t know how long that can be sustained. This may be a one or two year boom driven largely by CBD, because the Farm Bill defined hemp and products derived from it as not being subject to the Controlled Substances Act so I don’t know about Texas but around here and in many states you find CBD products everywhere; in drug stores, corner stores—
DEAN BECKER: Gas stations.
PHIL SMITH: Yes, you name it.
DEAN BECKER: We have it here and I want to add one quick thought and then you can continue on this subject because it is a hot item here as well. I just recently learned of a 75 year old lady who isn’t a drug reformer that happened to try some CBD because she heard about it on NBC and gave it a shot. It is helping her hips and she is walking properly again. Please continue Mr. Phil Smith.
PHIL SMITH: That is part of what I wanted to say about industrial hemp. It is really booming and I should add that in my part of the country farmers that are growing industrial hemp are getting about $500 a pound for the buds. That is damn near as much as these outdoor growers can get for their marijuana so what has happened here in southern Oregon at least and I suspect in other places as well is some pot growers have switched over to hemp.
DEAN BECKER: Well the knowledge has got to transfer over wouldn’t you think?
PHIL SMITH: Absolutely. It is the same species of plant. The other thing I wanted to talk about with hemp is really fascinating because it is no longer considered marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, it is really screwing up marijuana possession prosecutions in all of these states that legalized hemp.
DEAN BECKER: You got it.
PHIL SMITH: They didn’t mean to do that but that is what has happened. Prosecutors in Florida counties including Miami Dade say that they are going to quit prosecuting pot cases because they can’t prove that it is pot as opposed to hemp with their current drug tests. It is also messing up drug dogs. Drug dogs can’t tell the difference between hemp and pot.
DEAN BECKER: They are unemployed now.
PHIL SMITH: Or they need to be shortly. We have had 46 states legalize hemp production since the Farm Bill passed in 2018. I would wager that every one of these states has the same problem with pot possession prosecutions now. They are just not worth the effort now. You have to go to a fancy lab to differentiate between low THC hemp and high THC marijuana. So I think this hemp legalization has effectively really screwed up marijuana prohibition.
DEAN BECKER: I am with you. I have been posting about that the last couple of days myself. In fact, just before this show is airing I was supposed to be in downtown Houston doing a hemp smoke in. I haven’t been feeling well with the heat so I decided not to do it this week; but the whole point being that if it is legal and every gas station and convenience store is selling it then why not? I was just going to sit down on the smoker’s bench outside of the courthouse and light up a cigarette that happened to contain hemp.
PHIL SMITH: Right?!
DEAN BECKER: I just wanted to see what would happen. I was going to tell all of the media, the district attorney, and the police chief so that I don’t frighten anybody. I was just going to smoke a cigarette. What is your thought on that?
PHIL SMITH: (LAUGHTER) Bring it on! I have to say that I went to the corner store here in southern Oregon a couple of nights ago and they now have hemp cigarettes.
DEAN BECKER: Yeah. They have them here in Houston as well. They are selling eighths of an ounce for fifty bucks. It is crazy. The point I would like to say here is that the D.A. and I had a great discussion about this about six weeks ago and she agrees with pretty much what you and I have been saying but it all has got to be hashed out over the coming months. They say that they are not going to prosecute for small amounts, we are going to confiscate it and possibly test it at some point down the road if we can afford a machine or find one. To me that says that if I have hemp in my car that is low-THC at .02, and you just stole my product. I am going to sue your butt. What is your thought there?
PHIL SMITH: That sounds like a very effective civil recourse. I highly recommend anyone who has their hemp (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to do that.
DEAN BECKER: Right. Because maybe eventually they will just give up on trying to persecute this plant that has never killed anybody.
PHIL SMITH: At this stage it is a waste of resources to come up with more advanced testing. How much do you want to pay to figure out if this joint is hemp or recreational marijuana?
DEAN BECKER: Yes.
PHIL SMITH: It is a question of the effective use of public resources. That is our tax money that those law enforcement people are spending to throw us in jail for pot.
DEAN BECKER: The same holds true with these vaporizer cartridges with CBD.
PHIL SMITH: Yes.
DEAN BECKER: People are making CBD edibles now and it just goes across the board to incorporate all the things that they have been prosecuting people for in the past. They are guessing now in essence. They are paranoid and guessing is my summation. What is your thought on that, Phil Smith?
PHIL SMITH: Hemp has thrown a real wrench in the works. No one thought about this but here it is and now all of these prosecutors and state attorneys general are having to deal with it. My advice to them is at this late stage to just give it up.
DEAN BECKER: Yes.
PHIL SMITH: Let’s not waste any more resources on this.
DEAN BECKER: Wasn’t it La Guardia airport in New York? He never really got on board in the first place for the alcohol prohibition back then and he finally said if they wanted to bust people for alcohol in New York they would have to send in the Feds because they were not going to help. What they have got to realize is that this prohibition has no real merit to it and certainly not for marijuana and it does empower certain gangster types here and there. It doesn’t really do much to contribute to society other than give people a black mark on their record. Wrap it up for us here would you, Phil?
PHIL SMITH: Marijuana prohibition continues despite everything for a number of reasons one of which is that there are vested interests behind maintaining the status quo and one doesn’t have to go to conspiracy theory here. I am talking about people such as law enforcement agencies, prison guard unions –
DEAN BECKER: Treatment centers.
PHIL SMITH: Yes. All of them.
DEAN BECKER: Exactly. These legislators don’t have to do that and it doesn’t have to be their side job. They could have a cousin that has a urine testing outfit, or their uncle has stock in private prisons. You just never know. There are all of these financial influences that keep it tied together. What do you think?
PHIL SMITH: I think we are going to overcome them.
DEAN BECKER: I think so. The truth –
PHIL SMITH: We just have to be conscious of them, identify them, and work to neutralize them; and we will win.
DEAN BECKER: Thank you, sir. Do you have a website you would like to share or any closing thoughts?
PHIL SMITH: Come check out my work at www.stopthedrugwar.org, or you can also check out my work at the Independent Media Institute. You can find most of my stuff on www.alternet.org most of the time.
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DEAN BECKER: Ladies and gentlemen please put your ears closer to the speaker. It is time for our daily pep talk with the profound and patriotic pronouncements of the President.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Of course I hate these people. Let’s all hate these people because maybe hate is what we need if we are going to get something done.
DEAN BECKER: I smoked Marlboro’s for approximately 48 years and the best I can estimate I smoked 70 pack years of tobacco with my best estimate of total cigarettes smoked being one half million cigarettes. I now have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or what folks used to call emphysema and it is kicking my ass. I quit tobacco a few years back and I still had the ability to lift boxes, crawl under cars, and do most of the chores and tasks that I had always done but in the last year or two the ease of doing these tasks has become rather difficult. I have enjoyed smoking marijuana for more than 55 years but now because of the COPD, I can barely take a hit from a marijuana or hemp cigarette without coughing my head off, my face turning red as a beat, and without giving those around me a degree of concern. As a drug reporter I visit lots of drug conferences a year and most are in cannabis legal states where quite often vendors are selling cannabis and many others are offering samples of pipes, papers, portable vaporizers, and various smoking accoutrement. As soon as the COPD started kicking my butt I have tried switching over from joints which have always been my preferred method of smoking to the little pipes, one-hitters, personal vape pens, and larger apparatus to find that they all irritate and lead to red-faced bouts of coughing. Just last week after inquiring about their new release, I received a brand-new product from Storz & Bickel which is an in-home vaporizing device called The Hybrid. It resembles The Volcano, but besides the means to capture vapors in a refillable bag for ease of use it also features a hose mechanism that works much like a hookah. The end result; I can get high again if I am not too greedy, I keep the precise and easily adjustable temperature settings within reason, and I don’t keep increasing the heat to the plant matter it works marvelously.
Storz –Bickel started years ago with The Volcano and now with their new hybrid they have achieved what is for me a new means of enjoying the beautiful buds of today.
There is a strong chance these products might be available at your local head shop or other such store in your community. If not, you can learn more by going to www.storz-bickel.com.
DEAN BECKER: Folks today is a lazy day for me so I want my guest to just introduce himself. Would you please, Sir?
MALE VOICE: My name is Paul Stanford. I have been a cannabis activist for the past 40 or so years now. I was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Dallas, Texas. My mom still lives there but I now live in Oregon. I am also the Associate Producer and a minor actor in a movie that was just released this weekend named, The Green Goddess.
DEAN BECKER: I have had a chance to see the trailer and I want to say that I found it beautiful and astounding. It is interesting because it brings forward the heart of the cannabis movement, awareness, and the plant itself.
PAUL STANFORD: Yes, that was the point. We made it in to a comedy/adventure and it talks about cannabis being something to save the planet and it makes up a good story around that. It has over 500 special effects sequences, most of them pretty psychedelic. I am told that that is more than any other independent film. We had a lot of people that worked on Avatar and Titanic who basically donated their time to work on some of these scenes.
DEAN BECKER: That brings to mind something, Paul. A lot of people realize this, but maybe many of the listeners do not and that is the cannabis community is far and wide. It is well connected and it stands in support of one another and in progress toward recognizing the benefit and the futilities of the laws. Am I right?
PAUL STANFORD: That is true. Cannabis is the oldest and the most productive crop for fuel, fiber, food, medicine, and for fun as well. It has been grown for at least the last 25,000 years and it is integral in most societies going back. I could itemize those but…
DEAN BECKER: There is not enough time my friend!
PAUL STANFORD: No there is not but I do it in a lecture some times in various countries.
DEAN BECKER: We just have a few more minutes here. You mentioned food, fiber, and fuel. I shop at HEB grocery store and I love the store but they want to put my stuff in those white plastic bags. I always ask if they have paper because I don’t want to see those bags waving in the trees. I don’t want to see them floating in the river.
PAUL STANFORD: Here in Portland, Oregon they require that you use paper bags.
DEAN BECKER: Good.
PAUL STANFORD: They charge ten cents per plastic bag in California so it is like a disposable fee.
DEAN BECKER: What people also don’t recognize is that we could use hemp bags instead of the paper bags.
PAUL STANFORD: Hemp can replace all of the world’s plastic. In fact, I am going to be a speaker at the Texas Hemp Convention in Dallas on January 28, 29, and 30th talking about bringing hemp fuel, food, and fiber production to the state of Texas now that it is legal.
DEAN BECKER: Coincidentally, just today I heard from a relative of mine who just returned from Oregon and they talked about driving down the highway seeing nothing but thousands of hemp and marijuana plants growing. The number of dispensaries available, the reasonable prices, and no problems to speak of. Am I right?
PAUL STANFORD: Yes. There are more people growing low-THC CBD flowers and biomass for CBD production in southern Oregon than there are pear and grape growers combined. There is more acreage and more farmers doing it. Pears and grapes are major crops in southern Oregon and hemp is now bigger than both of those. Like your friend said and I have seen with my own eyes it is beginning. You can drive up both sides of the freeway and it is on both sides of the valley. Now we are growing sensemillia flower; what Texas needs to grow is hempseed oil to compete with the petrochemical industry because a lot of petroleum and plastics can be replaced with hempseed oil and that produces food and fiber to feed people and animals. Paper, rope, lace, linen, and building materials can be replaced with hemp.
DEAN BECKER: Exactly. Put the farmers back to work on a nice, productive crop.
PAUL STANFORD: Instead of the money going to the petrochemical giants it would go to our farmers and decentralize wealth and that is what we really need to see happen in this day and age, in my opinion.
DEAN BECKER: You got it.
PAUL STANFORD: Hopefully they will become supporters of public radio.
DEAN BECKER: Paul, I want to come back to your movie. I have had a chance to look at it and I want to say that I feel sympathy and empathy from it. I think it was Jack Herer who said that marijuana may not solve everything but it is the only thing that might or something to that effect.
PAUL STANFORD: Yes. People often talk about there being some time left for these changes to be made. The time is long past. Now it is just a matter of saving what is left. Hemp can help save what is left. This movie focuses on that in a fun, comedic way with some incredible special effects and we are hoping that people will go out there and take a look at the trailer. We are selling the movie online for $4.20, and we are going to use some of the first proceeds to try to pitch it to Netflix as what they call a content aggregator which Netflix requires.
DEAN BECKER: More power to them I guess.
PAUL STANFORD: You can see the trailer and buy the movie if you can at: www.greengoddessmovie.com.
DEAN BECKER: I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the pictures of those sensemillia plants you guys grow and I was –
PAUL STANFORD: I have grown for Willy Nelson for a number of years.
DEAN BECKER: Oh, man. I have smoked some of that then on the bus with Willy before.
PAUL STANFORD: I was actually in Austin the day that Willie was busted for taxes in December 1990. He was meeting with me which they say was one of the reasons they were after him.
PAUL STANFORD: I can’t speak to that.
DEAN BECKER: I was a guerilla gardener. I would go out and plant in the winter and hope that something came up. I would go back about every month or so and cut back the weeds. I planted on old farms back then. There were farms and ranches all over Harris County, and I would just look for the most remote area. There were a lot of them back 20 years ago. There would usually be a patch where the ragweed was 15 feet tall and the dirt was so loose. You could just dig two feet deep with your hands in about a minute.
PAUL STANFORD: Cannabis will grow well throughout Texas. Texas red dirt marijuana was pretty famous back in the 50s and 60s with aficionados like Louie Armstrong. Even the U.S. Speaker of the House back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s Sam Rayburn grew hemp on his farm. He didn’t realize when he introduced the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 that he was criminalizing something that he grew on his farm in Bonham, Texas.
DEAN BECKER: Ainslinger fooled them all, didn’t he?
PAUL STANFORD: Yes he did. Those petrochemical, pharmaceutical, military, industrial, transnational, corporately fascist crony capitalist ruling class and a lot of them were Texas oilmen. They wanted that money and did not want the farmers to have it.
DEAN BECKER: But the best place I found to grow weed near Houston was in a little town called Hempstead.
PAUL STANFORD: Imagine. I wonder why they gave it that name.
DEAN BECKER: It grows real well there and probably will again.
PAUL STANFORD: I think it will.
DEAN BECKER: I have to wrap it up here with my good friend, Mr. Paul Stanford up there in Oregon.
PAUL STANFORD: Thank you, Dean. I appreciate the opportunity to pitch our movie and let people know about it. We just released it after almost 20 years in the making. Thanks. You should come and visit at the very least, especially in October. Early October during harvest time.
DEAN BECKER: Okay. Mr. Paul Stanford, thank you, sir.
PAUL STANFORD: Thank you and you have a good one.
MALE VOICE: Legend has it that deep within the THC crystal of the marijuana plant there lives a goddess. A goddess so incredible that meeting her will transform your life forever. She is magnificent, glorious, beautiful, and delicious. If you start with a strain like this nurture her and worship her. When your mind is open she will come.
FEMALE VOICE: I have so many gifts to give the world yet I am made an outlaw. I am food, shelter, clothing, medicine, fuel, and so much more. Help me, connect to me, connect others to me and make them understand. Allow me through you to heal the planet. Only then will my true purpose have been fulfilled.
MALE VOICE: We’ll travel halfway across the world to plant 25,000 marijuana plants and harvest more organic ganja than you and all of your friends could smoke in three lifetimes. Woah! That’s a lot of pot!
DEAN BECKER: Paul didn’t say it, but the movie is pretty trippy. You can find it at: www.greengoddessmovie.com.
DEAN BECKER: This is a Drug Truth Network Editorial. Two decades ago I stumbled upon official government documents including newspaper and other written accounts which fully described how these drug laws came to be. These documents show that without any actual data, studies, or rationale these laws were instituted. I saw that it was outrageous, an abomination, a series of hysterical accounts based solely on propaganda and racial screeds that were used to frighten the populous and motivate the politicians to continually ratchet up the number of drug laws and penalties for possession or sales. It worked to alienate drug users in much the same way gays or witches have been persecuted in the past. I felt an obligation to alert others, meaning you, to what I had learned. I first wrote a screenplay which was never given a green light called, Century of Lies. Next I joined forces with the New York Times to become their liaison for their drug policy forum. It was my duty to bring notables to that forum to include the likes of Milton Freedman and Gary Johnson. In 2001 I managed to wrangle a weekly broadcast program which is this program, Cultural Baggage on KPFT, Houston’s Pacifica radio station. We now have more than 60 broadcast affiliates in the U.S. and Canada. More than 7,000 programs are now available at www.drugtruth.net. I have interviewed well over a thousand notables to include government officials, scientists, ministers, cops, wardens, prosecutors, and well over 100 authors. To fortify my understanding I have traveled to more than 100 conferences to learn directly from these doctors, scientists, and other experts. I have challenged these high echelon officials for more than 20 years including the drug czars, attorneys general, CIA, FBI to come on this show to clarify the need for an eternal drug war to absolutely no avail. There is no benefit to this drug war and we must bring it to an end.
As was discussed with Paul Stanford and Phil Smith, hemp is changing the equation and thankfully many district attorneys around Texas are stating that they will no longer arrest folks for small amounts of marijuana. They have this perspective that they still want to take your bag of any green, leafy material. They think it might potentially be contraband and they are going to hold it for the day that it can be tested. This near universal perspective of major city district attorneys really has no basis in law or American justice. Last week a Gallup poll indicated that 1 in 7 Americans are already using hemp so now because there can be no verification of evidence on-scene, there is no probable cause and no legitimate law in the books to justify the thoughts of confiscating every bag of green plant matter. Every confiscation involving hemp would obviously be a case of theft. So let us once again judge people by their actions, not by making baseless presumptions about the fresh or dried flowers in their possession. Smell or sight of hemp or cannabis no longer justifies a search or confiscation because paranoia is not a law and guessing is not a tool of justice. Once again I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what is in that bag. Please be careful!
Cultural Baggage is a production of the Pacifica Radio Network, archives are currently stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, and we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.