09/11/19 John Baucum

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
John Baucum
Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition

Cannabis Conf in Austin, John Baucum Dir RAMP, Jay Hall Houston Police Lt. (Ret), Aubree Adams Parents Opposed to Pot, Ryan Poppy Moderator

Audio file



SEPTEMBER 11, 2019

DEAN BECKER: Hello my friends this is Cultural Baggage, I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High, and we’re gonna tune in to a recent conference in Austin, Texas regarding marijuana.

RYAN POPPY: I am Ryan Poppy, and I am a Senior Political Correspondent for Texas Public Radio. To my left here is John Baucum and he’s with the Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, and then we have Jay Hall, Retired Police Lieutenant with the Houston Police Department, also opinion columnist locally there in Houston, and Aubry Adams with Mom Strong, and today we are talking about should Texas move towards legalization, and I want to start off with ladies first, and I know that you have a presentation as well.

AUBREY ADAMS: My name is Aubrey Adams, and I am a former Colorado mom. I moved to Houston, Texas a year ago because marijuana has changed my home. I oppose any policies that promote, normalize, glorifies, or lies about marijuana and the only drug policies that I think we should pass are drug prevention and drug recovery policies. The legalization of marijuana is a drug promotional policy. It turns every home into a potential drug house. Allows a powerful, well-funded industry to increase drug addiction, mental illness; including psychosis and suicide. Legalization of marijuana is a social injustice. It targets disadvantaged communities like my old home town of Pueblo, Colorado, where currently the marijuana industry is poisoning its people including its children, but we don’t want to put people in jail for simple drug possession. We do not want to block a person’s opportunity to have a consequence in order to create growth and change, or block someone’s chances to get into drug court in order to get help. I cannot tell you how many times people have told me jail saved their lives and when I could get my son in a 23-hour juvenile hold it kept him off the streets and alive. These consequences were part of his recovery. Without some type of accountability, there is no opportunity for recovery. Please like and share, Parents Opposed to Pot and send donations so we can continue to educate on the true impacts of marijuana and help combat the huge pro-pot propaganda machine.

My son started using marijuana edibles in the eighth grade soon after legalization. He was self-harming and we did not know he was using marijuana because industry makes products in deceptive forms to disguise use. By February 2015, my son was irrational, paranoid. Repeating things that did not make sense and one night he was so violent towards his younger brother that his brother ran barefoot through the snow to get away from him. He attempted suicide and was hospitalized and then he was discharged – he was still suicidal. I took him back to the ER where I was told it’s just marijuana and we were sent home. Within a few days, my son was hospitalized again in a different town because there were no available beds in our town. He told me he was using dabs and he knew they were making him feel crazy and he was trying to quit. He described dabs as strong marijuana, he called them, “crack weed”. Dabs are mass produced, marketed and called medicine. I volunteered my family for Crisis Intervention with GSS because I couldn’t find treatment for marijuana abuse. My son had developed the pediatric disease of addiction and by the next year he was not only using marijuana, he was using meth and heroin. Marijuana kills. It is a gateway to more drugs and pharmaceutical drugs. My son allows me to tell his story because he wants the nation to know that marijuana is deadly, harmful and can change you forever with delusional thinking, hallucinations, increased risk for suicide, depression and addiction.

My husband also allows me to tell his story. He read that marijuana would help his panic attacks – but marijuana harmed him and he now suffers from severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. My old community of Pueblo has pot scholarships for every high school senior. It’s a brilliant marketing plan by the predatory marijuana industry to groom future users – the way to advertise to kids under the radar. 1 out of 3 Pueblo High School seniors is now using marijuana and they have a 27.6 chronic absenteeism rate. There is a marijuana head shop next door to an alternative high school where kids can see shiny, colorful bongs and pipes and clothing and advertisements glorifying and normalizing marijuana. They even have a person outside waiting – come get your free pipe. The number 1 cause of death ages 10 to 24 is suicide in Colorado, the main drugs the victims are testing positive for is marijuana, ages 10 to 19. 70% of the marijuana shops in Colorado recommend marijuana to pregnant women so now my mom and I hung baby bibs on the marijuana shops in Pueblo that said, “Don’t hurt our future, Colorado kids”, it’s a campaign by the Marijuana Accountability Coalition.

Drugs are winning the war on drugs, and the war is now in our homes and our neighborhoods. I am a witness to the fall of America and THC is the weapon of our destruction.

DEAN BECKER: Again, that was Aubrey Adams, her group, Parents Opposed to Pot, I would just say this; she needs to get control of her son and her husband needs to get control of his self. I hope you notice, I am carrying this prohibitionist mindset on this show and the fact that she’s having problems within her family should not be reason for a law against you or your family or to declare that marijuana is a threat to our nation. It’s the same old Reefer Madness, just being regurgitated once again.

RYAN POPPY: Okay, so next let’s talk to Jay.

JAY HALL: Most of the times when we make a claim, it’s a cause and affect type claim.


JAY HALL: It’s not based on, let’s say a regression and now this is where we would include the various factors that go in to that result that we are claiming. So without having any type of empirical information and even though – if we have empirical information it does change with each locality so if, let’s say, one particular state had a particular result we would have to look at what is going on in that particular area. What’s the context of that? So it’s very difficult to have a definitive answer for what you’re asking.

RYAN POPPY: This is something that other legal states have seen after Colorado legalized both its recreational program. You saw the cross border traffic heading in to states that had not legalized. It seems like as we’ve seen in other states, it creates a black market for those producers in those legal states.

JAY HALL: Yes, and that is possible because you’re talking about a supply and demand type situation and you’re talking about a substitution effect when it comes to different drugs – and the same thing when it comes to legalization. So basically we’re talking about supply and demand, so if you legalize drugs in the other states then yes, it is possible if it’s not legalized in Texas that you could have a black market affect, which would mean that you would have increased profits. You would have more law enforcement being alerted to those types of situations, you’d have more violent crimes as a result of that. So yeah, the black market is very real.

RYAN POPPY: You know often it seems like probable cause is used by officers to get into a person’s vehicle. Has that your been your experience? The scent of marijuana, anything like that? How is probable cause used in terms of marijuana arrests in your experience?

JAY HALL: Well it affected police practices.


JAY HALL: One of the things that I always like to point out is that ever since 1914, the Harrison Act, fear has driven the marijuana debate and so when you have fear driving the debate we had framed the marijuana issue into a zero sum game. Somebody has to win, someone has to lose. The winners in the marijuana debate have been the drug cartels, the prison systems, the politicians who have to get tough on crime, and the grant writers who provide financial incentives in getting grant monies for. But the losers have been patients like veterans, mass incarceration individuals, and tax payers. They have to pay these bills. In New York they had – for possession of marijuana in New York, they had a situation where they had like 400,000 arrests and that bill, well it took officers off the street. Number one. So when those officers are off the street what takes place is that other major crimes are not being investigated. The clearance rates are lower because we’re spending time addressing the marijuana possession issues. At the end of the day the taxpayers may be stuck with 500 million dollars or a billion dollar bill to address those – that overtime bill, or those bills that the officers have in order to pay them for processing possession of marijuana cases. If you have an economic incentive, if you have a quota system, if grant money is based on how many arrests you can make, then surely that can affect how police approach their job in terms of probable cause in making arrests.

DEAN BECKER: All right folks, you are listening to the Cultural Baggage Show on Pacifica Radio and the Drug Truth Network. We’re tuning in to a recent panel held in Austin, Texas, the topic of discussion; should Texas move towards legalization. We continue with the thoughts of Mr. John Baucum who heads up Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.

JOHN BAUCUM: Sure well I think there is definitely something to say for Texas being behind the times when it comes to our medical cannabis program or looking at the criminal justice aspect where folks in Texas who are caught possessing a small amount of cannabis are subject to six months in jail, hefty fines. If you’re possessing any kind of concentrate, which again are now coming in because of the demand from these legal states, you’re facing potential felony charges which carry much more serious consequences. One thing I wanted to circle back on your question to Jay regarding the legislative session. Yeah, we saw a strong appetite this session from a bipartisan coalition of members to reduce criminal penalties in Texas for possession of small amounts of cannabis. That started, of course, the summer previously at the Republican Party Convention. The delegates of the largest political gathering in the entire world voted nearly 90% to include a civil penalty plank in the platform which even went a step farther than what the legislature was proposing at least on the house floor when Moody’s bill was amended. So I think that’s great that we see tremendous amount of support in the house from Republicans, Democrats and others to push this issue forward. Unfortunately in the Senate, it was stopped by the Lieutenant Governor, who has objections to cannabis for a number of reasons. I think primarily is he doesn’t want to be seen as potentially being soft on crime or allowing this to happen on his watch. However, notwithstanding the fact that the legislature essentially punted or did nothing on the criminalization aspect. You’re seeing district attorneys all around the state who are implementing pre-charge diversion programs to look for alternative solutions. I think even Aubrey in her opening comments mentioned that even their organization doesn’t want people in jail for possession of small amounts of cannabis. So I think we’re gonna see continued movement with the district attorneys kind of operating within their realm to seek justice not just prosecutions and then as we come back to the legislature in 2021, I think we’ll have another opportunity to look at decreasing those penalties again and as far as us - I want to really – this is not to your question, but kind of a point that Aubrey mentioned and I think it’s something that is legitimate. When we talk about cannabis crossing borders, you mentioned being surrounded by legal– in this case, medical marijuana states and Texas but previous to Colorado and Washington legalizing cannabis, there was already marijuana crossing the border into Texas, except at that time it was primarily coming from Central and South America up through Mexico and then in to Texas and now we see, because of legalization in these states –we’re seeing California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado or course there’s a strong demand for cannabis and cannabis products in Texas, where it’s still prohibited and the individual can’t go to the store and buy a particular strain of cannabis, a particular type of topical, or gummies that may be beneficial to them. So yes, of course, that’s just supply and demand that still having illegal possession laws in Texas is helping to allow a strong demand and of course that product is coming over. So I think to Aubrey’s point, with your home town in Pueblo, I have a cousin who lives in Pueblo – you know there were plenty of people who used cannabis previous to legalization but I certainly understand that there are possibilities for people moving outside the law; having illegal grows, having the cartel industry move in to these legal states and start instead of growing their cannabis in Mexico and shipping it to Texas, now their growing cannabis in legal states and shipping that to Texas. But the impetus to that and the real bottom line is, it’s the prohibition of cannabis throughout the country and throughout the state of Texas that is supplying those cartel and other kind of criminal enterprise gangs with the funds and resources that they need to continue all sorts of illicit activity, including human trafficking and other things as well. So I think if you were to see Texas legalize cannabis and the rest of the federal law drop at least the Schedule 1 status of cannabis. You’re gonna see the price drop dramatically as more market is available – different competitors enter the market. You’re already seeing that with hemp. I was at a conference previously and they talked about hemp farming going for three thousand dollars an acre, or however many dollars it was and everybody just sees gold mines and flashing lights and I am gonna be a hemp farmer with my thousand acres…well I’ll tell you what, but when everybody in that room starts growing hemp – that price is gonna plummet and it’s not gonna be three thousand dollars an acre any more. You might be lucky if it’s three hundred or even 3 dollars an acre. So I think you’re gonna see the same thing with – I don’t like the term recreational cannabis – but adult use cannabis, people who are using it in different ways. The price will plummet once a legal playing field is leveled and then I think you’ll see the profits for these criminal enterprises sort of dry up and they’ll have to pivot to other things which are still illegal and in high demand and create big profits for them.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Loss of personal freedom, family and possessions, ineligible for government funding, education licensing, housing or employment. Loss of aggressive mindset in a dangerous world. This drugs peaceful easy feeling may be habit forming. Times Up! The answer: Doobie, Jimmy, Joint, Reefer, Spliff, Jibber, Jay, Biffa, Jazz, Blunt, Steege, Green, or Crack, or Hogger, Bone, Carrot, Mary Jane, Marijuana, Cannabis Sativa made by God. Prohibited by man.

DEAN BECKER: All right, you are listening to Cultural Baggage on Pacifica Radio and the Drug Truth Network. We’re tuning in to a recent conference in Austin on marijuana and now we get to hear the response from Aubrey Adams to Mr. John Baucum’s thoughts on marijuana.

RYAN POPPY: Aubrey, you had a comment?

AUBREY ADAMS: Yeah. I disagree with those comments. I think if Texas legalizes marijuana the black market here will explode just like it did in Colorado. People don’t want to pay taxes on their drugs. They don’t. Drug dealers – the industry is full of bad actors. I understand there’s a few that are not but the majority of the people in the industry are bad actors and they don’t want to pay taxes so their always gonna undercut - the drug dealers are always gonna undercut. The legal market and the illegal market are married. They support and they enhance each other. It’s a drug promotional policy. Texas will be hit even harder than Colorado. You have more private land here and you have more water and there will be a tsunami here. They are waiting – the drug cartels are waiting for you guys to legalize marijuana. They cannot wait for it to happen.

DEAN BECKER: Once again this is the Director of the Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Mr. John Baucum.

JOHN BAUCUM: If I may – and Jay, sorry, I’ll let you jump in. I just wanted to cover one point there. You know part of the duty of our republican form of government is the experiment of the states to try things differently so I think to assume that the problems that exist in Colorado, who was the first to experiment along with Washington – who had very different implementation programs for their legal adult use programs. To assume that Texas will go down that same road and maybe not learn from some of the mistakes that have happened in other places, you know you mentioned that taxes keeping the black market thriving – well obviously the taxes are too high. Some of the politicians see these dollar signs coming from a legal market, a new product to sell and they say look what all we can do with these tax resources. But when the taxes are too high, just like in any economic environment, that consumer is going to choose to go where they can get the same product for the lowest price and unfortunately, if I was an individual in one of those states – I would prefer to go in to a store and have this particular product, I can see its testing profile. But from a consumer voice – that’s consumer choice. If I choose not do that and instead the law does allow for people to grow their own cannabis – to gift that cannabis to other individuals. So if I’d rather have an agreement with my friend and he just gifts me cannabis that he has grown, yeah, that’s a consumer choice and I think to your point about – we’ll just use Pueblo as the example, because that’s the one that’s been referenced many times. The State of Colorado has laws on cannabis production, the city of Pueblo has city ordinances related to how individuals can grow cannabis. Homeowners associations had deed restriction bylaws of what can be done in those neighborhoods. So I think there were already elements within state law, city ordinances and even these homeowner association bylaws to restrict this illegal activity and that’s why you see raids and busts happening all of the time in Pueblo, and throughout Colorado on illegal grows.

AUBREY ADAMS: And there’s not enough law enforcement. There are thousands and thousands of these locations and the law enforcement – the DEA is doing the best they can, they are overloaded. The drug dealers will always undercut the price and then they’ll create even more powerful, more cheaper drugs. The root of the problem of our drug crisis in America is we have a cultural crisis. Part of these policies have normalized drugs. Addiction is a pediatric disease. 9 out of 10 people that suffer from addiction started using under the age of 18. We need to focus on drug prevention and drug recovery policies. There is not enough treatment organizations to treat our drug addiction problem now. Look on the streets of Austin right now, you are already inundated with drugs here and now you’re gonna come in and set up these pretty shops and promote it even more as a response. I am sorry, you’re poisoning the people of America and I don’t agree with it whatsoever.

DEAN BECKER: What we have is a moral crisis. Are her morals to be more respected than mine? Are her morals designed or allowed to lock people in jail because they have behaviors for which she disapproves? Screw that! Priorities. We’ve got to get our priorities straight. We continue now.

RYAN POPPY: Jay, keeping with law enforcement let’s go ahead and have you weigh in here.

JAY HALL: Well my concern is this was the same argument that we had with alcohol. We said the same thing, we had the same fears and if you have 10% of the population that may have a pathological relationship with a particular drug, you should not have to penalize the other 90% who are able to handle that arrested. (CLAPPING)

AUBREY ADAMS: I don’t think people’s right to use drugs is more important than the children of America.

DEAN BECKER: Okay. I gotta interrupt one more time to say this, that Aubrey Adams is a loon. She can email me:, she can come on the show any time she wants to try to refute what I have just stated. Aubrey Adams is a loon.

JAY HALL: We’re looking out for the children, all of the children as adults ourselves. The problem is that we have a situation where we had bad drug policies due to a lack of knowledge of what we know today and so as a result of us updating our knowledge, we have to include that in the formula now so that we can make better decisions. That’s what we are attempting to do. I had a brother who was killed as a result of the drug trafficking and if I had the knowledge, if my parents had the knowledge we may have been able to save my brother but we didn’t have the knowledge. So what we are doing today is we have new knowledge, we are trying to elevate awareness of everyone so that we can help make better decisions.

AUBREY ADAMS: I agree that we need more knowledge. We do not have the education in place and we do need to change policies – that those policies need to be for drug education prevention and recovery. These drug promotional policies are destroying America.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, I’ve got to interrupt to say that the horrors of drug war mainly caused by drug war. It’s obvious, open and glaring to those other than Aubrey Adams.

RYAN POPPY: With that in mind, more knowledge. So in 2019, there was a study conducted by the University of Montana, Colorado and San Diego State that showed an 8% drop and decrease in teen marijuana use in those legal states, a 9% drop and continued usage in those same states and JAMA backed those same findings up with an article that following month having the same kind of findings and the same type of statistics.

AUBREY ADAMS: Oregon and Washington were not included in this. That study is just a wash

RYAN POPPY: Okay. Keeping that in mind, you say that more education – more public education about teen use, that sort of thing may be the answer?

AUBREY ADAMS: Not education from the Drug Policy Alliance. They are teaching our children how to use drugs safely. That is not the answer. Drugs should not be a normal part of our communities. Our children should have more opportunities to grow up drug-free and they are being so peer pressured by this industry and their peers to use because their told its medicine. So the propaganda around this whole issue is not working. It’s not going well, it’s a failed experiment. I’m a living witness to it and I will do everything I can to stop it here in Texas. I don’t know if I can, you guys are much more well-funded than I am. Money usually wins at the end of the day, unfortunately. Politicians – money win. But I am here to stand up and tell you these policies promote drug use, addiction, and mental illness.

JOHN BAUCUM: Can I follow up on that? I think getting – the idea of getting drugs out of our communities, you know there are many drugs in our communities. You know there are many drugs that can be abused from caffeine that’s in coffee, alcohol – the idea that we’re gonna reinstate alcohol prohibition to keep our communities safe from people that drink alcohol and do stupid things. You know I agree with the point of educating the public, educating people the dangers of utilizing any drug, especially for children and pregnant women and things like that. But the idea that you can’t have a group of individuals who have the responsibility and personality to consume different drugs responsibly – you know we have prescriptions for certain medications, you can go over the counter and buy drugs that are very lethal and dangerous – much more so than cannabis, but we trust society to be able to use those respectfully and professionally and I think you’ll see that with cannabis. One of the things that they talk about is an increase in cannabis consumption and cannabis use after legalization and I am specifically speaking about adult use. Of course you are going to have that because you have people right now who are scared to death of getting busted with even a tiny amount of cannabis or God forbid, one gummy bear or a vape cartridge and now they are facing a felony charge in Texas. So yes, some of those people who maybe experimented with cannabis when they were in high school or college and haven’t used it for a decade or two, they might be interested in trying it and some of those individuals might stick with it and continue to use it, some of them won’t and I think you also have the individuals – as you see the federal law change, you’re gonna see some of the employment regulations around drug testing and some of those things will likely change as well. Looking for impairment – there’s always these studies of so and so had cannabis in their system when they did XYZ, well, cannabis stays in your system much longer than many other drugs so I think really finding a correlation between impairment – not just having THC in your blood or urine or anything like that. Truly knowing how and why these individuals and at what level their impairment goes with these drugs is gonna be a big concern as well.

AUBREY ADAMS: So here’s some truth, the legality of a drug does not take away the harm. The legality of a drug increases that harm.

DEAN BECKER: You would prefer that drugs were made in jungle labs using amazon river water, then shipped in submarines, brought north cut with all kinds of contaminates including levamisole, some sort of cancer causing agent that’s very shiny, looks good on the cocaine and then its sold at a 17,000 % markup in back rooms and alleyways to our children by armed gangsters. Entice them to lives of crimes or addiction – oh yeah, that’s so much safer. Aubrey Adams of Parent Opposed to Pot, my email is:, I would greatly appreciate you being a guest on my radio program. Even in this day and age, Reefer Madness lives.
Once again I remind you because of prohibition, you don’t know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

01/30/19 Lui Larotta

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
John Baucum
Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition

 Lui LaRotta, Chairman. Harris County Republican Auxiliary Clubs , John Baucum, political director of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Jason Tarasek re Minnesota Legislature to Consider Ending Marijuana Prohibition & Emily Kaltenbach of DPA re N. Mexico move to make drug possession a misdemeanor

Audio file


JANUARY 30, 2019


DEAN BECKER: Hello, friends, welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High, and let's just get to it.

I want to welcome Lui Larotta. Hello, Lui.

LUI LAROTTA: Hi Dean, thanks for having me.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, Lui, tell us about yourself.

LUI LAROTTA: I can start probably with the Navy, that's usually a good starting block. I served in the Navy about six years as nuclear engineer on board the USS Nimitz.

And most recently, since 2011, when I was engaged with the presidential campaign of Ron Paul, I became a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, which is the Republican Party's version of the Libertarian's people.

So, one of the things that we advocate for strongly is the decriminalization and eventually the legalization of cannabis, because, as we all know, there's so many byproducts, there's so many potential benefits that we just don't know about because it's still a Schedule One narcotic.

So, we work closely with other groups around Houston, around the state, and particularly with the people who are in most need: children with epilepsy. My father was a cancer patient since June. He recently passed a few weeks ago, but I can tell you that we did treat him with cannabis, CBD oil and THC, and from what we could tell, and from what the medical results were, his tumors decreased.

So, there's a very strong indication that cannabis does work for a variety of symptoms, and we think it's time that Texas really takes a closer look at this. Texas is a state that observes and respects property rights, individual liberty, and this is a decision that, between healthcare provider and patient, should be discussed, we should leave the politicians out of this.

And eventually, you know, consenting adults, responsible adults, should have the right to do with their bodies as they see fit. Wouldn't you say, Dean?

DEAN BECKER: Oh, I agree with you, Lui, and that's what compels, kept me going for the last twenty years. I want to bring up this thought, that the science, the knowledge, the awareness of the potential, of the actuality, the usefulness of the cannabis plant, is becoming more widespread, more recognized, and embraced by more politicians.

Now, it's not near the tsunami we want or expect some day, but it is changing. It is shifting, is it not, Lui?

LUI LAROTTA: Absolutely. I mean, I think we noticed that with the outgoing House Speaker [John Boehner], who had for years, he had only come out against any kind of marijuana, cannabis legalization, and yet, you know, years after he's been out of the House, now he's advocating for it.

So I think that, maybe, for politicians, it's not politically expedient. There's still some backlash. But most of them understand that there -- that most of the country at this point has some form of legalization, and I think it's something that they can't hold back, but they're playing it very safe, so that's why it's up to us to keep the pressure mounting on them.

Because like you said, there's a lot of research already out there. Israel has done quite a bit of research, and also Spain, I've been following a few doctors out in Spain who've done quite a bit of research on the medical benefits of cannabis.

So, I think it's going in the right direction. I don't like some of the things I see with Big Pharma and, you know, trying to basically patent some of the chemical properties of a plant, because eventually, I think, why would we want the government in charge of controlling plants?

And you can grow something like this in your back yard, and medicate yourself, so that, to me, is a little bit concerning. I would like to see less of the government involved and just give way so that people can use this plant responsibly, and for the conditions that, you know, that impair them the most.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Now, you know, you mentioned the, I'm going to call it hypocrisy, the former Speaker now coming out in favor of marijuana, and it's indicative of, I think, what's going on, hell, around the world, that up in Canada, former prosecutors and police chiefs et cetera are now actively participating, are stockholders, in many of those legal marijuana companies that are up there in Canada, now.

The hypocrisy is just enormous. It's writ large, is it not?

LUI LAROTTA: Yeah, it's -- it was politically expedient to do it now, and they're -- they just set this up perfectly, so that when things cascade in the direction of cannabis, they're going to be the beneficiaries, so, you know, that's what politicians are going to do, unfortunately.

I wish there was a way to just get rid of them and start over, but that's going to have to be another discussion, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: Well, it is. It is. Now, we, by that I mean various groups, are going to be going to Austin on February Seventh.


DEAN BECKER: To reach out, to appeal to, to discuss, to hopefully change the mindset of more politicians. What do you anticipate, what do you think we might accomplish this spring in Austin?

LUI LAROTTA: Well, being hopeful, I would say that, you know, we have to look at states that have had an opioid crisis and that have had some form of legalization of marijuana, and statistics show that there's a sharp decrease in the opioid addiction statistics in that state, so we can look at it from that perspective, that this is an alternative to a very critical junction of our country where we're seeing a lot of people suffering from prescription medication.

So I think we have the logic behind us, we have a strong vocal group of women that have been advocating for expanding the compassionate users program in Texas, and I think that if, we'll have to see how the Speaker feels about the issue, because this is kind of relatively new territory now, but, if we can get it here, if we can get a vote, I think that would be the most critical thing that we could accomplish this legislative session.

What -- oftentimes what happens is that politicians will see an issue that they don't want to touch and they just won't present it to the floor. So, that would be very disappointing, so we have to keep the pressure up on them.

I'm very familiar with Ann Lee's organization, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, also Heather Fazio's organization, and we plan to be there as well on, I believe it's February Seventh.


LUI LAROTTA: This next coming week, and we'll be there as well.

DEAN BECKER: I don't know, compulsion, this need, this drive to stand up, to speak up, to protest, if you will, the ongoing misery created by these draconian laws.

LUI LAROTTA: I argue that, you know, the state of Colorado has lifted itself out of a terrible financial position. They've increased tourism into the state, which we all know already had a booming tourism industry, and I think that the statistics have shown that children actually have been using marijuana less, underage children, under 18, from surveys.

So, I think there's a lot of misconception out there. I think alcohol's a far more dangerous drug, and I think prescription drugs are far more dangerous than cannabis.


LUI LAROTTA: So, we have to combat the narrative of, you know, misconception, misinformation, there's still people out there advocating, saying marijuana's a gateway drug. So, you can see how far back people are reaching for a sensible argument.

So, it's up to responsible people like us to speak up, speak often, and speak clearly, and address these concerns. I think fear is what drives a lot of people into cornering themselves into positions where they don't feel like there's anything left to discuss.

So we have to point out what it is that is actually causing them that apprehension, address it, and then keep that conversation moving forward, because there's just too much evidence out there that marijuana, cannabis, has far more greater use as a substance that we can use, that we can treat people with, that we can treat ourselves, we can treat depression, several of the people in my organizations I participate in here in Houston, with the Lone Star Veterans Association, Wounded Warrior, I can tell you there's a lot of guys out there with PTSD, and there's even a handful more that would like to see the VA allow veterans to use cannabis as a substitute for some of the prescription medication that they've been given.

And I can say from personal experience, because I'm a patient of the VA's, I know the VA thinks it has a solution for you, it will send you tons and tons of pills a month, and they don't care if you take them or not.

So what does that -- what kind of message does that send to the people who've been released from active duty? You know, pill popping is a solution to your problems? I don't think so. I think that sets a terrible narrative, and I think we really need to explore holistic solutions.

And, it's just a plant. To be really honest, I don't see what the hang-ups are. But, you know, we know the arguments, we just have to get out there and we have to tell the people in Congress, we have to tell the state legislators, especially here in Texas.

And three dispensaries really isn't enough. It's a pilot program, and some people have also argued that it's still made it increasingly difficult for medical professionals to get engaged because it's a federal crime.

So we need, the states really need to nullify what the fed hasn't done yet, and if Donald Trump won't do it, I think that we have to prove, like in so many other states, that we have the courage to do the right thing.

DEAN BECKER: All right, folks. Well, we've been speaking with Mister Lui Larotta. He's very much involved with the Harris County Republican Party and with efforts here in the state of Texas to educate, embolden, and change the mindset of our politicians to allow for marijuana. I want to thank you, Lui.

LUI LAROTTA: Thank you, Dean, and I look forward to seeing you up in Austin.

DEAN BECKER: We just heard from Mister Lui Larotta, talking about the forthcoming event in Austin, Texas. Here to tell us more about it is the political director of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Mister John Baucum. Hey, John, how you doing?

JOHN BAUCUM: Doing great, Dean. Thanks for having me.

DEAN BECKER: John, tell us first off about RAMP, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, RAMP, we're a political caucus with the GOP, so we try to advocate from a conservative perspective why prohibition is a failed policy. It goes against Republican values such as limited government, individual responsibility, and fiscal responsibility as well.

So, we like to, you know, say there are the unicorns out there, Republicans who believe that marijuana should not be prohibited, and we try to explain to our peers within the Republican party why that's the case, and really make strong, factual based arguments from all those angles, from an individual liberty aspect as well as from a financial and limited government perspective as well.

DEAN BECKER: Well, there have always been those few Republicans, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, if you want to call them both Republicans. They certainly lean that direction. But there have been many others along the way.

And, I was talking to Lui about this, that as of late, more and more politicians on both sides of the equation are starting to recognize, embrace, and make use of the science that's been developed over the last ten, twenty, thirty years, that marijuana is not the devil's lettuce. It is not the, I don't know, to be seen as evil and wicked.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, I think you're right. And part of that has to do with just the, you know, unfortunately not as much research coming out of this country as should be, but just research coming from around the world, and then some of the states that have opened up their medical programs and seeing patients, whether it be anecdotal or clinical evidence based research, that there is an efficacy of cannabis for a multitude of medical types of conditions.

And I think also you're seeing a lot of people that are looking at it from the criminal justice perspective, too, realizing that it's not a fantastic use of our law enforcement resources to lock people in jail for possessing a plant, who are relatively non dangerous, nonviolent individuals.

If we think people are addicted to cannabis, then we should deal with that outside of our criminal justice system. And it's great to see that there is a lot of momentum and movement going forward, but it's happening very slowly, and we want to, you know, try to push that ball a little bit forward.

Specifically in Texas, Texas is really behind the curve when it comes to understanding cannabis, both as a medicine and then also understanding the very harsh criminal penalties that we have in Texas.

So, we really need to get on board with the rest of the country. You know, let's not be just tough on crime, but let's be smart on crime and right on crime, and really make sure we're prioritizing those law enforcement resources.

And then we also see around the country the economic boom both in tax revenue for the governments, and also in new job creation for individuals through the blossoming, you know, medical marijuana industry as well as the adult use marijuana industry.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And, you know, Texas is probably the most entrenched in the old propaganda belief system. It was El Paso, 1913, 1914, that first made marijuana illegal. Texas was among the first of the states, I think 1922, '24, to make it illegal on a state level.

And it's going to take a little bit more to undo the propaganda here, but I think that the links are breaking, that more politicians are standing forth, hell, even Beto O'Rourke was running for US Senate and he was talking about legalizing marijuana, openly. It's not the taboo it once was.

JOHN BAUCUM: Sure, and, you know, prohibition didn't start overnight, it's not going to be ended overnight, and I think we are making great progress. Unfortunately, especially within Texas and I think within much of the south, you still have a lot of that reefer madness propaganda, and you know we hear it all the time.

And, what I always tell activists is, go into these meetings with your legislators prepared with facts. Research this issue thoroughly, so when they throw out some BS propaganda piece, some talking point of theirs, you can refute that with fact based evidence and explain to them why they're wrong.

And, it's really interesting to see them sort of spin on their toes when one, they understand that you know this issue very well, you've done your research, you understand your facts. And when you present those to them, usually they'll just start kind of spinning away and maybe using other talking points, and you refute those.

And eventually they realize they have no business being in this conversation, because they have not researched it as meticulously, they're relying on falsehoods that they've been fed for decades and decades, and many of those for very negative reasons such as, you know, we all know that the racism and how that was borne out of the war on drugs, and specifically the war on cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Harry J. Anslinger, the first US drug czar, if you will. He was quoting as saying, reefer makes darkies think they're as good as a white man. And that's where it all came from, is that it was a way to dismiss and, a means to put down our fellow man as being less than through the use of a plant.

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, and hopefully, you know, as negative as the connotation with cannabis has been over the past, hopefully it can totally flip that on its head and be, you know, really seen as an economic miracle, as a miracle for patients, you know, we're seeing research even here at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, with MD Anderson, Baylor College of Medicine, and other hospitals utilizing cannabinoids in treatment for things like epilepsy, cancer, and other types of conditions.

So, we really need to unleash this plant. It's going to be a boom to our medical community, it's going to be a boom economically, and really we just have to get the bureaucrats and the politicians out of the way, let the doctors and the patients make the right decisions, let responsible adults use cannabis just like they would, you know, other things such as alcohol or wine, beer, et cetera, in a responsible way.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. All right, friends, well, once again we've been speaking with Mister John Baucum, the political director for Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. Now, John, as I understand it, there's still some seats left on the bus, so to speak, the bus headed from Houston to Austin for the February Seventh day in Austin. Tell us a little bit more about that, how folks can get involved and get on the bus.

JOHN BAUCUM: Sure, yeah, we're really excited about the lobby day, you know, this will be the third year that RAMP has chartered a bus out of Houston to go to Austin. We'll meet about 7 AM at the Marq-E Center, at I-10 and Silber, and then we'll get on the bus, go to Austin, and spend the day at the capitol having some training, and some legislative meetings.

And then we'll all get on the bus and come home together, so, it's a really fantastic opportunity to, one, be a part of your government, go and participate in the process, sharing your beliefs and your opinions with our lawmakers, as well as meeting other people that are activists within the movement, whether those be from a patient perspective or criminal justice perspective.

It really does help build a bond when we get to share that long bus ride and share each others stories, and train new people that maybe have never done that before on the property way to go into these meetings, to prepare their arguments, and be ready to, you know, to answer any rebuttals that might come their way.

So, we're very excited about it. The easiest way to find it is on Facebook, we have an event page. If you google RAMP Lobby Day Bus, it will come up. You can also find us through eventbrite, if you search RAMP Lobby Day Bus on eventbrite. You can also email me at, and I'd be happy to connect with you as well.

And, it's a great time, very exciting. We're going to have hundreds of activists from all across the state rallying in Austin together. And typically we'll go in as a group to these different legislative offices and share our stories, share our testimony, and it creates a really powerful impression on the legislators and their staff when they hear these stories, they see the outpouring of support.

If we're not showing up to tell our government what we believe in and what we want, then potentially our opposition is, and we want our voices to be heard and our voices to be louder, but we also want to be respectful of the process and respectful of their time, and respectful of their opinions, too, because not everybody knows this issue so well.

So, it's frustrating sometimes when you hear a politician give you sort of a no answer, you know, oh, well that's interesting, I'll consider this. And we want to hear yes, I will support this wholeheartedly.

But we have to understand, they don't know it necessarily as well as we do, so we want to continue building that relationship, really be that trusted adviser to provide the information articulately, factually, and present the arguments both on the medical front and in the waste of resources on the criminal justice front, and we need to move in a different direction.

And, you know, we're hoping that we'll have some success. We'd love to have anyone that's listening, we'd love to have you join us. If you don't want to take the bus you can get in your car and drive to Austin February Seventh, and we'll be rallying in the capitol, in the extension. It will be very easy to find us, and we'd be happy to get you plugged in and help you all participate in this event.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Fever, headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, influenza like symptoms, fatigue, edema, diarrhea, depression, hypertension, plasmapheresis, thrombocytopenia, renal dysfunction, and death. Time's up! The answer, from Bristol-Myers Squibb: Plavix, to fight blood clots.

JASON TARASEK: My name is Jason Tarasek, I am the Minnesota political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. I am an attorney in Minneapolis. I have been working on adult use legislation for the last few months.

We now have four bills introduced in the Minnesota legislature. Well, we soon will have four bills introduced. So, things are moving quickly.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and I'm from Texas, and I think we're up to thirteen bills that are being introduced. We have a situation, every two years our legislature gets together so there's a lot of hope down here that we'll get some traction.

But, describe the bills you have up there. I don't think we have anything near legalization as yet.

JASON TARASEK: So, there's one bill that would put it to the voters, as a ballot initiative of sorts. There's another bill that just got introduced to legalize adult use through the legislature. And that would be in the model of the Colorado laws, and the Washington law. That's the one that MPP supports.

There are more aggressive bills coming down the pike soon, I think, from the activist community. I don't recall the exact number of plants for home grow, but it's something on the order of a couple;dozen, so it's pretty aggressive.

So, I don't know how likely it is that that will pass, but, at the same time, what I've told the activists is go for it. Maybe you guys will prove me wrong.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and I think that's kind of the unknown. We had, across the country, for decades, you know, a great reluctance on politicians to do anything to, you know, change the cannabis laws, but now, it seems like in every state, there are a few, if not several, rather bold politicians speaking more openly of a greater need for change.

So I guess we can always just keep our fingers crossed, right, Jason?

JASON TARASEK: Yeah, and I think it turns on politics, you know. It might not be surprising to you, but, we elected a governor in Minnesota who campaigned on legalization. Our house, state house, is now controlled by Democrats, and the senate in Minnesota is not controlled by Democrats, but the Republicans only control is by one vote.

So, we're taking sort of a long range approach here in Minnesota, you know, if we can't get it done in this session, after the 2020 election we're hoping that the Democrats can take control of the Minnesota senate and then really in a position to get a bill passed.

DEAN BECKER: The future does look bright, because there are fewer and fewer people who quote believe in this drug war as time goes by. Your closing thoughts there, Jason.

JASON TARASEK: Yeah, just think, you know the more states that legalize it, the harder it will be for the others to hold out, you know. Minnesota shares a border with Canada, and it, marijuana is legal in Canada now, and North Dakota, one of Minnesota's neighbors, had a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis.

So, you know, as it sort of gets closer and closer, it gets harder to sort of justify keeping it illegal, especially when it can result in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue every year. I mean, I don't know what politician would say no.

DEAN BECKER: Good point. All right, friends, we've been speaking with Jason Tarasek. If folks want to learn more about what's going on in Minnesota, please point them to the right website.

JASON TARASEK: Sure. So, you can go to I've also co-founded something called Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation. It's a multi-partisan group. That website is

DEAN BECKER: Real good. Jason, I wish you guys great success.


DEAN BECKER: All right, folks, today we're going to hear some news coming out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, courtesy of the Drug Policy Alliance and their representative, Emily Kaltenbach. Emily, tell us what went on in Santa Fe today, please.

EMILY KALTENBACH: Today was a real exciting day. A bill was introduced that we believe will be a real game changer for New Mexico families. It's Senate Bill 408, and what that bill will do is reduce penalties for simple possession, from felonies to misdemeanors.

Currently in New Mexico, any amount of a controlled substance other than marijuana is considered a felony, a fourth degree felony, and so what this would do is reduce it to a misdemeanor, following in the footsteps of many other states, nineteen states in fact that have done this.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and there are locales around the US, like my Harris County, Houston, they have decided to look at things differently at least. We used to, you know, indict people for a hundredth of a gram, but I think they tend to overlook at least the minor amounts these days.

It's just common sense, isn't it?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Absolutely. I mean, here's someone who could, you know, be caught shoplifting, and there's a syringe in their pocket with trace amounts of heroin. The shoplifting would have been a petty misdemeanor, but now that the syringe was found with residue, that person then could have a felony on their record for the rest of their lives, and we know what that does.

The collateral consequences are extreme, and the cost to the taxpayers is extreme.

DEAN BECKER: Well, one thing I note in the release you guys sent out, it will lead to a significant decrease in prison population, and millions in savings, and that's, that's just a no brainer, isn't it?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Oh, absolutely. I mean, not only in prison savings. A lot of people are spending time for their felonies in our county jails, and we know the county jails are just bleeding, you know, they can't afford to be housing people and we shouldn't be housing people that are -- we need to deal with this as a public health issue.

DEAN BECKER: Emily, do you guys not have a strong medical marijuana law?

EMILY KALTENBACH: So, we do. We have a great medical cannabis law that has been on the books since 2007. New Mexico was one of the first states to have a state license system, so the Department of Health licenses the producers and has a patient registry.

And it's regulated out of that department, and other states actually follow that model, after New Mexico passed our law in '07.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I feel kind of jealous. Here we are in Texas, we've got Oklahoma as I understand just came up with a boffo, just wonderful medical marijuana law, and we've got you guys on our west side. What would be your recommendation to those considering or wanting to help make these changes happen? How do you deal with your legislators?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Well, I mean, it's about compassion. Right? Our, New Mexico's law is called The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. We know now so much more than we did when New Mexico passed their law, that cannabis helps patients dealing with their chronic and acute illnesses.

It should be a compliment to other medications, and so, you know, I think it's important for legislators to hear from patients themselves. That really made the difference in New Mexico, when people stood up, the cancer patient saying, you know, this is about alleviating my pain and suffering. It has medicinal properties, I think that's really important for legislators to hear from their constituents.

I think it's also important for them to hear from researchers and clinicians, because we're starting slowly to be able to see some research.

DEAN BECKER: Right, and I would think that, you know, the headline of our interview today, that you guys are considering making drug possession a misdemeanor, what's your thought? How many legislators are on board, what does your governor think, what are your odds?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Well, it's the first time we've ever introduced this type of legislation in New Mexico. So, we're not quite sure what the path to success looks like, but, we, so far, the proposal has been met with a lot of positive responses.

I think people realize that the burden on our economy of all the individuals that have felonies on their records, who can't get jobs, the separation of families, the -- we know that felony convictions don't make our public more safe, doesn't make our public more safe.

So, I think people are starting to warm to the idea. And then I think also it helps to know that states like Oklahoma and Utah have done this. If they can do it, New Mexico can, and Texas can.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I've got my fingers crossed, and, is there a place where folks can learn more about your efforts, a website you might point them to?

EMILY KALTENBACH: Yeah, to You can go to our New Mexico page, and also, if people are in New Mexico listening, they can sign up as members and they'll get our action alerts. And we'll be posting our press releases there so they can follow our work.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Emily Kaltenbach, I thank you.

EMILY KALTENBACH: Oh, I thank you. Thanks for the time and the interest.

DEAN BECKER: Well, that's about all we can squeeze in, and again I remind you, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please, be careful.

01/09/19 Richard Lee

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Richard Lee
Ann Lee
Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition

Interviews with Richard Lee founder of Oaksterdam University and Ann Lee his mother and founder of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition + John Baucum the political director of RAMP

Audio file


JANUARY 9, 2019


DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker, your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection, and the liars whose support for drug war empowers our terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent US gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.

Hi folks, this is Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High. You are listening to Cultural Baggage. Today we're going to hear the thoughts of two different generations of Texans.

I'm sitting here at the home of Richard and Ann Lee. And we're going to talk learning curve and decades of recognition of the need for improvement, some of that improvement getting done. We're going to start with Richard.

Richard, I don't know the beginnings of your involvement in drug reform. I understand that you had the hemp store here in Houston. Was that the beginning, or where was the start for you?

RICHARD LEE: Well, the hemp store was the first, I guess, big thing I did. Before that, I started off with just trying to do educational stuff, making copies at the Office Depot, before the internet.


RICHARD LEE: Hand out flyers, and things like that. We did pretty well. We had, I remember there was a great quote in the Houston Chronicle from an undercover police officer who came into the hemp store and said he thought about buying a bag of seeds, we had the hemp seeds that you could get at the Purina Pet Chow store.


RICHARD LEE: They were legal, sterilized hemp seeds.


RICHARD LEE: He said he thought about buying a bag of seeds but decided it wasn't worth the three dollars.

DEAN BECKER: But, you moved to California. Tell us about that transition, would you please?

RICHARD LEE: I moved in 1997 to work with Jeff Jones and the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative. They were the first, well, actually, the second, I should say, after Dennis Peron's San Francisco club.


RICHARD LEE: Jeff was the next big club, that did a lot of media and got permission from the Oakland City Council to operate.

DEAN BECKER: Let's talk about that. What was the transition like, from Jeff Jones's store to when you opened the Bulldog and the SR71? How much time was involved there, how much involvement did you have with Jeff?

RICHARD LEE: Well, we opened the Bulldog in 2000, so it was three years after I moved to Oakland.

DEAN BECKER: Well, so, we had Dennis Peron, we had Jeff Jones, and then was it the Bulldog that was the next outlet in Oakland?

RICHARD LEE: Well, Jeff Jones got closed down by the federal government, so then a number of clubs sprung up to take over from what Jeff was doing.

DEAN BECKER: What was it like, having a semi-legal marijuana store back in them days? Was it paranoia every morning, how did that work?

RICHARD LEE: Yeah, basically. It was expecting to get busted every day, and, you know, pleasantly surprised when we didn't every night.


RICHARD LEE: And then the next day, start over again.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Well, that is something. Now, Oakland has been kind of a unique city, has it not? I mean, developing the courage, if you will, to allow these stores, to allow these sales, to take place.

Let's talk about the political oversight, the, perhaps the understanding, between the city council and you guys doing the work you did.

RICHARD LEE: Well, you have to remember that Proposition 215, which passed in 1996, was very badly written, and I mean that in a legal way, I don't mean political way. It had good and bad to it.


RICHARD LEE: Because it did not allow sales, it was bad, but it was also very vague, and had a lot of loopholes, and basically, you know, it said the voters were in favor of medical marijuana, but since it gave no way to actually provide it, it kind of gave a political cover, if you will.

But when the Oakland City Council passed the first, technically the second, but the Marin permit ordinance only allowed one club, and so it was very limited compared to the Oakland one, that set up a whole system to basically permit clubs --


RICHARD LEE: -- in the future. It came up with a whole system, you know, that basically mirrored the permits that you get for operating an alcohol establishment or other kind of businesses that are permitted by cities.

And that really wasn't legal under state law, but, the Oakland City Council pushed forward with it, and so they deserve a lot of credit for doing that.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. No, I would say so. Here in Texas, there is a chance that, you know, they're going to raise the bar a little bit more. Currently we have a bill that only allows for basically children with a certain type of epilepsy to acquire marijuana that has only CBD, no THC to speak of.

All right. Richard, now, when you saw there was a need for educating people to the truth about marijuana, how to grow it, how to survive in the market, how to stay out of jail, you opened up a new organization, Oaksterdam University.

RICHARD LEE: Well, that was our third location, that we eventually grew into, was a three story building.

DEAN BECKER: Okeh. But, that was just recognizing a need for that education. Tell us about Oaksterdam University, please.

RICHARD LEE: Actually, kind of got the idea, stole the idea from a group in Amsterdam called the -- was running, had a little space called Cannabis College, where they would have grow information.

And so, when I got back from a trip to Amsterdam in 2007, or 2006 I guess it was -- yeah. Then we opened the school in 2007. I realized what a good idea it was to help educate people on not just the cultivation of cannabis, but the politics and the business side as well.

DEAN BECKER: Well, now, one of the dispensary owners out there I currently speak with on a semi-regular basis is Debby Goldsberry, who owns the Magnolia Wellness there in Oakland, and has a part ownership in another dispensary there. She seems to be blazing a few trails with her on-site consumption and other facilities, means whereby she can enhance the user's experience, to come into her club.

What kind of future do you see for cannabis in California? Are you going to lose the medical side, what's happening there?

RICHARD LEE: I believe that the old medical marijuana bill is about to sunset underneath the new adult legalization bill, and, so ---

DEAN BECKER: It will be subsumed, or whatever the word is?


DEAN BECKER: Okeh. Now, you had the nerve, the courage, and the money, to try to legalize marijuana, to support an initiative to legalize marijuana outright a few years back. Tell us about that effort, would you please?

RICHARD LEE: Well, following the market crash in, you know, of 2008, during the great recession, as it's become to be known, we saw the opportunity to move forward with full legalization, not just medical marijuana, try and do a mirror of what happened with alcohol prohibition repeal, how that got a lot of, I think, a large part of that came out of the Great Depression.


RICHARD LEE: And so, we did polling in early 2009 that showed for the first time, a majority of any state for legalization and a majority of Californians in this case, more importantly, were for legalization. And so, we got Prop 19 on the ballot, and it only missed passing by a couple percent.

DEAN BECKER: Right. But, I think it was motivation or encouragement to those in California to still stay on that track, but it also, I think, gave courage to those folks in Colorado, who, not too soon after, passed their legalization effort. Your thought, please.

RICHARD LEE: Yeah, we were very successful in generating hundreds of millions of dollars of positive media coverage for the issue, and I've heard from a lot of people in other states, that caused them to see that this was coming soon and for them to get involved and to join the fight.

DEAN BECKER: Now, there was a recent article in the Houston Chronicle that talked about competition, if you will. They were talking about Canada and Mexico going legal, that how the states all around us are going legal, and I thought about, I was questioned by the reporter within that story to talk about what that means to Texas, and I brought forward an idea that I want you to please respond to, see if I'm totally off base.

And that is, in Colorado, in California, and in the legal states, they are required to have their marijuana inspected, to have it approved for human consumption, if you will. And I know that there are batches that don't pass that inspection, and I said, perhaps those with the high percentages of pesticides or other fertilizers get sold in states like Texas, that we're getting the bad end of that stick. What's your thought in that regard, do you think that's, any truth in that?

RICHARD LEE: I don't think so.

I think there's so much that's being grown that's not even entering the legal system that there's plenty to be shipped to Texas. And I think a lot of what's supplying Texas now is Colorado.

DEAN BECKER: Right. No, I hear Colorado and Oregon are just way, way over stocked, so to speak.

Before I switch to talking with your mother, Ann Lee, I want to get your quick synopsis, your projection, what do you see for Texas?

RICHARD LEE: This year, hopefully, at least the decrim bill can be passed, which will take the decriminalization that currently is happening in Austin and Houston only, and make that statewide.

And, possibly expanding the medical marijuana bill, but unfortunately I don't see full legalization until 2021 or '23.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I'm going to hope it happens sooner than that, but we're going to have an interview with Richard's mother Ann here in just a moment.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, unconsciousness, coma, tolerance, addiction, respiratory arrest, and death. Time's up! This drug, eighty times stronger than morphine and heroin is available via schedule two prescription: fentanyl, for major pain.

Work part time, make big bucks, join the world's largest multilevel marketing organization! Buy low, sell high. Recruit your family and school friends. Annual commerce, five hundred billion dollars. New products imported daily from Mexico. Lots of dedicated repeat customers. No resume or work experience required. No urine tests or background check. Criminal history preferred. Always remember, snitches get stitches. Take the silver, avoid the lead. Get your share! EternalWar.US.

Well, we've had a good discussion with your son, Richard. I'm here with Ann Lee at her home in Houston. You are the founder, or one of the two founders, I should say, of the --

ANN LEE: Bob and I are considered co-founders --


ANN LEE: -- of RAMP.

DEAN BECKER: Her husband, Bob, and Ann, were the co-founders, for sure. And, it's kind of caught fire a bit, it's attracting attention and supporters. And, tell us about Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. Tell us why that came to be.

ANN LEE: When you think about it, prohibition is anything but conservative. It is a very progressive philosophy of control by government of what you may or may not use.


ANN LEE: And, so, as arch conservatives, my husband and I, well, it's, of course we started off with Richard, when he introduced marijuana to us, and I'm the one that's called it the weed of the devil.


ANN LEE: And I really didn't even know what marijuana is, hadn't even thought about it, it had not been a part of my experience at all. Sorry, Bob and I always have had great faith and love for, and support of our children. So when Richard had -- after he had the accident, and when he was in the hospital, some of the reading he was doing, he read about spasticity being alleviated by marijuana, and spasms were a problem for him.


ANN LEE: And so, he looked at us and said mom and dad, marijuana's good for me, and I don't think either Bob or I wanted to believe it, but we had to. First of all, we've always -- we knew Richard did not lie.


ANN LEE: He would never, he'd get into trouble but he wouldn't lie his way out of it. And, so we had to take him seriously. We prayed an awful lot about that, and we did our research, and found that Richard was right. You know? Marijuana is a worthwhile product that needs to be, in my estimation, taxed, controlled, and regulated like we do alcohol and tobacco.

That, to me, is the bottom line here.


ANN LEE: And it's interesting that it is now the philosophy of a lot of people, including our land commissioner, George P. Bush.


ANN LEE: Who told me, he talked to his counterpart from Oregon, and that he -- that man told him how much they have been making off marijuana.


ANN LEE: And George P recognized right away, you know, that it was -- it's something that needs to be considered. So I thought that was a real sort of a breakthrough for us, in having him at least acknowledge that there is a reason for marijuana again to be taxed, controlled, and regulated.

DEAN BECKER: Sure. And if, you said, Oregon can profit, or sense that profitability, we've got a population several times larger than theirs, we could certainly benefit here, right?

ANN LEE: Right. Right. I think that money can be the driving force, which there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Money has driven so much in this country.


ANN LEE: What is capitalism, but how to make money?

DEAN BECKER: That's us. That's America, isn't it.

ANN LEE: And so that is, to me, that is the thing that, also, we need to consider.

DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, Ann, I know in legislatures past, we have them every two years here in Texas, that we have -- we carved out a small incremental step for kids with epilepsy, that they, they're --

ANN LEE: That's right.

DEAN BECKER: -- can get CBD medicine. But we've always had Governor Abbott and Lieutenant Governor --

ANN LEE: Patrick.

DEAN BECKER: Patrick as stumbling blocks, but even more so, we've had this gentleman, Charles Schweitner, I think is his name [sic: Senator Charles Schwertner]. He is the, no longer now the chair of the Health and Human Services --

ANN LEE: He was a state senator.

DEAN BECKER: State senator. And, he's going to be less of a stumbling block now. Your thought there, please.

ANN LEE: I'm just grateful for anybody that had authority that was against us is no longer an authority.


ANN LEE: I'm grateful for the fact that Abbott has -- seems to be less of an obstacle than we've had before, and I'm hoping to have a visit with, I know Dan Patrick in an interesting way for some time, and I'd like to sit down with him.


ANN LEE: And, so, we'll -- all I can do in my one person, I'm one person.


ANN LEE: But, I can only do what I can do.


ANN LEE: But, I -- if I fail to do what I can do, I fail my god, I fail my lord, because I need to do -- when you see wrong, you need to do what you can.

DEAN BECKER: Yes. You can't remain silent.

ANN LEE: And there's been so much wrong. The fact that people have been put in prison, put in prison, for possession of marijuana, is so appalling to me, it's so un-American, that it's -- it's part of what, it's part of what I am.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, ma'am. Now, I understand that there will be several organizations, there's going to be several bills put forward within the legislature. There's, I don't know, I would hope recognition of the progress, of the taxes, the funding, that's going on in states all around this country, all around Texas, if you will, and that we will begin to realize that we're letting our opportunity just disappear, that we're headed in the wrong direction. Your thoughts there, Ann.

ANN LEE: Well, I've been told the biggest obstacle is law enforcement. Asset forfeiture, the fact that a law enforcement person can stop somebody, can seize their assets or their money, not have to answer to anybody for it.

DEAN BECKER: Say they smelled weed.

We spoke of RAMP, founded by you and your husband, Bob. He's now gone, but the idea is still strong. You still have these supporters. It's not just in Texas anymore, RAMP is moving around the country as well. Do you want to talk about that, please?

ANN LEE: RAMP would have gotten nowhere if it had been left up to Bob and me. When we came back to Houston from California after the we had the idea, and I was wearing a medical marijuana pin, and ran into a young man that I did not know, but he was a Republican precinct chairman, as I was.

We were going to some training some machinery we were using for voting, something like that, and he saw my pin, and we must have talked for thirty minutes. And I came home, saw Bob, Bob, you won't believe who I met. And John was not yet then married to Danielle, but John went home and told his family, you wouldn't believe who I met.

And, we have become very good friends. I have so much respect for John, and as I said, RAMP would not really have gone anywhere if it had not been for these, most of them are what we call YRs, Young Republicans. And if the YRs hadn't taken up the issue, and that's where it, I think it got a lot of its impetus, its force came from the YRs --


ANN LEE: -- who supported RAMP.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and thank goodness they have latched onto the idea, and ran with it, which is, I think, a good thing, because, you know, from my, I don't know, experience, or what I've perceived, is that there were two main groups that objected to drug war, and that was cops, as you mentioned, and Republicans as well.

But that's no longer the case. Even outside of RAMP, there are politicians at the federal and state and local level who are speaking more candidly, more openly, more honestly about the need to change these laws. Your thought, please.

ANN LEE: That is happening. The facts speak for themselves. Just look at the facts.


ANN LEE: We don't have to make up anything, lie about anything. Just tell the facts.


ANN LEE: If it is okeh, if it is okeh for an adult to use alcohol, why isn't it okeh for that same adult to use marijuana, if that is their drug of choice. It should be their choice, as long as it is done responsibly, it should be that drug of choice.

And the only reason that I can see why Republicans have so latched onto this, is that law and order's always been a hallmark of being a Republican.


ANN LEE: And so, if it was the law, if marijuana prohibition was the law, Republicans blindly felt follow the law.

DEAN BECKER: Sure. Yeah.

ANN LEE: But, they have to recognize that in this country, we've had some bad law. Possibly -- the two that come to my mind always, the first one is slavery. If that -- that was bad law, could never be good. And the next bad law is the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. That was bad law, and the way it was passed, did not see the light of day in its passage, was not even read in the Senate.

It's so sad, that this beautiful country, which believes in freedom, could deprive a person of their freedom for possession of a drug that -- it's not completely harmless, nobody said that.


ANN LEE: I call it not completely harmless. It's certainly known that cigarettes are not completely harmless, not harmless at all. But you don't put somebody in prison for smoking a cigarette.

DEAN BECKER: Well, friends, we've been speaking with Ann Lee, and Ann, when one's age advances to a certain point, it's okeh to mention that you're ninetieth birthday is coming soon. Correct?

ANN LEE: Correct.

DEAN BECKER: Well, let's hope that you're around for a long time to help get this change in place and that the politicians recognize the work of RAMP. They're out there on the web at Please, check it out.

Speaking of RAMP, here's their political director, John Baucum.

JOHN BAUCUM: Quite a few of our fellow activists are up here at the capitol today, making their voice heard, specifically on marijuana policy reform. So, you know, in Texas we have a very limited and somewhat nonfunctional medical marijuana program, called the Texas Compassionate Use Program.

So our primary goal for this session is to see that program expanded. For anybody that doesn't know, TCUP, which is its affectionately known acronym, is a high CBD, low THC, oil based, you know, cannabis medicine for only intractable epilepsy.

So, at the very least, you know, we're pushing for a full, comprehensive medical program that would not discriminate against any of the cannabinoids and set arbitrary caps. Currently it's 0.5 percent THC or less, under the current program.

We obviously know that THC is medicinal, as is CBD and other cannabinoids as well, and that they can also work, you know, together in kind of the entourage effect as well.

So, primarily we're looking to expand TCUP with adding additional qualifying conditions, hopefully busting that arbitrary THC cap. And on the criminal justice side, you know, I don't think the legislature is quite ready for a tax and regulate type program here in Texas, but we're certainly trying to reduce the collateral consequences that come along with a marijuana criminal conviction.

And primarily what we're looking at is a civil penalty bill, which would eliminate a criminal penalty and replace it with a civil fine. And if we can't get that, we're also working on a bill that would potentially lower the classification from a class B misdemeanor to a class C misdemeanor, while also removing some of the collateral consequences that would come even with a class C drug conviction.

DEAN BECKER: Now, if folks wanted to get involved with RAMP, join up, and, or you guys are going to have a bus trip to go talk to these legislators early next month, right?

JOHN BAUCUM: Yeah, yes, definitely. On February Seventh, we're going to have a lobby day hosted by the Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, which is a broad coalition of many different groups, including RAMP, NORML, the ACLU, the Republican Liberty Caucus, many different groups under that umbrella.

So we'll actually be taking a charter bus from Houston. We have fifty-six spaces available and we hope to fill them all up, and hopefully maybe some more carpools or if we get enough support maybe even another bus.

So, to find out information on that, you can email me directly at, or you can search on facebook, if you search RAMP lobby day bus, it should come up with the event, and then a link there to register for a ticket as well.

I do want to mention, as you touched on Oklahoma, you know, through their ballot initiative Oklahoma overnight essentially created one of the, or probably the broadest medical marijuana program in the entire country.

I've got a good friend of mine, he has a company named Robot Farmer, which has been granted several licenses for cultivation, processing, and distribution through retail dispensaries. But as it is today, it's a fantastic, widely open medical marijuana program, and it's, you know, something that we should strive for here in Texas.

It, you know, we have tons of patients who could benefit from access to this medicine, and, you know, as you very well know, Dean, there are really no good reasons to continue supporting prohibition in the twenty-first century. Let the doctors and the patients decide what's medicine for them.

DEAN BECKER: All right, once again we've been speaking with John Baucum of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. And it's, they're out there on the web at

Halfway through the show, you heard me put forward that fake PSA, work part time, make big bucks, join the world's largest multilevel marketing organization. That's on one side of a card I will be handing out to every Texas legislator. And on the other side of that card is a list of the conscientious objections I have, you should have, everyone should have to the drug war.

It's part of the reasoning, the rationale, that needs to come forward to end the madness of drug war. The truth is so evident. It's time for all of us to get to work. And again I remind you that because of this prohibition nobody knows what's in that bag, not even for marijuana. So please, be careful.

Drug Truth Network transcripts are stored at the James A. Baker III Institute. More than seven thousand radio programs are at And we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.