by Dean Becker
by Philip Guffy
(Audio Track) Intro Ė My name is Dean Becker; I donít condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison, and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.
Dean: Welcome to this weekís edition of Cultural Baggage. Our guest this week is John Gayder, a working Ontario policeman and a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, leap.cc on the net. And a little bit later, weíll have live in the studio Texas blues guy, Guy Schwartz. But next up, our reporter Winston Francis puts on Harry J. Anslingerís hat. Anslinger, our first drug czar, said that marijuana leads to insanity, criminality, and death. Hereís Winstonís official government ďtruthĒ:
Francis: ďLet me tell you the truth about marijuana. The most recent studies coming out of the Netherlands indicate that the drug may cause psychosis. Psychotic symptoms include hallucinations such as seeing or hearing things that arenít really there. And delusions, which are false beliefs which do not go away with logical and accurate information. Other possible psychotic symptoms are incoherent speech, confused thinking, and strange behavior. The most common psychotic disorder is schizophrenia. Donít believe me? Look it up. The study was carried in the British Medical Journalís BMJ online for December 1st, 2004. Fox News will also verify these findings. Drug legalization advocates want this dangerous narcotic in the mainstream culture and readily available to you and your children. And they almost had you fooled, but now you know the official government truth.Ē
Okay, so weíre going to have a very busy show, and letís jump right into our interview. All right, John, if you will please, introduce yourself to my listeners.
Gayder: Itís John Gayder. Iím the secretary from an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP for short.
Dean: Now, unlike the majority of the members of LEAP, youíre a working police officer. Is that right?
Gayder: Thatís correct. Iím a currently serving officer. And that brings up a good point. I need to make it clear here that I am speaking on behalf of LEAP and John Gayder, not as a representative of my department.
Dean: Fair enough. John, if there is a change to the Canadian drug laws, in regards to marijuana, itís not going to be a panacea, is it?
Gayder: No itís not, Dean, and Iím glad that youíve asked me that because a lot of people are looking up north here with stars in their eyes, thinking that Canada is on the edge of some sort of major breakthrough here. And thatís unfortunately not exactly the case. The new amendments to our law here will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, itís still going to keep the possession of cannabis within the realm of the law. And the way this will unfold is that rather than having to charge someone criminally and make up a court brief and submit for laboratory results and this sort of thing, the police will be able to issue a ticket for possession of cannabis. And there is a substantial fine involved in doing that. My fear is that it is going to make is easier for the police to harass cannabis users. My bigger fear is that itís going to be used as a revenue generator. And once police departments see that this is a way for them to generate some revenue, the cat is out of the bag there. Thatís a bad situation.
Dean: There are podunk towns and municipalities that make their living off of nothing but speeding tickets, and Iím sure that there are provinces in Canada that would love to reap that benefit.
Gayder: Absolutely. And I think that when it is done for speeding, itís absolutely terrible. It goes against every principle of law enforcement. Itís disgusting Ė when the law is used as a revenue generator, it has lost its anchors. It has lost its moorings with the system that was left to us by our forefathers.
Dean: Well, John, isnít it the Ė I call it multi-level marketing of drug prohibition Ė that kind of forces these drugs out into our neighborhoods?
Gayder: Well, it does. Being an underground product, itís incumbent upon the producers of it and the marketers of it to increase their market share in whatever possible way. That includes marketing it to wherever they can and then they are untouchable. They will market it to kids or wherever they can.
Dean: Yes, sir, as a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, youíve seen the growth of that organization from just a handful a couple of yearís ago to now more than 2,000.
Gayder: Absolutely. The growth has been explosive in our civilian supporters, and itís also been growing with law enforcement members and former law enforcement members, although thatís still an area where I would love to see more growth.
Dean: I know that Canada is still in a great quandary over marijuana, medical marijuana, much the same as the U.S. Tell us a little bit about that situation, please.
Gayder: Well, Canada has allowed some prescriptions for marijuana, although the status of that prescription seems to constantly be up in the air. The current initiative has a lot of problems with it.
Dean: Now letís talk about Ė the newspapers report ďdrug-related violence,Ē you know, a murder here or a home invasion. Drug-related violence. But is that really the case?
Gayder: No, thatís sort of a misnomer. What we are seeing in these instances is not drug-related violence. What we are seeing is prohibition-related violence. These crimes are occurring because of the market place. Itís not because people are getting high and going out and causing crimes, although that does happen occasionally. Itís really almost statistically insignificant. The shootings, the beatings, the robberies, all of these have to do with the fact that drugs are illegal.
Dean: What causes that problem? Why does this drug-related violence exist?
Gayder: Well, a good example would be a dealer in a large city. He has a territory staked out and heís marketing that. Someone seeks to challenge that, either intentionally or accidentally. This dealer canít go to the courts to seek relief from what he sees as unfair competition, so he solves it with the only thing he has recourse to, and that is violence and threats. Were drugs a legal commodity, he would have recourse to the courts, which of course is one of the great blessings of Western society.
Dean: We talk about the citizens being harmed, but the drug war also puts law enforcement officers unnecessarily in the line of fire at times, does it not?
Gayder: Absolutely. The frustrating thing for me is that this is a war that we donít need to be in. These are risks that we donít need to be taking. Itís natural for the police to take risks. We do a job that it is naturally expected that we should take risks. But there is no sense in having us take unnecessary risks, and that is what I find to be really frustrating.
Dean: Well, let me ask you this. I donít know the arrest rates in Canada. I know last year here in the U.S., we arrested 755,000 marijuana users.
Dean: And you know, that seems to me to be a great waste of our fiscal resources and our manpower and our focus in this time of terror. Your thoughts in that regard.
Gayder: I couldnít agree more with you, Dean. The rate of arrests here in Canada, I believe, is about 80,000 per year. Now, of course, Canadaís population is far smaller than that of America, but these are arrests that take up an awful lot of time for officers. There is a lot of paperwork to be done, a lot of laboratory reports that have to be gotten, court time, et cetera. It is a diversion away from, I think, more effective methods of law enforcement, crimes that have a higher priority Ė burglaries, rapes, these types of things are what the police should be out either investigating or, better yet, preventing by being out driving around in the police car or walking through the shopping malls. Police shouldnít be behind the desk writing these crazy reports about marijuana usage.
Dean: I understand there is a bit of a brouhaha about officers being able to test people for drugged driving, and I heard a good comment I think from Mark Emory who said that if you are incapacitated, your driving should show that. And would that not be a better measure of incapacitated driving?
Gayder: I think so. This whole issue of detecting drugs in oneís system really should be setting off some alarm bells for Canadians and for everybody who is concerned about their liberty. Because the only way of really testing that is to either submit to a blood test or to have somebody take a sample of your urine. In the past this level of intrusion by the state has been something that has been resisted, in my opinion, quite correctly.
Dean: In your work, you run across people who are incapacitated on various and sundry drugs, alcohol, et cetera. Do you ever have many occasions where you are called to a scene where a person is solely using marijuana and violent?
Gayder: I canít recall a single instance of that. No.
Dean: I think that is a telling point. Of course on the medical side they keep saying we have to protect people from the smoke, but I have a feeling that if there were damage being caused by the smoking of marijuana, they would be stacking the bodies in a pile and putting the picture on the front page.
Gayder: I think you are right, Dean. This also brings up the entire question of what is the proper role of the police in society? Are we really supposed to be protecting people from themselves? Iíll submit to you that we are not. If thatís the case, we would probably be only a few years away from arresting people for eating fat-laden junk food or dangerous sports like downhill skiing.
Dean: Right, right, to protect the individual.
Gayder: Right. Thatís not the system that our forefathers left to us. Weíre Ė the police are supposed to be protecting people from predators and people who will cheat or harm them, not from themselves.
Dean: I feel that it is the policy of the U.S. Ė which has tentacles out even into Canada Ė to influence the drug laws of other countries. Your organization, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, has done studies of police organizations and found that 80%-85%, perhaps, think the drug war is a failure. And yet everyone nationwide is afraid to talk about this. Please give me your thoughts in that regard.
Gayder: Well, I think you need to make a slight correction there, Dean. We havenít really done any studies. The 75% to 80% figure is more of an anecdotal figure, just from some of our observations of discussions with fellow officers. I think that any attempt to sort of capture that figure officially on paper would be very difficult. Once you tried to get somebody to commit their beliefs to paper, sometimes they can change, no matter how anonymous you try to make it. That 80% figure is mostly just from around the locker room type discussions.
Dean: Iíve heard in Canada as few as 6% of the people are for continuing the current stature of the drug war. I guess what I am trying to say is, donít we find a lot of people willing to talk about it except those in power, of these organizations that make money from the drug war?
Gayder: Absolutely. Thereís certainly a vested interest for certain people to continue the drug war, both on the law enforcement side and on the black market side. There is also an effect called institutional inertia, where people go to work everyday and do these things and thatís just what they do. It never occurs to them to think of doing things differently.
Dean: John Walters. He came to Houston. I tried to get an interview and he stood up and left the building. He was unwilling to even take my business card. So I think there is not only a great reluctance, but a knowing awareness of the situation. That they are caught with their pants down.
Gayder: I think you are right. Nobody wants to be the one to go down in the history books appearing to be the one who quit the war. They donít want to appear to be the one who lost the war. I mean, Americans Ė with a large amount of justification Ė can say they have never lost a war, and itís a point of pride to them and I canít blame them for being that way. When Richard Nixon started off calling the battle against narcotics addiction the ďwar on drugs,Ē making it a war gives it almost sort a crusade-type of aura. And there is not a mayor or a congressman or woman, or president that wants to be the one to have lost the war, or to have quit the war. It would not look good in the history books.
Dean: Personally, I think they will wind up with their face on Mt. Rushmore, but that will take some time.
Gayder: I would agree with you. It would. Somewhere there is a hero in waiting. He wonít be called a hero at the time, but years after his death, generations after, people are going to say that he was a hero.
Dean: Yes, sir, December 17 makes 90 years of drug war. The 90th anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Act. Itís done its damage, hasnít it sir?
Gayder: Absolutely, and it gives me no end of frustration to just see the continuance of this, especially here in the West. Both of our nations, Canada and the United States, flirted with the prohibition of alcohol, and we gave it up, correctly, and it is just so maddening to me that we couldnít learn from that experience.
Dean: John Gayder, I appreciate you joining us here on Cultural Baggage.
Gayder: Iíd like to remind the listeners of your show that they can find out more about LEAP by visiting www.leap.cc.
Dean: And I want to recommend that site as well. Perhaps nine or ten of the guests on this show have been members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a very noble and wonderful organization.
Gayder: Thank you, Dean.
Dean: Thank you, John. Okay, once again that was John Gayder, a working Ontario, Canada, police officer and a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, leap.cc. Okay, weíll be back in just a minute with our musical guest for the evening, Mr. Guy Schwartz, the Texas blues guy. Heís going to tell us all about his recent trip to Amsterdam.
ďThe Justice Policy Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting safe, fair, and effective alternatives to incarceration. To protect public safety and benefit communities, please visit the website of the Open Society Institute at soros.org. Again, thatís www.soros.org.
Itís time to play ďName that Drug By Its Side EffectsĒ: Euphoria, dry mouth, a drowsy state, cloudy mental functions, depression of the central nervous system, respiratory depression, constricted pupils, and nausea, shallow breathing, clammy skin, and the inability to ascertain purity which may lead to overdose and death. Timeís up. The answer: heroin, which when used properly under a doctorís care, leads to the subjugation of excruciating pain and zero deathís per year.
Good evening. You are listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network. My name is Dean Becker. Steve Nolin is our engineer tonight. We do have with us here in the studio Guy Schwartz and the New Jack Hippies, and they just got back from a trip to Amsterdam. Weíll be hearing about that trip here in just a minute. Hello, Guy.
Schwartz: Hi, Dean. Thanks for having us.
Dean: Well, glad you are here.
Schwartz: Rather be in Amsterdam.
Dean: Right, I think we all would at this time. You guys are very busy on the music scene, not just here in Houston, but you tour the nation a bit. Youíve probably been to several of our network cities as well.
Schwartz: Yes, we have. Letís see. Hi to the folks at Storeyville out in Durango, Colorado; and thereís a blues series that we play for in Knoxville, Tennessee Ė I know you have got some folks there, a station there. Iíve looked at the list. There are 5 or 6 places we play. And my daughter Chelsey and her friends are listening in Chicago.
Dean: Well, very good. (Background talking.) That was Roger saying ďHiĒ to Chelsey. Yes, folks, tell you what Ė here on the Cultural Baggage show, we ofttimes talk about the fact that the war on terror is nothing more than the war on drugs with afterburners. You guys have written a song that kind of dovetails a little bit of that, am I right?
Schwartz: Well, actually there are probably a few. Itís a subject thatís been weighing on our minds these last couple of years.
Dean: Well, if you guys are ready, letís go ahead and hear that song you were telling me about earlier.
ďShe was right. She was right when she said all good things take good time, so we waited all night, waiting for the man to come.
All through the night. Through the night when we feel safe and warm cause we do all we do and consume all we can while weíre waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. Hold on. Waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. Waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. Waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. So we have a good time but we stay in our place.
We donít try to be too free, itís comfortable here.
If you try to be too free, the man will get into your face.
Yeah, she was right. She was right when she said all good things take good time, so we move to the right, while weíre waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. Hold on. Waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. Waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. Waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. Waiting for the man to come.
Hold on. Waiting for the man to come.Ē
Dean: Thank you, Guy. The New Jack Hippies, you guys always do great work. I appreciate you coming in. I wanted to talk about the fact Ė you know during the holidays, I like to bring in people from the entertainment industry, if you will, comedians, musicians, but people who are also willing to talk about the need for change. And Guy, I know you are one such person. Tell us about the difference between smoking a reefer in these here United States and what itís like in Amsterdam.
Schwartz: It was totally different. It was the experience of smoking like free men and women over there. They have always kind of allowed the coffee shops to be there and sell marijuana, but back in the mid-90s, there was a mayor named Patene who finally got licensing of the coffee shops to happen to weed out the ones who were selling hard drugs as opposed to soft drugs like marijuana and hashish. At that point in time, it became a matter of legalities, a matter of taxes and licensing fees; and the bad elements were rooted out and Mayor Patene is no longer in politics. He owns 25 coffee shops. (Laughter)
Dean: Smart man, indeed. You guys travel around the region, at the very least, and you just played some gigs in Amsterdam. Tell me what that was like.
Schwartz: Well, that was fun. We have a lot of great music fans here in the U.S., and a lot our home friends stick with us through thick and thin no matter what kind of stuff we play. But in a lot of places, we are booked and they think we are a blues band Ė and we play a country song, and people start walking out. And likewise, a rock place, if we play a blues song. And there are clubs here that wonít hire us because we will have one of our hip hop buddies come up and start doing some rhyming and the club owner may not like that. Over there, we go from one style to the next, and they just embrace them all and think itís a good thing that we are doing all these different styles of American music. So, itís a lot of fun.
Dean: Now, you know one of the reasons that I have this great affinity with musicians is that I used to think I was one, but Ö
Schwartz: You are a drummer, Dean.
Dean: But I guess my point I am trying to get at is that for NORML, for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, musicians understand their need to participate, their need to help change peopleís minds Ė to get them involved, and awake, and alert, and to do something to change these crazy drug laws.
Schwartz: Itís true; because so often in order to work as a musician, you are put into places and into hours that law enforcement believes is the key hours to get the bad guys and, you know, smoking a reefer during the break at the gig puts us in the position of being criminals Ė and itís just not very fair and itís not very free.
Dean: No, itís not at all. The powers that be roam the countryside saying marijuana is more dangerous than heroin, twice the threat of cocaine. You know, they are charlatans, through and through. Let me ask you this. You guys have a lot of work you do in audio, video, just multimedia in general. Is there a website folks can learn more about what you guys do?
Schwartz: Well, at www.hippies.tv, itís our website for Hippies TV, and I just put up a video that we did from the boat we stayed on in Amsterdam with a song we wrote one afternoon after returning from the coffee shop.
ďBoat full of potheads in Amsterdam, smoking like Americans, just donít give a damn. Weíre a boat full of potheads in Amsterdam. And it feels good.Ē
Dean: Damn right, damn right.
Schwartz: So there is a video for that at www.hippies.tv, and up there, there are links to everywhere we are on the web.
Dean: We were talking about musicians being involved, musicians wanting to help Ė and there is another reason, and I urge the people out there on the other network stations to get involved. Form a NORML organization in your community. Big or little, they will give you some support. They will help you get rolling. There is no one left on the other side who can support this continuing drug war. Knock them down.
Schwartz: This whole thing happens one person at a time.
Dean: It does, indeed.
Schwartz: When enough of us stand up, this stuff is legal.
Dean: Okay, Steve tells me that weíve got just one minute left. I do want to urge folks out there on the network to get involved, get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Iíll work with you. But the main thing is to step up, as Guy is saying, to become a part of the solution. I want to send a shout out to a new station out there on the network Ė KHEN in Salida, Colorado. Thank you, and welcome to the Drug Truth Network.
Next week, Dr. Richard Evans of Texas Cancer Center will be our guest, along with Frank Smith who, at 80 years old, is the oldest drug reformer I know. And we are going to talk about the beginnings of prohibition and some of the changes Frank has been able to see over the years. I guess, my friends, as always I want to remind you that because of drug prohibition, you donít know what is in that bag. So, please be careful.
For the Drug Truth Network and our affiliates in the U.S. and Canada, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage, the unvarnished truth. This show is produced at Pacifica Studios of KPFT, Houston. Tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.