02/03/13 Nate Jones

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Nate Jones a Fellow at the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy re failure of drug war tactics in US and Mexico, Dr. William Courtney from HuffPo, Doub McVay on the use of Butane in making cannabis extracts, Chief Greenbud sings "Its' 4:20 Somewhere"

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Transcript

Transcript

Cultural Baggage / February 3, 2013

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Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”

“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”

DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t 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.

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DEAN BECKER: You know I’ve been excited at the prospect of ending the drug war for about 13/14 years now and I’m more excited than ever before. You are learning the truth. Our politicians and our media are learning the truth. We’re nearing the end of this madness. Hopefully this program will help – help educate and embolden you to speak up, stand up, read, write, to do something to end this eternal war.

This past summer I took a tour across America as part of the Caravan for Peace, Justice and Dignity. At about the halfway point of that journey was a visit to Rice University, the Baker Institute for Policy Studies. I’m proud to have one of the fellows who is now serving at the Baker Institute, Mr. Nate Jones. How are you, sir?

NATE JONES: I’m doing good, Dean. Thank you for having me.

DEAN BECKER: Nate, the fact of the matter is even since that point in time some 3 to 4 months ago things have changed. Things are continuing to change in regards to this drug war. Am I correct?

NATE JONES: Certainly in terms of Colorado and Washington. The fact that there’s been initiatives which have legalized marijuana in those states – at least at the state level. We don’t know what the feds are going to do.

We’re seeing a fundamental shift in the debate in the United States and also in Latin America. We’re seeing Latin American leaders (right-wing, right-center, center-right) like Santos of Colombia, the president of Guatemala, and many other Latin American leaders calling for a shift in the drug prohibition regime.

DEAN BECKER: Now this, as you say, is kind of following on the heels of what happened in Washington and Colorado – the legalization where the taboo has, indeed, be broken. I think that is one of the main things that it has done and it has unleashed a series of reports from the broadcast and print media. It’s encouraged politicians like Senator Patrick Leahy to stand up and say some what would previously be considered astounding thoughts in regards to this drug war. Your response, Nate.

NATE JONES: Absolutely. It’s very interesting. You’ve asked me about this before – why did the breakthrough take so long? I think it has to do with our two party system. You’ve got Libertarians on the right and public health types and the Democratic party on the left and they both actually agree on this. It’s the middle that is very conservative on this issue who tends to benefit the status quo.

I think that’s been a major factor because the referendum allow those wings of the parties to actually come together and show the majority is for a change in the fundamental way that we look at drug prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: I was especially pleased by the words of Patrick Leahy – a Senator, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee – coming out and saying this. This gives breathing room, gives space for other politicians to step and say something similar. Does it not?

NATE JONES: I really think it does. He might not have made those statements if it weren’t for the referenda in Colorado and Washington. This is fundamental - even within the logic of the Republican Party - this is fundamental because they often times are about federalism. Let the states figure out things on their own. Let them be the laboratories of democracy.

Typically the federal government has not allowed the states to do this. On medical marijuana issues the Obama administration in 2009 made statements that they would allow medical marijuana establishments to operate as long as they were operating within the local state laws. They went back on that in places like Montana.

I can see why this is getting more play and the debate is shifting and it is entering the mainstream.

DEAN BECKER: I think in the main the federal government doesn’t allow the states to do all the things they might consider doing but one that needs to be compared to the right to use medical marijuana or just marijuana in general and that is that in the state of Oregon they kill people. They come there to have a suicide to get over their pain and misery and the federal government allows that.

It is open for debate isn’t it?

NATE JONES: We make choices about what is the purview of the federal government, what is the purview of the state. I think on this – particularly when you have Colorado and Washington passing – everybody is watching them to see how it’s going to work out. This is a good opportunity for the federal government to sit back – particularly in those states – and watch what happens, see what kind of regulatory scheme that they come up with and which work and then possibly over the long haul as other states probably will follow suit re-federalize the policies so that we don’t have a patchwork of policies.

I hope that this is an opportunity to see what Washington and Colorado are going to come up with in terms of the nitty gritty details of the regulations. What is the regulatory scheme going to look like?

DEAN BECKER: On my TV show I was covering the fact that they had a big conference in Seattle where investors came to see what they could do, where they might invest their money. It was quite a frenzy because this is going to grow. It’s already a billion dollar, multi-billion dollar industry but it’s going to extrapolate some several times over if the feds will just keep their hands off. Your response, Nate Jones.

NATE JONES: I think it’s likely to become a very large industry. It is still a risky business in the sense that it may be legal at the state level but you could be prosecuted at the federal level. The incentive is still to be low profile.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what kind of regulations Colorado and Washington are going to come up with. Are they going to regulate advertising? How are they going to regulate advertising? I’m very keen on that. I don’t necessarily want consumption to be very high. Even though I may be in favor of a change in prohibition I’d rather keep consumption as low as possible so maybe advertising restrictions will evolve. It will be very interesting to see what they can come up with.

DEAN BECKER: Let’s turn from marijuana to what’s more in your wheel house and that is the situation in Mexico. As I said earlier we came to the Baker Institute as part of the Caravan for Peace. 100 of those family members of those killed and butchered in Mexico made that 7,000 mile journey. Baker was about the mid-point of our journey.

Tell us your nexus with that situation.

NATE JONES: I did my field work in Mexico. I conducted my dissertation field work in Mexico on the cartel Arellano Felix. I lived in Mexico City and Tijuana interviewing victims, interviewing law enforcement and citizens in Tijuana who had been either victims of the cartel, law enforcement who had worked against them, listened to wire taps – things along those lines. That’s what I wrote my dissertation on. So security policy in Mexico is very interesting to me.

DEAN BECKER: You touched on something there that is hard for Americans to realize. We have cops carrying cocaine across Harris County, Houston. We’ve got corruption in the prisons all across America. They say that if you’re not addicted to heroin you might be when you leave because it’s that easy to get.

What we don’t realize is the vastness of the corruption. That the intertwining of the police and the military and the cartels. Am I correct?

NATE JONES: Yeah, that is a huge problem particularly in Mexico. Tijuana was one of the places where they actually were able to make a security turn around – i.e. violence was very high but then it dropped back down. One of the things that they did was what I call chemotherapy for the municipal police.

In sometimes very brutal ways they had to eliminate the corrupt officers who had been in the pay of these cartels. It is a very difficult thing to do and there are a lot of reports that the way they did it in Tijuana was pretty brutal in the sense that they were literally …the way the media reported it police officers had literally been tortured. They would give a list of names. They would go and find more police officers who they believed were dirty. I’m sure a lot of the innocent police officers got caught up in those kinds of sweeps.

This is something that they’re looking at more broadly in Mexico in terms of police corruption and things along those lines. People talk about corruption in Mexico but we’ve had a long history in the United States. It takes a long time to build institutions.

DEAN BECKER: The new president (I can’t ever say his name) Neinto?

NATE JONES: Enrique Pena Nieto.

DEAN BECKER: He promised he was going to get rid of the cartels kind of along the same lines that Calderon did but he’s now acting in a different fashion. Explain what he is doing differently.

NATE JONES: It’s very interesting. I wouldn’t say that he’s necessarily doing anything differently. What he promised was to reduce violence and he thought he could do that by focusing on kidnapping, homicide and extortion. When you really look at the details of his policy even during his campaign there wasn’t much difference between what he was proposing and what Calderon had been doing in terms of…for example, is the military still going to be leading the fight? Yes, absolutely. He didn’t say that was going to change.

So when you actually get into the nitty gritty details of his real policy you realize that he was only promising a stylistic change so what we’re seeing is the homicides are as high if not higher in the first couple months of his administration. His promise to reduce kidnapping, homicide and extortion …I don’t know if he’s going to be able to do it.

I’m very, very skeptical. His policy is really just a stylistic change. He’s really focusing on “We’re going to talk about the success of the economy. We’re going to focus on other things.”

Basically he’s just changing the public conversation but nothing’s really changed.

DEAN BECKER: Sad but true. I was listening to a tape with me and Jack Cole the other day talking about the fact that these guys promise that they’re going to get rid of drugs and all the violence and a few years later they’re out of office and there’s nobody really to answer for that promise.

NATE JONES: Absolutely. It kind of reminds me of when Vicente Fox ran and said…he made some outlandish promise like he could end the Zapatista rebellion in 15 minutes. It was completely unrealistic. It was ridiculous. That’s kind of what Pena Nieto has made it sound like – that it’s going to be easy to reduce violence in Mexico.

In reality Mexico needs to make long-term structural reform and they are engaging in some of that but it’s going to take a really long time so we’re not going to see any quick fixes.

DEAN BECKER: It’s been reported that these Mexican cartels have people on the ground in more than 1,000 U.S. cities aligned with the U.S. gangs selling contaminated drugs to our kids. It just seems so preposterous that that is not a subject that is brought up in congress, that gets more than just the occasional brush of attention from the media.

This alignment is no more more obvious than it is in Chicago – the new prohibition capital of the world. I’m sure Al Capone is smiling in his grave. Your response, Nate.

NATE JONES: Sometimes I’m skeptical about how many “cartel operatives” are really on the ground in the United States in terms of I do think that there is certainly individuals but a tendency by a certain U.S. government agency is to exaggerate the number of actual cartel operatives.

The Mexican “cartels”…it’s a misnomer in the sense that they control vice – they don’t but we all know what we’re talking about when we say cartels. Often times they are content to utilize local distributors, i.e. you’re absolutely right they are allied with local street gangs and prison gangs especially. Prison gangs like the Mexican mafia are particularly important in Southern California and Northern California.

These prison gangs have become nationwide and their bread and butter is drug sales in the United States.

DEAN BECKER: Again I want to come back to that thought that it is preposterous that this is not brought up in congress that they are, in effect, funding our…these barbarous cartels are giving reason for these gangs to exist via this policy of prohibition.

NATE JONES: Absolutely. What we’ve created is we’ve created a massive price differential. Because it’s a black market it goes for a high price. As a result there’s …and the more we enforce the more we push the trafficking into the hands of smaller and smaller, more sophisticated criminal organizations. So essentially there’s this…Peter Andreas, a great professor out of Brown University, calls it a self-reinforcing dance where agencies ask for money and they portray this threat as a huger threat. They get more resources. As a result there’s more concentration of organized crime. So it’s this self-reinforcing cycle.

The way that we could fundamentally shift that is by taking a look at the prohibition regime and where drugs are produced, how they are produced and we would really want to see are places like Colorado and Washington essentially satisfying their own demand through their own supply so that it doesn’t have to come across the border.

DEAN BECKER: To me it’s a slight of hand, if you will, that these politicians can stand forth and point at the frailties, the harms, the blow back of drug prohibition and use that as justification for more drug prohibition. It’s crazy.

NATE JONES: Isn’t that the great irony?! They essentially create the problem and then they point to it to justify continuing the existing policy. Isn’t that fascinating?

DEAN BECKER: It is. We’re going to have to wrap it up but I want you to tell folks a little bit about the Baker Institute, it’s drug policy division, how they can get involved and what’s available there.

NATE JONES: I am the post-doctoral fellow in drug policy at Rice University, Baker Institute. I work with Professor Bill Martin. He does a great job particularly on domestic drug issues and drug policy. He’s a really great guy and great to work with.

We’ve started a new blog series on our blog – the Baker Institute Viewpoint series. We are addressing numerous drug issues. We post a question kind of like New York Times’ Rooms for Debate. We post one question and get various followers to respond to the common question with different viewpoints.

We’re looking at “Should marijuana be legalized?” That was one series we ran that was very popular. But we’ve also looked at the efficacy of kingpin strategies in the drug war. Anybody who is interested can come to the Baker Institute website and see those articles through links.

We also put out policy reports periodically and we also turn some of these blog series into videos so you can see this through YouTube and multimedia.

DEAN BECKER: Well I would also like to mention that the Baker Institute has stored thousands of my radio shows on their site as well. There’s some discussion that you guys, I’m hoping, will carry my new Unvarnished Truth television programs as well.

NATE JONES: That’s a distinct possibility.

DEAN BECKER: If I can ever tone it down a little bit through my association with the Baker Institute I might have a post on that blog as well.

One more time, Nate, that website.

NATE JONES: http://bakerinstitute.org We also have a blog with the Houston Chronicle. You can get to that through the Baker Institute website or the Houston Chronicle webpage.

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(Game show music)

DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.

Physical stimulation, appetite suppression, the prevention of altitude sickness through increased oxygen supply.

(gong)

Time’s up!

The answer: as is so obvious in the lives of millions of Bolivians: coca, Mother coca.

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DEAN BECKER: Hi. This is Dean Becker inviting you to join us on the Unvarnished Truth Television program. It airs locally on HMS TV. Check your local cable listings for when. You can check it out online at unvarnishedtruth.org.

We interview people from around the world and provide segments from major broadcasters underscoring the need to end this eternal drug war. Unvarnishedtruth.org

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DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy of the Huffington Post. It features the words of Dr. William Courtney.

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WILLIAM COURTNEY: I was quite a skeptic 5 or 6 years ago to approve of it. My youngest patient is 8 months old, and had a very massive centrally located inoperable brain tumor. The child's father pushed ahead and got approval and began treatment and the father was successfully able to avoid chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Within a couple of months it was reduced essentially to zero and this child is not going to have the long-term side effects that would come from high dose chemotherapy or radiation.

ALYONA MINKOVSKI: By the way I want to pull up to an image that you sent along to us to show our viewers the difference of the brain tumor and what it was that happened there in a couple of weeks.

Can you explain that for us in more detail?

WILLIAM COURTNEY: That large white center area is the tumor. They were putting cannabinoid oils on the baby’s pacifier twice a day increasing the dose and it was a 3.8 percent CBD – so it was a high CBD in tincture or oil.

Within in 2 months there was a dramatic reduction – enough that the enough that the pediatric oncologist allowed them to go ahead with not pursuing traditional therapy. And within 4 months you can see that the tumor is essentially gone. By 8 months the normal architecture had resumed. By this point the risk of the MRI is so high that they don’t really want to do anymore MRIs because of the risk of the analysis.

Currently the child is being called a miracle baby. I would have to agree. The bigger response is that we should be insisting on frontline therapy for all children before they launch off on medications that have horrific long-term side effects.

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DOUG McVAY: BHO. Full Melt. Earwax. "Dabs".

The public has finally discovered hash oil.

BHO stands for Butane Hash Oil. It is produced, as the name implies, via a method that relies on butane. Butane is a flammable petrochemical which at room temperature and standard pressure is in gas form. It's the stuff which burns in most of the disposable lighters people buy nowadays.

In terms of health, an effective argument could be made that, for the consumer, oil is much less unsafe than whole-plant cannabis, especially since the oil has no vegetative matter, thus fewer impurities, and fewer hits are needed to have the desired effect.

Sounds ideal. Just one downside: production can be dangerous.

Butane, like it says on the label, is flammable, and pressurized containers are explosive. Google the words Butane, Marijuana, and Fire sometime. The results are scary. I took fifteen minutes to look online and found 7 separate incidents of fires and/or explosions related to butane hash extraction reported in the media in 2012 and 2013. And that's just from a quick look, though I did take time to make sure that they were indeed separate events.

It's not only the people who are making the stuff who are at risk. (Hopefully at least they understand and accept those risks.) Other people like neighbors, nearby tenants? No one asks them. In January of 2013, at least three lab fires and explosions took place in Southern California. In the incident at the end of the month, two people in Ocean Beach, near San Diego, California, suffered severe burns when their attempt to make oil resulted in an explosion. They were at a hotel, so at least their own homes weren't put at risk. The Los Angeles Times reported on January 30th, 2013, quote: "Windows were blown out of several rooms in the three-story Heritage Inn motel. Walls collapsed. A man staying in an adjacent room was injured by flying debris." End quote.

The question is begged: Why bother? Well, it's simple. BHO is powerful stuff, so it's a highly valued commodity. As Ngaio Bealum noted in a column in the Sacramento News & Review in March of 2012, quote: "According to Jeff Hatley at Sequoia Analytical Labs in Sacramento, most concentrated forms of cannabis, such as cold water hash or kief, contain between 15 to 60 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis. But BHO regularly tests much higher, at 30 to 75 percent." End quote.

BHO is effective, and efficient, but production should not be in the hands of just anyone. Serious safety precautions need to be taken, and they need to be taken seriously, by anyone trying this.

On the other hand, why bother with butane? There is an alternative. CO2 Carbon Dioxide for folks who didn't take advanced chemistry can also be used to extract oil from whole-plant cannabis. CO2 is a nonflammable gas and presents less of a risk than butane. Supercritical CO2 extraction is the technique which GW Pharmaceuticals reportedly uses to manufacture Sativex. It may be more complex, but fewer buildings blow up and catch fire. Seems like a fair trade.

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay with Common Sense for Drug Policy and Drug War Facts.

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DEAN BECKER: Here to close us out Chief Greenbud and his song "Its' 4:20 Somewhere"

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[music]

If you watch the clock to smoke your pot
You should know you’re not alone.

If you’re grass is like most it’s hydro-grown
That gets you stoned.

If you’re counting the hours, watching the minutes
For that special time when everyone hits it

Take it from me you’re really not that far away.

Roll me something fat and green
pack me a bowl or fill me a bong
It only comes twice a day but I don’t care
It’s 4:20 somewhere.

This smoke break is going to make my afternoon
When I get high even if it’s my last bud I smoke it up
It will be alright.

I’ve been sitting here waiting for what seems like a year
My Jamaican connection said he’d meet me here.
If the phone’s for me tell him he better be on his way.

Roll me something fat and long
Pack me a bowl, fill me a bong
It only come twice a day but I don’t care
It’s 4:20 somewhere.

I spent all my cash, replenished my stash
But it’s only a quarter of 2
At a moment like this I can’t help but wonder –
What would Willie do??

He’d say “Fire that thing up”

Roll me something fat and long
Pack me a bowl, fill me a bong.
It only comes twice a day but I don’t care

Roll me something fat and long
Pack me a bowl, fill me a bong.
It only comes twice a day but I don’t care
I don’t care…
It’s 4:20 somewhere.

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DEAN BECKER: Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed today’s edition of Cultural Baggage. I hope it woke you up to a few more facts about this drug war, the inequity, the inequality, the bigotry, the hatred, the eternal nature of this beast.

As always I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.

For the Drug Truth Network this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition – the Century of Lies.

The Drug Truth programs are archived at the James A. Baker, III Institute for Policy Studies.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org